If you love to eat piles of sushi but hate the huge tab, here's how you can save lots of cash, have fun and entertain your dinner guests. Be like a cowboy, baby, and roll your own!

RICE FIRST: You can find a million recipes for sushi rice, but here's the gist: short grain, pearl or calrose rice is my preference, cooked in whatever way you prefer (I use a rice cooker since I usually make a huge batch). Generally it's safe to do 1.5 cups water to every 1 cup rice. Your "cup" can be any size. Just stick to the general ratio. I find that it helps to rinse the rice first until the water runs clear. When rice is finished cooking I fold in a couple tablespoons of rice wine vinegar with about a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in it. Just sprinkle it over the rice and gently fold the rice over and over. Don't actually stir it or you will make a smashed mess of the rice. Be loving and gentle with it or it will bruise and weep!

You really only need one special tool, a bamboo sushi rolling mat. This can be found for about $3 at many stores, including most cooking shops, Cost Plus, Uwajimaya or any other Japanese market. I've heard of people using a flexible plastic cutting board or even a piece of stiff cardboard (cereal box etc) so you can do without the actual mat, but they are so cheap and common (wow, that sounded like an insult!) and perfect that you really should get one if it's not too inconvenient.

You can make sushi without using raw fish, but if you want to include some, you will need to find a fish market (or counter) that sells "sashimi grade" fish.

I have made an entire vegetarian sushi feast using tofu, fruits and veggies, eggs and cheeses. Of course I am all about the fish myself, but you gotta give the people what they want, right? Play and experiment, you can't really mess this up.

Step 1: Step One

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Start with a good sharp knife and a clean cutting surface.

Step 2: Gather and Slice.

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Gather and slice all of your fresh and colorful ingredients. Here I have tuna, salmon, octopus, yellowtail, prawns, avocado, cucumber, tiny stalk mushrooms and radish greens.

Step 3: Inside-out.

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For "inside-out" rolls you start by spreading rice evenly on cello-wrapped bamboo mat.

Step 4: Cover Rice.

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Place any "in-betweens" you want, I used tobiko here for color, flavor and pop.

Step 5: Nori Layer

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Place a sheet of nori over rice, then add rows of your desired fillings. Here we start with fork-smashed avocado.

Step 6: Sneak Peek.

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A meek peek at the weak peaks that sneak beneath.

Step 7: More Fillings.

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Crab mix and avocado.
I make my crab mix very simple. Shredded crab meat (or fake crab in a pinch) mixed with mayonaise and a pinch of salt.

Step 8: The Power of Cukes!

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And a couple of slices of cucumber. This adds a delicious crisp crunch, and makes rolling easier by adding some architectural structure to it.

Step 9: Roll, Roll, Roll Your Mat.

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Roll it up, applying enough pressure to form a solid roll, but not so tight that you bruise or crush the rice or squeeze the filling out the ends.

Step 10: Naked

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The naked California roll.

Step 11: Nori on the Outside.

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This roll would be done if we were doing it the simple way. And it would look like this.

Step 12: Back to Our Naked Roll...

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Scatter sesame seeds, tobiko, or dried fish and seaweed flakes on mat, for dressing up the outside.

Step 13: Roll It Up!

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Give it one final roll and a gentle squeeze to imbed the dressing, then slice into eight slices and serve.


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And here we have some tobiko bejeweling our tasty roll.

Step 15: Practice Rolls.

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You can practice rolling simple rice rolls to hone your skills for pennies a lesson.

Step 16: Play With Your Food!

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Add a little wasabi and soy, and the results make a pretty tasty snack!

Step 17: Sizes and Shapes.

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Practice making skinny rolls, fat rolls, triangles and squares... this is a short fat rice and nori roll... sliced in half. Why, you ask?

Step 18: Rip It Again!

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Quartering and inverting a short fat roll gives you some interesting possibilities for square sushi, with fillings in the center. Like this.

Step 19: Wrap It Up...

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You CAN wrap fresh rolls in cellophane to store (not more than a few hours or the rice begins to stiffen).

Step 20: I'll Take It!

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I suggest storing at just below room temperature, if possible, as a fridge causes the rice to become unpleasant. I suggest a picnic cooler or even laying the rolls on a plate that is resting on top of a bowl of ice.

Step 21: Plate and Feast!

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Slice up your rolls, plate them on a variety of mismatched festively colored plates if you have them.

Chill (or heat) some sake, steam some edemame, toss a simple seaweed and sesame salad and prepare to feast!

Step 22: Chirashi

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If you don't want to go to all the trouble of rolling, you can always opt for chirashi. A beautiful and delicious assortment of sashimi over rice.

It's also a great way to use up all those yummy scraps. I usually have this for lunch the day after a sushi party.


Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Slippery arm (author)2016-07-21

My love for sushi has increased

Matiasd2 (author)2015-03-12

Beautiful and delicious

jasminewil512 (author)2014-01-20

Hi rupamagic,

If it is okay with you I would like to add a relevant resource that will be useful to your readers. It would be a very simple text link that is not promotional and will point to a page related to your topic.

Of course I would be happy to compensate you for your time and effort if this is something we are able to work out. Let me know if this would interest you and I will send you the complete details of my proposal.

Email me :


jcarob (author)2013-09-04

I am clueless about where to find raw fish for sushi. I probably can't afford the good quality fish, so I am concerned about cleanness. Is it ok to use the regular raw fish from the supermarkets?

Chimex14 (author)2010-11-30

How would you recomened to cook the fish?

unbentcrayfish (author)Chimex142011-06-29

You don't. You are eating raw fish with sushi. That's why freshness is EVERYTHING.

SRRPC (author)2010-03-12

wow they look Great!!
where did you buy the fish eggs though?

unbentcrayfish (author)SRRPC2011-06-29

go to an asian mart, everything will be there.

rupamagic (author)SRRPC2011-04-08

Hopefully you have found some tobiko or other type of tiny roe (fish eggs) by now, but in case you are still awaiting a response, I bought them at an Asian market in the frozen food section.

eccentric57 (author)2011-03-29

You are just wonderful! My rolls are never quite right, but I am going to follow your directions for my lunch! URA Super Sushi Star!

ryoko1011 (author)2009-09-21

The Chirashi looks so pretty!!

theghillieman (author)2009-07-31

How did you make the square ones?

krowii (author)theghillieman2009-08-10

Yes, Rupamagic can you PLEASE make an 'ible for the square sushi? They look awesome!

theghillieman (author)krowii2009-08-12

Actually I figured out how to roll them and it is pretty easy

krowii (author)theghillieman2009-08-12

Yes now that I took a second look it seems pretty simple...just lay the pre-cut rolls rice side down on nori and fill the middle two with filling, then roll, correct?

theghillieman (author)krowii2009-08-14

Yea pretty much, there is an animation on this site that shows you how.

rupamagic (author)theghillieman2009-08-14

That animation just shows square "rolls" but not the inverted design I have here. They just mold the roll into a square shape before slicing. Still looks like a helpful site, thanks for posting it!

theghillieman (author)rupamagic2009-08-15

Yea you are right, but that is the method I used because i made an inside out roll

rupamagic (author)krowii2009-08-14

Exactly right! The roll quartered lengthwise and inverted becomes a square-ish length. The centers of the roll become the four corners. The filling goes in the center and nori is wrapped around it all. Then it is sliced.

PonchoLibre (author)2009-07-12

Hi I love this Instructable! I have been looking for a good sushi making recipie and this one is perfect! one question you have to use nori at all, because I cannot find any place that sells nori. I would really love to try this because you are right, sushi can be very exspensive at times!

Rockybar (author)2009-04-09

Just a question on step 9, do we simply cut it after rolling and then smoothen out the rice around it, or is it pretty much done apart from the sesame seeds then?

rupamagic (author)Rockybar2009-04-09

Yes, you simply slice it into about eight equal parts and serve it up! If you want to have sesame seeds or tobiko etc on the outside you should sprinkle them on your mat or cutting board and gently roll it across so it picks up the seeds and roe etc, then slice.

Rockybar (author)rupamagic2009-04-10

Thanks for the quick reply! I will definitely try this when I have a free couple of hours!

TheMoonMaster (author)2009-03-07

How should you keep the raw fish before sush-making. What temperature? How long can I keep it before it wont work?

rupamagic (author)TheMoonMaster2009-03-27

sorry for the delay, I have been away for a while. you can keep the fish in the refrigerator for a few days, or on ice (below 40 degrees f.) at the table for up to four hours. remember, you must start with FRESH fish to begin, and be sure to ask your fish monger or butcher for sashimi grade fish.

gSakura (author)2008-02-09

Good Job capturing the steps,
About the Chirashi, you could add Kizami Nori Finely Shredded Nori and Goma Roasted Sesame Seeds to the dish as a final topping and it would finish off the Chirashi really well, the Kizami Nori gives the dish the needed seaweed flavor and the Goma - the earthy nutty base flavor, that is needed also.
Isn't Japanese food fun?!

Sushi & Japanese Market

rupamagic (author)gSakura2008-02-10

Mmmm yes! I should have done that, I always have a couple jars of both on hand but I didn't think of it before the photos. Usually when we make sushi everyone is groaning while I take photos because they are READY TO EAT!

gSakura (author)rupamagic2008-02-10

I know exactly what you mean, whenever my husband makes sushi for us (he's a professional Sushi Chef) the same thing happens, so I've found a way to keep the hungry guests at bay; I always serve plenty of Green Tea with rice crackers and mochi azduki sweets right when they arrive well before the sushi is even half way done...try it next time and let me know if it works. ;) - gSakura

inquisitive (author)gSakura2008-11-30

Your own Sushi Chef? Lucky girl! Great another thing to add to my list for the perfect dream the impossible dream...

TheShawMaestro (author)rupamagic2008-06-17

The only thing I don't like about sushi it the wait!

wolf555hound (author)2008-11-27

great.... now i want sushi right after turkey....

mynameisjonas (author)2008-11-09

step 18..... you just blew my mind, i gotta try that.

container_gardener (author)2008-10-04

I always wondered how they did Step 18. Thanks!

ScienceFair (author)2008-10-03

Step I have never even thought of doing that before. I now have a new goal!

nature223 (author)2008-06-04

cheese....SUSHI??????? oh man,I dont think I could eat that...where's the fish? I keed I keed..nice veggie spread

rupamagic (author)nature2232008-06-04

I have made strange PB&J; and ham&cheese; sushi for kids, there's a whole lot of fresh fish in the photos here, as there always is when i make it for myself and other sushi lovers. There's no cheese here, so I'm confused.

nature223 (author)rupamagic2008-06-04

"I have made an entire vegetarian sushi feast using tofu, fruits and veggies, eggs and cheeses." I missed the last part where you stated "all fish" NO cheese in the pic...sowwy

rupamagic (author)nature2232008-06-04

Woops! 90% of the time when I am online I forget what I write as soon as I click on submit. It's true, in a pinch almost any diet can be accommodated with "special" sushi variations, but my personal taste revolves around the sashimi, for sure!

ScienceFair (author)rupamagic2008-10-03

Its good, but some people can't have raw fish (cursed pregnancy) and in those cases veggie sushi is about as good as you are gonna get. (*_*)

Awesome Possum (author)rupamagic2008-06-10

No kidding. Veggie sushi is fine, but sashimi is the best. I didn't realize it was this easy to make simple sashimi. Great instructable, I'll definitely try this sometime.

nature223 (author)rupamagic2008-06-05

Oh,I concur whole heartedly...fishy goodness,ok eel too..Mmm I love Anagi.

Mattrox (author)2008-09-16

do you use dried seaweed?

rupamagic (author)Mattrox2008-09-16

Yes, I use standard nori sheets, which are readily available in most supermarkets these days. I think they are about 8" x 9"

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