7 Sushi Rice Substitutes to Try Now

Today, we will be showing you 7 sushi rice substitutes! Sushi rice is an appealing part of sushi. However, some of us look for a change sometimes. On the other hand, sushi rice might be a tasty treat but it is not for all.

Whether it is the former or the latter, you need not worry. One or two of the 7 sushi rice substitutes we will show you today will probably help you! Well, let’s not delay this anymore, and let’s go!

What is Sushi Rice?

sushi rice alternative

Before we continue, let’s quickly define what sushi rice is. This way, we can ensure we are on the same page.

Sushi rice is seasoned, short or medium-grain rice. Often, white Japanese rice is the choice rice to make this rice. Many have assumed then that Japanese white rice already pertains to sushi rice.

That is not the case, though. One could say that sushi rice is processed rice – or a dish already. As you would expect then, any rice can be sushi rice.

In making this list, we have taken this fact into account. For today’s discussion purposes, sushi rice will pertain to seasoned, short or medium-grain white rice. So, you can expect that other types of rice will be on the list.

We now got that out of the way. Now, it’s time to get to know the sushi rice substitutes!

Other Rice

You might not want to use white rice, but there are other types of rice you can use. Let’s talk about these rice options first.

1. Brown Rice

substitute for rice in sushi-Brown Rice

Brown rice might not be the best substitute as it could be a challenge to work with, and its characteristics don’t fit well with sushi. However, it is an option you want to consider if you are looking for a healthy substitute.

Also, keep in mind that it all boils down to preference and needs. While many people frown on brown rice, it might be what could work best for you.

Keep in mind that you might have to make a few adjustments if you decide to replace white rice with brown rice. Depending on how you like your sushi rice, you might have to adjust to the cooking process or the sushi-zu.

2. Black Rice

substitute for sushi rice-Black Rice

On the other hand, you can also use black rice, also called forbidden rice. However, you don’t have to worry! Despite the name, you don’t have to be afraid to use it for your sushi!

Black rice might not be a common choice not only for sushi, but it offers tons of health benefits. For example, it is known for preventing cancer.

This rice also holds a particular sweetness. If you decide to go with black rice, you might want to lessen or omit the sugar from your sushi-zu. Other than that, you can cook it similarly to how one cooks sushi rice.

3. Red Rice

substitute sushi rice-Red Rice

Not into white, brown, or black rice? Well, you might want to look into red rice!

Like all the other types of rice, it also holds good things. It would be easy to remember that it helps produce RCB for the body because of its color for one.

If you decide to go with red rice, you have to keep in mind that, like brown and black rice, you cook it differently from white rice.

If you are interested in knowing more or making sushi with red rice, you might want to check this recipe by Not Quite Nigella.

Other Rice Options

We won’t talk in detail about these because they are still white rice. However, these are also commonly listed as sushi rice substitutes. If you didn’t like the ones above, you might want to consider these:

  • Pudding Rice
  • Milk Rice
  • Arborio

If none of these caught your attention, don’t worry. Read on! We have many more.

Other Grains

If you want to skip the rice, maybe we can interest you in trying other grains?

4. Quinoa

japanese rice substitute-Quinoa

Another healthy choice you might want to consider is quinoa. It might not be the best substitute considering appearances, but it is a good choice for other reasons.

First, as we have already said, it is a healthy choice. It is one of the best choices for those with diabetes for one. It is not only known to lessen the risk for diabetes, but it can also help control blood sugar.

For another, its taste, texture, and consistency seem to be pretty similar to rice. With that, you won’t have much problem handling this one.

What to know how to use quinoa for sushi? Well, you might want to check this video out:

5. Couscous

substitute for japanese rice-Couscous

Don’t want rice? Maybe you want to use some pasta then. In that case, you might want to use couscous! This one might be pasta, but as you can see, it looks a whole lot like rice.

Since it is pasta, keep in mind that you would have to cook it differently from how you cook rice.

Other Substitutes

If you don’t want any grain on your sushi, that is also possible. If that is the case, you might want to check out our last two options!

6. Cauliflower

substitute for white rice-Cauliflower

Are you on a keto diet? In that case, you might want to use cauliflower instead!

There are sushi recipes that use cauliflower instead of sushi rice, and you might have seen them already. You might have noted the cauliflower listed as cauliflower rice, though.

If you are trying to avoid rice, you don’t have to worry. Despite the name, it is not rice. It is grated cauliflower.

Cauliflower might look like rice, but as we said, it is not rice. Aside from the looks, they are different in many aspects. Since cauliflower is not sticky, you might want to add some extra sugar to your sushi-zu.

On the other hand, you might want to consider using some honey. Another thing to note is that it doesn’t expand like rice, and you will likely need more cauliflower if you plan to use it.

You can buy premade cauliflower rice, but you can also make it yourself. If you want to try your hands at the job, you can check out how over at Love and Lemons.

Still, if you are looking for a healthy alternative, cauliflower is one you want to consider.

7. No Rice

replacements for rice-No Rice

Did none of the above tickle your fancy? Well, fear not. We have one more suggestion that might work for you! If you don’t want to use sushi rice or any of these substitutes, you might want to make sushi without rice.

Now, you might ask: is that possible? Yes!

There are many types and kinds of sushi. They come in different shapes, colors, tastes, and sizes. However, traditionally, most of them use rice.

With that, it might be unusual to see sushi without it. It might be different, yes, but sushi without rice does exist.

Sushi is only recently gaining popularity in the US, but it has been in existence for many years.

Through the years, the original recipe has gone under many innovations and reinventions. Today, there are now many sushi recipes that have skipped the rice entirely.

How to Make Sushi with No Sushi Rice?

Now, you might be wondering how. There are several ways to do it, but you might want to go for a roll for this one.

While you can forgo the rice in a nigiri or a chirashi, you would end up with a completely different dish this way. You would end up with sashimi! While it is a tasty treat, it is not a type of sushi, as some say.

The easiest way to make sushi without rice would be to skip it. Take this keto sushi roll by Wholesome Yum, for example.

If you want to make the sushi even healthier, you can also change the wrap. You don’t only have to forgo the rice. For example, you can change the nori to shiso leaves or cucumber strips.

Things to Keep in Mind with These Sushi Rice Substitutes

is sweet rice sushi rice

Before you go, allow us to impart a few tips before you go ahead and make some sushi without using sushi rice.

First, you want to keep in mind that you can’t cook these substitutes the same way you cook sushi rice. To get the taste, consistency, and texture that imitates sushi rice, as we have said above, you have to make some adjustments here and there.

Second, as we have said above, what makes rice sushi rice is the sushi-zu. When making adjustments, you might have to look at your sushi-zu first.


There you have it! Today, we talked about 7 sushi rice substitutes!

First, we talked about what sushi rice is in the first place. Here, we learned that sushi rice is more of a process than a type of rice.

However, we also learned that people often associate sushi rice with white rice. (Which we noted. So, for discussion’s sake, we listed other rice options.)

After that, we listed the types of rice, grain, and unique options you have to skip the rice.

We hope we helped you today! Feel free to visit again if you have other sushi questions, concerns, or matters you want to address!

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