Is Sushi Rice Short Grain?- Here’s the Answer

Sushi rice is sticky and seasoned with various salts and vinegar. It might look like it has short grains. The question might arise from there.

Is sushi rice short-grain? The answer is-

Japanese short-grain white rice is commonly used as sushi rice. So, you can assume that short-grain rice is the only type used for making sushis. But you can use medium-grain rice as well. However, the authentic ingredient used as sushi rice for centuries is the Japanese short-grain Uruchimai rice.

Give more insights to get more detailed information about what type of rice should be used as sushi rice.

What Grain Is Sushi Rice?

What Grain Is Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is a unique kind that compliments this Japanese delicacy’s flavor. But you can use any sort of rice. It obviously won’t taste as perfectly.

The sticky texture of sushi rice makes everything stick together and helps form the shape of sushi. You can turn any kind of rice, even the regular types with a neat texture, into a mushy and sticky one by following a specific cooking method. 

Depending on the length, there are three types of grains: short, medium, and long. Sushi rice is made with only short or medium-length grains. 

You can not use the long grains because they don’t give a sticky texture to pull together the sushi ingredients. Because this long-grain rice does not have enough starch.

Even though this type of rice is very famous in Japanese cuisine, it is not used in making sushi rice. Jasmine, basmati, etc. are some well-known and common types of long-grain rice that people mistakenly use to make sushi rice. 

Different kinds of rice are short or medium-grained and originated in Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries like these.

The Japanese short-grained rice variation is considered a perfect fit for cooking sushi rice. If you ask, “Can you use short-grain rice for sushi?”, the answer is you definitely should use this specific kind of rice to achieve perfection. 

Uruchimais the short-grain Japanese rice used to make most Japanese delicacies, including sushi. This is the most famous and well-known type of rice. You can also mix the short and medium-grained rice to have a sticky texture for your sushi.

Is Sushi Rice Short Grain Or Long Grain?

Is Sushi Rice Short Grain Or Long Grain

The major question we all think about while preparing sushi rice is, “What length grain is sushi rice?” The simplest answer can be short grain. But many factors lie within.

This Japanese food requires the rice to be sticky and a bit sour flavored. Even though everyone considers Uruchimai the perfect sushi rice, it is not necessary to use only this type. Considering all the types, the factors below prove that short-grain rice is the best option.

  • Short grain rice is the best option for sushi as it has a lot of moisture and starch in it so that it can stick all the ingredients like fish, kelp, etc., together to form the shape of sushi. The longer the length gets, the more the chances increase for it to get chewy and grainy. 
  • It is best to use short-grained rice, but if you have no other option, you can use medium grain. But there are specific methods one should follow to get the consistency that is required for sushi. Calrose rice is a better medium grain rice option for making sushi as it contains the necessary starch to make the sushi palatable. 
  • Long grain rice should never be used as sushi rice because it is dry and neat. It will never have the consistency required for making sushi rice, and you will be sad if you use or consider long-grain rice for a sushi recipe.

What Is Japanese Rice?

The widely known Japanese short-grain rice is considered unique to its tradition and is called Japonica. There are two variations of Japonica which are Uruchimai and Mochigome.

1. Uruchimai 

It is authentic traditional Japanese rice that has been used to make various dishes for centuries in Japan. When short, moist, and consistent grains are cooked, it becomes more sticky, and thus people can eat them with chopsticks. 

Some mouthwatering sushi (e.g temaki, makizushi, nigiri, onigiri, and other Japanese food such as rice balls, gyūdon, etc) contain Uruchimai as their main Ingredient. Japanese rice alcohol (Saké) and rice vinegar are also made of Uruchimai.

2. Mochigome

This is a type of rice that has a sweet flavor. It is also known as glutinous rice. It is gluten-free, which makes it fantastic for dieting. Mochigome has a lot of starch, making it very sticky, and one can hold it with chopsticks.

To get the required texture, one should soak the rice in water before cooking. Delicious Japanese delicacies like mochi ice cream, sakura mochi, and sekihan are made of Mochigome rice.

So, the answer is affirmative when the question goes- “Is Japanese rice short grain?”. But there are variations of Japonica that are being harvested in California. This type is a bit longer than the actual short-grain rice. It can be categorized as medium-grained rice.

However, which one you should use to make sushi. Here is a list of a few Japanese short grain rice, perfect for making any type of sushi.

Japanese Rice For SushiGrain size
Botan, Calrose RiceMedium-grain rice.
Kokuho RiceMedium-grain rice.
Nishiki Premium Sushi RiceMedium-grain rice.
SHIRAKIKU Rice HitomeboreShort-grain rice.
Tamanishiki Super Premium RiceShort-grain rice.

Types of Rice Grain

Types of Rice Grain

As we know, there are three types of rice based on the shape and length of the rice grain: long, medium, and short-grain rice. All of the types are discussed below.

1. Rice with a Long Grain

The long-grained rice is visibly longer than its width. This type is commonly used worldwide to make gourmet rice dishes. After cooking, the texture is neat, firm, and non-sticky because it has lesser starch content and moisture. Some well-known long-grain rice is basmati; jasmine rice is the rich long-grain rice option. Most European, American, and Mexican rice types belong to this category.

2. Rice with a Medium Grain

This rice type has a length twice the breadth. It has a soft and chewy texture after it is cooked. It can be sticky if you steam it properly. Italian Arborio rice, Spanish Bomba rice, and most Asian rice are medium grain.

3. Rice with a Short Grain

The short-grain rice almost looks round as the length and width remain the same. The grains contain a large amount of starch, and if cooked properly, it gets very mushy and will stay together, so one can eat them with the chopsticks. Japanese and Korean rice belong to this category. Also, a similar version of this rice is grown in California.

What Are The Sushi Rice Substitutes?

There are a lot of rice variations that can be used to make sushi instead of short-grain Japanese rice. Some of them are shown in the table.

Rice originRice type
South KoreanMepssal
Mexican Risotto 

These are short to medium-grain rice that can provide the perfect stickiness required for sushi. As sushi is a classic Japanese food, It is impossible to replicate the authentic flavor with an alternative ingredient.

But the alternatives might rescue you if you don’t have enough time to look for the original sushi rice. The details of some other options are described below.

1. Korean Rice

Korean rice type is similar to Japanese rice as both are short-grained. One can make a famous Korean authentic sushi dish called kimbap, a sushi roll. Korean rice is more sticky than Japanese once, which can describe why Koreans eat in more manner than the Japanese because the rice won’t break until you take it to your mouth. 

The most common rice variation is Mepssal originated in South Korea. It’s widely used to make delicious rice bowls and sushi rice.

2. Cauliflower Sushi Rice

Although it has no starch, it can stick well to make sushi rice. As it is starch-free, it is a healthier option. The cut is into bits and softened by steaming or frying it.

One can also microwave it. Seasoning it with salts and vinegar will provide a similar texture and flavor. Use sauce, mayo, or sugar to bind the cauliflower for sushi.

3. Quinoa Bread as Sushi rice

Quinoa bread has a similar taste and stickiness to sushi rice. However, the color might not be the same as the rice is yellow or a darker colored bread. It is rich with fiber and amino acids that help stick all sushi ingredients.

4. Brown Rice

Brown rice is very healthy and nutritious. It can almost mimic the taste and texture of sushi rice after it is cooked. So, you can switch to brown rice for health reasons without worrying about the taste. 

5. Black rice

Black rice is full of Anthocyanin, an antioxidant that fights various diseases like cancer and heart disease. It also keeps the blood sugar and cholesterol controlled and is good for eyesight as well. 

This rice has a thick texture and is enriched with gluten. It has a sweet flavor. It also becomes sticky after cooking, making it the best sushi rice alternative.


  • How About the Nutritional Values of Sushi Rice?

The sushi rice is enriched with minerals and vitamins and is high in starch. It doesn’t contain extra salt, gluten, cholesterol, or sugar which is a basic sushi rice requirement. You can also choose the sushi rice according to your need. For example, if you need more fibres, use brown rice. If you have diabetes choose the whole grain ones etc.

  • How to Store Rice?

Keep the rice in an airtight container or jar on the kitchen shelf, and it is the most convenient way to store it. Exposing it to the oxygen for too long might cause faster deterioration.

Final Words

Is Sushi rice short grain? Are you still puzzling over the query?

There are various rice types; not all are good for making sushi as there is a specific requirement. One should never forget that the rice should be sticky after cooking so all the ingredients can stay bound together.

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