What Is the Best Rice for Sushi?

Making sushi at home seems pretty easy, but a lot can go wrong if you’re not prepared well. Most often, the taste of sushi is determined by the quality of the ingredients. Let’s see what the best rice for sushi is and where to find it because something so simple can turn out to be complex if you don’t get it right.

The best sushi rice is Tamaki Gold, produced and packed by the Japanese Tamaki Corporation. They built a mill in California and grow short-grain, premium quality rice for sushi. The texture of Tamaki Gold rice is silky before cooking and fluffy and tender after, becoming perfect to mold and roll into sushi as desired.

A chef scooping out Japanese rice from a wooden bowl
Find the best rice for your homemade sushi escapade

If you’re planning to make some sushi at home, don’t miss out on the rice brands introduced in this article.

Can I Use Regular White Rice for Sushi?

No, you can’t use regular rice for sushi. “Regular” in this case means any plain rice you find in a store aisle, including glutinous, jasmine, and basmati rice. If you’ve never seen these types of grains put together, they’ll all look and feel the same to you.

If you want to up your rice game, learn about the different qualities of the available kinds. For example, Basmati is a long-grain, non-sticky rice usually used in curry dishes.

Regular rice is what you’ll find the most in supermarkets, and it can be short and long-grain. Jasmine rice is similar to Basmati but mostly used in Thai and Indian cuisine.

Why Japanese Rice Is the Ultimate Choice for Sushi

Japanese rice is the best choice for sushi because it’s stickier than other grains. Sushi rolls and nigiri pieces are essentially held together with rice, so you can’t use just any brand if you have seaweed; wrapping it will be a nightmare. This isn’t a problem with sashimi.

Additionally, the rice used in sushi is typically short grain. It sticks together easier and forms into various shapes. Sometimes, chefs will make sushi with medium-grain rice, but never long-grain.

A close-up of short rice grains
Short and medium-grain rice is the best choice for making sushi

Tamaki Gold Is Considered the Best Rice for Sushi

The Tamaki Corporation opened its doors in Japan over 20 years ago. They grow a variety of grains in Japan and California, making it possible to have a mixture of rice types and qualities.

Tamaki Gold is the premium sushi rice. It’s from a type of short-grain rice called koshihikari and is made by combining traditional farming methods with modern milling equipment. Tamaki Gold has a silky texture before cooking and a chewy, fluffy, but still sticky texture after.

This rice is perfect for onigiri, maki, California rolls, and absolutely any other sushi dish you’d like to make.

Tamanishiki Is Another Expensive, but Excellent Quality Rice Brand

Tamanishiki wasn’t introduced as the best one because it’s slightly less affordable than Tamaki Gold. However, make no mistake regarding Tamanishiki’s quality – it is superb. It’s the most commonly used rice brand in Japanese restaurants across the country.

The grain grown in California is a combination of koshihikari and yumegokochi, two short-grain rice varieties. Tamanishiki is perfect for scooping with chopsticks, making nigiri, and onigiri. You can buy Tamanishiki on Amazon.

Nishiki Is an Affordable Version of Premium Sushi Rice

Nishiki is a medium-grain rice brand from California. It’s affordable yet high-quality and a favorite brand for many global restaurants. It’s hard to find an ingredient that’s relatively easy to acquire and loved and used by international businesses.

That just means you don’t have to go above and beyond to get the best rice for your sushi. Nishiki is slightly sticky rice that’s good for sushi rolls and generally any meal. It’s made with the ‘musenmai’ method, which fully separates the tapioca and starch from the rice, giving the cleanest grain possible.

Buy Nishiki rice right here.

Botan Calrose Is Another Affordable and Locally Sourced Brand

Botan has produced the Californian Calrose rice for over 70 years. Likely, this grain’s already been in one of your meals since it’s so popular across the state. It’s also excellent rice for sushi because of its almost excessive stickiness.

It’s a medium-rice grain produced similarly to Nishiki rice, with the musenmai method. Calrose rice seems to keep its sticky texture even after a rigorous process, allowing other ingredients to stand out. The stickiness absorbs flavors well, meaning your sushi will be exceptional. You can get Calrose rice online.

Wondering if Botan rice is good for sushi? Read my article to find out!

Honorable Mentions: RiceSelect and Lundberg for Lovers of Organic Foods

RiceSelect rice was developed by a food-tech and research company named RiceTec. They combined firm grains of sushi rice with jasmine rice and created a lovely blend that ends up sticky enough for sushi after cooking but is also suitable for other meals and cuisines.

Additionally, while all rice is naturally gluten-free, sometimes the process grains go through could involve some glutinous or GMO-filled methods. This is extremely rare, but the emphasis on RiceSelect’s rice being gluten-free and non-GMO seems comforting for anyone looking for organic ingredients.

The plastic jars that this rice comes in are also made from recycled plastic and fully recyclable. You get to be environmentally conscious and eat great foods all at once.

Lundberg Farms Grow Gluten-Free, non-GMO Organic Rice

Another brand that emphasizes and advertises its rice as organic is Lundberg Farms. They’re also one of the oldest grain farms in California since they first started working in 1937.

Incredibly, Lundberg Farms maintained the same quality of rice throughout the decades. It’s a sticky, Japanese-style short-grain rice ideal for sushi rolls, but other meals and delicacies, too. You can make sushi one day and then sticky rice pudding the next.

You can buy Lundberg Sushi rice on Amazon, where they advertise it as gluten-free, whole-grain, vegan, organic, and kosher.

You’re One Step Away From Perfect Sushi, so Ensure You Buy the Best Rice for It

You have a nice list of rice brands for your sushi dinner now, but I’d always go for Tamaki Gold. Start shopping and preparing to make one of the best meals of your life; it’ll taste and look professional, no matter which of the mentioned brands you go for. Cooking will be made easier and more fun to do with high-quality ingredients.