How to Store Sushi Rice Overnight

It’s generally not a good idea to leave sushi rice overnight. You might risk losing its fresh flavor, and it may even result in food poisoning.

However, if you have no other choice, there are a couple of tricks you can try to keep the sushi rice soft and flavored, not to mention edible.

To store sushi rice overnight, first allow the sushi rice to cool to room temperature after cooking. Then, place it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. Store the container in the refrigerator. Before using the next day, gently reheat the rice to restore its slightly warm and sticky texture, ideally using a steamer or microwave.

In this article, we’ll share some additional tips on how you can make sushi rice soft after storing it in a refrigerator the whole night.

how to store sushi rice overnight

Can I Make Sushi Rice the Night Before?

Sushi rice is a particular type of rice that’s made by steaming Japanese short-grain rice and adding vinegar to it.

It’s used in Japanese restaurants worldwide, and it’s the best type of rice you can use for your sushi recipe.

In addition, it’s generally easy to make, so you can even use it for your homemade sushi. In fact, all you need to make sushi rice is short-grain rice, vinegar, salt, and sugar.

But what happens when you make too much sushi rice or just want to make the rice ahead of time? Should you refrigerate it or store it overnight at room temperature?

Just like with every type of food, sushi tastes the best when it’s freshly made. So if you’re making homemade sushi, it’s best to make it the same day you plan to serve it.

It goes without saying that making sushi is time-consuming, so some people try to save time by making sushi the night before. While this might seem like a good idea, you shouldn’t do it for two reasons.

First, the sushi rice will definitely not taste the same the next day.

Second, if you refrigerate your sushi rice, it won’t be as fresh, and it will lose its delicious flavor.

If you decide to leave it overnight without even refrigerating it, then you might risk food poisoning.

This happens because rice contains a lot of starch, and once it’s exposed to room temperature for too long, it might produce bacteria. Even if you reheat the sushi rice, it will not get rid of the bacteria.

For this reason, it’s simply not a good idea to leave your sushi rice at room temperature all night.

open bag of sushi rice with pile rice spilled below it

How to Keep Sushi Rice Overnight

Although you can save the leftover sushi rice by refrigerating it, it will still lose its textured, rich flavor. It will also become much drier when you take it out of the fridge the next day.

However, there are a few things you can do to make it soft again (see my section on this below).

Whether or not you should store it overnight also depends on where you bought the sushi rice from. If you made it yourself, or if you ordered it from a restaurant, then storing it overnight is alright, as long as you refrigerate it.

Sushi rice shouldn’t be kept at room temperature the whole night under any circumstances.

However, you can never be sure about how fresh the ingredients might be when it comes to store-bought sushi. That’s why store-bought sushi should only be refrigerated for a couple of hours.

Keeping it in the fridge overnight is definitely not a good idea.

If you made your own sushi, then it’s best to keep all the ingredients in separate containers in the fridge. Even if you ordered sushi from a restaurant, try to separate the rice from the fish and the vegetables (not ideal, I know).

Nigiri sushi is the easiest to store since it’s only made from rice and raw fish. Once you separate these two ingredients, make sure they’re placed in separate containers.

If you plan to eat sushi you stored overnight, it’s best to eat it as soon as possible. Don’t leave it in the fridge for 24 hours. Instead, eat it the next morning.

How Do You Keep Sushi Rice Soft Overnight? (Tips)

The most important part of storing sushi rice overnight is not letting it dry out.

What you’ll want to do is place the sushi rice in a dry, clean container and wrap a wet kitchen towel around it.

If you don’t have a towel with you, you can also wrap it with a big piece of paper. You can also place it in an air-tight bag if you don’t have a plastic container.

Just make sure it’s sealed tightly, and there is no air coming through it.

This keeps the moisture of the sushi rice. Keep in mind that the sushi rice should be taken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start eating it.

The next step is to microwave the rice, which will make it soft again.

If you’re worried about whether the sushi rice is edible, there are a few ways to see if it has gone bad.

First, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t eat it if it has a bad smell. Sushi rice that has gone bad has a sour odor.

Secondly, the color of the sushi rice should be white. If it’s any other color, it’s a sign that you should throw it away.

Lastly, if the sushi rice seems too mushy and wet, it’s not for eating.

It’s not only important to use freshly cooked rice for your sushi, but all the other ingredients should be fresh as well.

Ultimately, if you don’t use fresh ingredients, there’s no point in storing your sushi overnight.

Also, since you’re using raw fish or any other type of seafood in your recipe, it’s crucial to prepare the sushi in a clean environment.

round plate with nigiri and maki sushi

In Summary

Nothing can beat freshly made sushi rice. However, it can sometimes happen that you make too much, and you don’t want it to go to waste, or you want to make it ahead of time.

There’s only one right way to store sushi rice overnight, and it’s by keeping it in a container in the fridge. As long as you use fresh ingredients and microwave it the next day, you can successfully restore the fresh flavor of the sushi rice.

Now you know about how to properly store your sushi rice, check out my article here on best practices for storing fish used for sushi.

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