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How To Cook Japanese Rice Perfectly Like You’re The Japanese On Stove Top Without A Rice Cooker

How To Cook Perfectly Rice Like You're The Japanese On Stove top Without Rice Cooker Food & Recipes

Japanese rice, known as sushi rice or sticky rice, is short-grain rice.

They will hardly become delicious sticky but fluffy shiny rice when you cook the rice like when you cook long-grain rice.

If you often get terrible mushy Japanese rice, you may miss how to cook Japanese rice properly.

Well, it is easy to solve the problems by simply using a rice cooker.

Yet, you probably don’t want to spend money on it when you rarely cook rice at home.

So, how to cook the rice on the stovetop?

Before reading this post, if you have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, I definitely recommend cooking the rice with them rather than cooking it on the stovetop.

Effortless, quick, sweeter, and fluffier.

So, skip reading this post and jump to ↓


I found this perfect recipe on how to cook rice perfectly while I lived without a rice cooker or pressure cooker.

This recipe is available for even other short-grain rice, medium-grain rice, and maybe sometimes long-grain rice.

Long-grain rice such as Thai rice or Jasmine rice is often cooked in plenty of boiling water and the rice will likely be mushy or soft cooked rice in the same recipe in this pot. On the other hand, you can go ahead if you like soft rice like me.

Shortly, the most important to cook delicious Japanese (short and medium-grain) rice on the stovetop,

  • SOAK

Rinse The Rice Before Cooking

Yes, you should rinse your rice every time before cooking to clean and remove excess starch from the rice.

Removing excess starch is essential to make fluffy, shiny, sweet, and delicious rice without starch flavor.

Rinsing the rice is called “togu” (研ぐ) in the Japanese term, which literally means “polish”- this process refers to removing the rice bran, dirt, and dust that adhere to the surface of the rice as well as excess starch.

Simply, add water and drain first.

Swirl your rice a few times.
Add water and rinse excess starch and repeat this process for a few times.

Use Purified Water For The Initial Rinse

If you want to upgrade your rice, use purified water for the initial rinse since uncooked rice absorbs water from the initial rinse.

You don’t need to keep using the purified water after the initial rinse.

Let The Rice Soak In The Water Before Cooking

When you cook the rice on the stovetop (or cook the rice with a rice cooker), let them soak in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes for cooking the rice perfectly every time.

You can skip this process when using a pressure cooker/ instant pot and this is one of the reasons I prefer to use my fav Instant Pot for cooking rice.

Why Do You Need To Soak Rice Before Cooking?

Soaking the rice grains in the water can cook the rice effectively, evenly, and quickly.

Since the rice grains absorb water, the core of the grain will be cooked evenly and quickly, and it helps the starch contained in the rice will breaks down into sugar (gelatinization of rice).

Do you taste slightly sweet when eating the rice?

It is because of
“Gelatinization of rice” is essential for sweet and delicious rice.

On the other hand, when you cook the rice without soaking the rice in water, the rice will be partially cooked before the core of the rice grain will be cooked and the starch breaks down into sugar.

How Long Should You Soak The Rice

Simply, let the rice soak in water for a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature.

Can you leave the soaking rice overnight?

Basically, it is better to avoid soaking the rice overnight at room temperature since it causes over-soaked and the concern of contamination.

If you really want to soak the rice overnight, store it in a fridge and drain the rice within up to 12 hours.

Adding a pinch of salt may help to prevent the growth of germs.

Yet, you can store the rice in the fridge for 30 minute-soaking and cook it the next day.

What You Can Do When You Forget Soaking Rice

It’ll often happen, don’t panic.

  1. Use lukewarm water to soak the rice and let the rice absorb water for 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
  2. Get a pressure cooker or Instant Pot so that you can skip this process.

The Ratio Of Water To Rice

In my recipe, (cook the rice on the stovetop, cook the rice with pressure/instant pot), use the cup that you use for measuring rice, and add the same cup of water with the rice.

Learning about the ratio between the rice and the water is an essential key to the perfect fluff rice.

It is not an easy task even for me since the ratio varies depending on the type of rice, production of rice, seasons, and cooking method including the types of pot, rice cooker, and stove.

Speaking of this point, using a rice cooker is the easiest and quickest way to get to know the ratio, well, even you don’t need to know because there is a water guideline in an inner pot.

Often, in Japanese home cooking, it tells us to use a finger to find the water line, yet, it’s almost gambling to me.

Besides, we have different sizes of fingers and use different pots, I doubt this myth today.

In my recipe, (cook the rice on the stovetop, cook the rice with pressure/instant pot), use the cup that you use for measuring rice, and add the same cup of water with the rice.

Once in a while, this ratio doesn’t work for cooking long-grain rice, yet, adding an equal amount of water to the rice is so far my secret key.

You’ll need to take a little time and patience to get to know the exact ratio of water, anyway, you’re close to getting the perfect rice when rinsing and soaking the rice, and adding the same amount of water.

Remember, if you don’t soak rice in the water, this ratio doesn’t work.

The Best Pot To Cook The Japanese Rice On The Stove

To tell you the truth, the best (suitable) pot to cook Japanese rice is a wide-flat-bottom pot with a tight-fitting lid.

Since we aim for cooking the rice effectively at the best temperature, a wide flat bottom pot provides the heat evenly and quickly to the rice.

Actually, a skillet perfectly suits these conditions, choosing a non-stick type will be easy to clean!

A small (8-inch) frying pan can cook up to 2 cups of rice.

Can You Cook The Rice In A Cast-Iron?

Yes, you can.

The enameled cast iron is easy to clean (it’s important, right?) and has the perfect wide flat bottom with a heavy lid that holds steam inside, resulting in perfectly fluffy rice.

(Even more, you have no mess if the water will try to overflow on the stovetop.)

However, cooking the rice in the cast iron pot will require a little more attention to the heat while cooking due to its excellent heat distribution.

The Best Temperature To Cook Rice On The Stovetop

In Japanese rice cooking terms, “Cook rice over high heat until the water boiled, reduce to low heat until the end”.

It refers to bringing the water to a boil quickly and cooking the rice effectively.

High (or medium-high) heat to bring water to a boil, then, cook the rice over low heat.

You’ll need to pay attention until the water boils since it easily overflows and makes a mess on the stovetop.

Adjust high heat if the water gets overflow easily, reduce the heat to medium-high (or medium) if needed.

Murashi Process

After cooking the rice for about 7 minutes over low heat, uncover and check inside if there is still water cooking.

When you see the water is still cooking, add every 1-2 minutes until you don’t see it.

After cooking the rice in the pot, leave the lid on and finish cooking the rice while steaming for about 10-15 minutes to make the rice fluffy and delicious.

It is called “Murashi” in Japanee, which is also an important tip for delicious rice.

When using a Japanese rice cooker, this process is already set so you don’t need to add the steaming time.

Serve The Cooked Rice

It’s time to open the lid after sitting the rice covered for 10-15 minutes.

You can see the rice pops up and make some bumps-which are good signs.

Transfer the cooked rice to a container with a lid at least before sleep since keeping the cooked rice in a pot (or even in a rice cooker) will dry out the rice.

You can use a traditional Japanese rice keeper called Ohitsu.

Ohitsu is a special container to keep the cooked rice warm and delicious.

It can keep effectively foods warm and moderately moist.
Not only cooked rice, but it’s also suitable for meat, seafood, veggies, and, steamed dishes without getting cold and watery them.

The cool side is about this product is Microwave and Oven-safe.

Freeze Cooked Rice

Do you like to know the rice freezing tip?

I tell you why and how to freeze the cooked rice in this post so please check out later!

Or check this out↓

How Do The Japanese Cook White Rice Without A Rice Cooker

Rico McConnellRico McConnell
Cooking rice on the stovetop is hard to say easy. Although you'll need a little more techniques and experience, follow these steps and make sweet, fluffy, delicious Japanese rice ever. So, how do we, the Japanese, cook rice fluffy, sticky, and delicious?
Let's check out the steps.
*This recipe is available for especially medium, and short-grain white rice.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups Japanese rice, short or medium-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • purified water for the initial rinse


Wash And Rinse The Rice

  • In a large mixing bowl, add your desired amount of rice.
  • (The Initial Rinse) Pour purified water into the bowl. Gently stir the rice a few times, then drain the rice.
  • After the initial rinse, make a claw on your hand and gently swirl the rice a few times.
  • Add tap water and drain.
  • Repeat washing and rinse the rice with tap water until the drained water will be almost clear.*Approximately, repeat 3-5 times for 2 cups of rice.*Avoid over-washing since the rice grain will be cracked.
  • Let the rice soak in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Cook The Rice

  • Drain the rice and transfer the rinsed rice to the pot.
  • Add 2 cups of water. (the same amount of water as the rice.)
    *Use the same cup that you measured uncooked rice.
  • Cover the pot with a lid or foil. Bring the water to a boil over high or medium-high.
  • Once the water boiled, reduce the heat to low and cook the rice cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Uncover and check if there is still water cooking. Add every 1-2 minutes to cook through the rice until you don't see any water.

"Murashi"-A Steaming process

  • Turn off the stove and let the rice continue cooking with the steam covered for about 10-15 minutes.
    *Avoid uncovering the pot while the steaming process.

Transfer The Cooked Rice

  • After the Murashi process, transfer the cooked rice to another container. to avoid the cooked rice drying out.
  • If you want to freeze the cooked rice, it is better to wrap the rice at this point. (while it is still warm.)
    For more details, read this post.


©Japanmcconnell/Rico McConnell- Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
Keyword Bento, Easy, Kid-friendly, Rice, Tips & Hack, Traditional, Vegetarian

The Bottom Line

Cooking rice is required experience and techniques for sure, and I still often fail to cook perfectly the rice today.

Japanese sticky rice may little more difficult than other white rice such as short, medium, and long-grain, (but not risotto rice,) so start these grains of rice if you are a beginner.

(But you can’t make sushi with this rice in case you don’t know.)

Also, 2 cups of rice are the best amount every time you want to cook without a rice cooker.

It is because the rice on the bottom is easily squished and watery, or overcooked.

You Should Buy An Instant Pot Rather Than A Japanese Rice Cooker

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