How to Make Sushi at Home (It's So Much Easier Than You Think!)
Get our food editor's tips for rolling like a pro.
Maybe you've never considered making sushi at home. It's a food best left to the masters right? Senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell says think again. "A good sushi meal prepared by a master chef is an elevated experience, but basic maki rolls, with an assortment of everyday fillings, are well within the grasp of a novice. All they require are a few key tools, some basic know-how, and a little practice." Inspired by sushi dinner a Japanese friend made for her a few years ago, Lauryn began making sushi at home, adapting what she served to make it family-friendly and easy on the cook. She now makes Tuna Salad Hand Rolls every week. It's an inexpensive but elevated dinner that her kids adore. And she says every friend she's shared her recipe with also now makes it on rotation.
What You Need
The key to making sushi home is to skip the raw fish—that way you don’t have to worry about sourcing sushi-grade fish or fuss over your slicing technique. The right rice is essential, so be sure to buy sushi rice. Luckily, it's widely available, and options from brands like Lundberg ($5.99, amazon.com) can be purchased online or in most grocery stores. Sushi rice is best made the day of, so plan to make just enough for the meal. Cook it in a rice cooker if you want to make the process easier—a good machine will take all the guesswork out of your rice cookery and deliver a consistent result every time. We like the Zojirushi 5-1/2 Cup Micom Rice Warmer & Cooker ($99.99, bedbathbeyond.com). If you don't have a rice cooker, follow the instructions on the package carefully, says Lauryn.
Use a fan to quickly cool down your rice as you fold in the seasoned vinegar. Rice that is too hot when assembling your rolls will steam the nori and mess with the final texture of the roll. But the fan isn't a piece of specialist equipment—you really can use anything you have on hand, from a stiff placemat to a folded newspaper.
Every sushi chef has a selection of perfectly sharp knives, and even a casual at-home sushi chef needs a sharp knife. You don't need a special knife, though—anything with a blade sharp enough to cut through the nori and rice in clean, precise pieces will work. A dull knife will destroy your beautiful handiwork. "Dipping the edge in a little vinegar will also keep the rice from sticking to your knife as you slice," says Lauryn.
Tuna Salad Hand Rolls
These hand rolls are the easy entry point to making sushi at home: The fish is canned albacore tuna which is readily available and already cooked. The hand rolls are more freeform than rolled sushi, so easier to put together. And, Lauryn says, the recipe is flexible; "If you don't like tuna, use smoked salmon or baked salmon, or chopped cooked shrimp instead."
If you're ready to make maki, a bamboo rolling mat like JapanBargain Bamboo Sushi Rolling Mat ($4.71, amazon.com) will help you roll perfectly even rolls while keeping all the fillings firmly in place.
Baked Salmon Sushi
Once you learn how to roll your own sushi you'll never be tempted by the grocery-store variety again. It's easier than it seems and the results are so much more delicious. Our baked salmon roll with avocado, cucumbers, and carrots is the perfect place to start
Kids and adults alike will love the combination of warm sweet-sour rice, creamy avocado, and crunchy cucumbers and carrots in these simple vegetarian maki rolls.