Difference Between Sushi Rice and White Rice – You Should Know

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It’s the fish day, and the mind is calling for sushi. However, while making sushi, you found out you didn’t have sushi rice at home. What can you do now? Can you use the normal white rice for sushi? Will it make any difference; after all, they are just rice.

However, both are rice; there is a distinct difference between sushi rice and white rice – their origin and texture.

Sushi rice is much stickier than white rice because of the extra starch level. Besides, while sushi rice is short-grain, white rice is medium to long grain.

The article also includes:

  • Can I substitute sushi rice for white rice?
  • Can I use any rice for sushi?
  • Is sushi healthier than white rice?
  • Can I eat sushi rice like regular rice?

Read to learn more about the difference between sushi rice and white rice.

What’s the Difference Between Sushi Rice and White Rice

difference between sushi rice and white rice

Sushi is a famous Japanese cuisine which has become a popular food worldwide for its flavor and variety. However, the question often arises if you can use regular white rice instead of sushi rice.

While making sushi, you should use sushi rice if you want the right flavor and texture in your sushi. You can use regular white rice; however, you can never get that alluring flavor and texture as sushi rice. So, using white rice won’t be a good idea.

You might be wondering if they are just rice, what is so different about them? 

Let’s look at the following table to find out the distinctions between sushi rice and white rice.

Comparison ParameterSushi RiceWhite Rice
Preparation StyleSteamedCooked
Grain SizeShort grainMedium grain and long grain
SeasoningSeasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugarUnseasoned
TranslucenyMore translucentLess translucent
UsageOnly used in sushiUsed in a variety of dishes
StorageDry containerDry container
Water Ratio1:1More than 1:1 depending on the texture

Let’s dive deeper into the difference between sushi rice and white rice.

1. Texture

The primary difference between the two kinds of rice is their texture. Sushi rice is actually regular Japanese rice which is called uruchimai. Sushi rice can only be used in making sushi, hence the name sushi rice. But you can use white rice in any Asian or multi-ethnic recipe. 

Well, sushi rice contains more starch than normal white rice. That is why the texture of sushi rice is very sticky, and white rice, on the other hand, has a dry texture. The plain white rice we eat is cooked. But sushi rice is usually steamed in a rice cooker or a pot to give it a sticky texture.

2. Grain Size

Sushi rice is short-grain but normal white rice is either medium or long grain. You can only use short grain rice for making sushi. But in case you don’t have short-grain rice, use a medium grain one. Because long-grain rice isn’t sticky enough to make sushi.

3. Seasoning

Sushi rice is seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar, but white rice is completely unseasoned. That’s why sushi rice has a particular flavor that compliments the taste of sushi. Onn the other hand, white rice doesn’t have any taste.

4. Preservation

Both kinds of rice need to be stored in a dry container; otherwise, they can go bad within a short period. Seal the container with a damp kitchen towel and place it in the refrigerator to keep the rice moist. And it is recommended to eat stored rice within the next day.

5. Preperation

Sushi rice is made using a 1:1 water-to-rice ratio, whereas white rice requires more water. If you use too much water, the result will be mushy.

6. Appearance

Sushi rice has a more translucent appearance than white rice, which is solid white. While sushi rice is solely used to produce sushi, you may use white rice to make a range of dishes ranging from risotto to casserole.

Can I Substitute Sushi Rice for White Rice?

Can I Substitute Sushi Rice for White Rice

No, that won’t work for you. The Japanese uruchimai rice is used in sushi for a reason. The rice contains more starch than regular white rice. And that’s why it comes with a sticky texture after steaming. 

Uruchimai rice is short grain, and because of the extra starch, it sticks well with the seaweed, making a perfect piece of sushi to enjoy. Plain white rice doesn’t have that stickiness after you cook it, and their bigger grain size is just not right for the recipe. 

But if you have no other choice, you can try using medium-grain white rice. But in that case, you need to wash the rice very little so that the starch doesn’t wash away, which helps create stickiness. 

But still, it won’t be a good enough substitute for your sushi rice. So, if you want to make your own sushi, try to buy sushi rice in advance so that you don’t have to go through this trouble.

You can try the Nishiki sushi rice for its consistent quality, flavor, and texture.

Can I Use Any Rice For Sushi?

Can I Use Any Rice For Sushi

Although you can technically use any sort of rice for your homemade sushi, it will not taste the same as sushi rice.

To comprehend why it’s not wise to use any kind of rice for sushi, you need to understand rice first. Rice is divided into three types based on its shape: short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain rice.

Keep in mind that you can make sushi with short- or medium-grain rice only. But to get the right result, short-grain rice is the ideal option. The Japanese often combine medium-grain and short-grain rice in some Japanese dishes.

However, the stickiness of sushi rice is one of its most distinguishing features, allowing it to adhere to the fish and other sushi toppings. And only short grain rice can bring that.

Regular white rice is too airy, but you can make it sticky by cooking it in a specific way and adding the correct ingredients. But never use any long grain rice like basmati because you won’t get the sticky texture you need in your sushi rice.

Here are a few different options that you can use in your sushi recipe instead of sushi rice.

1. Japanese Rice

Japanese rice, also known as Japonica rice, is one of the best rice strains to use in a sushi dish. It comprises two types of rice: plain rice and glutinous rice, both of which are short-grained.

Uruchimai, or ordinary Japanese rice, is utilized in practically every Japanese meal preparation. This short-grain rice is perfect for sushi, rice balls, and a variety of other Japanese dishes.

Mochigome or glutinous rice, is stickier than regular Japanese rice, but it’s solely used to manufacture traditional Japanese delicacies like mochi cake.

The koshihikari rice is one of the highest-quality Japanese rice variants. It is, unfortunately, one of the most expensive types of rice, although it is available in practically every Japanese supermarket.

2. Calrose Rice

Calrose rice is a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on Japanese rice. Calrose rice is medium-grained, unlike typical Japanese rice, which is short-grained. This rice variant is utilized for sushi and various other dishes because of its mild flavor.

If you want to use Calrose rice for your sushi, it’s better to wash and rinse it with water before cooking with it. This way, you can rinse all the excess starch away. Cook it for about 20 minutes, then steam it for another 10 minutes.

You can use the Botan Musenmai Calrose Rice, which is great for sushi.

3. Brown Rice

Although brown rice is not commonly used for sushi; some people prefer it because it has 15% fewer calories than white rice.

Brown rice has a stronger flavor than white rice, so keep it in mind when making sushi. Some people avoid this choice since it takes longer to boil.  However, this variety of rice is undoubtedly the healthiest one.

You can try the Nishiki Premium Brown Rice, which is all-natural and great for everyday cooking.

Is Sushi Rice Healthier Than White Rice?

Is Sushi Rice Healthier Than White Rice

No, not quite, actually. Sushi rice contains high sugar content, refined carbs, and low fiber content. And because of the high sugar level and low fiber contents, refined carbs become easy to digest and are quickly absorbed by the body. 

And this quick absorption may lead to overeating. And excessive sushi can not be good for your health because the rice and frequently fried sushi items have a moderate amount of fat that can make you overweight.

Can I eat Sushi Rice Like Regular Rice?

Can I eat Sushi Rice Like Regular Rice

Yes, you can if you want. But if you want to eat sushi rice like normal plain rice, you will need to rinse your sushi rice thoroughly with cold water to get rid of the extra starch. 

The extra starch in sushi rice causes stickiness. So, washing it thoroughly helps you avoid its stickiness. Besides, cook it like white rice instead of steaming. That way, you will find it less sticky.

However, with sushi rice, you will miss the nice dry texture of plain rice. 

You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: How Much Does 3/4 (1/4, 1/3, 1) Cup Dry Rice Make Cooked


  • Is sushi rice good for fried rice?

Fried rice is all about the texture. Although Chinese-style medium-grain rice is the most popular, Thai-style fried rice uses fragrant jasmine, and Japanese-style fried rice even uses short-grain sushi rice.

You can try Lundberg Organic long grain rice, perfect for fried rice.

  • What happens if you don’t wash sushi rice?

Sushi rice has more starch than plain rice, so the excess starch on the outside will cause the rice to become very clumpy and sticky, similar to porridge if you don’t wash it. That texture isn’t optimal in a rice dish unless you’re preparing congee.

Can sushi make you gain weight?

Sushi might seem very innocent, but one sushi meal contains approximately 1000 calories and 42 grams of fat. The main culprit in this food is rice and fried stuffings responsible for gaining weight. So, if you eat sushi daily, you may gain weight. 


Sushi is exquisite cuisine comprising soft, sticky rice, vinegar, vegetables, and raw seafood, that fills your days with natural flavor, aroma, and a melt-to-your-mouth experience.

However, Is there any difference between sushi rice and white rice? Yet, both are rice; there are some significant differences between the two.

The short-grain sushi rice is ideal for getting the perfect sticky texture and aroma in sushi. Contrarily, regular white rice is dry and can never bring the sticky texture that your sushi requires.

Therefore, if you want to relish the royalty of sushi, try to use short-grain sushi rice.

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