Your most favorite sushi restaurant is a place that maybe you don’t have the luxury to visit each time you get a hankering for delicious nigiri or California rolls. Either that or you just want to get the closest to creating that perfect, special texture and taste of your favorite sushi takeout place to keep you coming back for more. On that note, pick the best sushi rice brands.
Sushi rice has to be high-quality. And you have to also cook it the right way. It’s short-grained and then becomes sticky and dense after cooking with a heavenly tender texture. And then there’s the firmness too, which helps in shaping the rice into blocks. So you can fashion them in a way easiest to eat using chopsticks.
So let’s get to know the top brands that make it possible for you to devour sweet, sticky sushi rice in various recipes.
Table of Contents
- Best Sushi Rice Brands
- 1. Nishiki Premium Sushi Rice
- 2. Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice
- 3. Shirakiku Rice Koshihikari
- 4. Shirakiku Sekka Extra Fancy Premium Grain Brown Rice
- 5. Botan Musenmai Calrose Rice
- 6. Kokuho Rice Sushi
- 7. RiceSelect Sushi Rice
- 8. Lundberg Family Farms Organic Sushi Rice
- 9. Natural Earth Products White Sushi Rice
- 10. Annie Chun’s Cooked White Sticky Rice
- Sushi Rice – Definition and History
- Things to Consider When Choosing Sushi Rice Brands
- How to Cook Sushi Rice In A Rice Cooker
- Storing Rice the Right Way
- Frequently Asked Questions
- End Thoughts
Best Sushi Rice Brands
1. Nishiki Premium Sushi Rice
It’s most likely that Nishiki sushi rice is perfect for all types of cooking needs, and not just sushi. All your dishes that include sticky rice are sure to benefit from this medium-grain, premium-quality rice. Even with kimchi as a matter of fact!
You could be a novice and still have no issues at all with the cooking part or the softness of the rice. There are sushi instructions printed on the packaging to make the task much easier for you.
- Medium-grain, premium quality sticky rice
- Musenmai-processed to polish and remove surface starch
- A mild, delicate taste
2. Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice
Now here’s a brand that’s quite popularly used in Japanese restaurants. This is short-grain, California-raised rice that costs a bit extra. But then the product is of such high quality that paying a slightly higher price is totally worth it. After all, a great fluffy texture is just what you demand from a top brand like this.
But the cooking does indeed involve some trial and error at first because your chances of burning the rice when using a rice cooker, if not careful, are quite high. On the other hand, when cooked the right way and carefully, expect results you often savor at high-end Japanese restaurants.
- Popular short-grain rice used across Japanese restaurants
- Sticky, starchy, gluten-free, and low cholesterol
- Musenmai-processed to cook the rice without washing
3. Shirakiku Rice Koshihikari
When it comes to buying premium quality short-grain rice, this brand name comes up quite a lot. You can use this luxurious rice to prepare your most favorite sushi rice recipe, even with your instant pot. The delicious, authentic quality and taste of the rice sort of justify the high price tag.
And it’s likely that your favorite Japanese-style sushi place uses precisely this white short-grain rice that offers just the perfect texture, flavor, and stickiness.
- Premium short-grain rice that cooks well in a rice cooker
- Dense and heavy, and also free of starch
- Packaging includes a zip for proper storage and preservation
4. Shirakiku Sekka Extra Fancy Premium Grain Brown Rice
This medium-grain brown rice is utterly delicious if cooked the right way for recipes like sushi, onigiri, etc. When brands give you Japanese-style sticky rice that you can prepare using even a rice cooker, you know they’re all about consumer satisfaction.
It’s actually one of the best options for rice eaters who don’t mind the fact that it’s slightly overpriced.
- Premium quality medium-grain brown rice
- Plenty of stickiness after cooking to hold the ingredients
- Low sodium, low cholesterol, and low fat
5. Botan Musenmai Calrose Rice
Not all rice is created equal, even with top brands. So in the case of this Musenmai-processed Calrose rice, it surely has a distinctive taste and texture. It’s medium-grain rice that offers a moderate level of stickiness after cooking. An ideal choice for poke bowls, sushi, and other regular dishes.
You can cook the rice in a rice cooker without any complaints. And kudos to the brand for also making it Kosher certified!
- Kosher-certified medium-grain rice
- A delicate flavor and tender texture
- California-milled and Musenmai-processed
6. Kokuho Rice Sushi
Want something that remains intact after cooking and, at the same time, absorbs all the liquid flavorings? Plus, the affordability factor makes the brand an even more appealing choice if you’re a serious rice eater. It’s the perfect option for you if you cook for a crowd or if you cook sushi rice almost every single day.
The flavor comes through very pleasantly even with sour, salty, and sweet sushi rice recipes. And the grains stick together without any mushy mess. But for that, follow the instructions diligently. And be extra careful if you have an old stove that heats unevenly.
- Gluten-free, high-grade medium-grain rice
- Cooks in a rice cooker in just 15 minutes
- Prepares plump, airy, sticky rice perfect for sushi
7. RiceSelect Sushi Rice
Almost every supermarket in America sells this brand of sushi rice. It’s very commonly used for risotto recipes as well. Easy to use, great flavor, and super-value price.
The texture, no doubt, is perfectly sticky. And that’s what makes RiceSelect a grand ingredient for preparing rice puddings and sushi. And bonus points for the 100-percent recyclable packaging and BPA-free container.
- Kocher-certified, gluten-free sushi rice
- Sticky, soft texture and sweet flavor
- Non-GMO with no additives or preservatives
- Low sodium, cholesterol, and fat
- The packaging is 100-percent recyclable and BPA-free
8. Lundberg Family Farms Organic Sushi Rice
Now how about an organic version of sushi rice? This brand, no doubt, has an offering that’s better than just about every sushi rice available at your local grocery store. Even though the process of cooking here is a bit tedious, the experience is still praiseworthy.
You rinse, soak, ad then cook. And then comes the steaming part. The 4-6 serving size is enough to make 3 large rolls. Plus, you end up with leftover rice perfect for 2-3 extra meals as well. Just don’t forget to add seasoning to neutralize the slightly bland flavor.
- Classic Japanese-style white short-grain rice
- USDA Organic certified and Kosher certified
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan
- High fiber and protein
9. Natural Earth Products White Sushi Rice
When the packaging of just about any product comes with a recipe, you’re most likely to feel comforted. Well okay, that may be an exaggeration, but then it does indeed make sense to buy sushi rice from a brand that cares enough to print the cooking instructions as well. So all thanks to Natural Earth Products.
As for this Kosher-certified white short-grain sushi rice, it tastes perfectly well with a dash of rice vinegar. So you can prepare your most favorite homemade sushi or any other rice-based meals.
- Kosher-certified, gluten-free short-grain sushi rice
- The packaging is resealable for proper, long-term storage
- Sticky texture perfect for making sushi rolls
10. Annie Chun’s Cooked White Sticky Rice
If you’ve never tried this one, you’re most likely to wonder why that is. Because a sushi rice brand like Annie Chun is definitely a pantry essential for those who do a lot of quick, convenient microwave cooking.
This sticky white rice is satisfyingly delicious, no doubt about that. And you can recycle the plastic bowl.
- Gluten-free, cooked white sticky rice
- Vegan and low fat
- Free of artificial preservatives, additives, and flavors
- Microwave-friendly, recyclable individual container
Sushi Rice – Definition and History
It was in China that sushi originated from during the 2nd century. Fishermen used rice for the preservation of fish, because obviously there were limited to no options for long-term storage back in the days. And then once it was time to eat the fish, the rice used for storage was thrown away.
This particular practice spread throughout the country and reached neighboring Japan during the 17th century. And it was here that the rice, along with the fish, was consumed. And that’s how sushi, now a traditional Japanese dish, came about.
It was in the 17th century itself that a professional chef in Tokyo added vinegar with other types of seasonings for highlighting the flavor of rice while reducing the time of fermentation. For this recipe, fresh tuna fish was used with vinegared rice. Now you know the history behind your most favorite nigirizushi.
So there’s no special sushi rice per se. Rice, after all, is nothing but rice. However, there is sushi (fish) that’s prepared with medium-grain or short-grain white Japanese rice (also known as Japonica). The rice here is rounder and sticky in comparison to the regular version of white rice, which is longer and has a firm texture.
On top of that, rice specifically made for sushi also has a higher starch level. Because it’s the starch content that holds all the rice grains together when making delicious sushi rolls or rice cakes.
Things to Consider When Choosing Sushi Rice Brands
1. Stickiness & Texture
Telling you that sushi rice ought to be sticky is much the same as stating an obvious fact like using a separate cutting board for raw meat. Because, after all, it’s the stickiness of the cooked rice that holds the entire dish together.
Moving on to the texture, it should be slightly mushy and very soft. Once again, this allows all the ingredients to stick together for shaping the sushi rolls.
With softer-textured rice, you can fill a generous amount of protein and nori. And the challenging process of rolling and cutting through also becomes easier and quicker.
2. Grain Type
Consider this the most important factor of all. For making the best homemade version of your favorite restaurant sushi, always choose premium-quality short-grain or medium-grain rice. These grains have a rounder shape and are short, so they cook more quickly.
Short-grain rice is actually traditional Japanese rice quite popular for its slightly higher glutinous characteristic, which keeps the grains together. So forming the perfect oval shape when cooking nigirizushi becomes much easier. And so does pasting the layer on a nori sheet and eating the sushi using chopsticks.
And then as you move toward medium and long grain, the texture becomes less and less sticky. Thus, more and more unsuitable for sushi rolls, rice cakes, etc.
3. Starch Content
The rule of thumb is that sushi rice that’s overly starchy is not such a good idea for sushi. It tends to be very gluey, which means nearly liquid. So the formation of clumps becomes problematic.
The level of starch should be such that it allows the grains of rice to clump together perfectly well.
Sushi is such a popular dish because of its mild, pleasant flavor. But if that flavor is too strong and starchy, then you’re most likely to not be able to taste and appreciate the blend of fillings and seasonings.
5. Gluten Content
Are you allergic or sensitive to gluten? Then how about choosing gluten-free sushi rice? There are brands that give you the option to prepare your homemade sushi the gluten-free way. Rice is gluten-free actually, but then a few brands include corn in order to fortify sushi rice.
However, there are a few organic, non-GMO brands that are completely gluten-free. Just to be sure, don’t forget to check the product’s packaging.
You have to check the label of the product for ‘new variety’ or ‘first crop’ printed on its packaging. And this applies to whichever brand you decide to pick. But what do these terms actually mean? It means that the grains are picked during the Fall period of the year, thus are the best for sushi rice.
Furthermore, the packaging date also matters. Make sure it’s not older than a year. Otherwise, what happens is the grain start to become harder, which means they use more water and a longer time for softening. Therefore, a more tedious process to prepare the perfect sushi rice.
7. Best-By Date
Doesn’t rice have an indefinite long-term shelf life? Not exactly, which is why it’s most advisable to choose a batch with the farthest Best-By date.
And after you open the pouch or container, the storage conditions should be dark and dry. Or in the refrigerator to preserve the freshness for longer. And, needless to say, use an airtight container for storage.
How to Cook Sushi Rice In A Rice Cooker
Before anything else, you should know the correct ratio of rice to water in the case of short-grain rice. The traditional Japanese sushi dish includes 200 ml water for every 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml). So the ratio of rice to water is 1:1.1 or 1:1.2.
You can go with 1:1 if you like, but then soak the rice separately for 20 to 30 minutes.
On that note, don’t ever skip the soaking part. It’s important for those rice grains to become fatter and rounder. This is why rice cookers already have a 10-minute soaking time programmed into the menu. But 10 minutes, obviously, isn’t enough. 20-30 minutes is perfect for soaking and revising the rice.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- 1 American measuring cup of short-grain rice (240 ml) and 1-1/4 cups of water. And for a sushi recipe, reduce around 5-10 percent of water.
- 1 rice cooker cup of short-grain rice (180 ml) and 200 ml of water. Once again, for a sushi recipe, reduce around 5-10 percent of water.
- 1 rice cooker cup of short-grain rice (180 ml) and 200 ml of water. Once again, for a sushi recipe, reduce around 5-10 percent of water.
- 1First, the rice goes into a large-sized bowl. Rinse it thoroughly a few times and then drain off the excess water.
- 2Then transfer the rice into the cooking pot and add water. Let this soak for half an hour.
- 3For cooking, close the pot’s lid and let medium heat bring the water to a boil.
- 4Once boiling begins, reduce the flame to low and let the rice cook for 12-13 minutes. The water should get completely absorbed.
- 5After that, allow steam to do its job in there with the lid closed for another set of 10 minutes.
- 6And finally, you can use the rice paddle for fluffing the rice once the steaming time is over.
Storing Rice the Right Way
When talking about proper, long-term storage, what comes to mind first are airtight containers. So fill them up with your cooked sushi rice. And lock the lid in place to preserve all that freshness and moisture. Then place the container either in the fridge or freezer.
Freezing seems like a better idea if you know you’re not going to finish the batch in 2-3 days. Plus, freezer storage keeps properly packed sushi rice delicious, fresh, and moist for a longer time (up to a whole month). And it saves time in case you live a busy lifestyle and don’t get time to cook very often.
So for freezing…
- Pack the cooked rice immediately.
- But let the container cool first and then store.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of rice is used for sushi?
There are two types of Japanese short-grain rice used for Japanese cuisine. Uruchimai, which is ordinary Japanese rice, is mainly a part of sushi recipes as well as regular Japanese dishes and rice balls.
Then there’s mochigome, also called Japanese sweet rice. And this one’s more commonly used for making traditional wagashi sweets and mochi rice cakes.
What’s the difference between sushi and sticky rice?
Sushi rice is salty, sour, and sweet. And it becomes very soft and sticky after cooking. Thus, it’s the best for preparing sushi rolls. Then there’s sticky or sweet rice that has a higher starch content, along with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So, apart from the differences in the flavors, sticky rice seems like a healthier choice.
Also, not all sushi rice is gluten-free because a few brands include corn. On the other hand, all sweet or sticky rice is free of gluten. Nevertheless, both are commonly used interchangeably. But sticky rice is mainly a part of Japanese rice cake recipes while sushi rice becomes a part of sushi rolls seasoned with salt, vinegar, and sugar.
Is Jasmine rice sushi rice?
Jasmine rice is NOT sushi rice, plus the former isn’t even a highly recommended substitute for the latter. Jasmine rice doesn’t offer the right texture or flavor required for sushi. It’s drier with a completely different flavor. So the grains of rice don’t hold together all that well.
Can regular rice be used for sushi?
You can indeed use regular, sticky, or just about any other rice for sushi. BUT keep in mind that it won’t look as textured or even taste as delicious as sushi rice.
If you want your homemade sushi to be the perfect replica of your favorite Japanese-style sushi, then you have to make peace with the fact that there’s isn’t any real substitute for sushi rice.
Can I use old rice to make sushi?
Rice, after all, is the most important ingredient in every sushi recipe. So if that very element itself isn’t fresh or cooked properly, the whole dish suffers for it. Meaning sushi rice is supposed to have that fully textured, sticky appearance and sweet taste. And this is something you just don’t get with old rice.
What to use instead of rice vinegar for sushi?
You can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for rice vinegar, be it for sushi rice or marinades. Don’t think of excluding vinegar completely because then your homemade sushi will not be like the traditional Japanese version. For that, you need rice vinegar.
There’s balsamic vinegar too. And white wine vinegar and white rice vinegar as well.
Is sushi rice the same as Japanese rice?
Japanese rice when steamed and then flavored using vinegar-based seasonings becomes sushi rice. In Japan, the rice is called sumeshi, which translates into vinegared rice.
So why the confusion? It’s because “sushi rice” is often used on the label of regular Japanese short-grain rice varieties. And this is most commonly found in non-Japanese countries.
Making sushi on our own at home, no doubt, is a tricky undertaking. And a big part of the challenging task is settled if you use premium quality short-grain or medium-grain sushi rice. So just choose from the many top brands of sushi rice reviewed in this article.
And keep in mind that trial and error is a part of the whole process. You have to be okay with tweaking the recipe a little in order to make the dish more to your liking. So there’s no need to play by the rules all the time. Once you get the ingredients and recipe right, you can make all sorts of delicious sushi rolls with the perfect flavor and texture.