How to cook Japanese rice

Here’s how to cook a perfect bowl of Japanese rice! Don’t have a rice cooker? No problem! All you need is a heavy-bottomed pot and tightly fitting lid (or a pressure cooker), some Japonica rice, and some water.

Japanese people are known for their love of rice. It’s so central to the traditional Japanese meal that the word for cooked rice also means “meal” in Japanese. But it wasn’t always so central…

Rice cultivation was introduced to Japan around 300 BC. It became a politically charged food, leading to the gap between high born families and the common folk, and was also used as a currency to pay taxes. However, rice didn’t become a staple food for the majority of the population until perhaps the Edo period (1603-1868). Its production then continued to flourish and rice came to gain its place in the heart of Japanese culture, even playing a major role in Japanese creation myths.

Nowadays, it is common for people to replace rice with noodles or more western-style food at the dinner table. However, rice is still the star of many Japanese home-cooked meals, and is still deeply linked to the Japanese identity. For more info on the process of the recipe below, check out our article on Japanese rice here.

5 from 1 vote

How to cook Japanese rice

Servings 2
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 cup Japonica rice 1 metric cup (250 mL)
  • 275 mL water


  • 「PREP」Put the rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover it. Gently rake your fingers through the rice, allowing the grains to rub against each other and your fingers. Quickly discard the water, blocking the grains with your other hand to prevent them from being discarded too! Repeat this rinsing process 3-4 more times, or until the water runs almost clear.
    Then set the rice aside in a colander or fine-mesh sieve for at least 15 minutes.
    Finally, put the rice in the pot you’ll use to cook it, and add the water. Leave it to soak for at least 30 minutes.
    How to cook Japanese rice - Preparation
  • If using a rice cooker, follow the instructions to cook your rice, and that’s all!
    If using a heavy-bottomed pot, put it on the stove, covered, and turn up the heat to medium-high. Bring the rice to a boil. Try not to lift the lid and lose any precious steam – instead, listen for a bubbling, and watch for some escaping steam to know when the rice has reached a boil.
    (If using a pressure cooker, start the same way as above. Once the cooker pressurizes, cook the rice for 2 additional minutes.)
    How to cook Japanese rice - Step1
  • Turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes. Resist temptation, and do not lift the lid. Remove from heat and leave to steam for another 10 minutes.
    (With the pressure cooker, remove the cooker from the heat and let the rice steam while the pot depressurizes for 10 minutes.)
    How to cook Japanese rice - Step2
  • When the time is up… you can take off the lid! Gently fluff up the rice with a rice paddle or wooden spatula and serve. Keep some aside for refills by simply covering the pot with a cloth and the cover.
    Preserve leftovers by dividing into portion-sizes while still hot, wrapping in cling wrap and keeping in the freezer (not the fridge!).
    How to cook Japanese rice - Step3
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Rice

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