How to cook Japanese rice with your pot

How to cook Japanese rice with your pot

If you have a Japanese rice cooker, you probably feel like you don’t need any instructions on cooking rice.
However, If you don’t mind sparing some time for reading this blog, you might find something new that even many Japanese people don’t know.

Please don’t give up cooking Japanese rice even If you don’t have a rice cooker. You can cook it with a pot which you may have. All you need is a thick pot with a heavy lid to make rice.
These types of pots work well for cooking rice.

Today I’m going to use my “Le Creuset” because it’s more commonly used in the world than the Japanese style earthen pots.

Japanese way of measuring rice

In Japan, a 200ml cup is used as 1 cup. However, when you measure rice and sake (Japanese rice wine), 1 cup means 180ml. If you have a Japanese rice cooker, It probably came with the 180ml cup.

In a Japanese traditional way, the wooden container called 枡(Masu) was used as a measuring cup for many foods and even currency.
There are some sizes of Musu that are based on the traditional units of weight and length called 尺貫法(syakkanhou). The smallest unit of weight is called 合(gou). The smallest Masu called 一合枡 (Ichi gou masu). Ichi means “one” in case you don’t know that.

The unit is still used to measure some things such as rice or sake (Japanese rice wine). The amount of one gou is 180 ml. That’s why we use a 180ml cup to measure rice.

Just remember that 180ml of rice is about 150g (about 5oz) even if you don’t have any of these cups.

Proper amount of water for rice

When you cook rice without a rice cooker, you’ll probably be confused about how much water is needed. It’s said that the proper rice to water ratio is from 1: 1.1 to 1: 1.2, which is 10-20% more water. However, it completely depends on the person. Some people like hard-cooked rice and some people prefer soft-cooked rice.
The amount of water that is needed to cook rice also depends on the amount of water contained in the rice. Rice is harvested in autumn. Freshly harvested rice still has moisture but as the rice gets old, it loses moisture. When you get new rice, the amount of needed water should be less than the standard. If you have last year’s crop, that needs more water.

When I was a child, I learned washing rice strongly like polishing to remove the remaining miller’s bran.
Since the development of rice polishing machines, it’s much easier to remove the bran. Hard work is no longer required.
Let’s cook Japanese rice!


How to cook Japanese rice with your pot.

Servings 4 people
Author Mika


  • Thick pot with heavy lid


  • 3 gou rice 180ml × 3 cups or 450g
  • 600 ml soft water


How to wash

  • Place the rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover it.
  • Wash the rice lightly
  • Drain the cloudy water using a small mesh strainer. In the first step, the dried rice rapidly absorbs water, so make sure you do this quickly to wash off the dust. It’s also an effective way to remove the bran from the rice.
  • Return the drained rice back to the bowl and pour clean water into it. Gently wash the rice with a massaging motion for about 30 seconds or so and drain again.
  • Repeat the same process once more or until the water becomes a thin clear milky color like this.

  • Drain the rice well in a colander.

How to cook

  • Place the rice in the pot. Add 600ml of water. You want 200ml of water for each cup/gou (180ml of dried rice). Cover the pot with a lid and soak the rice for about 30 minutes.

  • Cook over medium heat.
  • When the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.

  • Turn off the heat and steam for 10 more minutes with the lid on.
  • After you've steamed the rice divide it into 4 parts.
  • Rotate each part of the rice in a circular motion, be careful not to mash your rice while moving it from the bottom to the top to help release the steam using a "Shamoji" rice paddle.
  • Voilà!


  1. Washing the rice to much will cause the flavor to disappear as well as the smell of bran. Remember, the point in washing the rice is to clean it and remove the smell of bran not the flavor. However, it’s completely up to ones preference.
  2. Make sure to use soft-water when you wash rice. Minerals in hard water cover ingredients and prevent the rice from soaking up water.
  3. Both soaking and steaming are important when cooking rice so there is no hard parts left inside.

Tried this recipe?

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I look forward to seeing your dish!

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