Do you love Japanese rice but have trouble cooking a perfect batch? Don’t worry! In this tutorial I will show you easy ways to make Japanese rice so it comes out perfectly fluffy every single time.

japanese rice - gohan
Japanese rice is something I eat on a weekly basis.

I love its sweet taste and sticky texture and the fact that it pairs well with just about anything. Whether I’m serving Japanese rice as a side or use it to make yakimeshi, onigiri, or ochazuke, it’s an ingredient I never get tired of using.

Knowing how to cook it well is essential to the success of the dish being made. And while it may look a little intimidating at first, Japanese rice is very easy to make.

Today I’m going to show how to make perfectly cooked Japanese rice in a rice cooker and in a pot, on the stove.

japonica grains

Choosing the Best Japanese Rice

The first thing to know is that not all Japanese rice are equal.

Here in America you will find two types of Japanese rice – medium grain and short grain. And if you are living in the midwest, you will most likely only have access to medium grain Japanese rice. Famous brands selling medium grain Japanese rice include Nishiki, Botan, and Kokuho Rose.

I used to cook with them all the time until a Japanese friend of mine told me I was using the wrong kind of rice. That’s when I switched to the real thing – short grain Japanese rice – and my Japanese cooking skills suddenly got a lot better!

Short Grain Japanese Rice

The reason why short grain Japanese rice is superior to medium grain is because of its stickier texture. The grains contain less amylose – a type of starch that separates rice grains – than the medium grains, which is why it’s stickier.

Japanese dishes like onigiri and sushi rolls need to be sticky in order to stay in one piece, and medium grain rice just doesn’t cut it.

Brands like Tamanishiki (my favorite and the only one I use), Kagayaki, and Nozomi, sell premium short grain rice.

Koshihikari (越光)

Koshihikari is considered to be super-premium short grain Japanese rice and therefore, top of the line when it comes to Japanese rice.

It’s the only type of rice used in high end Japanese sushi restaurants because of its unique consistency, creaminess, and natural sweetness. Koshihikari rice can also be used for regular consumption but beware of its high price tag! I only buy koshihikari once or twice a year, when I feel like splurging.

cooking rice in a pot on the stove

How to Make Japanese Rice in a Pot (on the Stove)

  1. Scoop two cups of rice and add it to a rice washing bowl. Wash the rice under running cold water in a swishing motion for 1-2 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Alternatively, you can wash the rice in a bowl, drain and repeat the process 3-4 times. Drain well.
  2. Fill a bowl with water and add the rice. Let it soak for 30 minutes. This step allows for the rice to absorb water and cook more evenly.
  3. Drain well and add to a pot along with water.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If you need to check on the water level, slightly open the lid but don’t open it all the way as this will let too much steam out and cause the rice to cook unevenly.
  5. Turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.
  6. Using a wooden or plastic spoon, or a rice paddle, gently fold the rice a few times (do not stir or knead as this will break the rice grains and make the rice mushy).
japanese rice in rice cooker - Tiger

How to Make Japanese Rice in a Rice Cooker

Always use the measuring cup provided with the rice cooker.

  1. Scoop two cups of rice and add it to a rice washing bowl. Wash the rice under running cold water in a swishing motion for 1-2 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Drain well.
  2. Add the rice to the rice cooker inner and pour the water over it.
  3. Close the lid and choose the Quick, Plain, or Ultra function. Press start.
  4. When the rice is ready, open the lid and gently fold the rice a few times, using a rice paddle (do not stir or knead as this will break the rice grains and make the rice mushy).

cooked japanese rice


Items I Use for Making Japanese Rice

While it’s true that you can make Japanese rice with a regular pot, a spoon, and a strainer, there are other ways that can simplify the cooking process. These items are so handy that they make cooking rice a breeze!

Japanese Rice Cooker – Essential for Rice LoversTiger rice cooker

For years I made rice in a pot thinking I was pretty good at it. And I also used to think that getting a rice cooker was a waste of money. Then one day I was hired by a rice cooker company who wanted me to create recipes for them.

They mailed me one of their top rice cooker models and that’s when I realized everyone was right – nothing beats rice made in a rice cooker. Seriously! Not only does the rice come out perfectly cooked every single time without fail, I also no longer have to pre-soak thee rice or keep an eye on a bubbling pot.

Is it a waste of money? Absolutely not if you eat a lot of rice! Plus, nowadays most rice cookers also come with several different cooking function such as slow cook, steam, make porridge, and even bake cakes.

Aside from my water heater (I drink tea all day long), it’s the kitchen appliance I use the most!

Japanese Rice Washing Bowl

Specifically designed for rinsing rice, this rice washing bowl is perforated with holes small enough to keep rice grains from escaping, and has a side strainer to drain any excess water. It can also be used for other types of rice and grains such as quinoa and farro. The one I’m using in the picture is by Inomata.

Rice Paddles

rice paddles

You can use plastic or wooden rice paddles, either are fine. The ones I have came with the rice cooker I own (all the rice cookers come with rice paddles) so I didn’t have to buy a rice paddle.

Small Storage Containers

It’s always a good idea to divide your rice into individual portions if you have leftovers, especially if you are freezing it. Rice freezes in big clumps so it’s difficult to break it up once it’s in the freezer. That’s when having small food storage containers comes in handy –  this way you can reheat leftovers for one or four people, without any waste!

Print

How to Make Japanese Rice

Learn how to make delicious Japanese rice with this quick and easy tutorial!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Rice
  • Method: Rice cooker
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

Rice Cooker Method

  1. Scoop two cups of rice and add it to a rice washing bowl. Wash the rice under running cold water in a swishing motion for 1-2 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Drain well.
  2. Add the rice to the rice cooker inner and pour the water over it.
  3. Close the lid and choose the Quick, Plain, or Ultra function. Press start.
  4. When the rice is ready, open the lid and gently fold the rice a few times, using a rice paddle (do not stir or knead as this will break the rice grains and make the rice glutinous).

In a Pot (Stove Top Method)

  1. Scoop two cups of rice and add it to a rice washing bowl. Wash the rice under running cold water in a swishing motion for 1-2 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Alternatively, you can wash the rice in a bowl, drain and repeat the process 3-4 times. Drain well.
  2. Fill a bowl with water and add the rice. Let it soak for 30 minutes. This step allows for the rice to absorb water and cook more evenly.
  3. Drain well and add to a pot along with water.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If you need to check on the water level, slightly open the lid but don’t open it all the way as this will let too much steam out and cause the rice to cook unevenly.
  5. Turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.
  6. Using a wooden or plastic spoon, or a rice paddle, gently fold the rice a few times (do not stir or knead as this will break the rice grains and make the rice glutinous).

Notes

If you would like to make more rice:

Rice to water ratio:  1 cup rice to 1 1/4 cup water

Storing cooked Japanese rice:

  • Let the rice cool to room temperature and refrigerate it in an airtight storage container. It will keep for 4-7 days.
  • To freeze the rice, divide it into individual portions and store each portion in an airtight storage container or freezer bag. It will keep for 4-6 months.

Keywords: Side, rice

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