Homemade Sushi is so much cheaper than at the restaurant. Plus, it’s easy and fun to make your own rolls at home, so you can put all your favorite ingredients into your perfect custom roll — here’s how!

Sushi Rolls - Sliced and Laid on Wooden Board

I’ll be very honest and say that there’s definitely a reason why sushi chefs spend a decade learning how to perfect sushi rice or cut raw fish like a boss, because it does make a difference.

Homemade sushi will never be at the level of what you’d get from the top sushi restaurants in NYC, but here’s where homemade sushi rolls win:

You get to gorge yourself on a FEAST for like $20, whereas a similar amount of food at a restaurant would cost a couple hundred. Soooooo worth it, if you ask me.

Sushi Recipe - Sliced to See Filling Of Avocado, Salmon, and Cream Cheese on Wooden Board

And you know what else? Sushi is really fun to make at home.

My husband and I first made it several years ago for Valentine’s Day as a way to avoid the restaurant craze and spend time together making a special meal, and now it has become a tradition for us every year. And we love it so much we can’t limit it to one day a year anymore, and make it on occasion for dinner.

We are fortunate to have access to sushi-grade fish (our favorite is raw salmon), but you can still make sushi at home if you can’t find some.

Shrimp tempura rolls are one of our favorites, or you could do a California roll using real or imitation crab, or you could even try a veggie roll. One of our regulars is Philadelphia rolls, with smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado, and cucumber.

All of these sushi rolls are sometimes referred to as “maki rolls,” which is any type of roll where ingredients like raw fish and vegetables are rolled with vinegar-seasoned rice and nori. The sky is the limit when it comes to filling ingredients, and the best part is getting creative with your own rolls.

Or if you want to try something a little different, you can make Korean Kim Bap. It’s fairly similar to sushi, but no raw fish.

Salmon Sushi - With Avocado and Cream Cheese on Wooden Board

What seaweed should you use for sushi recipes?

To get started, you need the right kind of seaweed. The one on the left below is thick and perfect for rolling (this is the one I use). The one on the right is too flimsy. I use that seaweed for snacking. Make sure you get seaweed specific for making sushi, which it should state on the package. It will sometimes say “nori” on the package.

Two Sheets of Seaweed on Wooden Board

If the seaweed you’ve bought seems to have one side that’s shinier than the other, have the shiny side facing the rolling surface so that it’s on the outside of the roll.

Then spread your sheet of nori with a layer of prepared sushi rice (that whole post covers how to make the rice), and flatten the top of the rice gently with a paddle, but do not smash the rice, as my mom would always say. And make sure not to neglect the edges of the nori sheet!

Spreading Sushi Rice on Seaweed Paper with Rice Paddle

I cover details in-depth in that post, but I recommend a short-grain rice, as well as a white rice, instead of brown. Long-grain rice is usually not sticky rice, and that is an important factor for helping hold the rolls shut. I also season the rice with a sushi vinegar that has a touch of salt and sugar in it. You may also add sesame seeds, if you wish.

Also know that the rice will be easiest to spread when it’s slightly warm or at room temperature, so prepare the timing right in advance for when you want to eat.

How much fish you need

For my rolls this time, I got this gorgeous piece of salmon. It was a 1/2lb piece, and gave us enough fish for about 6 rolls, plus some snacking. Even at $28/lb, which seems like a lot, paying $14 for that much fish is certainly worth it, and dirt cheap if you ask me!

Sashimi Grade Salmon Piece on Wooden Board

How to cut raw fish for sushi:

Here is how I cut salmon for my sushi rolls. First, cut straight down through the filet, then cut that piece in half through the center so you have a small strip. Make sure you’re using a sharp knife and gliding with one stroke, to get a nice clean cut.

Sashimi Grade Salmon Pieces Sliced on Wooden Board

Place your desired ingredients onto the sushi rice. I’ve got salmon, avocado, and cream cheese (I know, I know. But Philly-style rolls are my favorite, and making this at home is all about customizing the ingredients to what you enjoy):

Sushi Ingredients - Laid on Seaweed Sheet with Salmon, Avocado, and Cream Cheese

Roll it up tightly, using a bamboo mat. It’s a specific kitchen item, but you can get a decent one for less than $2 on Amazon or at an Asian market, so I think it’s worth having. It ensures the best results for the roll holding together.

If you don’t have one, you can sort of use parchment paper or plastic wrap, but you won’t be able to wrap it as tightly, so buy one if you plan to make sushi regularly.

Sushi Roll on a Bamboo Mat

Then use your sharpest knife to cut the sushi salmon roll into pieces. I don’t find it particularly better to use a serrated knife. Just make sure to use a sharp one!

Homemade Sushi - Sliced into Pieces on Wooden Cutting Board

You may also wish to have a small bowl of cold water or a damp towel at your work station for wiping your fingertips between rolls. Sometimes things can get sticky, so this can really make things easier!

What to serve with your sushi?

Now you’re ready to eat the sushi rolls with some soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi paste, as desired!

Salmon Roll - With Avocado and Cream Cheese on Wooden Board

Next try Honey Walnut Shrimp or Seared Scallops for a special seafood dinner at home. Enjoy!

Recipe tips and FAQ:

Can you keep sushi overnight?

I don’t recommend this, as the longer you keep the raw fish, you risk bacteria growth and illness. If I find that we’re getting full and we still have ingredients left, we’ll usually just enjoy the rest of the fish, thinly sliced sashimi-style, because that’s the most valuable part, and let the rest of the ingredients go. Also, refrigerated rice gets hard and dry, and doesn’t reheat well, so this is something that should be eaten freshly made.

Can you make sushi without fish?

Yes. There are tons of ideas online, but avocado, cucumbers, and carrots are great filler ingredients.

How to make easy rice cooker sushi rice:

Sushi rice is an art that chefs spend years perfecting, but if you’re looking for something easy, I have a post on how to make sushi rice in the rice cooker.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Homemade Sushi Slices on Wooden Board

Homemade Sushi

Homemade Sushi is so much cheaper than at the restaurant! Sushi is easy and fun to make at home — here’s how!
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Ingredients

  • 6 sheets sushi seaweed aka nori
  • 1 batch prepared sushi rice
  • 1/2 lb sashimi-grade raw salmon or desired raw fish of choice
  • 4 oz cream cheese sliced into strips
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • soy sauce for serving

Instructions 

  • Place the seaweed on a bamboo mat, then cover the sheet of seaweed with an even layer of prepared sushi rice. Smooth gently with a rice paddle.
  • Layer salmon, cream cheese, and avocado on the rice, and roll it up tightly. Slice with a sharp knife, and enjoy right away with soy sauce.

Notes

Storing leftovers: I do not recommend trying to keep leftovers, particularly if you are using raw fish. Even if you do cooked fish and vegetables, once the rice is hard and cold in the fridge, it won’t be as enjoyable to eat.
Freezing: Not recommended.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 92mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.