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Zojirushi’s Secrets for Delicious Rice: How to Wash Rice

How to Wash Rice for Perfect Rice Cooking - ZojirushiRice is a staple in kitchens all over the world. Last month we discussed how to correctly store rice to preserve its nutrients, freshness and quality, as well as how to measure rice to prepare it perfectly. In our post this month, we share our secret for rinsing and washing short-grain Japanese rice.

The key to washing and rinsing rice is to be quick and gentle. Before modern milling methods, rice was typically not as clean and bran-free as it is today. Improved million methods now result in rice that is cleaner, but also more sensitive to scrubbing and soaking. Rice grains can break if they are rubbed together too harshly, so it’s important to use a light touch. Rice grains that have had the bran polished off also begin absorbing water quickly, so it’s important to limit the time short-grain rice is exposed to water, especially as the water becomes dirty.

There are four steps to rinsing and washing rice the Zojirushi way.

Wash Rice the Zojirushi Way


Measure and add the desired amount of rice to the inner cooking pan of your Zojirushi rice cooker using the rice measuring cup that comes with it. Fill a separate bowl with clean, cool water and pour it into the inner pan.

Initial Rinse

With an open hand, stir the rice in the water 2-3 times, then drain. Repeat this initial rinse step up to three times, until the water begins to run clear. Be sure to spend no more than 10 seconds during each rinse, so the rice doesn’t absorb the starchy water.

Wash the Rice

After the initial rinse, make a claw with your hand and quickly stir the drained but wet rice 30 times in a circular motion, without squeezing the rice in the palm of your hand. Pool cool water in a separate bowl while you rinse, and pour into the rice, stir gently two to three times, and drain. Repeat this step two to four times, depending on how starchy your rice is. For less than four cups of rice, wash it twice. For between four and seven cups of rice, wash it three times, and for more than eight cups of rice, wash it four times. If the water remains cloudy, keep washing and rinsing until the rice grains are visible through the water. Be sure to work quickly so that each wash takes only 15 seconds or less. Washing the rice this way prevents it from breaking and cleans residue and starch from each grain.

Final Rinse

The final rinse removes any remaining starch from the rice. Pour plenty of water into the inner pan, stir with an open hand and drain the rice. Repeat this step twice to ensure that the rice is clean.

Be sure to complete the four steps within 10 minutes, and the rice is ready to cook! You know how to wash rice!

Get Cooking!

Different types of rice need to be washed and rinsed in their own ways. Our method works best for short-grain white rice. Let us know how you prepare your rice!

19 thoughts on “Zojirushi’s Secrets for Delicious Rice: How to Wash Rice

    • My vietnamese mother always said the same thing. Just a quick rinse or two, really fast, and says it’s ok if it’s cloudy. But we use Thai Jasmine long-grain rice. Pretty much all Vietnamese and Thai people use that Thai Jasmine. I noticed this post says it’s for short grain and also doesn’t say what kind.

      Well anyways, I saw this post and gave it a shot. It’s cooking now! I’ve definitely never rinsed and washed rice this thoroughly, and I’ve been making rice for 20 years, so I’m very curious to see how it turns out!

  1. I recently bought a Zojirushi Rice Washer (Model DK-SA26-WA), but there are no instructions available in English. Can you please let me know how to use it to wash 2-3 cups of rice? Thank you!

    • Totally! I know Zojirushi already replied, but just want to confirm for you that I have been washing the rice in my Zojirushi cooker bowl for about 4 or 5 years now and never had an issue. But I NEVER ever ever let any metal even come in contact with that thing! One single scratch is all it takes, remember that! Just one scratch. Because it will start to rust and spread and the coating will be compromised. So the only thing that should ever touch it is a soft plastic rice paddle (or other soft stuff). Those bowls are like 100 bucks US, so take good care of it.

  2. What’s wrong with washing the rice by rinsing in a fine mesh strainer? I’ve tried so many different rice washing tech and I’ve found best results with fine mesh, rain faucet setting, and letting drip dry. Contact time and risk of dirty/starchy water absorption is completely eliminated. No broken rice either (local Cal Rose, high end, most recent crop). So why not rinse in a strainer?

    • The video shows at least 5 bowls of water with an abrading action x2 at bowls 3 and 4, then a blue out with a full bowl of water before “magically clear” final water. Is this camera trickery?

      • No, I don’t think so. I just washed my rice exactly like this and it came out nice and clear like that.

        Maybe you are using a rice that just didn’t have as much pre-washing done in the factory?

        What type and brand of rice do you have?

  3. Has anyone here prepared long grain white rice with a similar method? Is it even necessary? Rice is cheap so I’ve been eating more of it, but if like go be sure and prepare it properly! I I’ve in the US.

  4. With everyone having access to running water, I see no reason to wash rice the traditional way, just use a strainer if you have a faucet lol like Jo Watanabe mentioned

  5. I tried this method and it worked great, far better than just rinsing in a strainer. I’m consistently making better rice than ever before. I catch the rinse water and use it on my plants. They like it!

  6. With my Zojirushi rice cooker does rinsing rinse-free rice make a difference. I have noticed that the rinse-free rice water is still milky but never questioned it. However I recently started using Nishiki rice that did not sport the rinse-free icon so I rinsed it and soaked it and the rice was much better. Also what is the difference between using and not using the Rinse-Free setting on the rice cooker. How does the rice cooker cook it differently.

    • Hi Sydney, we always recommend to rinse rice before cooking and soaking the rice if you are using a conventional type rice cookers (the ones with the little lever and starts cooking right away). The rinse free cup and setting is specially designed for a “rinse-free” rice that was specially milled so it doesn’t have any excess starch. This is a specialty rice that can be hard to come by so most often it’s better always rinse and soak the rice. This will always guarantee that your rice turns out tasty every time!

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