• Amy Neel

Make sushi at home (for complete beginners!)

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Quarantine cravings are REAL! My mouth starts watering at the thought of all of my favorite restaurants. I wonder if they are missing me too? 😂🤔

We are cycling through the same handful of home cooked staples, and even the family favorites are getting old. Are you in the same boat?

Raise your hand if you're tired of cooking the same things week to week? 🙋‍♀️

Raise your hand if you miss your favorite restaurants? 🙋‍♀️

Raise your hand if you miss SUSHI! 🙋‍♀️

I hear you! Even for someone who usually enjoys cooking, I was getting burnt out in the kitchen.

And then we came up with sushi. I've even got the kids involved - so believe me - it's totally do able!

Now, let me preface this by saying I am not a formally trained chef nor have I ever worked in a sushi restaurant. I am just a mom who tried her hand at sushi and the fam loved it.

Let's get started with what you'll need.

Pre-covid I picked up a sushi rolling kit for $5 at fivebelow. I loved it and used it often, but decided recently to upgrade to this one off amazon for about $15 - it came with a cute bag, 2 rolling mats and 4 sets of super cute reusable chopsticks. Here is another similar option that I found for just 8$!

Now that you've got a mat you'll need rice. Most grocery stores will carry Sushi rice or you can order it on amazon here. Again, sushi pros don't come fore me but If you don't have sushi rice on hand, I have used regular rice and it worked in a pinch.

Next, you'll need seaweed wraps aka sushi nori. I'll use these terms interchangeably moving forward. Check the ethnic/Asian section of your grocery store or you can find plenty of options on amazon. This one has great reviews and is a good price!

Finally, you'll need all of your favorite sushi ingredients and toppings. The awesome thing about sushi is that you can customize it to your own preferences and use whatever you have at home. We prefer to chop up whatever we've got and then make a variety of rolls.

Ill list some of my favorite sushi ingredients and my family's favorites below.


Rolling Mat


Sushi Nori (seaweed wraps)

TOPPINGS / FILLINGS (Optional, pick your favorites!)

Smoked Salmon

Cooked Shrimp

Crab meat

Any prepared fix mix / crab salad




Shredded carrots


Sesame Seeds


Spicy Mayo

Eel Sauce

Pickled ginger


Soy Sauce


Cook your rice according to the package directions. For our family of 4, we usually use 1 cup or rice and that will make 4 - 6 rolls depending on size. Let the rice cool.

While the rice is cooking / cooling, prep all of your toppings and ingredients. Think about cutting everything lengthwise. If you are using cucumber, first peel and then use a spoon to remove the seeds. Bottom line, you'll want to end up with long strips of all your ingredients. This will make rolling the sushi much easier.

Lay out your rolling mat. Place your seaweed wrap / sushi nori on the mat.

Using a spoon/spatula or small measuring cup to add a layer of rice. Spread it starting at one end of your nori. If you're rice is too sticky to spread easily, you can use a little bit of water on your spoon. I'm not sure how the sushi pros feel about this tip, but I've been known to wet my fingers and spread the rice that way, too. You're rice should cover anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of your seaweed, depending on how big you plan to make your roll. If you like a lot of rice, you can completely cover your nori.

Now, begin layering your toppings about 2 - 3 inches from the end of your seaweed, placing them all in a line about an inch wide. I like to start with my heaviest topping on bottom, like the fish, and then layer on top of that.

Now it's time to ROLL! Grab the end of your mat (the side with all the toppings) and place your thumbs under it. Begin to roll away from you, ensuring that you are folding in all of the ingredients. This step takes a little practice to perfect, so I suggest starting with a small roll first like a cucumber avocado or simple Philadelphia roll (salmon, cream cheese and avocado). Work your way up to those big daddy rolls! Once you get your roll complete, use a few drops of water on your finger to seal your roll shut. Set aside and repeat!

Once all of your rolls are complete, you need to cut them into bite size pieces. Make sure you are using a SHARP knife and keep water on hand. Keeping your blade wet in between every few cuts will keep the rice from sticking to your knife. Take your time and be patient. There is nothing worse than making a beautiful roll and then ruining it at the end, speaking from personal experience on that one.

Now, lay everything out on your prettiest plate and garnish to your hearts content with additional toppings, sauces or just eat it how it is! Serve with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce!

Now sit back and enjoy your first sushi night!

Really make sushi night specials by theming the rest of your evening. Sit around the coffee table on pillows. Use chopsticks. Drink sake, green tea or ramune or Japenese snacks for the kids! We love having sushi nights and watching our favorite anime movies together.

This is a fun way to explore Japanese culture with your family while getting out of the dinner rut!

We would love to hear your feedback. Tag us @Nothingbutneel in your sushi adventures!

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