I am new to making sushi and have gotten the hang of rolling it with the nori on the outside. The problem is when I am trying to cut it into individual pieces, I often end up mangling it to the point where it looks like it would be unpleasant to eat it. Is there a trick to getting a nice smooth cut through the roll? The first one of the day seems to always be the worst.

6 Answers 6


ok get a very sharp knife (straight blade)

  • put the blade under water
  • tap the blade on the counter to rid of excess water
  • cut roll in half
  • repeat the process on the two portions

make sure that you're using a long knife, and when you're cutting, don't seesaw, rather it should be one fluid motion


or do it as the comment below says :P

  • 13
    I was taught by a sushi chef to do it in two motions. One slice forward which brings you halfway through the roll, then slice backwards to complete.
    – hobodave
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 18:30
  • @hobodave - reflected in the edit :)
    – dassouki
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 18:33
  • Thanks a ton, I never thought to water the knife so often. I was doing it only once per roll. Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 18:38
  • 4
    I would just like to stress the word SHARP!
    – Kilhoffer
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 13:18
  • 1
    And don't rely on the yanagiba being the best roll cutter of all the knives around, even if it is the one knife everyone associates with sushi. It is not designed to cut dense foods well. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 21:35

I had similar stuggles at first. Sharpness is first, test it on your thumb nail - it should have a decent bite. Second water, I dip my blade in water for a roll, not each piece, the other is when you dampen the nori to seal it, don't overwet it. Then, if possible, allow it to sit for a bit, maybe 15-30 seconds, with the sealed area on the bottom, that will help a lot.
If youre in a rush to get a hosimaki or futomaki out (nori on the outside) then when cutting, position the roll in the direction you will finish the cut, so as you pull towards yourself to cut the final bit of nori, you pull it tighter.


I cover my roll with a sheet of plastic wrap, then hold it gently while cutting. (I tend to make inside-out rolls, and the plastic helps with keeping the rice together but also helps with the roll's overall stability while slicing.)


I use chef Tony's Miracle Blade... that's not a joke, it really works for me - but any other quality toothed knife should work. Of course the trick is that you just have to lean the blade on the nori roll, and then move the knife without any pressure! The slice has to be cut only by the teeth of the blade!


Take a paper towel, oil it, wipe your SHARPEST NON-SERRATED SUSHI BLADE with a very lite coating of olive oil (just enough to slicken it). Then, cut your roll exactly in half. Then repeat until you have 8 equal sized pieces. Don't forget to sprinkle your roll with sesame seeds or masago (fish eggs) BEFORE you begin slicing.

The oil is what keeps the rice from sticking like paste to your knife.


I would recommend that you use a sharp knife and try not to put too much filling and make the cut in one motion also dip the knife with water

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