How to Make the Best Crispy Rice Recipe for Sushi

Rice is a staple of many cultures. In Japan, for example, it’s a large part of the day-to-day diet. The Japanese have even developed their own type of rice called sushi rice which is used to make sushi dishes. 

One popular dish made with crispy rice and seaweed is California rolls. In this blog post we will show you how to make the best crispy rice recipe for sushi!

If you’re looking for a delicious, foolproof recipe to make the best crispy rice for sushi at home, this is it. I’ve made my favorite crispy rice recipe with brown sugar and vinegar which are the perfect ingredients to achieve that signature consistency of perfectly cooked sticky rice. 

What is Crispy Rice?

Crispy rice is a delicious ingredient used to make sushi rolls, particularly the inside-out California Roll. There are several kinds of sushi rolls but this post is specifically about how to make crispy rice for your inside-out California Roll at home! When you buy a california roll from a restaurant, it’s often garnished with thin slices of avocado and sesame seeds on top.

How Do You Make Crispy Rice Sushi at Home?

In order to make crisp rice for your homemade sushi, you first need to cook Japanese short grain (sushi) rice. Short grain Japanese style sticky rice will hold together when rolled up in nori seaweed and form the perfect base for any type of sushi. 

The most important part about making crispy rice for sushi is getting the water-to-rice ratio just right. Sushi has to be properly seasoned and sticky enough to hold together when rolled up but not too sticky that it can’t be eaten in one bite! To achieve the perfect consistency, you need to follow this recipe for crispy rice with sugar and vinegar.

Crispy Rice Recipe with Brown Sugar & Vinegar

Ingredients: 2 cups short grain Japanese white rice 1 cup water 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Assemble Your Supplies: Bamboo mat Baking sheet Scissors Bowl Chopping board Knife Rice cooker (optional)

Directions:

Wash your Japanese white rice thoroughly in a bowl of cold water, stirring the rice around with your fingers to make sure all the grains are separated. Strain off the cloudy water once you see it beginning to become clear. Add the washed rice into a pot and then add an equal amount of cold water (1 cup).

Bring that mixture to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the temperature down to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated off. If you start seeing little air bubbles forming on top of the rice, cover it immediately so that it doesn’t dry out or burn! 

Check on your rice periodically during cooking time by taking off the lid and pressing some grains between your fingers. The goal is not overcooking or undercooking the rice. It should feel sticky and still have a white dot in the center of each grain when it’s done cooking. 

Once your rice is finished, fluff it with a fork to let all the steam out so that it doesn’t overcook while you’re assembling other ingredients. In a small pot over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of water, brown sugar, salt and apple cider vinegar. 

Stir well until all the clumps are gone and then reduce down to low heat for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened into a syrup consistency. This will be used as your sushi seasoning mixture! 

Assemble your bamboo mat by laying down plastic wrap on top of it along with a sheet of seaweed (nori) on top of that. You can cut the nori sheet into two halves for easier handling when you roll up your sushi later! Dip your hands in water to keep the rice from sticking while assembling your sushi rolls. 

Fill a large bowl with some cold water while you assemble your sushi so that you can clean it out easily after making every roll. Scoop out some sticky Japanese white rice onto your bamboo mat, spreading it all around evenly on top with wet fingers. 

Add a thin layer of canned crab meat strips down the center of the rice and then spread finely shredded cucumber on top of that, leaving an inch or more at either end without filling. If using avocado instead, scoop out thinly sliced avocado directly on top of the seaweed (nori sheet). 

Wet a sharp knife in the cold water bowl and then cut off an inch of rice from the left side. With wet hands, roll up tightly using your bamboo mat to form a nice, clean sushi roll! Add some further pressure with your hands by pressing into the center of your sushi roll while beginning to pull out your knife. 

Cut each sushi roll in half and then again into thirds so that they’re bite sized pieces for easier eating. Repeat these steps until you’ve finished assembling all of your ingredients (about 3-4 rolls per person).

Make Crispy Rice Sushi Ahead

If you know that you won’t be able to finish all of your sushi rolls in one sitting then it’s best to make them ahead of time. You can try assembling them up to an hour before serving and then cover with plastic wrap until right before you’re ready to serve. If this is more than an hour ahead of time, be sure to place your sushi in the refrigerator without covering it since it will make the rice soggy!

Quick Tips

  • Add some pickled ginger between layers of rice or on top of each roll once they’re all finished.
  • Making sushi rolls ahead of time? Steaming fresh unseasoned sticky rice will lock in moisture so that your sushi won’t become soggy. For best results, spread cooked rice onto a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap and let cool completely before assembling with other ingredients.
  • Covering sushi rolls after you assemble them is the best way to avoid having your nori sheet stick onto itself.
  • If you live in an area where sushi grade fish isn’t available, canned tuna flakes can be used instead! Just make sure that it’s packed in oil for more flavor.
  • When making sushi rolls ahead of time, it’s best to steam fresh unseasoned sticky rice right before serving. This will lock in moisture so that your sushi won’t become soggy. For best results, spread cooked rice onto a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap and let cool completely before assembling with other ingredients.
  • While adding fillings into your sushi roll, try placing them as close to the end as possible without too much pressure or it might force the rest of your ingredients out of the nori sheet.
  • When adding wasabi to your sushi rolls, only use as much as you’re comfortable with and remember that it can always be added after rolling up!
  • If using avocado instead of crab meat, try mashing it first into a paste before spreading on top of the rice for best results.
  • Cooking sticky white rice is one of the most important parts of this process since it will determine how well your sushi holds together later on during the assembly steps. Avoid using regular long grain white rice for this recipe and stick with sticky white Japanese rice or sweet brown rice instead!

Ingredients: 1 cup water 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 4 tablespoons brown sugar 3 tablespoons salt 2 cups short grain white rice 4 nori sheets 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced 1/4 cucumber, peeled and shredded 3 ounces canned crab meat (or imitation crab) 2 green onions, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 2 teaspoons wasabi powder.

Preparation:

Wash rice thoroughly with water until it runs clear. Cook in a pot of boiling salted water for 20 minutes or until the grains become tender. Drain any excess water. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl to make your sushi vinegar! 

Add cooked rice into a large bowl and drizzle on sushi vinegar. Fold rice with spoon or spatula until each grain sticks together smoothly then let cool completely at room temperature before using for sushi rolls. Cut nori sheets in half first, then set two pieces next to each other (shiny side down) on your bamboo mat. 

Spread rice evenly into each nori sheet up to 1/4″ away from the top edge of nori. Add fillings as close to the bottom of your rice as you can without anything touching the sides! 

Roll everything together by lifting up your mat and folding it over itself until everything is tightly wrapped inside. Once completed, wet the top edge with a bit of water so that it seals well after cutting sushi rolls into individual servings.

Cut roll into 8-10 equal pieces using a very sharp knife dipped in cold water every few cuts to minimize sticking! Serve fresh with soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger.

  • Start cooking the rice first since it takes more time compared to other ingredients.
  • Add fillings into your sushi roll as close to the end as possible without too much pressure or it might force the rest of your ingredients out of the nori sheet.
  • While adding fillings into your sushi roll, try placing them as close to the end as possible without too much pressure or it might force the rest of your ingredients out of the nori sheet.
  • Once completed, wet the top edge with a bit of water so that it seals well after cutting sushi rolls into individual servings.

How to Make the Best Crispy Rice Recipe for Sushi

Once you’ve found the right ingredients, making the best crispy rice for sushi is easy. Here’s what you need to know about rice, how to cook it and how to mix in your favorite flavors.

Crispy Rice Ingredients

Rice vinegar – You can flavor your own with brown rice or white distilled vinegar at a 1:1 ratio. Add sugar (about 1 tbsp per cup of vinegar) and salt (pinch).

Sugar – A pinch will do

Salt – Another pinch will do, depending on your taste preference along with that of whoever you’re cooking for. Normally people prefer less salty foods than salty ones so adjust according to taste.

Other Toppings/Flavors

Seasoned Seaweed Strips – Commonly called nori  in most grocery stores and Asian groceries.

Sesame seeds – Roasted or raw is up to your preference.

Other additions like bits of dried fish, fish roe or whatever else you might think is tasty enough to add in. These are the typical ingredients for “bento” (Japanese food served as a boxed lunch). 

If you’re cooking for one person, it’s not hard at all to put the rice into a bento box with some pickled plums on the side if you want something sour before adding sweetness from the sugar.

How To Make The Rice

  1. Rinse your short grain white/sushi rice until it runs clear then soak covered by an inch of water for around 30 minutes.
  2. Drain rice and place into a pot with an equal amount of water as there is rice. For example if you have 1 cup of rice you would add 1 cup of water to the pot.
  3. Add a pinch each of salt and sugar  (if using), cover and bring to a boil over high heat until little holes appear on the surface, about 8-10 minutes depending on stove power or how much rice is in your pot (the more, the longer it will take).
  4. Reduce heat to medium/low/just above low for 5 minutes then remove from heat (don’t uncover yet!) and let sit undisturbed for another 10 minutes before transferring contents into a bowl that has a good fitting lid that’s holed for air circulation. We don’t want bacteria growing in our rice, do we?
  5. Scoop crispy rice out of the pan and into the bowl with a sieve or slotted spoon, top with your choice of toppings/flavors. With these ingredients, make sure to mix well before each bite for maximum taste! You can also refrigerate leftovers if you made too much crispy rice for sushi.

Additional Notes:  It takes practice to get things right when making crispy rice so don’t worry about being perfect at first. Once you have it down pat you’ll be able to let your creative juices flow.

Before cooking the short grain white sushi rice The best thing about cooking your own is that you can experiment with quantities until you find the perfect balance of flavors for your palate.

Nice color, not too sticky and tastes great! We suggest trying various amounts of vinegar, salt sugar (if using) or other ingredients/flavors to see what works best for you. Enjoy…  😀

Conclusion 

The best crispy rice recipe for sushi is not the type of information you’ll find on many blogs. We hope that by reading this post, you got some tips to help with your own cooking endeavors! If you want more recipes like these, be sure to subscribe below or follow us on Facebook and Instagram so we can show off our latest creations in real time. Have a great day!

How to Make the Best Crispy Rice Recipe for Sushi

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