The Ultimate Guide to the Top 9 Sushi Rice Substitutes

The 9 Best Sushi Rice Substitutes

Sushi rice is an essential ingredient for making sushi, but sometimes it can be difficult to find. If you’re looking for alternatives to sushi rice, there are several options. In this article, we will explore the nine best sushi rice substitutes that you can use in your homemade sushi creations.

1. Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice variety that is commonly used to make risotto. It is also an excellent substitute for sushi rice. Arborio rice has a similar texture and taste to sushi rice when cooked. Its stickiness allows it to hold its shape well, making it ideal for sushi rolls. If you find that Arborio rice is not as sticky as sushi rice, you can add a small amount of cornstarch to increase the stickiness.

2. Risotto Rice

Risotto rice refers to a group of short-grain rice varieties commonly used in risotto dishes. Varieties such as Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Roma, and Vialone Nano fall under the category of risotto rice. These rices can also be used as a substitute for sushi rice. Like Arborio rice, risotto rice has a delicate texture and stickiness that makes it suitable for sushi rolls.

3. Brown sushi rice

While white sushi rice is the traditional choice, brown sushi rice can be a viable substitute. Brown rice is unpolished and retains more nutrients than white rice. It has a softer texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Although brown sushi rice may not look the same as traditional sushi rice, it can still be used in a pinch. Like other rice substitutes, brown sushi rice is easy to shape and cut.

4. Cauliflower Rice

For those looking for a non-grain substitute, cauliflower rice can be an unconventional but effective option. Cauliflower rice is made by chopping cauliflower florets into small pieces in a food processor. It has a texture similar to rice grains and can be cooked and seasoned like sushi rice. Cauliflower rice holds together well when shaped and sliced, making it suitable for sushi rolls. Adding a cornstarch slurry can help improve its binding properties.

5. Couscous

Couscous is a small grain pasta made from semolina wheat. While it is not a rice substitute, its fine texture makes it a good alternative to sushi rice. Couscous is affordable and cooks quickly, making it a convenient option. It can be easily shaped after cooking and seasoned with vinegar to mimic the flavors of sushi rice. However, it is important to note that couscous has a different taste and texture than traditional sushi rice.

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious grain that can be used as a substitute for sushi rice. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture when cooked. Quinoa adds a unique flavor to sushi rolls and can be seasoned with vinegar to achieve the desired flavor. However, it is important to rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove any bitterness.

7. Short Grain Brown Rice

Short-grain brown rice is another alternative to sushi rice. Similar to brown sushi rice, short-grain brown rice retains its natural bran and germ, making it more nutritious than white rice. It has a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Short-grain brown rice can be cooked and seasoned for sushi rolls, providing a healthier option for sushi lovers.

8. Quinoa Rice Blend

A quinoa rice blend combines the nutritional benefits of quinoa with the familiar texture of rice. This blend is usually a mixture of white or brown rice and quinoa grains. It offers a unique flavor profile and a slightly different texture than traditional sushi rice. The quinoa rice blend can be cooked and seasoned for sushi rolls, providing a nutritious alternative.

9. Sweet Rice

Sweet rice, also known as sticky rice or glutinous rice, is a short-grain rice commonly used in Asian cuisines. Although its stickiness is different from sushi rice, sweet rice can be used as a substitute in certain sushi preparations. It is especially good for making sushi rice balls and desserts. Sweet rice has a chewy texture and a slightly sweet flavor that adds an interesting element to sushi creations.
In conclusion, if you can’t find sushi rice, there are several alternatives that can be used to make delicious homemade sushi. Arborio rice, risotto rice, brown sushi rice, cauliflower rice, couscous, quinoa, short-grain brown rice, quinoa rice mix, and sweet rice are some of the best substitutes available. Each alternative offers its own unique flavor and texture, allowing you to experiment and create a variety of sushi rolls. Whether you prefer a traditional sushi flavor or want to explore new flavor combinations, these sushi rice substitutes allow you to enjoy homemade sushi without compromising on quality. Remember to adjust cooking and seasoning techniques to get the best results with each substitute. Happy Sushi Making!


Can I use long grain rice instead of sushi rice?

Long-grain rice is not recommended as a substitute for sushi rice. Long-grain rice has different characteristics, such as a lighter and fluffier texture, and does not provide the necessary stickiness for making sushi rolls.

What is the best alternative to sushi rice for gluten-free options?

For gluten-free alternatives, you can consider using cauliflower rice or quinoa as a substitute for sushi rice. Both options offer a different texture and flavour while still allowing you to enjoy homemade sushi.

Do substitutes for sushi rice affect the taste of sushi?

Sushi rice substitutes can add different flavours to your sushi rolls. While they may not replicate the exact taste of traditional sushi rice, they can provide unique and enjoyable flavour profiles. Experimenting with different substitutes can add variety to your sushi creations.

Can I use sushi rice substitutes for other sushi dishes such as nigiri or sashimi?

Sushi rice substitutes can be used for a variety of sushi dishes, including nigiri and sashimi. However, it’s important to note that the texture and stickiness of the substitutes may differ from traditional sushi rice, which can affect the overall experience of these styles of sushi.

Are sushi rice substitutes suitable for beginners?

Sushi rice substitutes can be suitable for beginners who want to experiment with different flavours and textures in their sushi. They provide an opportunity to get creative and explore alternative options while learning the basics of sushi making. However, it’s always advisable to try traditional sushi rice to experience the authentic taste and texture of sushi.