California Roll next to bamboo chopsticks and a white bowl of soy sauce on a bamboo cutting board with a tan and white towel behind all on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

How To Make Homemade Sushi

Homemade sushi, while time-consuming, is so much fun to make! You can customize exactly what you want, and it makes a great date-night idea!

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Have you ever noticed just how expensive sushi is? Or wished there was a different combination of ingredients to have just what you want? Why not try making homemade sushi yourself?

Homemade sushi is a lot of prep work, but that’s part of the fun of making your own sushi. When we made it last weekend, we had 3 people working on it, and it took about 1.5 hours. But we also weren’t using our time very wisely either. Making sushi could be a great date night with your partner, or a fun night with the girls. Or, in my case, it’s usually my brother-in-law and me who make the sushi when we have it as a big family Sunday afternoon meal.

Making sushi rice correctly is the most important part of the sushi recipe. If you don’t have this correct, then it won’t stick together to make the rolls. I have used both a rice cooker and an instant pot on high pressure. The rice steamer gives a slightly better texture. But the instant pot doesn’t leave bits stuck to the edge that isn’t usable in sushi.

The best type of rice to get is called sushi rice at the store. You may also find it labeled as Japanese rice. I can find sushi rice at our local grocery store in the aisle with other ethnic foods and rice. Usually, sushi is made with short-grain rice. There are a lot of brands, but Nishiki makes delicious sushi rice that works well for us.

Sushi Roll Options

Some of our family’s favorite sushi rolls are:

  • California Rolls: Cucumber, Avocado, Crab
  • Spicy California: Cucumber, Avocado, Crab, Spicy Mayo
  • Philadelphia Roll: Cream Cheese, Salmon or Crab, Cucumber
  • Shaggy Dog: Shrimp Tempura, Mayo, Crab strips on top (my personal favorite sushi roll)
  • Shrimp Nigiri: Rice patties with Shrimp
  • Salmon Nigiri: Rice patties with Salmon

Or create your own. We usually slice up the ingredients we want and just start building as we go. One time we even made a buffalo chicken roll with some cooked chicken and buffalo sauce in it! You can really put almost anything you want in a sushi roll. Another common ingredient is egg, but we haven’t tried that yet. You can use the most elaborate ingredients or stick to simple ingredients, especially when you make homemade sushi rolls for the first time.

You can serve your sushi roll with soy sauce, eel sauce, spicy sauce, unagi sauce, spicy mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce, or lemon juice. All are great options depending on if you want to keep the sushi recipe mild or spicy, bold or sweet, etc. We have some small sushi bowls that are perfect to put these sauces on the side.

Homemade Sushi Rice Step by Step

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar or sushi vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
3 small stainless steel bowls with sugar, salt, and rice vinegar on a black and white marble surface

Preparation

Rice

The rice needs to be thoroughly rinsed. Do this by placing it in a bowl and filling it with enough water to cover the rice. Use your hands to stir the rice around in the water and let the rice soak for a few minutes. Carefully drain the water. Continue adding water, stirring, and draining until the water is almost clear. Prepare the rice according to the package. For best results, let the rice cool slightly, almost to room temperature, to avoid burning your hands.

In a small microwaveable bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Microwave the mixture on high for 30 seconds. Stir to combine.

Small white round bowl with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt on a black and white marble surface

Remove the cooked rice from the rice steamer or pressure cooker and place in a large bowl. Pour the warm vinegar mixture over the rice. Use a wooden spoon or rubber or silicone spatula to gently fold the vinegar mixture into the rice.

Sushi rice with a white rice paddle in a stainless steel mixing bowl on a black and white marble surface

Preparing the Sushi Rolls

Slice all the ingredients you want for your sushi rolls. When you slice all the ingredients, you want to slice them into thin, long strips so they will cover the length of the sushi rolls.

To start making the rolls, lay your bamboo mat on a flat workspace. Fill a small bowl with cold water and a splash of rice vinegar and have a dry or damp towel nearby. Place a single sheet of seaweed on the bamboo mat with the shiny side down. It helps to have all of your ingredients close at hand before you start to make your sushi.

When you are working with the sticky rice, keep your hands very wet so it doesn’t stick.
When you are working with the seaweed, keep your hands very dry.

Sushi setup with sliced ingredients on a bamboo cutting board next to a white bowl of shrimp and another bowl of sushi rice with a bowl of water and a white towel and a pile of seaweed surrounding a bamboo mat all on a black and white marble surface

Get your hands wet then grab a handful of the rice. Keeping your hands damp (not too much water), spread until you have enough rice to make a thin layer covering all except the last 1/4″ of the seaweed. If you have too much rice, it won’t roll properly and you’ll end up with a sticky texture. Lay your ingredients all the way across the seaweed at the end closest to you.

Sushi setup with sliced ingredients on a bamboo cutting board next to a white bowl of shrimp and another bowl of sushi rice with a bowl of water and a white towel and a pile of seaweed surrounding a bamboo mat with seaweed topped with sushi rice and slices of crab, cucumber, and avocado all on a black and white marble surface

Rolling the Sushi

Very carefully use the bamboo mat to start rolling the sushi. You want to keep it rolled tight and roll almost to the end. To seal the roll, dip your finger in the water and run it along the edge of the seaweed and roll it up to seal. Use the mat to form the roll slightly. Watch the video below to see my brother-in-law (the one who taught me how to make sushi) demonstrating this on one of the rolls we made.

Continue doing the same with the remaining rice to make your variety of sushi rolls. Once you have finished, use a very sharp, non-serrated knife to slowly slice the sushi rolls. I usually touch the edge of the knife to the sushi, and slowly slide it back and forth until it just starts to slice the seaweed. Once it slices through the top, you can usually keep the sawing motion going to cut all the way through.

Experiment. Have fun. Create your own sushi rolls. If you do, tag me in your photos so I can see what you made! (Instagram: @sonshinekitchen or Facebook: @mysonshinekitchen)

California Roll next to bamboo chopsticks and a white bowl of soy sauce on a bamboo cutting board with a tan and white towel behind all on a wooden surface (vertical)

Homemade Sushi Leftovers

Storage: Place any leftover sushi rolls in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1-2 days.

Recipe

Originally Published On: April 6, 2017

Last Updated On: October 23, 2023

California Roll next to bamboo chopsticks and a white bowl of soy sauce on a bamboo cutting board with a tan and white towel behind all on a wooden surface

Sushi Rice

Homemade sushi, while time-consuming, is so much fun to make! You can customize exactly what you want, and it makes a great date night idea!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course:
Appetizer
|
Main Dish
Cuisine:
American
|
Asian
Keyword:
rice
|
seafood
|
shrimp
Servings: 3 rolls
4.84 from 12 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Instructions

Rinse Rice
  • Thoroughly rinse the rice by putting it in a bowl (or the bowl of the rice steamer) and filling with water enough to completely cover the rice
  • Use your hands to stir the rice around until the water is murky
  • Use a strainer (or the lid of your steamer) to drain the water
  • Continue doing this until the water comes out clear (usually 3-4 times)
Cook Rice
  • Steam 2 cups of rice according to steamer instructions
Create Rice Mixture
  • While rice is cooking, in a small microwaveable bowl combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt
  • Microwave mixture on high for 30 seconds then stir to combine
  • Once the rice is finished cooking and slightly cooled, use the rice paddle to remove rice from the steamer to a large mixing bowl. DON’T scrape rice from bottom and sides as this rice is usually hard and/or burned and doesn’t work well for sushi.
  • Carefully fold vinegar mixture into rice
Make Rolls
  • Lay a bamboo mat on a flat working surface
  • Use one piece of seaweed and cover with a few scoops of rice
  • Make sure your hands are wet when touching the rice and spread to the edges of 3 sides of the seaweed, leaving about 1/4" on one side to seal
  • Place your fillings at the edge opposite of the side you left to seal
  • Carefully roll the seaweed, using the bamboo mat, until you reach the end of the roll
  • Dip your fingers in water and use that to seal the edge of the roll
  • Use a non-serrated knife to gently cut the sushi roll into pieces

Notes

This is enough to make about 2-3 sushi rolls. We were cooking for 6 people and used 6 cups of rice and still ended up with some leftover sushi.
Note: Nutrition is calculated for sushi rice and does not include fillings. 
  • California Roll: Cucumber, Avocado, Crab
  • Spicy California: Cucumber, Avocado, Crab, Spicy Mayo
  • Philadelphia Roll: Cream Cheese, Salmon or Crab, Cucumber
  • Shaggy Dog: Shrimp Tempura, Mayo, Crab strips on top
  • Shrimp Nigiri: Rice patties with Shrimp
  • Salmon Nigiri: Rice patties with Salmon
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Nutrition Facts
Sushi Rice
Amount Per Serving (1 roll)
Calories 489 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 2334mg97%
Potassium 95mg3%
Carbohydrates 109g36%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 8g16%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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51 thoughts on “How To Make Homemade Sushi”

  1. confettiandbliss

    5 stars
    I love homemade sushi! When my daughter Brooke was in high school she had a group of friends whose parents made so many spectacular sushi dishes. The kids’s favorite at that time was Spam Sushi. But I love your rice, shrimp, avocado sushi. Those are some of my favorite ingredients. It looks so yummy!

    1. Oh how fun! I never really ate it until college because my mom is severely allergic to shellfish so we never had anything like this!! It’s so much fun to make and customize how you want.

  2. 4 stars
    I’ve never made sushi before and don’t think I could pull it off as well as yours look but maybe with your recipe I can. Will have to give it a try someday! Worth a shot 🙂

  3. This looks so good! But I must confess that I have never made it. I did try with a Chinese student once (I am a teacher) but it was a real disaster. I was so sorry for him as he ws really looking forward to it. I should have seen this before!

    1. Trust me, they did not look quite as beautiful the first time or two. It took some practice to get them looking this nice, but they always taste good even if the presentation isn’t perfect!

  4. 4 stars
    I’ve always heard that Sushi is difficult to make, but I also heard that about Macarons and I gave them a try. Maybe DIY sushi should be next on my list!!!

  5. I know that it is better when you can make your own sushi instead. And it can be delicious. A former roommate made it once. And it was to die for. There are just so many different things to remember. And getting the sticky rice right plus having really sharp knives is essential.

  6. 5 stars
    Although I love sushi, I never tried making it at home. It always sounded too complicated for me. But you make it sound so easy to make, so I will definitely give it a try!

  7. Wow! Boy, you make me hungryy! I will make these with cucumber and avocado and I’m sure I will lose all sense of self control! Love it!

  8. 5 stars
    Excellent sushi recipe! I didn’t think making sushi could be this simple as it looks so complicated. Everyone at the dinner table enjoyed these and I will certainly make again!

  9. Ooooo I love sushi and never thought to make it at home! And this looks easy enough- especially since I do mostly vegetarian. Making this asap!

  10. This would have come in handy a few months ago when my son and his friends attempted to make sushi…it was a disaster. I’ll have to save this for them next time.

  11. My oldest son and his wife make sushi at home. Every bit as pretty and delicious as at the restaurant. Highly recommend!

  12. 5 stars
    This looks like a great recipe. I love California rolls, but not much else on the Sushi side of things! So I will continue to purchase and give huge kudos to those that make it! It really does look delish!

  13. This is timely! My husband has been bugging me to go out since he’s been craving for Japanese food but I am really lazy to go out. Will try to make homemade sushi instead. I agree with you that it would be a nice bonding activity too. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Will prepare the ingredients and try this on Saturday.

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