Can You Leave Sushi Rice Overnight?

Can You Leave Sushi Rice Overnight?

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I like trying out foods from various parts of the world. So, the other day I prepared some sushi rice. Well, turned out I miscalculated in my measurements and ended up with more rice than I could use for my sushi. I decided to do a research to check whether I can leave leftovers for the next day.

So, can you leave sushi rice overnight? Well, it is not advisable to leave sushi rice overnight. It won’t taste the same the next day. It will not have a good taste like when you made it the previous night. Therefore, if you want your sushi to taste great, don’t leave the sushi rice overnight.

When you refrigerate your sushi rice it will become dry and won’t have its sticky texture anymore. If you leave it at room temperature, chances are it will develop bacteria that will be harmful to your health. Leaving sushi rice overnight is not a good idea. You should, therefore, use your sushi rice within a short time after making it.


What is Sushi Rice?

Sushi rice is steamed rice which has been spiced with vinegar based flavors. Sushi rice is an important part of making various sushi dishes. Some people will serve slices of fresh raw fish without sushi rice and say they have prepared a dish of sushi.

If you belong in that category, you are wrong. Sushi dish without sushi rice is not sushi! You have been serving sashimi all along.

Related Article: Difference Between Nigiri, Sashimi, Sushi Roll, Hand Roll, Gunkan Sushi

Reasons to Avoid Leaving Your Sushi Rice Overnight

Some people will prepare their sushi nice night before they make their Sushi. The argument for most of them is that it will save time the next day. However, as much as it seems reasonable, it has some disadvantages.

Taste and Texture

A dish of sushi is all about taste and texture. After all, if it wasn’t tasty it won’t be enjoying the worldwide popularity it has as one of the best Japanese dishes. When you decide to leave sushi rice over night, you risk messing with the taste of your dish.

Your rice will have a nasty taste the next day and will not have the sticky texture required to mold sushi dishes. It will be too hard and almost impossible to make a sushi roll.

Food Poisoning

Rice is rich in starch which forms a good breeding ground for bacteria. The toxic that these bacteria produce can result in negative effects like diarrhea and stomach upsets. You don’t want to be rushing to the washrooms every now and then after enjoying your sushi dish, do you?

The worst part is that the toxins aren’t neutralized through heating your rice again. Unless you want to spend the better part of your day in the washrooms, avoid leaving sushi rice overnight.

So, does it mean when you prepare more sushi rice than you need you will have to throw away the surplus? No, there are some approaches you can use to keep it a little bit good.

How to Keep Your Sushi overnight if you can’t avoid it?

If for some reason you find yourself with sushi rice that has to be left overnight, don’t worry. Below are several ways you can use to ensure your rice remains useful the next day.

  • Use a wet towel to cover it.
  • Use an airtight bag to put the sushi rice and then refrigerate it. You should ensure the bag doesn’t have air to prevent it from becoming hard.

How can you tell whether your sushi rice is good for use after leaving it overnight?

If you happen to leave sushi rice overnight, how do you know if it’s good for making sushi or not? Below are signs you can use to tell whether you have good sushi rice or a disaster in waiting:

i. Does it have a rich fragrant smell? If yes, you are good to go. Otherwise, if it happens to have a sour smell and a bad odor, throw it in the dustbin.

ii. What is the color of the sushi rice? If it is anything else other than white, then don’t try to use it to make sushi. Good sushi rice should be all white. No matter how good it smells, you will either make something with a nasty taste or end up spending the better part of your day in the washroom vomiting.

iii. How is the moisture content of the sushi rice? Is it too mushy or excessively wet? Even though sushi rice is supposed to be wet for proper rolling, it shouldn’t be in excess. It won’t roll well when in that situation.

Related Article: How Long Can Sushi Sit Out At A Party?

Best Rice for Making Great Tasting Sushi Dish?

Rice is the heart of sushi. Without it, you can’t make a dish of sushi. However, not any other rice is considered to be good for sushi rice. You should use white, short rice in your sushi making.

Such rice will produce a soft, sticky consistency, which is what you need to make great rolls. Does it mean you can’ t use brown rice to make sushi rice? Well, this type of rice is considered to be healthier as compared to the white one.

However, when it comes to sushi making, whole rice isn’t so good at it, why? An ideal sushi roll should have a balance in terms of texture and taste of components involved in its making. This type of rice has low amylopectin starch as compared to its white counterpart.

This makes it firmer and hard to make sushi rolls. This rice is also rich in fiber and other nutrients which make it have a strong taste that overpowers the flavors of fish used in the sushi rolls. To some people, these flavors define a true sushi dish. If they lack, then that is not sushi.

Preparing Sushi Rice?

Soaking (optional)

If you want your rice grains to yield a good texture, soak them for at least 3o mins. This will ensure water will reach the inner most part hence a better texture.


This is somehow tricky. You need to rinse off any chemicals which may have been used to preserve rice while at the same time you need to avoid breaking the grains. You should, therefore, wash it gently repeatedly until the rinsing water becomes clear.


Vinegar, sugar, and salt are the seasonings you will need for your sushi rice. They are meant to make it have balanced taste in terms of sweetness, sourishness, and saltiness.

Of all the seasonings, vinegar is the most important. For one, it enhances the taste and smell of the sushi by getting rid of the smell of raw fish. Then it preserves the rice by killing bacteria.

Room temperatures favor bacteria growth which can result in food poisoning. However, vinegar tries to neutralize bacteria to keep your sushi rice safe fora longer time. This doesn’t mean you can leave it for a long time. Vinegar is not 100 percent effective in killing bacteria.

Related Questions

I searched for the recommended sushi rice in the local store but didn’t find one. So can I still use regular white rice to make sushi rice?

Well, I suppose you mean any white rice you come across in your local store when you mean regular white rice, right? You can’t use it to make sushi rice. Rice meant for making sushi rice is more polished than the ordinary rice.

The texture is a major difference in the two types of rice. Furthermore, the regular rice you may come across may break easily when rinsing because it is not meant specifically for such purpose. All factors considered, you won’t get ideal sushi rice when you use regular rice.

I prepared sushi rice the other day and followed all the procedures for making sushi. However, I ended up with sushi with way too sweet and vinegary taste. Where could I have gone wrong?

Sorry for the disappointment. To avoid such from repeating, you should add sugar and vinegar little by little. Keep mixing and tasting to ensure you get a balance between all the components involved in preparing sushi rice.

Can you turn things around for sushi rice that has become hard due to refrigerating it leaving it overnight?

If inevitable circumstance forces you to leave sushi rice overnight in the fridge, then it becomes hard, use a microwave to warm it. It will soften a bit for making sushi. Instead of going all this trouble, next time your sushi rice in an airtight bag before refrigerating it.


Using fresh ingredients is the secret to making delicious sushi dishes. Rice being the most important element of making sushi should always be fresh. If you want to make tasty sushi, don’t leave sushi rice overnight. It will not only taste bad but also pose a health risk to you and your family. If possible, use your sushi rice a short time after making it.


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