Master the art of homemade sushi with this easy Maki Roll recipe! Featuring nori and perfectly cooked sushi rice wrapped around a colorful combo of imitation crab, cucumber, avocado, and carrots, these rolls promise a fun and flavorful dining experience! Forget going out. Make your own sushi!
Sushi always seemed daunting to make at home, but with some trial and error and a bit of help from my next-door neighbors, I’ve mastered this maki roll recipe! It’s surprisingly easy. Inspired by a California roll – but with seaweed on the outside – it’s filled with imitation crab, cucumber, avocado, and carrot, all rolled up in sweet, sticky sushi rice and nori. It’s a balanced and delicious meal in every bite!
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Sushi Recipe
- Tasty and clean. These sushi rolls are delicious and a clean and light lunch or dinner option.
- Great for meal prep. Make these rolls on Sunday night and pack them for lunch for the next two days.
- Interactive. Rolling sushi is perfect for an engaging dinner party. Get some friends together and let everyone make their own roll.
- Versatile. This recipe is easily adaptable to a variety of preferences. The crab and veggie combo is one of my favorites, but feel free to grab other filling options.
What Is Maki?
Maki, a traditional Japanese dish, features sticky rice and dried seaweed (sushi nori) packed with various fillings, from veggies to seafood. There are many maki types, ranging from single to multiple fillings, with nori or rice on the outside and even some without rice. Some are tightly wrapped and sliced, while others are more loosely rolled, resembling a burrito. Today, we’re making chumaki, which is a medium-sized roll with nori on the outside and a mix of ingredients inside.
What Goes In A Maki Roll?
- For the Rice: You’ll need to use sushi rice – it has higher starch content than regular rice, which gives it the required sticky consistency to hold the maki rolls together. Also, grab some rice vinegar and granulated sugar to mix with the rice.
- For assembling the sushi: You’ll need sushi nori (dried seaweed), English cucumber, carrot, avocado, and imitation crab meat.
How to Make Maki Rolls
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, and cook it according to the directions on the package.
- Make the sushi vinegar. Mix rice wine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Fold the vinegar mixture into the prepared rice. Then, let the rice cool almost to room temperature.
- Work on the nori. Place a sheet of nori over a bamboo sushi mat. Wet your hands with warm water and press ¾ cup of sushi rice into an even layer to cover the nori.
- Add the filling. Stack 1 row of English cucumber, 1 row of carrot, 1 row of imitation crab, and 1 row of avocado on top of each other in a line at one end of the mat.
- Roll. Fold the nori and the rice over the filling. Squeeze the mat over the filling. Roll again. Squeeze again. Repeat until you reach the end of the roll. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
- Slice. Wet a sharp knife with warm water and cut the rolls into half-inch thick slices.
Tips for Making Sushi Rolls at Home
- Rinse the rice. It is important to rinse the sushi rice before cooking it because too much starch will leave you with a gummy product that is nearly impossible to work with.
- If you don’t have a sushi mat, line a thick towel with plastic wrap instead.
- Keep your fingers wet. Wet your fingers before spreading the rice over the nori to avoid sticky hands.
- Roll tightly. When rolling up the maki, squeeze between each fold to wrap tightly around the filling.
- Cut with a sharp, wet knife. When cutting a maki roll, use a sharp knife dipped in warm water to help you make clean cuts. Wipe the blade with a damp towel and dip it in warm water again if it gets sticky between cuts.
- Use a different fish. Use raw salmon, tuna, or halibut, but always make sure the fish is sushi-grade. You can also use cooked or smoked fish.
- Make it sweet. I love adding mango to my maki rolls. It adds texture and sweetness.
- Add some crunch. Add chopped macadamia nuts or cashews to your roll for a little extra crunch.
- Sauce. Dipping maki rolls in soy sauce mixed with some wasabi is commonplace. You could also dip it in teriyaki sauce, unagi sauce, or even sweet chili sauce.
- Put the rice on the outside. Spread the rice on the mat before placing a piece of nori on top, and then fill and roll.
How To Make Sushi In Advance?
You can prepare the sushi rice, slice the veggies, chop the imitation crab, and store each component in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to enjoy, all that’s left to do is take your sushi mat out and start rolling.
How to Store Leftovers
- Wrap each maki roll tightly in saran wrap, place the rolls in an airtight container, and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
More Seafood Recipes
- Spanish Seafood Paella
- Shrimp Lo Mein
- Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos
- Jambalaya Recipe with Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage
- Oven Baked Pesto Salmon
- Easy Shrimp Ceviche
Easy Maki Roll Recipe
- 4 sheets sushi Nori
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 4 sticks imitation crab, cut in half, longwise
- In a fine mesh strainer, rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
- Combine the rice and the water in the bowl of an Instant Pot. (You can also cook the rice according to the directions on the package.)
- Seal the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 12 minutes before opening the instant pot and fluffing the rice with a fork.
- In a small saucepan, combine the rice wine vinegar and the sugar and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Fold the rice vinegar mixture into the prepared sushi rice.
- Allow the rice to cool to just above room temperature before using.
- Place a sheet of nori over a bamboo sushi mat.
- Wet your fingers with warm water. This will help keep the rice from sticking to your hands. I like to keep a bowl of warm water near me when I making these rolls.
- Press about ¾ cup of prepared sushi rice over the nori. Use your hand to press it into an even layer to cover the nori.
- Stack 1 row of English cucumber, 1 row of carrot, 1 row of imitation crab, and 1 row of avocado on top of each other in a line at one end of the mat.
- Fold the nori and rice over the filling and squeeze the bamboo mat over the filling to create a tight cylinder. Continue to fold the roll over itself, squeezing it into a cylinder after each fold until you get to the end of the roll.
- Repeat steps 8-12 with the remainder of the ingredients.
- Wet a sharp knife with warm water and slice the rolls into ½ inch slices, wetting the knife between slices if it starts to get sticky.
- Serve with your favorite sushi dipping sauce(s).
- Use sushi rice. For sushi, it’s best to use short-grain rice because it’s rich in starch and sticky enough to hold the shape of sushi.
- Seafood: Feel free to use raw salmon, tuna, or halibut, but always make sure the fish is sushi-grade. You can also use cooked or smoked fish if you do not have access to sushi-grade seafood.
- Add Fruit: I like to add mango or pineapple to my maki rolls.
- Dipping Sauce: Dipping maki rolls in soy sauce mixed with a bit of wasabi is excellent, but you could also dip it in teriyaki sauce, unagi sauce, or sweet chili sauce.
- If you don’t have a bamboo mat, use a thick towel covered with plastic wrap.
- Keep a bowl of warm water near you as you assemble the rolls. It will help keep the sushi rice from sticking to your hands. Wet your fingers before spreading the rice over the nori.
- When rolling up the maki, squeeze between each fold. You want the rice and nori wrapped tightly around the filling.
- When cutting a maki roll into slices, use a sharp knife dipped in warm water. This will help you make clean cuts.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.