This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

Maki sushi is a sushi roll with the seaweed on the outside: and they couldn’t be more fun to make! Here’s a sushi recipe that’s easy to make at home.

Maki sushi recipe
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Sushi is one of Alex and my favorite foods ever. When we first started becoming interested in food, sushi quickly jumped to the top of our “best eats” list and has stayed there ever since. While we usually order out for sushi, we’re so, so excited to bring you a recipe for how to make sushi at home! This maki sushi recipe comes from the NEW cookbook Aloha Kitchen by our friend Alana Kysar, and it is incredibly tasty and surprisingly doable. Keep reading for the maki sushi recipe and more about the book!

Maki sushi recipe

About the book: Aloha Kitchen

Aloha Kitchen is the new beautiful cookbook by Maui native Alana Kysar featuring the beautiful cuisine of Hawai’i! The book is chock full of gorgeous favorites, like poke, shave ice, loco moco and more. Alana explores the cultures that have influenced the local foods of Hawai’i over time, and it makes us want to jump on a plane this instant to visit! Hawai’i is a melting pot of many cultures, and what reflects that more than the cuisine?

As we paged through the book, of course the sushi caught our eye. Alana graciously let us use her maki sushi recipe as a preview: and man is it delicious! Here’s a link to the book so you can see more! (Note: the book includes meat but has several veggie options — and there’s a vegetarian sushi recipe version below!)

Get the book: Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawai’i by Alana Kysar

Maki sushi recipe

What is maki sushi?

What is maki sushi? Maki sushi is simply a sushi roll. It’s rolled sushi with seaweed on the outside and rice and fillings on the inside. Maki sushi can be filled with raw fish, cooked fish, or other vegetables and sauces. There is also an “inside out” variation on maki called uramaki; it has the rice on the outside of the roll rather than the seaweed.

Nigiri sushi, on the other hand, is raw fish on top of rice, with no seaweed wrap. It’s usually in a sort of rounded oval of rice, and the raw fish sits on the top. This post will show you how to make a sushi roll: maki sushi!

Perfect pairing: Serve with edamame or spicy edamame!

Maki sushi recipe

How to make sushi

Making maki sushi is surprisingly accessible. Though you’ll need to set aside about an hour and a half, it’s well worth it. Sushi is perfect food for celebration, and what is more celebratory than a homemade sushi roll? Now, there are a few tips for how to make sushi: here are a few things to consider before you start:

Get a sushi rolling mat (or find an alternative).

In order to get those perfect tight rolls, you need a sushi rolling mat. Alex and I actually used a bamboo placement that we randomly had on hand — see the photo! But if you’re ready to go all in, here’s a sushi rolling mat we recommend that’s super inexpensive: Sushi making kit $7

Cook and fan the sushi rice.

A good sushi recipe is all about the rice! We used sushi rice and cooked it in our Instant Pot, but you can use the stovetop as well. (Use our Instant Pot Rice recipe with 2 cups sushi rice and 2 ½ cups water, and follow the instructions for white rice.) While you cook the rice, you’ll heat up some rice vinegar, sugar and salt, then pour this over the rice once it’s done. Then you’ll toss, fan and fluff the rice with a rice paddle to get it to just the right consistency and cool it to room temperature. It sounds a little funky, but it works and makes the perfect sushi rice.

Prep your fillings.

For this maki sushi recipe, Alana calls for lots of delicious fillings: quick pickled carrots, watercress, an omelet, and shoyu tuna. The tuna used in this recipe is canned, cooked tuna, so it’s a cooked sushi roll! You could also use raw tuna (which we LOVE as well): try to find a sushi-grade raw Ahi tuna. (We’ve found sushi grade fish frozen at our local grocery — this is what we used in our 5 Minute Seared Ahi Tuna recipe.) You can customize the toppings as you like. We noted below we also tried a version with a spicy mayo we made with mayonnaise and Sriracha — it was very delicious but also a little squishy: so just be careful not to use too much.

Roll it up.

Rolling the sushi is a little scary at first. But a sushi recipe is like pancakes: the first one isn’t so pretty, but still tastes good! You’ll get the hang of it as you go. Use your sushi rolling mat to get the roll started, then roll just with your fingers. Make sure to give it a bit of pressure as you roll, which will make for a tight sushi roll.

Maki sushi recipe

Want a vegetarian sushi recipe?

This maki sushi recipe is easily made vegetarian: just omit the tuna and double the omelet filling! An omelet is perfect for vegetarian sushi since it gives a nice texture contrast to crunchy raw vegetables. We’d add a few more pinches of salt into the omelet too if it’s going to be the main filling. And perhaps add some of that spicy mayo mentioned above too!

Related: Healthy Sushi Bowl

And that’s it: how to make maki sushi recipe!

Let us know if you give it a try in the comments below. Good luck! Thanks again to Alana for the fantastic recipe and make sure to check out her book.

Maki sushi recipe

Looking for more party food recipes?

Outside of this maki sushi recipe, here are a few more recipes we love for special occasions:

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Maki sushi recipe

Maki Sushi Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 8 to 10-piece rolls 1x


Maki sushi is a sushi roll with the seaweed on the outside: and they couldn’t be more fun to make! Here’s a sushi recipe that’s easy to make at home.



For the sushi rice

  • 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the shoyu tuna (or substitute thinly sliced sushi grade Ahi tuna)

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 1 4-ounce can tuna, in water, drained

For the omelet (for vegetarian sushi, double this and omit the tuna)

For the quick pickled carrots

  • 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

For the maki sushi

  • 1/2 bunch watercress or spinach, ends trimmed (or baby watercress or spinach)
  • 4 sheets sushi nori
  • To serve: soy sauce, wasabi, Spicy Mayo (optional)


  1. Make the sushi rice: Cook the rice according to the package instructions, or use our Instant Pot Rice recipe (use 2 cups sushi rice and 2 ½ cups water). While the rice is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while the rice continues to cook. Pour the sauce over the just-cooked rice, tossing, fanning, and fluffing it with a rice paddle. Be careful; the rice is hot. Let the rice cool to room temperature before using.
  2. Make the shoyu tuna: In a small nonstick skillet, combine the sugar, soy sauce, and mirin and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves, then add the tuna and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before using.
  3. Make the omelet: In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and salt until well blended. In a small nonstick skillet, heat half of the neutral oil over medium low heat until shiny and shimmering. Pour the egg mixture in and let sit until the edges start to set, about 30 seconds. Push the edges in, toward the center of the pan, with a silicone spatula while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg to spread out. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes, until almost all the egg has set, then carefully flip the entire omelet over, adding the remaining oil to the pan right before you flip. Cook for a minute or so, with the lid off, then remove from the heat and let cool before cutting into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
  4. Make the quick pickled carrots: Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a bowl with a handful of ice cubes and water, and set aside. Bring a small pan of water to a simmer over medium heat and quickly blanch the carrots by cooking them in the simmering water for 1 minute, then plunging them into the ice-water bath. Remove the carrots from the bath after a minute or two, reserving the ice-water bath for the watercress. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, and rice vinegar and add to the carrots. Let sit for 15 minutes; drain the pickling liquid before using.
  5. Make the watercress: Bring the water in the saucepan back to a simmer over medium heat and blanch the watercress by cooking it in the simmering water until it’s wilted, about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer it to the ice bath and let sit until cooled, a minute or two. Drain the watercress and soak up any extra water from the watercress with a couple of paper towels.
  6. Make the sushi: Place a sushi rolling mat or other flat roll-able item (we used a place mat) on a clean work surface, with the bamboo running horizontal. Add a sheet of nori, shiny side face-down, and align the bottom edge with the edge of the rolling mat. Spread the sushi rice in a thin layer, about 1/2-inch thick, leaving a 1 1/2-inch margin on the end farthest from you. Leave a 1/2-inch margin of rice on the end closest to you, and arrange your fillings in a row in this order: omelet, carrots, watercress, and tun, with each row touching the previous row. (See the photo above.) Carefully roll the sushi away from you, using the mat to apply pressure. Use one hand to keep the filling in place until you get to the point when the mat touches the rice. At this point, lift the mat away from the rice so that you can continue until the sushi is completely rolled. Repeat this process until all the rice has been used.
  7. Cut the rolls into 1/2-inch-thick slices, fan them out on a platter, and serve. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and Spicy Mayo (optional).
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Japanese

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment

  1. Kelli says:

    I made this during the pandemic with Nori dated 2015 and sushi rice with no expiration date. It was amazing! I bought a mat in 2015 also, so glad I had on hand. This recipe is so delicious with pantry items. I served with mayo and the chili paste with the chicken on label mixed in. Ty for such a good recipe.