Hey risotto lovers, have you ever wanted to make your favorite creamy risotto but didn’t have the called-for Arborio rice on hand? Not to worry, you can absolutely use sushi rice instead!
While it won’t be exactly the same, sushi rice makes a fine substitute for making risotto. The short-grained sushi rice has enough starch to help create the coveted creamy texture. However, the flavor may be a little milder than with Arborio, so feel free to amp up herbs and seasonings. You may also need to adjust the liquid since sushi rice needs less water.
I’ll share tips on how to adapt your technique and get perfect risotto texture using the sushi rice you likely have in your pantry already. You don’t need to run out and buy specialty rices to enjoy risotto anytime!
Want the inside scoop on cooking up luxuriously creamy risotto with whatever rice you have? Keep reading for my easy step-by-step method! In no time, you’ll be whipping up restaurant-worthy risotto without hunting down obscure ingredients.
Is Sushi Rice a Good Substitute for Risotto?
Sushi rice makes a pretty good stand-in for Arborio rice for a few reasons:
- Short grain – Like Arborio rice, sushi rice has plump, starchy grains that help create risotto’s creamy texture.
- Stickiness – The starch in sushi rice gives it a natural stickiness that helps bind the risotto.
- Mild flavor – Sushi rice has a more neutral flavor than Arborio rice, allowing other ingredients to shine.
The main downside is that sushi rice has less natural creaminess than Arborio, so you may need to make some adjustments.
Tips for Cooking Risotto with Sushi Rice
Keep these tips in mind when using sushi rice for risotto:
- Use less liquid – Sushi rice doesn’t absorb as much liquid as Arborio rice, so reduce broth by about 1/4 cup.
- Cook a bit longer – The firmer sushi rice grains take longer to break down and get creamy.
- Stir gently – Aggressive stirring can cause the grains to break down too much.
- Add cheese – Stirring in cheese at the end enhances creaminess.
- Boost flavor – Counteract the milder rice with extra herbs, wine, garlic, or seasoning.
Step-by-Step Method for Risotto with Sushi Rice
Follow this simple process for flawlessly creamy risotto with sushi rice:
1. Toast the Rice
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over medium heat. Add rice and toast for 2 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
2. Add Liquid Slowly
Add 1/2 cup broth and cook, stirring often, until absorbed. Keep adding broth 1/2 cup at a time until rice is al dente.
3. Finish with Butter and Cheese
Remove pan from heat. Stir in 2 tbsp butter and 1/4 cup Parmesan until smooth and creamy.
4. Adjust Seasoning
Taste risotto and add salt, pepper, or extra herbs if desired.
Risotto Flavor Variations
Here are some of my favorite risotto flavors that work great with sushi rice:
Sauté mushrooms like cremini, oyster, or shiitake in olive oil before adding rice. Finish with parsley and lemon.
Cook shrimp separately in garlic butter. Fold into risotto with lemon zest and red pepper flakes.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Roast cubed butternut squash until caramelized before starting risotto. Top with fried sage.
Chicken and Asparagus Risotto
Stir in cooked chicken and asparagus tips just before serving. Garnish with chives.
Risotto Tips for the Best Texture
Achieve the perfect risotto creaminess every time with these pro tips:
- Simmer broth so it’s hot when adding to rice.
- Let rice cool slightly before serving for best texture.
- Grease pan first for an ultra velvety finish.
- Always stir in a clockwise direction for smoothest risotto.
- If too thick, splash in more broth. If too loose, cook a minute longer.
- Never walk away! Constant stirring ensures decadent creaminess.
Enjoy Restaurant-Quality Risotto at Home
With just a few easy tweaks, you can make your favorite risotto recipes using the sushi rice you likely have on hand.
Sushi rice has enough sticky starch to create a rich, luxurious sauce similar to Arborio rice. Just use a bit less liquid, cook it gently, and boost flavors as needed.
Next time risotto is on the menu, don’t hesitate to grab that bag of sushi rice from the pantry. Follow my tips for indulgent, gourmet risotto without the specialty ingredients.
Let me know if you have your own tricks for making risotto with alternative rices! I always love to nerd out over risotto.