Making Sushi at Home from Scratch | Easy Recipe and Tricks

I love making sushi at home, and it is not as demanding as most people assume. Learn some basic principles and get a few ingredients; that’s all you really need. It is just a super delicious way to enjoy quality time with your family and friends, and I highly recommend it to anyone who fancies seafood in general. Plus, it is super healthy, too; the sushi roll is filled with minerals and vitamins.

Here is the good news: you can make palatable sushi on your first attempt. Eventually, your sushi rolls will look much better as you gain more experience since this requires some hands-on training. But there is simply no reason to prevent you from making sushi from scratch if you follow the simple yet tasty tips and techniques below. This is true even if you have never cooked or baked anything before in your life. So, if you are already pumped as me, then let’s dig in and explore the hidden tricks for making the best sushi roll at home.

What do I need to buy to make sushi?

Making sushi does require some specific ingredients and tools. Nevertheless, you will notice that a few simple items are all you need to get you going initially. You can upgrade some of the gadgets later on when you gain more experience. However, it is best if you get yourself a Japanese style sushi knife in the first place since you really need a razor-sharp blade to slice the sushi roll without mushing it.

Start with the ingredients first. Note that there are many alternatives at different prices at the stores, but pay attention to get the right kind of rice. You will need the following items.

Ingredients for making sushi:

  • Sushi rice
  • Nori sheet (edible seaweed)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Frozen seafood (salmon, tuna, imitation crab, etc.)
  • Vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, avocado, etc.)
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi

Tools for making sushi and sashimi:

Note that some of the items below are usually included as a full package when you purchase a quality sushi making kit. If you opt for that route, then you do not have to buy any extra gadgets.

  • Bamboo mat or a sushi making kit (bazooka or mold)
  • Japanese style sushi knife
  • Rice paddle
  • Roll cutter
  • Special cutting board (to protect the edge of the knife)

Making the best sushi rice – The foundation of sushi

Preparing the vinegar added rice is one of the key elements for making sushi the right way. For that, you need to select the most suitable rice in the first place. What you need is short-grain, round white rice. Stay away from the long-grain version when preparing this delicious treat. You have probably noticed that there are already plenty of products labeled as sushi rice at the grocery stores. Feel free to purchase one of them if you are not sure which one to pick. When making sushi rice, our goal is to prepare a slightly sticky batch that is enriched with vinegar and sugar. Making rice paste is absolutely not acceptable.

Ingredients for sushi rice (steamed rice):

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 3 cups of cold water

Ingredients for sushi vinegar:

  • 1/2 cup of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions for sushi vinegar:

  • Add the rice vinegar, salt, and sugar into a small saucepan over the stovetop.
  • Stir or whisk occasionally.
  • Remove it from the heat once the sugar fully dissolves.
  • Let it cool down completely.

Directions for rice:

  • Start by washing the rice in a medium size plastic bowl until the drained water becomes crystal clear. Use your hands and make sure you add warm water. You might have to rinse 5-6 times.
  • Let the rice rest in a colander for about an hour. It must be drained well.
  • If you are using a rice cooker, put the rice inside the machine and follow the manual’s instructions. Otherwise, place a medium size pan over medium heat and add the 3 cups of water.
  • Add the rice into the pan and cook over medium heat.
  • Once it is fully cooked, place two layers of paper towel or a damp towel under the pan’s lid. The paper towel will help to absorb the extra moisture.
  • Cooldown the rice until it is easy to handle (cold to the touch).
  • Transfer the rice into a medium size bowl and add the sushi vinegar and stir well.

Tip Alert

Most people add the vinegar only after the rice is fully cooked. However, when you also add one tablespoon of vinegar per 1 cup of rice to the boiling water initially, you can get rid of the extra starch. This way, you can produce fluffier rice in the end. Trust me; this technique will make your life much easier later on when dealing with the Nori sheet.

The rice should have a fluffy texture once it is fully cooked. If you add too much water or overcook, then the rice would come out mushy.

Forming the sushi

Before you start, make sure that the Nori sheet is dry and crispy.

  1. Place plastic wrap over the sushi mat (bamboo is the best).
  2. Lay the Nori on the mat.
  3. Spread the sticky rice onto Nori evenly. Do not put too much; about 3/4 cup of rice per sheet of Nori.
  4. Leave about 1/4 inch of space at the top end to be able to seal later on.
  5. Add your desired ingredients (carrot, cucumber, salmon, tuna, etc.) to the bottom quarter of the Nori.
  6. Start rolling slowly and firmly with the help of the mat.
  7. Slice according to your preference.

If you are using a sushi bazooka or a mold, fill it with the rice and ingredients as it is stated in the product manual. Once everything is ready, squeeze the roll out on to Nori sheet.

Selecting the raw fish for sushi

Nobody wants to get food contamination. Keep in mind that raw meat must be kept fresh at all times, and doing so requires you to be ultra-careful when handling. Make sure you keep the meat chilled until you use it for making sushi. However, the most critical step is to select the right fish initially. You will notice that only a few varieties are suitable for making sushi or sashimi. Salmon and tuna are highly popular. Note that you must purchase frozen fish only.

Selecting the right knife for sushi

It is crystal clear that you need a super sharp knife to avoid mushing the sushi roll when slicing. Seasoned chefs do use different knives for preparing sashimi and sushi. However, a single Japanese style sushi knife would do the work flawlessly if you ask me unless you are incredibly serious about Asian cuisine in general. Any blade length between 8 to 12 inches is sufficient. On a side note, try to select a full tang version to be able to operate more efficiently.

Making sushi at home is the healthiest way!

Do you need a sushi roller to make sushi?

You can roll the sushi with a damp cloth if you do not have a mat. Some people even use parchment paper, for that matter. Nevertheless, it is best to get yourself a quality sushi rolling mat if you want to produce a worthy sushi roll that you can serve to your guests.

Do I need to wash the Nori before I use?

Keep your nori away from water and moisture as much as you can if you want to make quality sushi at home. Nori can get chewy and gummy when exposed to humidity. You can spoil the Nori sheet quickly, even if your rice is too wet. It would help if you were extra careful to keep it dry for the sake of the sushi roll. Some cooks toast the Nori sheets before use.

How can you tell if Nori is bad?

If the Nori is spoiled, then you should see a change in color and texture. Additionally, the aroma might be too heavy. A high-quality Nori should taste slightly briny. Keep it in the refrigerator in order to obtain the best results and prevent it from getting soggy. Keep in mind that Nori sheets are produced from edible seaweed, mainly red algae high in fibers and minerals. They contain a fair amount of omega-3 fats and vitamin B12.

What can I use instead of nori sheets?

Soybean sheets are the second-best choice if you don’t want to use the traditional Nori sheets that are made from edible seaweed. You can also wrap the sushi roll with a plastic wrap covered mat and then roll it again with toasted sesame seeds.

What is the most common sushi?

  • Vegetable roll
  • Spider roll
  • California roll
  • Shrimp tempura roll
  • Dragon roll

Is it cheaper to make your own sushi?

Making sushi at home is much cheaper in comparison to buying it from the store or ordering at a restaurant. Most people consider making sushi as a very complicated process. However, it is relatively easy to accomplish. The ingredients cost less than half the price if you eat at a restaurant. Also, it is always healthier too, since you are in full control of what goes into your homemade sushi.


  • Toast the Nori sheet for up to 30 seconds before making sushi to make it extra dry. This will make its texture extra crispy.
  • You can use apple cider vinegar if you run out of rice vinegar. The taste is fairly rich and similar.
  • The best tip for making tasty and good-looking sushi would be to advise working quickly throughout the whole process. The Nori starts to get chewy the second you start to add rice on it. Being faster is truly advantageous when it comes to serving fresh and crispy sushi.
  • You cannot make quality sushi from regular white rice rice—select short-grain Japanese or medium-grain California rice for perfect results.
  • After each slice, wipe the sushi knife with a damp cloth to get a clean-cut next time.
  • Do not squish the rice by pressing too hard when spreading it on the Nori. Be gentle, and have a light touch.


  • Do not wash the Nori sheet. It can easily get spoiled and become gummy if it is exposed to moisture.
  • Do not add too much rice vinegar to the sticky rice. As a general rule of thumb, a maximum of 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar per 1 cup of rice is best.
  • Do not turn the sticky rice into a paste by adding too much liquid or by overcooking on stove top.

In Conclusion

You can make sushi or sashimi at home and enjoy fresh bites with friends and family. You do not have to go to fancy restaurants just to have a few delicious slices each time you crave some. It is as easy as learning some basic techniques and purchasing the right ingredients. You can start making sushi on your own in no time. If you need more assistance on various sushi tools, then I recommend you to check out these other articles I have written with detailed information on sushi ingredients and gadgets such as the Japanese style sushi knives, bamboo mats, sushi kits, and also about the best sashimi knives.

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