Learn how to make sushi rolls (maki rolls) with this easy homemade sushi recipe! Feel free to use whatever fillings you love best, and see notes above for extra tips and possible variations.
- 1 batch sushi rice, cooled to room temperature
- 5 sheets nori
- 1 English cucumber, sliced into thin strips
- 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced into thin strips
- 10 ounces smoked salmon or sushi-grade raw fish, sliced into thin strips
- toasted sesame seeds
- spicy mayo (see recipe below)
- soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi paste, for serving
- Prep all of your ingredients. It’s important to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you begin to assemble your rolls. (I especially recommend cooking the rice 1-2 hours ahead of time, so that it can cool to room temperature before assembling the rolls.)
- Press the rice. Lay a sheet of nori on a sushi mat* smooth-side-down, with the longer side of the nori facing you. Place a bowl of water nearby. Dip your fingers into the water (this will help the rice not to stick) and sprinkle approximately 1 cup of sushi rice evenly over the nori, leaving a 1-inch border open at the top. Using your fingers, gently but firmly press the rice onto the nori in an even layer, dipping your fingers back into the water as often as needed so that they do not stick. You want the rice to cover the nori as evenly as possible, all the way to the bottom, left and right edges of the sheet. (See photos above.)
- Add the fillings. Place the fillings in long horizontal lines on top of the rice, layering the different fillings side by side instead of in one big pile. Sprinkle the toppings a pinch of sesame seeds, if desired.
- Roll up the sushi. Lift up the bottom edge of the sushi mat and carefully fold it over the fillings until they are enclosed in a roll, yet still leaving the top 1-inch of the empty nori exposed. Use the sushi mat to squeeze the roll in as tightly as possible. (Although not too tight, as you don’t want all of the fillings to squish out!) Dip your fingers in the water bowl once more and use them to wet the remaining 1-inch of nori. Then use the sushi mat to finish rolling up the roll until it is completely enclosed. Give it a few extra squeezes all around so that it is nice and firmly-packed. Then transfer the entire roll to a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form about 5 sushi rolls.
- Cut the sushi. Using a very sharp knife, cut the each sushi roll into 8 equal(ish)-sized pieces. Transfer them to your serving plate.
- Drizzle and garnish. Drizzle the sushi with the spicy mayo and/or sprinkle with extra toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve. Serve immediately, along with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and soy sauce for dipping. And enjoy!
Spicy mayo: Whisk together 1/4 cup Japanese mayo (or any kind of mayo or plain Greek yogurt) and 4 teaspoons sriracha sauce until combined. Taste and add extra sriracha if you would like a spicier sauce. (You can also add in a tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil and/or honey, if desired.) I like to drizzle the mayo on top of the rolls just before serving, but you can also mix it in with the fillings instead.
Sushi mat: See tips in the post above for how to make sushi without a mat.