How to Make Sushi: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Make Sushi: A Beginner’s Guide

We love sushi, as do our kids and it’s easy to make. Homemade sushi makes a great weekend dinner and is always a crowd-pleaser. You can make a variety of fillings to meet a range of tastes and dietary requirements. Sushi chefs in Japan take decades to learn their trade, perfecting rice and slicing raw fish. While we can aspire to produce Japanese dishes like the masters, let’s start at the beginning, with simple yet tasty homemade sushi. Follow our how-to-make sushi guide and let us walk you through the process.

What You Need

  • A bamboo sushi mat, these are inexpensive and easy to find.
  • Nori sheets, are sheets of seaweed for making sushi and can be found in most supermarkets.
  • Sushi seasoning (vinegar), you can make this at home and it’s fairly easy to do. But for a beginner’s guide to making sushi, let’s keep it simple and use store-bought sushi seasoning/vinegar.
  • Rice, you can buy sushi rice but you can use medium grain rice which is normally cheaper and easier to find.

Making the Rice

  • Take 1 cup of your rice, and rinse well in cold water.
  • The rice needs to be cooked 1 part rice to 1.5 part water. So place the cup of rice in a pot and add 1.5 cups of water, add the lid, and bring to a boil.
  • Once it’s boiling reduce to simmer for around 8-10 minutes but keep an eye on it. You want the rice to absorb all the water but not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot!
  • Once the rice is cooked, cool it quickly by spreading it out on a tray, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sushi seasoning, and mix well. Taste

How to Make a Maki Roll

Let’s start with a maki roll, as they are the easiest to make. Maki is rice and filling wrapped in seaweed.

  • Place your nori sheet’s longest edge at the bottom, shiny side facing down. You can place this on the sushi mat to help you roll it but you don’t have to at this stage. Wet your hands to prevent the rice from sticking, then place a thin layer across the sheet leaving about an inch gap at the top.
  • Add your filling of choice, we love tuna, teriyaki chicken, or salmon with avocado and/or cucumber. Or a vegetarian roll with capsicum (peppers), avocado and carrots.
  • Make sure your ingredients are thinly sliced and a similar length, so they can be lined up on the rice. Place your filling halfway up the rice and let it hang over the sides, to make sure the whole roll is filled.

How to Roll

  • Make sure you have some water on hand. Take the bottom of the sheet and roll it up so that the bottom meets the top line of the rice.
  • Try to make one full roll of the rice keeping it tight, and hold the roll in place. Then wet your fingers with the water and slightly dampen the remaining edge of the nori sheet then continue to roll the sheet, sealing the roll.
  • Place the roll on the sushi mat, roll the mat around the sushi giving it a gentle yet firm squeeze. You want to compact the roll keeping it round but not squashing it.
  • Once you have made up all your rolls, make sure your knife is sharp and run the edge of the knife under a running tap. Cut the roll in half then keep cutting the pieces in half again until you have 8 pieces. Keep running the knife under a little water in between cuts to prevent the rice from sticking to it.

How to Make Sushi With Rice on the Outside

Sushi with rice on the outside is called Uramaki sushi aka California roll. Similar to a maki roll but the rice is on the outside and seaweed wraps around the filling.


  • Follow the process as above but start by cutting your nori sheet in half. This will give you one whole circle when you roll the sushi. Then layer on the rice covering the whole surface
  • Flip the roll over and add your fillings of choice to the middle of the roll.
  • Roll the bottom of the sheet over once to meet the top and make one whole roll.
  • Place on sushi mat and gently roll to tighten it up and seal it. But don’t over-squeeze.
  • Once you are ready to serve use a sharp knife and cut the roll in half then keep cutting the pieces in half again until you have 8 equal pieces. As with a maki roll keep dipping the edge of the knife under running water to stop the rice from sticking.

The beauty of making sushi is you can serve it exactly how you like, adding all your favorite ingredients. We hope our beginner’s guide to making sushi has inspired you to get rolling!

Sushi Inc is a vibrant restaurant that offers what is considered the best sushi in St Petersburg. Opening its doors in 2013 and becoming a local staple by offering live music, traditional hand-rolled sushi and a friendly atmosphere, our guests always have a top notch experience. Customers love our award-winning, fresh and creative Sushi rolls, Nigiri, and Sashimi. With a larger selection of tempura, non-Sushi, and teriyaki options, we can accommodate every taste.