If you love Japanese cuisine, learning how to cook Japanese rice in a rice cooker will make things easier for you in the kitchen.
Rice, like in many other countries, is a staple in Japan. Rice has been cultivated for thousands of years in Japan and the Japanese eat rice almost every day, sometimes even in all three meals!
Japanese rice is a short-grain variety of rice with a sticky texture. To get that perfect consistency of sticky rice, the trick is to get the perfect water to rice ratio when you cook the rice. It’s super easy to do with a rice cooker as the rice cooker has measurements on it and you can measure the level of water as you pour it in the rice cooker.
Keep on reading to find out how to cook Japanese rice in a rice cooker with perfect Japanese rice to water ratio in a rice cooker.
How To Cook Japanese Rice In A Rice Cooker
When cooked properly. Japanese rice will have a sticky texture with enough moisture that it goes down your throat easily. But if the water ratio is even slightly off, you’ll end up with really dry rice.
If you check online, you’ll find the most ‘how to cook Japanese rice’ blogs and articles say that the water to short-grain rice ratio should be 1:1, this is where you go wrong (don’t worry, it’s a common mistake and I’ve done this myself before too.)
The Rice to Water Ratio for Short-Grain Rice
“The water to Japanese short grain ratio is 1:1.1 or 1:1.2’’
This basically means that you need to add 10% to 20% more water than Japanese rice, that is, for 1 rice cooker cup (180ml), you have to add 200 ml of water! It’s just that simple.
This way you know your rice has enough moisture to not go completely dry.
But if you still want to go with the 1:1 rice to water ratio then soak the Japanese rice in a separate water for about 30 minutes before cooking, drain it well, and then add the measured amount of water for 1:1 rice to water ratio.
The problem is that most recipes for how to cook Japanese rice in a rice cooker miss out on this step. And your rice is deprived of that extra 10-20% of moisture because of which it comes out dry.
How much water do you use when cooking Japanese rice in a rice cooker?
When cooking Japanese rice in a rice cooker follow the rule of 1:1.1 or 1:1.2 rice to water ratio.
How Much Water Do You Need for Each Cup?
One cup of Japanese rice is 180 ml then use 200 ml of water.
2 cups of Japanese rice is 360 ml then use 400 ml of water
3 cups of Japanese rice is 540 ml then use 600 ml of water
4 cups of Japanese rice is 720 ml then use 800 ml of water
5 cups of Japanese rice is 900 ml then use 1000 ml of water.
Just follow this calculation to get the perfect water to rice ratio when cooking Japanese rice in a rice cooker.
Formula: If one rice cooker cup = 180 ml
180ml x no. of rice cooker cups of rice x 1.1 (or 1.2) = amount of water to add in ml
Say, for example, you want to cook 5 and half cups of Japanese rice then:
180ml x 5.5 x 1.1 (or 1.2) = 1,089 ml (or 1,188) ml of water should be added to the rice cooker.
If you don’t have the patience to measure the water to the T then just add a little more water than the amount of rice you’ve added to the rice cooker. So if you put 3 cups of Japanese rice then add 3 cups of water plus a little more water to the rice cooker.
Japanese Rice Secret Tip: Do Not Skip The Soaking
Unlike other varieties of rice, it’s important to soak Japanese short-grain rice in water for at least 20-30 minutes so that short rice grain absorbs enough moisture to its core.
How much Japanese rice to cook?
When cooked, one rice cooker cup (180 ml) of Japanese rice will give 2 bowls of cooker Japanese rice (=330g of cooked Japanese rice). So measure how much Japanese rice to cook depending on how many bowls of rice you want to serve.
Best Japanese Rice Cooker
If you don’t have a rice cooker yet then it’s a good idea to invest in one cause it makes the whole process of cooking so much easier. This way you know you won’t overcook the rice and your Japanese rice is cooked to perfection every single time, without you having to keep checking on it again and again.
And while your Japanese rice is automatically being cooked to perfection sitting in the rice cooker you can concentrate cooking a Japanese curry or gravy to go along with the Japanese rice.
My favorite rice cooker is the Zojirushi Japanese rice cooker and warmer. It can cook up to 5 and a half cups of uncooked Japanese rice. It does take quite a bit of space in your kitchen counter but that’s okay because the benefits it offers will make your life so much easier.
It has an automatic ‘keep warm’ feature and extended ‘keep warm’ feature so once your rice is cooked it will stay warm until you decide to serve it. You can steam veggies or even bake a cake!
The Zojirushi rice cooker also has other really convenient menu setting options like white/sushi, mixed, sweet, porridge, brown, cake, steam and quick cooking.
Here’s a step-by-step instructions on how to make Japanese rice in a rice cooker:
How To Make Japanese Rice in a Rice Cooker
- Prep time + Soaking time: about 30 minutes
- Cook time: about 55 minutes
- Serving: 2 bowls of rice
White short-grain Japanese rice
For 1 rice cooker cup of Japanese rice (180 ml)
- 200 ml of water
For 2 rice cooker cups of Japanese rice (360 ml)
- 400 ml of water
For 3 rice cooker cups of Japanese rice (540 ml)
- 600 ml of water
For 4 rice cooker cups of Japanese rice (720 ml)
- 800 ml of water
For 5 rice water cups of Japanese rice (900 ml)
- 1000 ml of water
Brown Short-grain Japanese Rice
For 1 rice cooker cup of brown short grain Japanese rice (180 ml)
- 300-320 ml of water
- kosher/sea salt
For 2 rice cooker cups of brown short grain Japanese rice (360 ml)
- 570-600 ml of water
- kosher/sea salt
For 3 rice cooker cups of brown short grain Japanese rice (540 ml)
- 900 ml of water
- kosher/sea salt
For 4 rice cooker cups of brown short grain Japanese rice (720 ml)
- 1200 ml of water
- kosher/sea salt
Note: You can adjust the salt according to your preference
INSTRUCTIONS: How To Cook Japanese Rice In A Rice Cooker
Before you cook Japanese rice…
Rinse the Rice
- Using the rice cooker cup (or your own measuring cup) take the desired amount of rice you want in a separate vessel. Remember, one rice cooker cup (180 ml) of Japanese short-grain rice will yield you 2 bowls of rice.
- Add just enough water to completely submerge the rice. Discard the water immediately. Repeat this 2-3 times.
Tip: when you start rinsing the rice, the rice will absorb water very quickly. So make sure that you don’t allow the rice to absorb the few rounds of water by discarding the water quickly.
- Add water to completely submerge the rice again but this gently wash the rice in the vessel using your fingers. To wash the rice, move the rice around in circular motions using your fingers for 10-15 seconds.
- Discard the water
- Add water again to the vessel with rice and repeat Step 3 again.
- Wash the rice like this 2-3 times or until the water runs almost clear when your drain the water
- When the water run almost clear, drain out the water well.
Soaking the Rice
- Add the drained rice to your rice cooker
- Add water according to 1:1.1 (or 1.2) ratio. I’ve added one rice cooker cup of Japanese rice (180 ml) so I’m going to add 200 ml of water to the rice.
- Let the rice soak in the water for about 20-30 minutes
Cook the Rice
- Next, in the menu settings of your rice cooker press ‘Start’
- Your rice cooker should automatically alert you once the rice is cooked. My rice cooker takes about 55 minutes to cook the rice
- After the rice is cooked, let the rice steam for 10 minutes. Do this, only if your rice cooker doesn’t have the steaming option.
- Open the rice cooker and, using a rice paddle, fluff the rice.
- Serve it in a bowl and enjoy along with your favorite dish.
How to store cooked rice:
Transfer the leftover rice into airtight containers and close the lid to retain the moisture and store Japanese rice. Ensure that the rice has cooled down before you stick the containers into the freezer.
How to reheat Japanese rice in a microwave
Transfer the rice to a microwave safe dish. Sprinkle some about 2 tablespoons of water over the rice. (A little more water if there’s more rice). Cover the bowl with the rice with a damp paper towel and turn on the microwave. Let it heat for about 20 seconds per cup of rice or until it is thoroughly hot.
If you’re heating a large amount of rice then you may have to pause the heating in the middle and stir the rice and stick it back in the microwave for even heating.
How to reheat Japanese rice in a stovetop
Transfer the rice in a pot. The pot you choose to reheat rice on the stovetop shouldn’t be too deep so you stir it easily. Once you’ve added cold rice to the pot, drizzle some water over the rice, about 2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice. Cover the pot. And keep the flame at medium-low heat. Stir the rice gently every few minutes until the rice is evenly hot.
- Other than rice, Noodles are also all the rage in Japan. Read all about Soba, Ramen, Udon noodles, and pick your favorite here!
- If you’re a coffee-lover, you’re going to love these instant coffee brands from Japan. Check it out here!
Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!