Sushi Rice vs. White Rice: What Is the Difference? (Explained)

Rice is probably one of the most common food in Asian cuisine, and it’s even available across the globe. However, while it’s common, many people still get confused since it comes in various types. For instance, you may encounter sushi rice and white rice, but you may ask what the difference between the two is.

Sushi rice and white rice differ mainly in texture, with sushi rice being sticky and white rice being less sticky. The stickiness of the former makes it ideal for making sushi. Further, this rice is also short-grain white, while white rice typically comes in medium or long-grain rice.

Since sushi rice is a type of white rice, they share many similar qualities and properties. Thus, if you’re torn between choosing one of the two, you need to know how they differ and which one suits your needs best.

In this article, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about sushi rice and white rice. This way, you can distinguish both and choose which rice serves best according to your preferences and needs.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Sushi Rice vs. White RicePin

Is sushi rice and white rice the same?

Sushi rice and white rice are the same because sushi rice is a type of white rice. However, in a more straightforward explanation, you can think of sushi rice as one type of white rice, while white rice doesn’t mean sushi rice.

Sushi rice is short-grain white rice that is sticky enough to be ideal in making sushi. On the other hand, regular white rice comes in grains, mainly medium and long-grains. 

Unlike sushi rice, they aren’t that sticky, which means you can consume them like you would any type of rice along with your preferred dishes. To give you a better understanding of both, read more about each of these two types of rice below.

What is sushi rice?

Sushi rice is created by simmering Japanese short-grain rice and then seasoning it with vinegar, sugar, salt, and sometimes kombu. Sushi rice is also called sushi-meshi, su-meshi, or shari in Japanese. When creating sushi, we exclusively use this vinegar-flavored rice.

However, it becomes a bit complicated since some rice firms outside of Japan describe Japanese short-grain rice as “sushi rice,” giving the impression that the rice is only used for sushi. In reality, we use the same rice for steamed rice as well as other rice recipes.

What is white rice?

White rice is processed rice that has been stripped of its shell, fiber, and germs. Further, white rice can be short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain.

This method changes the rice’s flavor, texture, and look, preventing spoiling, extending storage life, and making it simpler to digest. In addition, the rice is polished after milling, resulting in a brilliant, white, and lustrous seed.

What is the difference between sushi rice and white rice?

Although sushi rice and white rice have similarities, they also have several differences. Thus, they differ in both texture and uses. Let’s look at each of these differences for a better understanding.

Sushi rice vs. white rice taste and flavor

When it comes to taste and flavor, both sushi rice and white rice are the same. The only time they would differ is when you cook them along with other seasoning or condiments.

Rice has a neutral flavor, whether short-grain like sushi rice or medium-grain and long-grain like regular white rice. However, their added condiments and seasoning makes them differ from each other.

Still, as long as you cook both rice in plain water, you can get the neutral taste of rice that can accompany almost any dish you want to enjoy.

Sushi rice vs. white rice uses

The uses of sushi rice and white rice differ since they have different textures and properties. For instance, sushi rice has the stickiness ideal for making sushi, while white rice isn’t sticky enough to be consumed as you would enjoy rice along with other dishes.

Sushi rice is also prepared from short-grain rice, but white rice is often medium- or long-grain. Short-grain rice is similarly higher in starch than long-grain rice.

Of course, you may substitute sushi rice for regular rice. However, make sure you properly rinse it in cold water first. You should also steam it if you don’t want it to get stickier than plain rice.

Sushi rice vs. white rice calories and nutrition

Sushi rice and regular white rice have the same calories. Both types of rice provide around 130 calories for every 100 grams of serving. Thus, you can find both options equal when it comes to calories and nutrition.

Can I substitute sushi rice for white rice?

Yes, you can substitute sushi rice for white rice. Sushi rice is a type of white rice, although it can be stickier than regular white rice. Thus, you can reduce the stickiness by soaking the rice with water and washing it for an extended period. 

Can I substitute white rice for sushi rice?

Yes, you can substitute white rice for sushi rice. The only thing to keep in mind is that you can only use short-grain or medium-grain white rice. The reason is that long-grain white rice has less starch, and it’s not as sticky as short-grain sushi rice.

For this reason, when you’re making sushi, and you only have regular white rice, you can use it as long as it’s medium-grain. To make sure it’s sticky enough, you can lessen the washing time with water to keep most of the starch.

If you use long-grain white rice, you may not manage the sushi well since it won’t stick to the seaweed sushi wrap.


In a nutshell, sushi rice and white rice are different from each other, only in texture. Sushi rice is short-grain white rice known for its extra sticky texture, making it ideal for making sushi wrapped in a seaweed wrap. On the other hand, white rice or regular white rice is either medium or long-grain rice typically enjoyed with other dishes. 

Both rice has neutral flavors, which means they can go along with most dishes. In essence, they only differ in their texture and their primary use.



Image credits – Canva

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