What Is The Best Alternative For Rice When Making Sushi?

What Is The Best Alternative For Rice When Making Sushi

If you wonder what is the best alternative for rice when making sushi, we will give you other options that you can buy in almost any market. Whether you are not into Japanese food or not, sushis are among the most exquisite Japanese dishes. Whether you want a more healthy option or prefer something good environmentally, you can hopefully find one solution that will fit what you need.

The secret of having the most sumptuous sushi lies in the rice that you use. Regardless of the brand, it would be best to buy the most appropriate rice that makes a good substitute for Japanese rice, which includes the following.

  1. Cauliflower Sushi Rice
  2. Quinoa, Whole Wheat Couscous, Or Similar Grains
  3. Brown Rice and Red Rice
  4. Black Rice
  5. Arborio RiceArborio Rice
  6. California Rice
  7. Glutinous Riceglutinous Rice

What makes these grains the best option for your sushi? It’s where we will going to share with you in this article. If you happen to live in a community where Japanese rice is not standard, you can look for other available alternatives with lots of international markets. Better yet, you can also check out this beginner’s guide to eating sushi.

What Is Sushi Rice?

The truth is that, in Japanese, there is no such thing as “sushi rice.” Locals use the term “su” that refers to any rice variety with vinegar mixture. Ordinary rice is best for sushi and sake, while mochi is best for glutinous rice. You can mix it with sugar, salt, and variations such as fish, vegetables, fruits, and occasionally fried or raw meat.

Japanese rice is a unique short-grain, almost transparent from Japonica variety. There are two popular forms of Japanese rice, namely -ordinary rice and glutinous rice. For appetizers and even stand-alone meals, sushi is a perfect option. Sushi rice is now one of the most in-demand varieties of rice thanks to its widespread global acceptance.

For example, most packages branded with “Sushi rice” in America or other parts of the Western community are mostly stickier Japanese short-grain white rice types. However, what happens if you can’t find any Japanese sushi rice in your local market? Fret not because here are some of the best alternatives for rice when making sushi.

7 Best Alternative For Rice When Making Sushi

Most big stores and groceries carry regular long-grain white rice or medium varieties like Jasmine, Basmati, and risotto. However, not all stores offer short-grain types, specifically authentic Japanese rice. Fortunately, there are some alternatives that you can use when making sushi.

Notice that when it comes to traditional Japanese dishes and sushi, none of these can substitute or equal the taste and flavor of Japanese rice, but if you are short on time and have no reach for a bag of decent short grains, these types of rice will act as a starchy binding agent for your sushi.

What Is The Best Alternative For Rice When Making Sushi

1.The Cauliflower Sushi Rice – The Best Starch-Free Rice Alternative

The famous cauliflower rice is another safe substitute for sushi rice. You can do it by shredding the head of the cauliflower into bits and pieces. To soften the texture, you can then stir-fry, steam, or microwave it. Sugar and vinegar are then flavored with the cooked cauliflower crumbs and rolled into maki.

This kind of substitute fits the grainy white look of real rice because it has less starch and more taste, texture, or thickness. You would also need other binding agents to tie them together, including mayo, sugar, or condiment.

2.Quinoa, Whole Wheat Couscous, And Other Similar Grains

More or less, these types of grains have the taste and texture of rice. Only cook these according to its packaging directions, then you can replace sushi rice with the right amount of seasoning. With all the fiber and amino acids, Quinoa and Whole Wheat Couscous all have a solid binding character and are relatively stable. Although the appearance is a little off because of the yellow hue or deeper color of more of these grains, this sushi rice alternative is an excellent option.

3.Brown Rice and Red Rice

In one aspect, brown rice is the most similar to the sushi rice alternative, so if you have any, it should be the one to be sought after. Brown rice and red rice provide so much healthy nutrition that it is now on the list of one of the best sushi rice alternatives by many rice consumers.

Many brown rice cookers are available on the market today, and brown sushi rice (a new variety that tastes almost the same as regular sushi rice) is also available. However, it would be best if you cooked it with the right consistency to get that “sticky” texture.

4.The Forbidden Rice Or Black Rice

Another worth noting is black rice or sometimes called Forbidden rice. The anthocyanin color, an antioxidant that helps regulate blood sugar, block cholesterol and prevent cancer or heart disease, is dark, intense purple, or black. Black rice also includes lutein, which is what leads to healthy skin and zeaxanthin.

Black rice is always denser and gluttonous on the taste note; its inherent sweetness suggests that sugar should be skipped when seasoned as sushi rice. Black rice binds reasonably well, so it’s fine as a replacement for sushi rice.

5.Arborio RiceArborio Rice

For it’s short to medium grains and sticky texture, Italian risotto rice or Arborio rice is the perfect sushi substitute. Arborio rice, however, is a little ‘chalky’ but still a decent replacement for sushi rice when there’s nothing left for you. Still, you can achieve that “sticky” texture depending on how you cook this rice.

6.Calrose or California Rice

Unless you visit an Asian grocery store or shop online, most US supermarkets do not have sushi rice readily available. However, as a sushi rice alternative, you can use California rice. The perfect alternative to any Asian dish is rice from the name itself, California. It is a kind of rice that has a similar texture to Japanese rice from the Japonica strain.

The Japanese-American owners wanted their people to live in California to introduce the taste of Japan to them. It is the reason why such diversity is cultivated and harvested. For any Japanese cuisine, such as sushi rice, California rice is one of the best options to consider.

7.Glutinous Riceglutinous rice

There are two types of Japonica rice, the ordinary and the glutinous, as we mentioned above. If there is no ordinary Japanese rice available, you may use a type of glutinous rice. Glutinous rice is also a medium-short grain strain that, like Thailand, is abundant in South Asia. For desserts or rice dishes like rice pudding, mango-sticky rice, and more, this rice type is excellent.

Though a little sticky for sushi, there’s not much difference yet. Any short-grained rice is acceptable to use as a sushi rice replacement, apart from glutinous rice. The method of cooking is what matters here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Excellent and delicious sushi depends on the rice that you’re going to use to make it. As much as possible, stick to those grains to give you that consistency and “sticky” texture to keep the dish intact. Finally, let us answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the rice for sushi making.

Can you make sushi with normal rice?

You can use regular or normal rice in making sushi, for as long as you get that sticky texture to keep the dish whole when you wrap it. However, beware that it is still best to use Japanese rice because there’s no better substitute than it. Moreover, it gives the right flavor and consistency that sushi is known for.

Does rice have to be cold to make sushi?

It doesn’t really after if the rice is cold or warm when making sushi. However, it would be challenging for you to wrap the rice in nori if it is too hot. Regardless, what matters more is that you cook the rice properly, cool it down a little bit, and season the dish to be “sushi-worthy.” Preferably, the rice should be at room temperature.

Can I make sushi with basmati rice?

As much as possible, avoid using Basmati, Jasmine, and other alike long-grain rice when making sushi. These grains are often dry and fluffy when cooked due to the high ratio of Amylose to Amylopectin. These are also the same elements that cause long-grain rice to get hard as it cools. Hence, it doesn’t stitch together like what short-grains can do. 


When you find yourself lacking options, and you can’t find Japanese rice in groceries, fret not because there are other alternatives that you can use. Remember, when choosing the best sushi rice, it is best to consider its “sticky” texture when you cook it. Keep on to your guest experience, and have fun enjoying your sushi production. We all want to cook the most authentic Japanese dish – sushi. When you have your rice, here are the best fish substitutes when making sushi.

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