How to Make Sushi Rolls

In this post, I’m going to explain how to make sushi rolls. I’ve been making sushi at home now for quite some time. I’ve started having sushi sessions or sushi parties where I get a bunch of friends over to have some wine and beer, make some nigiri, sashimi and sushi rolls and enjoy a lovely homemade feast of sushi!

Sushi rolls or maki as it’s traditionally called in Japanese is delicious. They’re expensive when you eat out here in Dublin, with a typical California roll costing anywhere from €6 to €12 depending on the sushi restaurant you visit. They are surprisingly easy to make however which is what this post is all about. It does take a bit of practice and getting the hang of it but after a few attempts, you’ll be able to make them in your sleep. It’s great to make them at home too as you can experiment with different fillings. I’ll discuss these a bit further down in this post.

Preparation is key to making sushi rolls at home, this means having all your ingredients sourced, especially the fresh, sushi grade salmon that you’re going to need and some nice fresh vegetables.

My guide below on how to make sushi rolls explains how to make inside out rolls and a normal roll. The difference with an inside out roll is that the rice is on the outside of the roll, where as a normal one has the seaweed on the outside and all the filling on the inside. The inside out rolls are a bit more complex, so I’d recommend for any beginners to get the basics of a normal roll down first before attempting the fancier inside out ones.

There are also different sizes of sushi rolls you can make too, some are smaller which use half a seaweed sheet and contain only one filling like cucumber or salmon. Then there are full sized rolls which have a lot more ingredients stuffed inside. If you’re going to attempt the smaller rolls using this guide, just cut the seaweed sheets in half with a scissors or some of them come with perforated lines which you can tear to size.

The Essentials:

These are the things that you’re going to need to make the roll, for fillings and other information, scroll down further.

  • Sushi rice – check out my guide on preparing sushi rice
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Seaweed sheets – you can purchase these from any good asian supermarket
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Mayonaise
  • Pickled ginger – for a how to guide to make your own, check out this post
  • Your fillings – be sure to prepare these in strips before you start making your rolls. See below for inspiration.
  • Bamboo rolling mat – available from any good supermarket or asian supermarket
  • Cling film

How to Make Sushi Rolls

Firstly, we’ll startwith the basics of how to make sushi rolls

  1. Take one sheet of seaweed and place it on your bamboo mat
  2. With a spoon, spoon some of your fluffy rice and spread it, like butter, onto your seaweed sheet
  3. Add your filling(s) about a quarter of the way down the sheet of rice
  4. Start to roll from that end upwards, towards the other end using the bamboo mat
  5. Tighten the bamboo mat to compress but not too much
  6. Cut into strips and enjoy with wasabi and soy sauce

Here are the instructions for an inside out roll

  1. Wrap your bamboo mat in cling film and smother a half tea spoon of mayonaise over the cling film. This prevents the sushi rice from sticking
  2. Take one sheet of seaweed and place it on your bamboo mat
  3. With a spoon, spoon some of your fluffy rice and spread it, like butter, onto your seaweed sheet
  4. Pick up the seaweed sheet and but it back on the bamboo mat, rice first (so turn it upside down basically)
  5. Add your fillings about a quarter of the way down the seaweed sheet
  6. Start to role from that end upwards, towards the other end using the bamboo mat
  7. Tighten the bamboo mat to compress but not too much
  8. Add pieces of fish or vegatabes onto the top of the roll if you wish
  9. Cut into strips and enjoy with wasabi and soy sauce
  10. Enjoy



Spread the rice onto the seaweed sheet


Place the filling one quarter of the way down the sheet


Roll upwards tightly


Roll sushi roll upwards taking in the filling


Sushi roll ready for cutting

Inside out Maki


Turn seaweed sheet upside down


Place the filling one quarter of the way down the sheet

roll tight

Roll tightly with all the ingredients inside


Compress the role


Rolled inside out maki, ready for cutting


Cut the roll using a sharp knife


Finished maki rolls stuffed with fruit

Sushi Roll Fillings

Here are some ideas for sushi roll or maki fillings you could add into your homemade sushi.

My Homemade Roll

One of my favourites, I make these all the time, loads of filling, loads of flavour

  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Yellow Radish
  • Mayonaise
  • Cucumber
  • Seasame seeds

California Roll Filling

One of the most popular and well known rolls out there. So simple yet delicious

  • Cucumber
  • Crab meat or crab sticks
  • Avocado
vegetables preparation

Having all your ingredients prepped and chopped is a big help

Rainbow Roll Filling

Put simply, it’s the same as a California roll but with alternating pieces of fish or vegetables placed on top so each piece has a different colour when cut up, like a rainbow

  • Cucumber
  • Crab meat or crab sticks
  • Avocado
  • For the outside, a combination of the following, avocado, salmon, tuna, prawns

Spider Roll Filling

Lovely simple roll. Soft crab works well but if you don’t have that, crab sticks can be used as a substitute

  • Crab
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Sriracha and mayonnaise – this is optional

Dragon Roll Filling

Eel is a hard fish to find in some places, but if you can get it, I highly recommend dragon rolls, they look and taste amazing. It is rolled inside out with the cucumber, crab and eel on the inside and the avocado on the outside

  • Cucumber
  • Crab
  • Eel
  • Avocado
sushi party food

Here is all the sushi from our last sushi party. We needed a bigger table!

Spicy Tuna or Salmon Roll Filling

Add Sriracha sauce mixed with mayonnaise in equal measures onto the salmon and place into a roll. Can also go well with other fillings like cucumber and avocado

  • Tuna or Salmon
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Mayonnaise

Philadelphia Roll Filling

Who would have thought cream cheese would go with sushi!?

  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Cream cheese

Tempura Roll Filling

Tempura is a batter used when deep frying prawns or vegetables. There are a lot of variations of tempura roll. Here are a few ideas you could try.

  • Prawns, Chicken, Peppers deep fried in tempura batter
  • Avocado
brown rice vegan sushi idea

Some delicious brown rice vegan sushi roll ideas!

Smoked Salmon Roll Filling

If you have guests that are not a fan of eating raw fish, why not try smoked salmon instead

  • Smoked salmon
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Yellow radish

Fruit Sushi Roll Filling (experimental)

I’m placing the word experimental on this one as we tried it last time and to be honest, it wasn’t a huge success. It’s basically fruit wrapped up in a sushi roll which didn’t taste great! Try at your own risk – you’ve been warned

  • Strawberries, peach, grapes, pear or apple

Single Fillings

Any of the following wrapped alone go very well. The vegetable ones are vegan and vegetarian friendly too

  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Yellow Radish
  • Salmon
  • Crab

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post on how to make sushi rolls. If you have any favourite roll fillings you make yourself, I’d love to hear about them. Why not leave a comment below?


One thought on “How to Make Sushi Rolls

  1. I’ve always wondered how sushi was made, so it helps to see these instructions. It’s good to know that it’s best to turn the seaweed sheet upside down and place the filling only one quarter of the way down the sheet. That seems important to make sure that the roll isn’t overstuffed. Thanks for posting this!

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