I like eating sushi and think it would be a fun experiment to attempt making sushi at home. I've seen rolls put together in a restaurant a couple times - looks so simple! I've heard it is difficult though.

I'm wondering if there any special utensils that I would need to make sushi rolls aside from basics found in most kitchens? Is it the kind of thing that I should look for a kit? I'm also curious if there is anything recommended for beginning - certain ingredients to use (perhaps on the cheaper side to get started), etc. Maybe some gotchas to avoid. I've been looking for a guide, potentially with detailed pictures to get started with, but nothing has hit the spot yet.

5 Answers 5


There are a few tools you should have that are out of the ordinary in a typical American kitchen:

  • Sushi rolling mat - It's really the only way to make maki (rolls). Pro tip: when you use it, put it inside of a large zip-loc bag. This helps prevent the rice sticking to the mat.

  • Wooden sushi bowl - This is essential in helping the rice turn out properly. The one I linked includes a free mat. I don't own this particular brand; I bought mine from an asian grocery store near me for like $30, it came with a paddle. If you don't want to commit to this large uni-tasker then I recommend using an equally large shallow-ish plastic bowl/dish. The sushi chef that taught me said plastic was OK, but to avoid glass or metal.

  • Quality rice cooker - A quality rice cooker makes life amazingly easier. I own the one linked and it is amazing. I use it for cooking all of my rice. The quality of Zojirushi is simply unsurpassed and it quickly pays for itself.

The single most important thing is a very sharp knife. It makes cutting the maki SO much easier. I can't stress this enough. A chef's knife is just fine, but it should be well cared for and very sharp.

For beginners nigiri-zushi is by far the easiest to make. You simply shape a small amount of rice in the palm of your hand and slap a piece of fish or other seafood on top of it. Cutting the fish for nigiri is an artform and cannot be adequately conveyed here, but if you just hack out a thin piece of the right size it will taste fine. Tuna and salmon are relatively cheap cuts to use for this.

For maki I suggest starting with spicy tuna rolls and California rolls. All you need for a California roll is: avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab meat. For spicy tuna mix you need: tuna, kewpie mayo, and shichimi togaroshi (or nanami togaroshi).

You may also want some tobiko and/or masago roe for the outside of your rolls.

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    also crazy important for cutting maki is a damp towel to moisten your knife edge between cuts. If you don't do this, you will pull the fillings and nori with the blade, and be unable to achieve clean cuts. Oct 9, 2010 at 2:51
  • +1 for Zojirushi recommendation! They also make amazing bread makers.
    – D3vtr0n
    Nov 8, 2012 at 20:36

One thing that will be very important, is a good supply of fresh fish. and this can be quite difficult. In St Louis, try Bob's Seafood located 170 and Olive. They supply a number of restaurants in the area.

By the way, I'm not affiliated with Bob's! They're just good.

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    Bob's is a reputable vendor, it's been a few years since I last lived in STL, but they were the go-to spot the whole time I lived there.
    – Sam Ley
    Mar 8, 2012 at 7:48

Yes. If you want to make maki (rolls), you will need a sushi mat--thin pieces of bamboo bound with string.

You will need a rice cooker or a lot of patience for making the sushi rice properly.

You will need razorblades for knives. Seriously, Japanese chefs keep their knives even sharper than I do, and I can actually shave hair off my arm with mine.


In addition to the answers here

I find that getting the rice seasoning right is actually the hardest part and it can make all the difference between good and great sushi

Also using good Japanese soy is a must (it is quite expensive though)


Any Japanese sushi snob places a GREAT (I have only recently come to understand the importance of this) deal of importance placed on the rice - the quality, flavor and consistency must be top notch.

You could use the best fish imaginable, but if it's on crummy sushi rice, it's not good sushi. At least to a true Japanese sushi elitist... (like my mom).

  • It's not surprising - the rice is the fundamental component of the sushi. There are all kinds of sushi, but they all have shari. Even as a simple question of ratios, there's more of the rice than anything else. Mar 8, 2012 at 15:35

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