Is Short Grain Rice the Same as Sushi Rice?

Is Short Grain Rice the Same as Sushi Rice

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If you’re making sushi but only have short grain rice, don’t worry; they can be substituted. Short grain rice and sushi rice are similar enough to sub them, but they’re not exactly the same. Sushi rice is a specific type of short grain rice, but it has been further processed and seasoned to make it ideal for making sushi. Let’s take a closer look and answer the question: Is short grain rice the same as sushi rice?

What is Short Grain Rice?

Short grain rice refers to rice grains that are short and plump in shape, with a higher starch content compared to long grain or medium grain rice. This type of rice tends to be stickier and moister when cooked, making it suitable for dishes where a cohesive and slightly sticky texture is desired. This includes rice pudding, risotto dishes, and sushi.

Technically, short grain is the name given to a collective of rice types, which includes japonica, Calrose, and arborio rice.

Arborio Short Grain Rice

What is Sushi Rice?

Sushi rice, on the other hand, is a type of short grain rice that has been specifically grown and processed to be used in making sushi. It is usually seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt after cooking to give it a slightly sweet and tangy flavour, which complements the other ingredients in sushi rolls and nigiri.

In short, sushi rice is a different type of short grain rice.

Every type of sushi rice is also a type of short grain rice, but not all short grain rice is sushi rice. It’s a complicated world, right? (Wait until you find out how many different types of rice there are around the world!)

Sushi Rice

What’s the Difference Between Short Grain Rice and Sushi Rice?

Although short grain and sushi rice are very similar and interchangeable in most recipes, there are a few differences that really set them apart. Because of this, they’re not interchangeable in all recipes.

You can use short grain rice in recipes that call for sushi rice, with a little extra seasoning. You can’t always use sushi rice in recipes that call for short grain rice, however, because it is usually already seasoned.


Short grain rice is, as the name suggests, short grains of rice. They’re fatter or plumper grains, contain a higher starch content than sushi rice, and are sticky when properly cooked. For this reason, they grab hold of other ingredients and foods more, such as sauces.

Sushi rice has a more glutinous makeup, but the grains are similar in plumpness to short grain rice. The finished result is sticky, but a different kind of sticky. Rather than keeping hold of sauce, the grains keep hold of each other, making it the perfect kind of rice for sushi foods.

Sushi Rice in Sushi


Both short grain rice and sushi rice is quite sticky when cooked, but you shouldn’t confuse sushi rice with sticky rice, which is another different type. Short grain rice is typically used to make sushi and other Japanese dishes; the sushi rice name has technically been added by manufacturers.


Short grain is an umbrella term for a few different types, some of which are flavoured. Unseasoned varieties can be seasoned to create any taste, and but seasoned arborio rice, for example, can’t be unseasoned. The flavour is neutral, making it versatile for different types of recipes.

Sushi rice has a slightly sweet, tangy taste due to the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt seasoning. It is specifically crafted to complement the flavours of sushi ingredients.

Serving Style

Short grain rice is commonly found in East Asian, Latin American, and Mediterranean cuisine. Sushi rice, on the other hand, is specially prepared and seasoned for use in Japanese sushi dishes.

You can use sushi rice in place of short grain rice, but it will add extra flavours. The spices and other seasonings in sushi rice will seep into the rest of the food and alter the finished result. This includes extra saltiness, sweetness, and tanginess.

Risotto with Short Grain Rice


Short grain rice is a term given to several different types of rice that has a short, plump grain size and shape. Other types of short grain rice include:

  • Japonica rice (also known as sinica rice)
  • Calrose rice
  • Arborio rice
  • Carnaroli rice
  • Sticky rice (also known as glutinous rice)
  • Botan rice
  • Pearl rice

Sushi rice is just one more type of short grain rice, with its own flavour, texture, and other characteristics.

Can I Use Short Grain Rice Instead of Sushi Rice?

Yes, you can use short grain rice instead of sushi rice. They are technically the same thing, just with a few seasonings included in the sushi variety.

You will notice a difference in both the flavour and texture by substituting one of the rice types for the other. As previously mentioned, short grain rice is usually left unseasoned whereas sushi rice has additional flavourings and seasonings.

Sushi rice is also quite a bit sticker than other short grain rice types. Soaking short grain rice for thirty minutes before cooking is recommended alongside adding salt, sugar, and rice vinegar to mimic the taste.

You can also use the following types of rice instead of sushi rice, but they will alter the finished food result in their own individual ways:

  • Jasmine rice
  • Medium grain rice
  • Arborio rice
  • Red Rice
  • Black rice (also known as forbidden rice)
  • Brown rice
  • Basmati rice
Is Short Grain Rice the Same as Sushi Rice

Conclusion: Is Short Grain Rice the Same as Sushi Rice?

No, short grain rice and sushi rice are not the same.

Sushi rice is a kind of short grain rice, though. Manufacturers turn short grain rice into the sushi variety by way of cooking and adding spices, herbs, and other flavours.

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    I like to cook, but I like to eat the food I cook more.