What is Maki Sushi?

Maki means “roll” in Japanese, so if Maki appears in the name of the dish, it is rolled. In the U.S., when someone says Maki, it refers to the sushi roll, however, in Japan, the correct term to use is Makizushi. Maki Sushi is considered a beginner sushi since it is one of the most popular types of sushi in the world and is not adventurous as other sushi types.

Maki sushi is made with nori (seaweed) on the outside, and then vinegared rice on the inside, as well as the various fillings such as seafood (most commonly and often raw) and other different ingredients. Since nori is one of the main ingredients in Maki sushi, it is as known as “norimaki” in Japanese. The choice of fillings are endless and you can have various maki rolls, such as tuna roll, avocado roll, eel roll, cucumber roll, Philadelphia roll, vegetable roll, California roll. The most important aspect is the preparation of the rice. That said, if you want to make decent Maki sushi at home, you need to know how to prepare the rice first.

Generally, making Maki sushi requires several techniques, including rice, spreading, ingredients arrangements (so that the cut faces looking pretty), rolling (not too tight, not too loose) and clean cutting. Maki sushi looks like it is more difficult to make than other sushi types, but with the aid of a bamboo mat, it is quite easy. In order to help you spread the rice thin enough and to use fillings sparingly, the key is to keep your hands moistened at all times.

There are several different styles of Maki sushi, based mainly on the thickness of the roll itself. In this article, we will walk you through different types of Maki sushi that you can often found in sushi restaurants.

Where can you eat Maki sushi?

Maki sushi is one of the most popular types of sushi in America. To see evidence of this, while it goes without saying that you can find them in any sushi restaurant, you can find them in any well-stocked modern grocery store, supermarkets and even in convenience stores.

How Do You Make Maki Sushi

If you want to make Maki sushi at home, you will need some specialty items to get started (except you want to make temaki sushi). Sushi mat or makisu is one of them – made from thin pieces of bamboo held together with string. A bamboo mat is a working place where you will put all your ingredients in and start rolling. These mats can be found in any supermarket or you can get them online.

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Sushi rice

Like any type of sushi, rice is the most important element in maki sushi. You should only use sushi rice for making any sushi type since it is sticker than most of the rice. Sushi rice can be made easily at home with a few ingredients.

See also: How to make perfect sushi rice at home

Sushi fillings

As mentioned, Maki sushi can be filled with a variety of ingredients, but the most popular ingredients are raw tuna, raw salmon, cucumber, Nita kanpyo, simmered shiitake, sakura denbu, rolled omelette.

Rolling Maki sushi

Once you have all the desired ingredients, you will start rolling. This process is relatively easy with the help of a bamboo mat, but it will take some practice to get right if you are a first-timer. Don’t worry about messing up at first, they may just fall apart, but will still taste good.

4 Types of Maki Sushi



Hosomaki rolls are simple rolled, thin sushi, which should be consumed in a single bite. They are made with a half sheet of nori, sushi rice and usually contain only one filling ingredient like fish or a vegetable. There are many versions of Hosomaki based on the ingredient. Hosomaki that contains cucumber is called Kappamaki. Another common type of Hosomaki is Tekkamaki, filled with tuna. Hosomaki was originally designed as a convenient snack, so they are simple in flavor, simple to eat and simple to make. Since Hosomaki stands tall and elegant with a single filling, the key to have a good Hosomaki roll is not overdoing it.

However, do not underestimate Hosomaki sushi as the simplicity of it is a delight in itself. One really gets to savor and taste that single distinct filling. The layer of sushi should be thin enough to complement and not-power the filling.

How to make hosomaki

First, you want to moisten your hands with warm water to keep the rice from sticking to your hands.

With the half sheet nori on the bamboo rolling mat, spread a thin layer of the sushi rice onto the nori, leaving about 1 inch of the nori without rice at the far end. This part will be used to seal the roll. Create a thin ridge at the far end to prevent filling from spilling forward when rolled.

You will want to use your fingertips to spread the sushi rice onto the nori. If you try to use rice paddle, spoon or spatula, you will end up with a paste. While spreading the sushi rice using your hands, don’t put too much pressure on the rice, otherwise, you will end up with a paste as well. Also, don’t try to make all of these sushi rice and nori planks at once as the longer the sushi rice sits on the nori, the more paste-like the rice will get, so make them as you go.

Next, place your desired ingredient over the sushi rice. Be sure to try to evenly distribute the single ingredient throughout the hosomaki roll.

Then lift the bamboo rolling mat with your thumbs and slowly begin rolling forward until the edge of the mat touches the top of the ridge. Firmly squeeze the bamboo rolling mat with your thumb and fingertips to make sure that the roll doesn’t fall apart when you eat it.

When you finish rolling, give the roll a few good squeezes, making sure to squeeze on the spot of the nori with no rice to give the Hosomaki roll a good seal. If the roll does not seal, you want to run your wet finger down the inside of the flap of the nori and try sealing it again.

Finally, moisten your sushi knife with vinegared water and cut the roll into 5 slices. Serve with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and a small dollop of wasabi. Enjoy!



You have met Hosomaki, the thin elder brother. Now you will get to meet the fat younger brother, Futomaki – one the most popular types of sushi in the U.S. They both have the same nori wrapping on the outside and a layer of sushi rice on the inside. But while Hosomaki is slim and willowy with the single ingredient, Futomaki is plump and juicy with two or more ingredients.

Futomaki rolls are often much larger than other types of sushi – as much as 2 inches in diameter. That’s why you cannot have too many Futomaki rolls on your plate at once. On the other hand, Hosomaki has strength in numbers as they are usually clustered together.

Futomaki is served throughout the year in Japan, but it is the main dish for Setsubun, the day of prayer for a good year with happiness. Japanese people have a tradition of eating futomaki during Setsubun holiday. At this time, Japanese call this sushi roll “Ehomaki”. “Eho” refers to a lucky direction (this direction changes every year depends on the zodiac symbol for the year), and you would eat the entire Ehomaki while facing the lucky direction. Don’t know whether you believe Ehomaki will make your wish come true or not, but If you happen to be in Japan at this time, you won’t want to lose any opportunities to enjoy this delicious roll for sure.

It’s simple to prepare the ingredients for making Futomaki, especially you can also use the leftover trimmings or other pieces of meats to make it since the quality is not affected by the way that the filling look. Just like other types of Maki, most sushi chefs use the leftover trimmings to make Futomaki so that they can cut down on waste and cut costs.

Futomaki thick rolls are generally made with cooked vegetables and some cooked seafood. Popular ingredients are boiled spinach, marinated shiitake mushrooms, grilled unagi, sweet fish flakes. You can use any combinations, so be creative!

How to make Futomaki

Place the bamboo rolling mat on the work surface and put a sheet of nori on the mat, shiny side down.

Dip your hands into some warm water and shake off the excess water. This keeps the rice from sticking to your fingers while assembling the sushi. Then cover about two-thirds of the nori with sushi rice and spread evenly with your fingertips. Leaving about ½ inches of the nori without rice at the far end, this will help to keep the rice from coming out from the seam and makes it look pretty after you roll.

Place your fillings across the rice. You should cut the ingredients into a long stick if possible that allows for an even distribution of the ingredients as well as makes it easier to roll. Put the larger items on the bottom and the smaller ones on the top. Since Futomaki is a big roll, you want to spread the ingredients out some to accommodate the size of the roll. Don’t worry about keeping everything inside of the plank since they will move around while rolling.

Fold the bamboo rolling mat over, start rolling the nori onto the filling tightly and firmly until the bottom end reaches the top end of sushi rice. Be careful not to roll the rolling mat into your sushi roll. You may have to support your filling with your fingers so that it goes in the proper place while rolling.

Hold the roll with the bamboo mat over it, and grab the top of the mat and pull against each other to tighten the roll. When the roll is tight enough, pulling the mat forward to finish rolling. Continue to make the rest of the rolls.

Now you have a futomaki complete roll. Remove the roll from the mat and put it on a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife and cut the roll in half first. Every slice or every other slice, wipe the knife with moisture kitchen cloth for making clean cuts. Then cut both of two pieces in half again. Then cut all of these pieces in half again. This should give you eight evenly sliced pieces of futomaki.



Maki sushi has an “inside-out” variation which is also a largely American form of sushi called Uramaki, some people refer to uramaki as “inside-out rolls”. Like futomaki, this type of maki sushi has two or more fillings. The difference is that Uramaki has the sushi rice on the exterior of the sushi roll rather than the seaweed. If you have ever seen a California roll, you will be familiar with this type of Maki sushi. California roll is actually a classic example of uramaki.

Uramaki can be made with different fillings such as salmon, canned tuna, crab fish cakes, butterhead lettuce, avocado and more. Often uramaki are topped with garnishes like the fish roe or sesame seeds for a finishing touch. This type of roll was invented in America and originally made with non-Japanese diners in mind, as the dark green of the nori was potentially off-putting to those not used to it. While uramaki rolls are a fun addition to a sushi platter, they are more common outside of Japan like some other rolls such as the well-known California and Philadelphia rolls.

How to make Uramaki

Inside-out rolls are made just like futomaki, but you start with a piece of plastic wrap over the bamboo sushi mat. This plastic wrap helps to avoid sticking. If you want to use a gallon ziploc bag, choose the cheapest ones since they will be more flexible and easier to roll.

Then, again, dip your hands in some warm water and remove any excess water. Spread the sushi rice directly onto the plastic wrap.

Next, place a sheet of nori over the sushi rice and gently pressing the nori to the rice. Then place filling ingredients on the top of the nori. There are many different filling ingredients that you can add to the roll.

Then, lift the rolling mat with your hands and use your fingers to hold the fillings in place. Keep rolling the mat exactly like futomaki.

The Uramaki can be coated with sesame seeds and other garnish. You can do this by rolling the roll in them.

Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the roll. Moisten your knife and cut the complete roll exactly in the center. Then cut both of two pieces in half. Finish by cutting the four pieces in half again.

Remove the wrap, arrange your Uramaki rolls on a sushi plate and serve. Don’t forget the soy sauce and wasabi for dipping and pickled ginger for cleansing the palate between eating different pieces of maki sushi.



“Te” means hand, so temaki is hand roll. Temaki is similar to other variations of Maki sushi in that it uses nori as a wrapper with the sushi rice and toppings inside. While other Maki sushi rolls are shaped to a cylinder with bamboo rolling mat, temaki does not require a makisu (bamboo rolling mat) to form the roll – it is shaped like a cone by hand, hence the name temaki. Because of its unique form, Temaki is usually eaten with the hand rather than with chopsticks.

Unlike other types of Maki sushi, in which rolls are expected to dip in soy sauce, temaki usually come with fillings that are pre-seasoned, precluding the need for a soy drunk. Temaki should be eaten straight away since the cone of dried nori can absorb moisture from the fillings inside, making it to lose its crispness. If it is premade, it will generally be sealed in plastic that would be removed just before eating.

These Japanese hand rolls are a more casual type of sushi. They have a fun visual appearance with ingredients overflowing from the cone like a cornucopia which makes them a fun choice for a sushi party.

How to make temaki sushi

Temaki is considered the easiest, dirtiest way to have Maki sushi at home since it does not require any specials tools nor technique to make.

First, take a piece of nori and hold it in your hand. Nori (Seaweed) used for Temaki would be either ½ or ¼ of full-size one used for Maki so that a small pile of rice and fillings can be made on one corner.

Spread sushi rice onto one end of the nori, then covering around a third of it. Add your desired toppings diagonally across the rice.

Once you have added what you like, roll the temaki by bending your hand so that it starts to fold in onto itself. When you finish rolling, you should have a cone-shaped roll. The moisture in the sushi rice will make the rice stick to the seaweed.

So there you have it. All 4 of the different type of Maki sushi. Choose your favorite one and get started making your very own Maki sushi.

Enjoy… and have a wonderful day!

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