How to Make Maki Sushi at Home

Updated on February 26, 2020
Iontach profile image

I’ve loved to cook, ever since I was a little boy in my grandmother's kitchen; sushi was one of many things she taught me how to make.

We all love sushi! Well, most of us anyway. It’s fun to make, fun to eat, and it’s as tasty as it is healthy!

This dish is a delight because is not too high in calories, and it’s low fat and good for keeping slim. Sushi is a great choice if you’re on a diet or if you want to be more health conscious.

I’ve always loved to cook, ever since I was a little boy in my grandmother's kitchen; she thought me how to cook everything back then.

I remember my first memory of us together involved me, wearing Dungarees, while rolling some short crust pastry with a rolling pin. I could barely reach the counter!

Anyway, I think I’m going a little off track. This article is about sushi, that Asian food that tastes so good but is always so damn expensive. Well, it needn’t be expensive if you make it yourself and become your own sushi chef!

Do you want to know how to make sushi that tastes just like the stuff you buy in the restaurant? Just scroll down to the article below, and after reading it, you'll be a sushi pro, fit to impress all your friends with your new skills!

Step 1: Make Sushi Rice

The amount of rice you'll need depends on how much sushi you want to make. You'll want to look for sushi rice specifically when you're buying your ingredients, although you can use regular rice in a pinch.

I generally use 300 grams of sushi rice to make around 5 rolls.

  1. Wash the rice, and cook it for the recommended time with a little salt added.
  2. In the meantime, fill a cup 1/3 of the way with rice vinegar, and dissolve 2 tea spoons of sugar into the rice vinegar.
  3. When rice has cooked and is fully drained, add the above vinegar and sugar mixture to rice and mix thoroughly.
  4. The rice will now become even more sticky and clumpy. Add more rice vinegar if you feel you need to or if you want a more intense flavour. The rice should taste a slight bit tangy.
  5. Let the rice cool as much as possible. If it's too hot, it will destroy your nori (seaweed sheets).

Note: If no sushi rice is available, you could use a normal rice, but overcook it for a few more minutes, plus you may have to add a little bit more sugar and rice vinegar to make it sticky and make it clump together.

The finished sushi rice should have a similar texture to the rice below.

Step 2: Choose Style and Prepare Fillings

Pick Your Sushi Style

Ok, so now you have to decide which maki sushi you’d like to make:

  • Hosomaki: This is the kind of sushi where the rice is on the inside, and the roll is wrapped with a seaweed sheet on the outside.


  • Uramaki: This is the kind of sushi most people in North America eat. The rice is on the outside, so this is typically considered "inside out" sushi.

Select and Prepare Your Fillings

Choose the fillings you’d like to use.

  • Decide which fillings you want, 1 meat (or flavoured tofu for vegetarian sushi) and 1 or 2 veggies.
  • If using tinned tuna or crab, mix with a little mayonnaise to hold meat together.
  • If using avocado, chop into lengthways chunks about 1.5-2 cms wide.
  • If using vegetables, chop into very fine, lengthways slices.

If You Chose to Make Hosomaki Sushi

If you chose the more traditional version of sushi, read these instructions. If you went for the inside-out version, skip down the article a bit to find the more North American version of this roll.

How to Make Normal Maki Sushi (Hosomaki)

  1. Place one sheet of nori (seaweed) onto the bamboo rolling mat like the picture you see below.
  2. Cover the nori about 5/6 of the way up with a thin layer of the sushi rice, just enough to cover the nori. (The second image below.)
  3. Place a row of your desired vegetables/fruit and meat along the sushi rice, about ¼ of the way up from the bottom, as in the third image below. You can also sprinkle some sesame seeds over the fillings. Having done this, the sushi is ready to roll!
  4. To roll, lift up the bottom part of the bamboo sushi mat and roll the rice covered nori over the fillings you’ve just placed on the rice. While doing this, make sure to keep just enough pressure on the bamboo mat with one hand (to make sure sushi is firm), and pull the bamboo mat with the other hand.
  5. Continue rolling the sushi and make sure to roll over the end of the nori that was left without rice. This was left without rice to join the nori together seamlessly and to keep the sushi intact. The maki sushi roll should look similar to the one shown below.

Cutting the Sushi

Cutting sushi is probably one of the trickiest parts of the process, and it takes time to perfect it.

It is essential that the knife you use is as sharp as possible, as rolls are delicate and will lose their firmness if you try to cut them with a blunt knife.

How to Cut the Roll

  1. Wet knife under the tap for lubrication (you don't want the rice to stick to the knife), and slice off the ends of the sushi roll to tidy it up. Make sure to lubricate the knife each time you slice a new piece of sushi, as a non-lubricated and/or blunt knife may result in your sushi being smashed instead of cut.
  2. You can then begin slicing the trimmed maki sushi log at about 1 inch intervals to obtain the individual sushi pieces.

Below is a picture of tuna and avocado sushi, and smoked salmon and avocado sushi, I made recently (ignore the car keys).

If You Chose to Make Uramaki

These are sometimes called California rolls. If you want to make this version, they are generally made using thinly sliced cucumber, avocado, and seafood sticks/crab sticks as a filling and sesame seed and tobiko (flying fish roe). If you do not want to use tobiko, you can use paprika instead.

How to Make Inside-Out Sushi

  1. Place the nori on the rolling mat, but always keep a sheet of cling film on the mat (as the inside-out maki sushi is quite messy).
  2. Now it’s time to spread the sushi rice on the nori. Cover the whole nori sheet with a thin layer of rice, just enough to cover the sheet until you can’t see it through the rice. Check out the picture below.
  3. This next part can be tricky. Make sure the rice is firmly pressed down onto the seaweed, and then, with your hand on top of the rice, turn the sheet around so that the rice is now placed on top of the cling film.
  4. Now place your choice of filling (1 or 2 veg/fruit and 1 meat) about ¼ of the way up from the bottom of the nori.
  5. To roll, lift up the bottom part of the bamboo sushi mat and roll the rice covered nori over the fillings you’ve just placed on the rice. While doing this, make sure to keep just enough pressure on the bamboo mat with one hand (to make sure sushi is firm), and pull the bamboo mat with the other hand. Make sure the cling film doesn’t get incorporated into the sushi.
  6. This maki sushi roll should look like the sushi log you see below.
  7. Now its time to add a little colour and taste to the outside of the roll. Spread sesame seeds all over the outside of the sushi, as much as you want, then sprinkle some paprika over it for colour. Use tobiko if you want to make it more authentic.
  8. Cut the sushi slices using a wet, sharp knife. Wet this knife before cutting each slice. If you don't get it wet, the rice is likely to stick to the knife and end up mutilating your perfect sushi!

Your result should look similar to the roll you see below.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

While eating your buffet in your new at-home sushi bar, do try to eat pieces of pickled ginger between different types of sushi. It helps to cleanse your mouth and brings out the flavours of the roll. Wasabi can be eaten with your sushi if you like it spicy. Also, dip your sushi in a light- to medium-strength soy sauce so the flavour of your sushi isn’t overpowered by the sauce.

If you want to go all out and make it as authentic as possible, use a pair of chopsticks to eat your food, plus you could also sip on a glass of sake!

So that’s it for now, I do hope this article can be helpful in some way, and thanks for reading!

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 Iontach


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      • profile image

        Gina M 

        5 months ago

        Awesome guide, we make homemade sushi for our kids all the time. I'd agree with the comment below, having the right knife can make all the difference. For the best sushi a long-bladed, thin and extremely sharp knife is best. Something like the Kai Wasabi Yanagiba that you can see featured below, along with other good choices:

      • profile image


        14 months ago

        This is a great tutorial, thanks lontach! I make sushi and sashimi at home and believe the key is to have the right tools as spelled out in the article. If you're just trying for your first time, any sharp knife will work. If you starting preparing sushi at home all the time, consider getting a good sushi knife. It makes all the difference in the world as it relates to presentation and experience! Here's an article that will help you identify a good one:

      • VirginiaLynne profile image

        Virginia Kearney 

        7 years ago from United States

        I make my sushi too thick. Thanks for the pictures and tutorial. I'm going to try this.

      • safiq ali patel profile image

        safiq ali patel 

        9 years ago from United States Of America

        Great. A little complex for me to try at home. But awesome shushi guide.

      • thisismylife9123 profile image

        Cheyenne Barroga 

        9 years ago from Salt lake city, UT

        My fave sushi has to be the spicy tuna roll. it's sooo good! you should try it. it's not very expensive in Hawai'i so i'm fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it on a regular basis. ^.^v

      • ms_fran profile image


        9 years ago

        Wow, that was really informative. Thanks so much. I love sushi.

      • Iontach profile imageAUTHOR


        9 years ago

        Awww you're so sweet Phoenix, thanks very much :)

        The ingredients are so cheap so try pick them up the next time you're in the supermarket :P

        Cheers :)


      • phoenix_028@yahoo profile image


        9 years ago

        I love sushi, sadly I don't have the ingredients nor the equipments to make one. BTW love this article.

      • Iontach profile imageAUTHOR


        9 years ago

        Emily you've never heard of SUSHI??? lol, that's a first I must say.

        Definitely try it out, it's so yummy, good for you, fun and low fat. :)

        I think a lot of guys can cook but just are too lazy to do it, me included sometimes. lol.

        Best of luck!


      • Emily40 profile image


        9 years ago

        Omg! I've never heard of sushi and so i never tasted it. this is a great opportunity to try it out, something new for a change and it looks great and i love almost every ingredient so it wont hurt to try it.

        Thank you for sharing your recipe!

        Its amazing when guys can cook,my brother does better than me in cooking but dont get me wrong i can still cook something lol.



      • Iontach profile imageAUTHOR


        9 years ago

        Awww Cheers Chirls! You have to try the inside out rolls, It's a lot easier than you think, and people always seem to be amazed when you make them. Just make sure your rice is sticky and you keep pressure on the rice when rolling and you'll be fine! :)

      • chirls profile image


        9 years ago from Indiana (for now)

        Great hub! I love making sushi but I've never been brave enough to try making inside out maki rolls. You make it sound so easy that I have to give it a try! Love the idea of using paprika for colour, too.

      • Iontach profile imageAUTHOR


        9 years ago

        Awww Thanks for rating up! Yes sushi can have either cooked or uncooked ingredients, so I hope you go give it a try, Use canned tuna or something. Its yummy! :)

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        9 years ago from England

        Hi, this is interesting, I always thought sushi was raw fish! and I thought yuck! lol but now I know you can use other fish, that sounds great! rated up because You taught me something! ha ha cheers nell


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