Japanese-Style Steamed Rice

Japanese steamed rice

The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Soak/Dry Time: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
150 Calories
0g Fat
33g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 150
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*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.)

Steamed rice is a staple food for almost any Japanese meal and is considered the primary source of food in Japan. In fact, the Japanese term for rice, gohan, is often also used to refer to a meal or dinner. No Japanese meal is complete without it.

Japanese rice is always short grain and usually polished white rice (hakumai) as opposed to the less attractive unpolished brown rice (genmai). Names to look out for when purchasing rice for gohan are Japanese rice, sushi rice, Calrose rice, short-grain rice, or Japonica (not be confused with Jasponica, which is a blend of fragrant Thai jasmine rice). 

Traditionally, the gohan is brought to the table in a tub made of cedar and dished to each individual's bowl with a wooden rice paddle. The rice is meant to become a little sticky when cooked, which makes it easier to collect with the finely pointed Japanese style of chopsticks. 


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"Another key word to look for when purchasing rice is Koshihikari. This is the type of rice regularly used In Japanese cooking. Any amount of rice can be used as long as the water is equal; however, when using a rice cooker, you don’t want to do less than 1 cup of rice." —Rick Horiike

Japanese-Style Steamed Rice Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Rice and water in separate bowls

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  2. Put the rice in a large bowl and wash it with cold water. Repeat washing until the water becomes almost clear.

    Rice in water

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  3. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes.

    Rice in strainer

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  4. Cook the rice using either a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove.

Rice Cooker Method

  1. If using a rice cooker, place the rice in the cooker and add the water. Let the rice soak in the water ​for at least 30 minutes to an hour. An hour is ideal.

    Rice cooker with water

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  2. Start the cooker.

    Rice cooking in rice cooker with lid on

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  3. When done, stop the heat and let the cooker steam for about 15 minutes before opening the lid.

    Cooked rice in rice cooker

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  4. Fluff the rice with a rice spatula and serve into individual rice bowls.

    Cooked rice fluffed in rice cooker

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Stovetop Method

  1. If you are cooking rice in a pot, put the rice and water in the pot. Let the rice soak in the water for at least 30 minutes to an hour. An hour is ideal.

    Rice and water in a pot

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  2. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the water is almost gone.

    Rice cooking in a pot with the lid on

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  3. Turn off the heat and let it steam for about 15 minutes before opening the lid.

    Cooked rice in pot

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  4. Fluff the rice with a rice spatula and serve in individual rice bowls.

    Rice fluffed in a pot

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

How to Store and Freeze

  • Cool leftover rice quickly by spreading it out on a platter or baking sheet. Add to an airtight container and refrigerate within an hour.
  • Use within a day or two. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop sprinkled with some water.
  • Alternatively, after cooling the rice, add it to a zip-top freezer bag, remove the excess air, and freeze for up to two months. To reheat, break the frozen rice into chunks, add to a bowl, cover, and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.


  • It is important to wash and rinse the rice in cold water before cooking. 
  • The amount of water to cook Japanese rice is the same cup-for-cup amount as other types of white rice rice or slightly more. The right amount of water to cook Japanese rice vary, depending on the type and freshness of the rice.
  • If you are cooking rice in a rice cooker, add water to the line indicated on the inner pot.
  • Don't be tempted to open the lid while cooking, as that can let steam out and result in rice that is crunchy.

What Is the Difference Between Japanese Rice and Other Rice?

Japanese rice is a short-grain white rice that tends to be fluffy and slightly sticky. It is sometimes labeled as Japanese or sushi rice in America.