This Instant Pot Sushi Rice is the perfect way to cook Japanese short grain rice – get this foolproof recipe, along with an easy way to build your own sushi bowls!
What is sushi rice?
Sushi rice is used to describe white short-grain rice used in sushi rolls. The rice is seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Some recipes call for brown sushi rice, which, as the name implies, is made with short grain brown rice. Brown rice has the added nutritional benefit of fiber and can usually be found in the same aisle of the grocery store as the white sushi rice. Both are often located in among other kinds of rice or with bottled Asian sauces.
Does sushi rice need to be rinsed?
Yes, you should take time to rinse sushi rice before cooking it. Rinsing it will remove debris and excess starch from the rice. If this isn’t done, the starch may bubble up during cooking and can clog the Instant Pot’s venting mechanism.
You don’t need to rinse the rice for very long – just until the water runs clear. A time of 10 to 15 seconds per rinse usually does the trick. Just add the rice to a mesh sieve and run under cold water.
Tips for making the best sushi rice
You may think that Instant Pot sushi rice is simple to make, but that’s not always the case. Rice can sometimes be tricky to get right, especially with specially seasoned sushi rice.
Here are some tips to make sure that your sushi rice comes out as great as possible every time.
- Do not try to use regular white rice to make sushi rice.
- Rinse the dry rice – this removes excess starch that may clog the Instant Pot venting mechanism.
- Add the oil to the bottom of the pot first – this is to keep the rice from sticking.
- Don’t stir the rice and water mixture once added to the Instant Pot – this can cause the burn message to come up.
- Don’t stir the seasoning into the rice once it’s cooked. Doing so will crush the grains of rice, turning perfect, fluffy rice into mush. Instead, use a folding motion to gently blend the seasoning into the cooked rice.
- To keep sushi rice from drying out, drape a moist paper towel over the bowl of rice until you’re ready to use it.
Seasoning sushi rice
Just as there are tips and tricks to making the sushi rice come out of the Instant Pot just right, you should also follow these tips to making the seasoning perfect every time!
- Use rice vinegar. Do not use white vinegar to make sushi rice. It will not taste the same.
- Prepare the seasoning while the rice is cooking. By doing so, it will be ready to use as soon as the rice is finished cooking.
- To make sure the rice is seasoned evenly, dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar.
- Pour the seasoning onto the cooked sushi rice as soon as the rice finishes cooking. Gently fold as described above.
How do I store cooked sushi rice?
After sushi rice is completely cool, store it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to three days.
Do I chill the rice before serving?
You do want to serve the sushi rice cold, so some chilling time is required before assembling any sushi rolls or bowls. I try to make the sushi rice ahead of time the day before I need to use it as leftover rice has more flavour, but you should only have to wait 1-2 hours for the sushi rice to cool.
If you want the rice to cool faster, spread it out onto a baking pan or cookie sheet. Do not use an aluminum pan (vinegar reacts with aluminum). You can then transfer the baking sheet to the freezer.
Can you freeze sushi rice?
Although this is not an ideal option, you can also freeze cooked sushi rice. If you do this, keep in mind that thawed rice often ends up with an odd texture. Rather than freezing leftover sushi rice bowls, it’s better to use any leftover rice to make another meal.
If you do plan to freeze it, store it in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top freezer bag. Be sure to release as much air from the bag as possible. Rice will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
How to use sushi rice
You mainly use sushi rice for sushi rolls but you can also use it for sushi bowls! This gives you all the flavour of sushi without any of the hassle of rolling and using a special sushi mat. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can see how to make your own sushi rolls at home here.
If you have leftover sushi rice there are plenty of uses as well! Everything from risotto to rice pudding. Grab some more ideas for ways to use up leftover sushi rice here.
Assembling the sushi bowls
While the rice is cooking or cooling, I like to assemble my toppings and sauces. Here are some topping ideas for your sushi bowls:
- Shrimp, raw fish or imitation crab
- Seaweed salad
- Nori strips (dried seaweed)
- Sesame seeds
- Sliced avocado
- Pickled ginger
- Diced up cucumber
- Green onions
- Soy sauce
- Spicy mayo
- Roasted sweet potato
Basically anything you put in a sushi roll can also be put in a bowl so get creative!
How to make spicy mayo
It’s so simple! All you have to do is mix together sriracha and mayo. I prefer to use light mayo to keep the calorie count down as the taste is very similar. You can also usually buy pre-made spicy mayo in the same aisle as all the rice and Asian sauces at your local grocery store.
What proteins can you use in sushi bowls?
In this recipe I use pre-cooked shrimp. You can use shrimp from a shrimp ring for extra-easy assembly, or you can even buy imitation crab from the seafood counter and make your own California roll bowls. Sushi grade tuna and salmon also work beautifully in these bowls, or you can even just rely on the edamame for protein if you’re looking to make vegetarian sushi bowls.
Other Instant Pot Rice Recipes
After you try the shrimp sushi bowls, check out these recipes for more delicious rice dishes to make in your Instant Pot! Rice is actually one of the go-to things I make in the Instant Pot because it’s so easy and you can even cook other proteins in the one pot.
Here are some of my other favorite Instant Pot rice recipes:
- The BEST Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Greek Chicken and Rice
- Meal Prep Instant Pot Mexican Rice
If you’d like some more help with meal planning, then you’ll love my free Instant Pot resources! Get them by signing up to my email newsletter.
Sign up for free below:
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this 30-Minute Ahi Poke Bowl into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box,conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Get a meat thermometerto make sure your chicken is cooked through
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you’re marinating the chicken then freezing it
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
Instant Pot Sushi Rice
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 cups short-grain Japanese sushi rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Topping ideas for sushi bowls
- Cooked shrimp
- Imitation crab
- Raw tuna or salmon
- Cucumber, diced
- Avocado, sliced
- Seaweed strips (nori)
- Sesame seeds
- Soy sauce
- Spicy mayo
- Rinse rice under cold running water for 1-2 minutes to remove excess starch. Add canola oil, rice and water to Instant Pot in that order. Do not stir. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 10 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 10 minutes.
- Do a natural pressure release, waiting about 10 minutes until pressure gauge drops on its own. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Mix vinegar, sugar and salt into rice and let cool for about 1 hour in the fridge. Meanwhile, prepare toppings for your sushi bowls. Add rice to bowls and use toppings of choice. Serve and enjoy!