Okayu (Japanese Rice Porridge)

Japanese rice porridge

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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
174 Calories
0g Fat
38g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 174
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 590mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 3g
Calcium 43mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Okayu (Japanese rice porridge) is a comforting dish of rice and water. It is easy to digest, so people in Japan commonly eat it when they have a cold, are recovering from an illness, or don't have much of an appetite. It is also a popular baby food and served to the elderly. You may also find it on hotel breakfast buffet tables.

Compared to other countries' rice porridge, okayu is much thicker due to the water-to-rice ratio of 1-to-5. (Cantonese-style congee is 1-to-12.) This is a basic recipe to make plain okayu, but various ingredients such as chicken, salmon, eggs, and vegetables like radishes can be added if desired. Sometimes okayu is cooked with stock instead of water to add flavor, but it is comforting and made simply with a few toppings to choose from, such as green onion, sesame seeds, and umeboshi (pickled apricots or plums).


  • 1/2 cup Japanese rice (short grain rice)
  • 3 cups water (adjust the amount of water-based on how thick you like the porridge)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Optional: green onion (chopped)
  • Optional: sesame seeds
  • Optional: umeboshi ( ume pickles)

Steps to Make It

  1. Wash Japanese rice and drain. Put 3 cups water and rice in a heavy-bottomed pot or earthenware pot. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.

  2. Cover the pot, put it over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and cook the rice for about 30 minutes. Stop the heat, leave on the cover and let it steam for about 10 minutes.

  3. Put toppings into separate bowls. Season okayu with salt. Spoon into individual rice bowls and serve with toppings on the side. 

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