Sushi rice, the star ingredient of sushi, is still a question mark for many of us. Many of us are either not able to get the right sushi rice or look for some easy substitutes to try. Whatever the case is, I have listed all the possible sushi rice substitutes you can always try!
Some of the best sushi rice substitutes are sticky rice, pudding rice, and brown rice. You can also go for some vegetable rice like cauliflower rice and broccoli rice. If not rice, you can always go for some soba noodles.
Sushi rice is short-grain rice typically used to make sushi, a part of Japanese cuisine.
It has a milder flavor and pairs well with other ingredients of typical Japanese sushi. It sticks well, keeps all the ingredients intact, and is shaped like a ball.
Let’s see what options besides sushi rice can do the same for you while making delicious sushi. Stick with me so that you get the right sticky rice for your sushi.
18 Best Sushi Rice Substitutes
Here is the best sushi rice substitutes that you can use in your recipes.
1. Sticky Rice
Sticky rice is the closest sushi rice substitute mainly because it is short-grain glutinous rice with great stickiness when cooked. It is also called sweet rice, as you may find some sweet notes.
People use it mainly for dessert purposes, but you can always use it instead of sushi rice, as it will pair well with other sushi ingredients. A lot of starch presence gives it a sticky texture.
You can cook your sticky rice for about 20 minutes and then cool it. Once the sticky rice is cool, simply use it exactly like sushi rice. As sticky rice is similar to sushi rice, you can go for equal quantities and enjoy your sushi.
2. Pudding Rice
You may be familiar with pudding rice, which is generally used in making pudding. It is short-grain white rice, which makes it a perfect sushi rice substitute. Another reason why pudding rice is an idle substitute is because of the starch presence that makes pudding rice sticky.
As it is used to make pudding rice, you may find some sweet notes on the milder side that pairs well with other savory sushi ingredients. Once cooked, pudding rice gets soft, which many people enjoy while eating sushi.
The small round shape of pudding rice makes it easy to make a round ball after filling in the ingredients. Use the pudding rice in the same ratio as sushi rice.
People suggest adding vinegar while cooking pudding rice, which will absorb the vinegar like sushi rice. You may need to cook the rice pudding for 25-30 minutes, and you are ready to roll the sushi.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice may sound out of the box but trust me; it can be a great sushi rice substitute. If one goes with short-grain brown rice, then making sushi is quite easier and healthier. Brown rice is fiber-rich, as the bran layer is not removed.
That also gives a nutty flavor to brown rice, which can pair really well with other sushi ingredients.
The only downside of brown rice is that it takes way longer to be cooked. It feels like an eternity, but once cooked, you can enjoy the chewy texture that is great for making sushi. The same quantity of brown rice can be used as sushi rice.
You can simply cook the brown rice and maybe splash some vinegar while cooking. A handy tip is to soak the brown rice overnight for 4-5 hours, and you will not have a hard time while cooking.
4. Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice is my favorite DIY sushi rice. If you are looking for a starch-free sushi rice substitute, cauliflower rice is the right choice.
One may not see cauliflower rice as an alternative to sushi rice, but let me take you through the discussion and explain why many also call it cauliflower sushi rice.
You simply have to chop the cauliflower and cook it until it gets soft and tender. When it is well cooked, you will be able to give it a shape. Now all you have to do is fill the center with sushi ingredients and enjoy.
Go for the same or a little extra quantity of cauliflower rice as sushi rice.
Full of nutritious, starch-free, and absolutely vegan! I guess cauliflower rice wins the game just like that. Another great thing about cauliflower rice is that it can draw juices from the other liquid, so great if you want to add vinegar while cooking cauliflower rice.
5. Arborio Rice
Arborio rice is mainly known for making risotto, and some people call it risotto rice as well. I have listed arborio rice in the list of sushi rice substitutes because once arborio rice is cooked, it has almost the same texture as sushi rice.
Arborio rice is mainly from Italy and has a great chewy texture filled with flavors. If cooking it for sushi, add rice vinegar, which will quickly absorb everything.
It is short and oval in shape, and many people say it has a chalky flavor, but once cooked with vinegar, everything gets better. You can substitute arborio rice in the same quantity as sushi rice and enjoy the creamy textured sushi.
6. Black Rice
Black rice looks really tempting and can be a great sushi rice substitute because of its similar texture and appealing appearance. Black rice, also known as forbidden rice, is a long-grain rice that may have a purplish color.
Now you may argue that we need short grains to make sushi, so why black rice?
Black rice has almost the same taste and texture as brown rice but is more fibrous and chewy. Black rice has the same binding properties as authentic sushi rice, which makes it a great sushi rice substitute.
Easy to shape and keep the filling intact, black rice does all the work. You can go for an equal quantity of black rice in place of sushi rice.
Black rice has a nutty flavor and is very nutritious. Another interesting fact is that the color is not completely red but dark purplish. Perfect for making fancy sushi rolls with keeping all the good nutrient contents.
You may also find the short-grain version of black rice for perfect sushi.
Couscous is not rice but North African semolina that generally tastes like pasta. Couscous makes a great rice ball and can substitute sushi rice. Made from wheat, it is not gluten-free but has all the required qualities that a sushi rice substitute must have.
Couscous has a brownish color and has a great binding property that can keep all the sushi ingredients in place. As couscous has a little grainy texture, it becomes a great option to try in sushi.
So even if you have sushi rice, you must try couscous for some variation in the taste, and you won’t be disappointed.
Take the same quantity of couscous as sushi rice and cook it with water. Adding vinegar and sugar will make things much better.
We all have heard about quinoa, and many diet-conscious people have replaced our regular rice with quinoa. When it comes to taste, quinoa has an earthy and nutty flavor that appeals to the tastebuds.
Quinoa is a gluten-free small grain packed with so much nutrient content. When cooked, quinoa gets stocky, which helps to keep all the sushi ingredients intact.
Simply cook the quinoa and use it as you will use sushi rice. You may cook the same amount of quinoa as sushi rice and make a ball out of it.
The yellow color of the quinoa may not look so appealing in sushi, but it will have the same taste as sushi rice with many health benefits. No gluten or starch makes it a great addition to your diet.
9. Bomba Rice
Give a Spanish twist to your regular sushi. Use bomba rice instead of sushi rice and enjoy the distinct flavor without compromising on the other ingredient’s taste and texture.
Bomba rice, also known as Valencia rice, may not be easy to find, but if your local store has it, grab it immediately. You may also be able to order it online from a distant place. Consider cooking the same quantity as sushi rice.
You may get bomba rice with small grains or even extra long grains, but it hardly matters as it has the texture of sushi rice once cooked.
The best thing about bomba rice is that it absorbs things quickly, but that also means that it will take a long time and lots of water to cook.
10. Short-Grain White Rice
White rice is a staple food in the USA, so one can easily access short-grain white rice. Once the short-grain white rice is cooked, it has the same thickness and texture as sushi rice. You will also find sweet notes that add great flavor to the sushi.
Short-grain white rice is easy to cook and does not take a long time. You can simply boil the water, add the rice, and simmer until cooked. Make sure to have enough water to get the right consistency.
You can easily substitute short-grain white rice for sushi rice, making sushi balls and filling the center with tasty ingredients. Simply add the same amount of short-grain white rice as sushi rice.
11. Broccoli Rice
Like cauliflower rice, broccoli rice can also be a great sushi rice substitute. Broccoli rice is filled with so many nutrients and will add a great taste to the overall sushi experience.
Simply grate or chop the broccoli and cook it until soft and ready to hold the round ball shape. You will also enjoy the nutty and chewy texture, which will be a great addition to sushi. Once cooked, you can easily fill it with sushi ingredients and make a ball out of it.
Broccoli rice is a great healthy sushi rice substitute that offers versatile flavors and can be a new version of your regular sushi. Consider a 1:1 ratio of broccoli rice for sushi rice.
12. Risotto Rice
Risotto rice may sound familiar to arborio rice, but they are different. As arborio rice is used to make risotto, you can also make this Italian dish with risotto rice.
Risotto rice can be an easy substitute for sushi rice as it can hold the ingredients really well, and the starch’s presence makes it easy to give the required shape. It also has a similar texture to sushi rice. Take an equal amount of risotto rice in place of sushi rice.
You can find them pretty easily, and they are not as expensive as other sushi rice substitutes. Cooking risotto rice is also not a big task as it is short-grain rice.
13. Carnaroli Rice
As we speak about risotto rice, there is another type of risotto rice that needs separate attention. Carnaroli rice is a fancy rice that holds its shape very gracefully, and that is why you can substitute it for sushi rice.
Carnaroli rice is medium-grain rice from Italy and has a firm texture with great starch.
You may find it a little expensive, but you won’t be disappointed as the quality of the carnaroli is worthwhile. Go for the same amount of carnaroli rice as sushi rice, and you are good to go!
14. Brown Sushi Rice
You may ask what is brown sushi rice, and isn’t it the same as brown rice? Yeah, you may be right, or maybe not. If you are lucky enough, your nearest local store will have a packet labeled as brown sushi rice solely for sushi.
It is the same as brown rice with little difference in state and a perfect sushi rice substitute when cooked. It is short-grain rice that gets sticky and holds its shape when cooked.
Simply follow the steps as per the packet and cook accordingly. You can use the same amount of brown sushi rice as you will use sushi rice.
15. Regular White Rice
As rice is a staple food in the USA, regular white rice can be a readily available substitute. However, it may not be the idle sushi rice substitute, but it will do your work.
If you have long-grain white rice, simply grind them a little and then cook it to use as sushi rice, regarding the taste. White rice tastes almost the same as sushi rice, so there is nothing to worry about.
Cook the white rice as you usually do, prepare the other sushi items, and follow the usual steps. Go for the same quantity of white rice in place of sushi rice.
16. Milk Rice
Remember we talked about pudding rice, similar to that we have milk rice. Milk rice is not a real thing you can get in your local store. Basically, you need to prepare milk rice at home to replace it with sushi rice.
Simply cook short-grain white rice in milk, and you will get the same sticky texture as sushi rice. You can even add flavors to give a twist to your regular sushi.
Go for cow’s milk to get the creamy texture, and enjoy your sticky rice that will hold the shape and ingredients firmly. Take equal amounts of rice as sushi rice and cook in enough milk
. Your overall taste of sushi will have a sweeter note; most of the time, it pairs well with other savory ingredients.
17. Red Rice
Red rice may not be common, but if you have any, consider substituting it for sushi rice. Like brown or black rice, red rice also has a nutty flavor and can add great taste and texture to your regular sushi.
The only downfall of red rice is that it is not as sticky as sushi rice but will just work if you cook it for a good time. Also, red rice takes a great amount of time to be cooked.
You can substitute only if you want to try some different versions or have some red rice left. Take the same quantity of red rice as sushi rice, and you are good to go. You can enjoy having red-colored themed food parties.
18. Soba Noodles
No rice? Don’t worry, as soba noodles got your back. We all love soba noodles and always have some in the pantry. Now if you are looking for a sushi rice substitute, why not try some soba noodles?
Simply cook the soba noodles, and once cooked, chop the noodles off as per your preferred size. Now follow the usual steps of making sushi. Soba noodles are strict enough to hold the circular shape and keep the ingredients in place.
Soba noodles may have a different taste and texture, but trying some distinction in your regular sushi won’t harm it. I generally try to use soba noodles when I have an extra cooked batch left.
Rice or not, no one can stop you from having delicious sushi. You can go for the same quantity of soba noodles as sushi rice. Follow the usual steps involved in making traditional sushi, and you won’t be disappointed.
Short Recap Of The Best Substitutes For Sushi Rice
Below is a short recap of the best substitute options for sushi rice
Best Sushi Rice Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor –
- Sticky Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Pudding Rice
Best Sushi Rice Substitutes That Are Easily Available –
- Brown Rice
- White Rice
Sushi Rice Substitutes That Should Be Least Considered –
- Soba Noodles
- Milk Rice
How To Use Sushi Rice Substitutes In A Recipe
18 Best Sushi Rice Substitutes To Try!
- Sticky Rice
- Pudding Rice
- Brown Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Arborio Rice
- Black Rice
- Bomba Rice
- Short-Grain White Rice
- Broccoli Rice
- Risotto Rice
- Brown Sushi Rice
- Carnaroli Rice
- Regular White Rice
- Milk Rice
- Forbidden Rice
- Soba Noodles
- Red Rice
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and make the dish according to the recipe.
At last, we are at the end of the hunt for sushi rice substitutes. Thanks for tagging along, and I am sure that now whenever you are out of your sushi rice, you will know the quick fix options or substitutes to try.
I always plan ahead so I am ready with all the ingredients, but sometimes I intentionally switch my sushi rice with brown rice or cauliflower rice to have a change. And it also tastes better. Anyway, I will return with a more informative and tasty conversation.
Until then, have some sushi.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is sushi rice?
Sushi rice is a short-grain rice that is typically used to make sushi. It is sticky and milder in flavor that pairs well with other sushi ingredients.
What can I use instead of sushi rice?
For sushi rice substitutes, you can go for short-grain white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, broccoli rice, or even soba noodles.
Can I use normal rice in place of sushi rice?
Yes, you can use normal short-grain rice in place of sushi rice. It is best for its short-grain white rice, or you can also look for other options.