How to Make Hand Roll Sushi at Home

How to Make Hand Roll Sushi at Home

Worried about having sushi from a restaurant? Worried if the fish is raw or has parasites? What if making hand roll sushi at home gave you complete control of what you eat? It is sure to make the process easy and also fulfill your taste buds!

Making a hand roll sushi is simple, and once you try it, there is no looking back. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of exotic sushi rolls and learn how to make them easily.

Before hitting straight to the tutorial, here is a little flashback highlighting the art of creating sushi rolls, which have now become one of the most favorite cuisines of food lovers globally.

how to make hand roll sushi at home

History of Japanese hand roll or sushi hand roll

According to several studies and reports on Japanese cuisine, the art of making sushi hand roll dates back to the Edo era, which was between 1603 to 1868. The first-ever “temaki” sushi or hand roll was the creation of the Samurais.

The name “temaki” is the amalgamation of two Japanese words. “te” means hand, and “maki” means rolling. While it was more of a community-specific food in the 17th century, it is currently a global favorite. Its versatility has won the hearts of food lovers everywhere. The fact that you can experiment with a range of different fillings makes it so enjoyable.

Over the years, hand roll sushi has become a regular in restaurants and house parties. Experts believe this Sushi is more Westernized despite its origin in Southeastern Asia. Besides, temaki has come a long way in terms of look and taste.

The initial version of the hand roll was devoid of strong flavors due to the unavailability of vinegar and the lack of knowledge of fish fermentation. However, by the 19th century, the discovery of rice vinegar was a plus point, and the locals also became aware of the fish fermentation procedure.

By the beginning of the 20th century, temaki was already gaining popularity in American restaurants. However, World War II broke, and most restaurants were forcefully closed. According to records, there is a small area in southern California called Little Tokyo where the first sushi hand roll in a restaurant called Kawafuku.

In this area, the creation of the present-day California Sushi roll took place. The basic difference is using avocado in the roll instead of the traditional fermented tuna filling.

How to make a temaki hand roll?

As mentioned earlier, temaki is a perfect dish for house parties and a dine-out with friends. The best part is that cooking sushi rice is also very easy, and with the availability of other ingredients, arranging a make-your-own sushi roll table for a house party can be very interesting.

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Here is an easy tutorial for what you need to make a hand roll and how you can make one:

Basic ingredients

Seaweed sheets or nori

These sheets have multiple names, including roasted, yakitori, or simply nori. Nori is easily available in local supermarkets, especially the Asian ones. Besides, you can find them on various online shopping portals.

They come in various sizes and quantities, which means there is no requirement to buy more than your requirement.

Additionally, if you don’t like the flavor or taste of nori, the best alternatives are cabbage, spinach, or lettuce leaves. It is similar to Korean Bulgogi, a popular wrap/roll filled with veggies and meat.

Sushi rice

Koshihikari and Nishiki are the two most common types of sticky short-grain rice perfect for making Sushi. These fragrant rice varieties will make the temaki cone authentic and flavorful. You can use an instant pot or rice cooker for the desired texture.

If it is your first time making sushi rice, it is best to watch a YouTube tutorial to get an idea of the quantity and ratios. You can also refer to package instructions to make perfect sushi rice.

Sushi vinegar

A dash of typical rice vinegar, including Sushi, is widely used in Japanese cuisine. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar to make a runny slurry. Add a pinch of salt and mix it with the sushi rice for the ultimate umami goodness.


The good news is that a hand roll does not require sourcing sashimi-quality fish. Check out the list of budget-friendly and lip-smacking filling options for the next time you think of temaki.

  • Canned tuna mixed with mayo and Sichimi Togarashi for a spicier version
  • Caviar or fish roe
  • Cream cheese with smoky salmon
  • Cubes or sticks of fried tofu
  • Perilla or Shiso leaves
  • Pickled red ginger or Beni shoga
  • Pickled yellow daikon or Takuan
  • Sashimi-quality kingfish, salmon, or tuna
  • Shrimps or prawns
  • Sichimi Togarashi- a traditional Japanese spice powder, which is also a substitute for regular chili powder
  • Tamagoyaki or Japanese layer omelet
  • Teriyaki or roast chicken in slices or shreds mixed with kewpie or regular mayonnaise
  • Thin slices or juliennes of carrots and cucumbers using a grater
  • Thin strips of avocado
  • Wasabi paste- You will find this in any Asian supermarket. The alternative is horseradish paste

How to make the hand roll?

hand roll sushi

Step 1

Transfer all the sushi rice to a pan with a flat bottom. Now pour the rice vinegar slurry and mix it with the rice using a flat paddle. You have to ensure the rice holds its shape and does not become mush due to over-stirring. Let the rice cool down completely before you serve it. You can mix in some nori komi furikake or rice seasoning to achieve a more flavorful version of the rice.

Step 2

In another bowl, mix the tuna with Japanese kewpie mayo and ensure that you combine it properly. Take a little taste test to see if the mixture needs more mayonnaise. The end product should be delicious, creamy, and very smooth. If you are using smoked salmon with cream cheese, both must be added separately.

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Step 3

It is now time to assemble the temaki. Take a nori sheet, and break it into two equal rectangles, if it comes in long sheets. Now, place it on a dish or take it in your hand to fill a scoop of sushi rice. Make sure you place the filling on the left corner on the top of the sheet in a slightly triangular pattern.

Step 4

Now you must choose the other fillings, including the protein and veggies, and start tucking the sheet. Start by folding from the left bottom corner of the sheet, and continue till it takes the shape of a cone. You can check out any video tutorial, too, if there is a need for more help.

Sushi roll vs hand roll

If you want to know the difference between a sushi roll vs hand roll difference, the first noticeable point is that the latter does not require a sushi mat. Other than that, temaki does not need the proficiency required to make proper cut rolls.

As you already know the meaning of temaki, it is evident that maki is the kind of roll you find sushi chefs making in restaurants. Another difference between hand roll vs cut roll is the use of sashimi-quality fish. While it is mandatory in the restaurant versions, it is not necessary in the sushi cones.

You may also notice that a cut sushi roll or maki is very precise regarding serving sizes. However, a temaki is more about your preference and can be different from one another. Last, maki sushi is only available in bigger Asian supermarkets or restaurants, unlike temaki, which you can easily make at home.

Sushi roll vs hand roll

Useful tips to help you make better hand roll sushi

Here are some final tips that will help you to achieve the desired shape as well as a taste of temaki:


Make sure that you wash the sushi rice multiple times before cooking it. Removing all the excess starch is important so you get a fluffy texture at the end. Also, note that you should not use a metal paddle or spoon to stir sushi rice as it can break the grains easily.

Metal may react negatively with vinegar and can create health hazards. Lastly, please don’t rush to cool the rice down, especially by putting it in the refrigerator.


You can play with traditional condiments such as pickled ginger and soy sauce. For example, some people like to dip their rolls in the sauce, but you can pour some sauce on the rolls instead. Moreover, you can add condiments as per your preference.


As you already know about the hand roll vs roll differences, it is not mandatory to maintain preciseness in shape for roll sushi.


Preparing sushi rolls and storing them is not the best idea. Instead, you should have them as fresh as you can.

Final thoughts

A hand roll or temaki is a traditional sushi dish perfect for a party snack. It is easy to make, delicious, and a healthy snack. So, the next time you host a party, keep the ingredients ready, and let the guests wrap it up as per their taste!

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