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How to Make Hosomaki-Rolled Sushi

Updated on October 12, 2014
Hosomaki Rolled Sushi
Hosomaki Rolled Sushi

I've been eating sushi ever since I was a kid. My mother used to make them at least twice a month as they were easy to make and required very little ingredients. She always preferred fish to other kinds of protein but her favorites were vegetarian ingredients such as fresh cucumbers, pickled Japanese vegetables and ume ( pickled sour plum ). So it doesn't come as a surprise that sushi is one of my favorite comfort foods.

Sushi comes in many forms-

nigiri, temaki, chirashi, oshizushi and makizushi to name a few. There are two types of makizushi-the hosomaki ( thin rolls usually with a single ingredient ) and futomaki ( thick rolls with multiple ingredients ). Today I'm going to attempt to show you how to make a basic hosomaki( simple thin rolls ). In America many of the popular rolls such as California rolls, are not usually found in sushi restaurants here.

I once overheard a frustrated American tourist in a Tokyo sushi restaurant complaining to the sushi chef why they couldn't make her a spicy tuna roll. To try to calm her down, I ended up explaining to her that what she wanted was an American invention and if she wanted one, she would probably have to go to a fusion restaurant of some sort-not a traditional sushi restaurant.

Traditional hosomaki usually includes a single ingredient such as cucumber or raw tuna (maguro) with just a thin layer of wasabi. Hosomaki rolls are meant to be simple and refreshing and because of the simple ingredients used, hosomaki is perfect for vegetarians.

I worked for a sushi restaurant for about a year while I was going to school in Hawaii and that's where I learned how to make these hosomaki rolls. They seem difficult at first but once you master it, they are quite easy to make.

Although I've tried to explain the procedure, it is near impossible to master the rolling technique without illustrations so I've included a link here for you to follow along with my recipe.

Basic Norimaki Sushi Roll Technique

Tips for Perfect Hosomaki Rolls

  • Use Japanese rice for the best results. Long-grain rice will not work as it's not sticky.
  • Use high-quality nori for the best taste. There's nothing worse than cheap tasteless nori.
  • Don't overdo with ingredients. The sushi rolls will burst resulting in disaster.
  • Use a very sharp knife when cutting them.
  • Use wasabi with ingredients that have a subtle taste such as cucumbers or raw fish. You don't need wasabi with pickled Japanese vegetables or ume which have a stronger taste.
  • Practice makes perfect. Expect your first roll to come up funny looking.

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 5-6 rolls


  • Sushi Rice:
  • 3 cups Japanese rice ( short-grain )
  • 3 1/4 cups water ( or follow the instructions on your rice cooker )
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Other Ingredients:
  • 5 -6 large nori sheets ( dried laver ) cut in half horizontally
  • Cucumber sticks, cut up Japanese pickled vegetables, and sour plum paste (ume)


  1. To cook the rice, put the rice in a large bowl and wash with cold water, repeating until water is almost clear.
  2. Drain the rice and set it aside for 20 minutes.
  3. Cook the rice in a rice cooker with water.
  4. Once it's cooked, keep it closed and let it steam for 15 minutes.
  5. Prepare the sushi vinegar by mixing the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan.
  6. Heat on low until sugar dissolves. Cool vinegar mixture.
  7. Put the rice into a large non-metal bowl. Add the vinegar mixture into the rice in two steps gently folding the rice with a rice spatula ( a regular spatula or wooden spoon is fine ) being careful not to smash the rice kernels.
  8. Let the rice cool down just a bit until the excess moisture is gone from the rice.
  9. Cut your ingredients to fit the sushi rolls. Cucumber sticks, shredded or sliced Japanese pickles and ume paste ( sour plums ) work well. For a richer tasting roll, avocado works particularly well.
  10. Place the nori onto the edge of the bamboo sushi rolling mat glossy side down. The nori should be placed on the edge towards you.
  11. Take approximately 1 cup of sushi rice into your hands and form into an oval shape.
  12. Place the ball of rice on the left side of the nori in the center.
  13. Spread the rice evenly from left to right by using your fingertips. The rice should evenly cover the nori sheet except for a 1-inch space near the top of the nori.
  14. If you are using wasabi, spread a thin layer of it across the center of the rice.
  15. Put in your cucumber sticks, avocado or other ingredients on top of the wasabi .
  16. Lift the edge of the rolling mat nearest you with your thumbs and roll it over to enclose the ingredients making a roll. Use your other fingers to keep the ingredients from slipping out. The edge of the nori sheet should meet the top end of the rice. Gently but firmly press the rolling mat to help the nori stick to the rice edge.
  17. Once that edge is stuck, move the rolling mat away from you to finish creating the roll.
  18. Shape the roll using both hands into a round-rectangle shape.
  19. Unwrap the sushi mat and place the roll's seam side down on a cutting board. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  20. Using a very sharp knife that has been wet with the some rice vinegar, cut the roll in the center.
  21. Place the two halves together and cut into three even pieces. Make sure to use the knife in a swift downward motion. Using a sawing motion will unravel the sushi roll. If your knife gets too dry, wet it with a damp washcloth or vinegar. Remove excess rice that sticks to the knife before further cutting.
  22. Serve the rolls with cut side facing up. A little soy sauce served separately with some pickled ginger and hot tea.

Do You Like This Recipe?

Cast your vote for Rolled Sushi Hosomaki
BambooMN Deluxe Sushi Making Kit 2x Natural Rolling Mats, 1x Rice Paddle, 1x Spreader, 1x Sauce Dish | 100% Bamboo Mats and Utensils
BambooMN Deluxe Sushi Making Kit 2x Natural Rolling Mats, 1x Rice Paddle, 1x Spreader, 1x Sauce Dish | 100% Bamboo Mats and Utensils

This bamboo sushi rolling kit includes 2 just in case you lose the first one and a rice paddle, making it easy to make sushi. In fact, you just need to have one to make rolled sushi so make sure you have one in your kitchen.

The Complete Book of Sushi
The Complete Book of Sushi

Everything you ever wanted to know about sushi and more. Includes recipes for the various types of sushi-nigiri, makizushi and even creative versions for special occasions.


Are you a fan of sushi? If so, what's your favorite kind? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Sushi gets such a bad rap. I didn't know until a few years ago that there were types of sushi that only used vegetables (no raw fish) and I love to taste different kinds. These are beautiful and I would love to try them. Thanks for the clear instructions for how to do it!

    • puppy-love profile image


      4 years ago

      Excellent set of instructions, thanks! I've been thinking about trying to make this at home but have been a little intimidated up until now. I'm going to bookmark this lens in case I ever feel courageous enough!

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @michaelangelo1: Thanks. I hope you try them.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sybil watson: I hope you try making your own. They are so easy to make. Btw, I love hamachi!

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Lorelei Cohen: Once you get the hang of it, sushi is so easy to make.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: Happy New Year to you as well. Avocado is super yummy in sushi.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Brite-Ideas: You should try these veggie ones. They're pretty good.

    • michaelangelo1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi this is a very nice lens congrats!


    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      5 years ago

      Sushi is my absolute favorite food! Fresh hamachi nigiri is what I usually go for when it's available, but I'm happy with tekka maki any day. You've written such detailed instructions for rolling your own sushi that I may just end up making my own sushi for New Years.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Both my daughter and my brother make their own sushi rolls but it is a recipe that I have never tried. Your plate sure looks very colorful and decorative with the many vegetable centers within them.

    • sousababy profile image


      5 years ago

      My man-servant loves sushi. Generally, I don't eat it since I'm allergic to seafood. But a vegetarian sushi with avocado sounds great. Thanks for sharing your technique. Happy New Year to you and yours, R

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I'm not a fan of sushi, but many people I know are!


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