Does Sushi Rice Need More Water Than Regular Rice?

As a sushi lover, you may have wondered if your homemade sushi rice turned out too wet or dry. How much water does sushi rice really need? The good news is, the water-to-rice ratio for perfect sushi rice is flexible depending on the recipe. But in general, you’ll want to use a little more water than rice.

Specifically, most recipes recommend about 10-20% more water than rice. For example, if you have 1 cup of dried sushi rice, mix in 1.1 to 1.2 cups of water. Rinsing the rice well before soaking is crucial to wash away extra starch for fluffy grains. Letting it soak 30 minutes rehydrates the rice so it cooks up tender, not tough.

With the right ratio, your sushi rice will turn out with the ideal sticky yet separated texture. So while the water amount varies, you can feel confident knowing just a touch more water than rice will give you delicious sushi every time.

The rest of this article dives into more detail on the ideal water-to-rice ratio and soaking and rinsing tips. I’ll also share my go-to sushi rice recipe so you can make perfect sushi rice at home tonight!

How Much Water Does Sushi Rice Need?

The water-to-rice ratio for sushi rice is slightly more than regular rice. Here’s a quick overview:

  • 1:1 ratio (rice to water) – Some sushi rice recipes call for equal parts rice and water.
  • 1:1.1 ratio – Most recipes recommend 10% more water than rice. For 1 cup rice use 1.1 cups water.
  • 1:1.2 ratio – Using 20% more water than rice is also common. For 1 cup rice use 1.2 cups water.
  • 1.3-1.35x rice – On the high end, some recipes go up to 1.3 or 1.35 times the weight of dried rice in water.

So in general, plan on using about 10-20% more water than the measured amount of sushi rice. The exact ratio depends on the recipe, your personal taste, and adjusting for your altitude.

Why Sushi Rice Needs More Water

You may be wondering why sushi rice requires more water than regular rice. There are two main reasons:

1. Rinsing Removes Excess Starch

Rinsing sushi rice several times washes away extra surface starch. This helps prevent gummy, mushy rice.

But rinsing also removes moisture. So more water is needed when cooking to account for the rinsed-away starch.

2. Soaking Allows Rehydration

It’s recommended to soak sushi rice for 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the rice to fully rehydrate for evenly cooked, tender grains.

Without soaking, the insides of dry rice grains stay hard while the outside cooks. Soaking gives moisture time to distribute evenly throughout each grain.

Between rinsing and soaking, sushi rice needs a boost of extra water to achieve the perfect sticky, glossy texture.

Sushi Rice Water Ratio Guidelines

Now that you know why extra water is key, let’s look at water ratio guidelines based on different recipes and cooking methods:

For Basic Stovetop Cooking

If cooking sushi rice on the stovetop, start with:

  • 1:1.1 ratio – This 10% water increase works for basic stovetop methods. Rinse and soak rice first.
  • 1:1.2 ratio – For even more moisture, increase water by 20%.

For Rice Cookers

Rice cooker recipes tend to use less added water since rice cookers trap in steam. Good starting ratios are:

  • 1:1 ratio – Many rice cooker recipes use equal water to rice.
  • 1:1.1 ratio – For rice cookers, a 10% increase should suffice.
  • 1:1.05 ratio – For an in-between ratio, try 5% more water.

Based on Altitude

Higher altitudes require tweaking the water ratio. Here are adjustments if cooking sushi rice above sea level:

  • Below 3,000 feet – No changes needed. Follow standard sushi rice ratios.
  • 3,000-6,000 feet – Reduce water by 3-5%.
  • 6,000-8,000 feet – Reduce water by 5-10% compared to sea level ratio.
  • Above 8,000 feet – Try cutting water by 10-15%.

So at higher altitudes, lean towards less added water in your rice to water ratio. The boiling point of water drops at higher elevations, affecting cooking time.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Sushi Rice

Now that you know how much water sushi rice needs, follow these tips for flawless texture:

  • Rinse rice – Rinse 3-4 times until water runs clear. Wash away excess starch.
  • Soak rice – Let rice soak 30 minutes to fully rehydrate before cooking.
  • Use the right pot – Choose a heavy, thick pot to better regulate temperature.
  • Simmer gently – Cook over low heat. Avoid boiling vigorously.
  • Resist stirring – Don’t stir during simmering. This disrupts starch release.
  • Rest 10 minutes – After cooking, let rice rest 10 minutes before prepping sushi.

Follow my step-by-step sushi rice recipe below using the ideal 1:1.1 rice to water ratio. Your sushi rice will turn out perfectly sticky and tender every time!

My Foolproof Sushi Rice Recipe

Once you know the right water ratio for sushi rice, the rest is easy. Here is my go-to sushi rice recipe for fantastic homemade sushi night after night:


  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2.2 cups water (10% more than rice)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Rinse rice in a mesh strainer until water runs clear, about 3-4 times.
  2. Soak rice in 2.2 cups cold water for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain rice and add to a medium pot with fresh 2.2 cups water. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat.
  4. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting and cook 10 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Let rice stand covered for 10 minutes.
  6. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan. Heat until sugar and salt dissolve.
  7. Pour vinegar mixture over hot rice in batches. Fold gently with a rice paddle to combine.
  8. Allow rice to cool before using for sushi. Enjoy your flawless sushi rice!

So there you have it! With the ideal rice to water ratio and proper soaking and rinsing, you will be a sushi rice pro. Surprise your family tonight with homemade sushi that looks and tastes better than the restaurant.

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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