Is Calrose Rice Sushi Rice?

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If you’re a sushi lover, you’ll know that the perfect sushi rice is vital to the success of these Japanese delicacies. But if you’re on the hunt for sushi rice, finding the ideal type of rice can be a problem.

So, what is the best rice for sushi, and is Calrose rice sushi rice? Whilst Calrose rice can be used to make sushi, it is not the same as sushi rice. Sushi is made from Japanese short-grain white rice, and Calrose rice is a Californian medium-grain white rice. However, Calrose rice does have the perfect sticky texture when cooked to enable it to be used for sushi.

Planning a Japanese-themed buffet but struggling to find sushi rice? Keep reading to find out if you can use Calrose rice for sushi, and everything else you need to know about sushi rice!

What Is Sushi Rice?

Fans of sushi will know that perfectly sticky rice is integral to the success of this dish! But what exactly is sushi rice, and why is it so important?

While many people think of rice as something that we use to serve with Chinese or Indian food, when it comes to sushi, rice is the vital component that holds the whole thing together.

In fact, the rice in this traditional Japanese dish is so important, that the word sushi actually means rice! Yes, that’s right—sushi does not mean fish, but refers to the rice used to bind these bite-size delicacies together.

The perfect sushi rice should be sticky without being stodgy. The moisture levels should also be just right—not too dry, and not soggy and mushy.

Although the rice should stick together, each individual grain should still be visible.

In terms of flavor, sushi rice has a sweet and sour essence that is the vital base element of the perfect sushi roll. This is created by adding seasonings such as vinegar and sugar, building levels of taste that explode in the mouth.

Good sushi rice should be so tasty, that you’d want to eat it all by itself, regardless of the other delights used to make these Japanese delicacies!

What Is The Best Rice For Sushi?

The best rice for sushi is short-grain rice. Short grain rice is traditionally used to make dishes that require dense, thick cooked rice.

This is because the starchy nature of short-grain rice means that it will become sticky when cooked. The grains will clump together and can be molded into balls or used to hold other ingredients together.

Short grain rice also absorbs juices and flavors well, making it popular in many different types of cuisines around the world.

As well as sushi rice, other common types of short-grain rice include pudding rice, used to make rice pudding, and risotto rice, used to make risotto (obviously!).

There are many different types of short grain rice available, and the best option for sushi is Japanese short-grain white rice.

Like long-grain rice, short-grain rice is normally available in both brown and white varieties. The brown version is more nutritious, but white short-grain rice gives a better pudding-like texture.

If you can’t find Japanese short-grain white rice, then the Californian version is a good alternative.

You can also use other types of short-grain rice, such as risotto rice or pudding rice, although these will not have quite the same consistency.

In a pinch, you can also use medium-grain rice to make sushi. Just stay away from long-grain rice, as this type of rice does not clump together well!

What Is Calrose Rice?

Calrose is a very famous brand of rice, widely available across the US and other countries around the world.

In fact, it is one of the most commonly available brands in the grocery store, and there are not many store cupboards that don’t have a bag of Calrose rice on the shelves!

But what exactly is Calrose rice?

Calrose rice is a medium-grain variety of white rice, developed in the 1940s in the Rice Experiment Station (who knew that such a place existed?!).

It was created to fulfill a need for a rice variety that would grow well in the Californian climate, and it was certainly very successful!

Nowadays, 80% of the rice grown in California is Calrose rice, and this type of rice is a household name.

The reason that Calrose rice is so popular is that it is versatile and suits a range of cooking styles and cuisines.

The texture of medium-grain rice means that it sits midway between long and short-grain rice, and can be used as a substitute for either type.

When cooked, Calrose rice has a clean, fluffy texture. It is soft, moist, and has a slight stickiness. This makes it ideal for your favorite everyday meals, from Mediterranean dishes such as lamb pilaf through to a sizzling hot Indian curry.

Is Calrose Rice Sushi Rice?

So, Calrose rice has many of the properties we require in good sushi rice: it cooks up soft, moist, and sticky.

But is Calrose rice sushi rice, or something else altogether?

It is easy to mistake Calrose rice for sushi rice, but this widely used rice is actually a medium-grain rice. Traditionally, sushi is made with short-grain rice.

This is because short-grain rice is high in starch, making it very sticky when cooked. This stickiness is what binds the rice together, enabling us to form it into balls and use it to bind other ingredients together.

The other reason that Calrose rice is not sushi rice is that it is grown in California. Authentic sushi rice is Japanese white short-grain rice.

However, its American cousin does come pretty close, and Calrose rice has many properties that mean it could be used for sushi.

So, don’t rule out Calrose rice altogether when it comes to making sushi, as it might be a pretty good substitute!

Can You Use Calrose Rice For Sushi?

Buying authentic sushi rice can be an expensive business, and this specialty rice is not always that easy to track down. If you’ve got a bag of Calrose rice in the cupboard, can you use this to make sushi instead of sushi rice?

The good news is that Calrose rice makes a great substitute for sushi rice! The texture and consistency will not be exactly the same, but you can still get great results when using Calrose rice to make sushi.

The reason that Calrose rice works so well to make sushi is that it contains high levels of starch, which make the cooked rice sticky and moldable.

This means that cooked Calrose rice can be formed into balls, or used to hold delicate rolls and fishy ingredients together.

There is a special technique used to make sushi rice, which creates the perfect texture and moisture levels.

So, if you’re reaching for a bag of Calrose rice to make sushi, let’s find out the best way to cook sushi rice!

How To Make Sushi Rice

Want to make the most perfect sweet, sour, and sticky sushi rice? Well, look no further, as we’ve got all the information you need right here!

This method might look quite long-winded, but once you’ve made it a couple of times you’ll do it without any thought. The recipe below will make enough rice for 6 full-size sushi rolls.

Although sushi rice is the best option to make authentic Japanese sushi, any other short-grain rice or sticky medium grain rice can be substituted.

Do not be tempted to substitute the rice vinegar with any other type of vinegar though – only the real thing will do here! Most other types of vinegar are too strong and will overpower the flavor of your sushi.

However, there is one alternative, and that is sushi seasoning powder. This might seem like cheating, but it is a great way to create that authentic sushi flavor!


  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 ½ cups cold water (plus extra for rinsing and soaking)
  • 5 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Wash the rice in running water for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Place the washed rice in a bowl of water to soak for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the rice, and place it in a cooking pot.
  4. Add the cooking water to the rice.
  5. Place the pot on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring every minute or so.
  6. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and place the lid on the pot.
  7. Check the rice after 6 minutes. If you see only rice, and no bubbles of water, the rice is cooked. If you can still see water, return the pan to the heat for another minute then check again.
  8. In a small pan, combine the remaining ingredients and warm them gently. Stir this seasoning mix continuously until the sugar is dissolved.
  9. Pour the seasoning mix over the hot rice and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. The rice should be mixed using a slicing action, which prevents the cooked rice from becoming mushy and smashed.
  10. Cover the rice with a damp towel, and allow it to cool. 
  11. Your rice is now ready to use, or it can be stored in the refrigerator overnight for use the following day.

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