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Homemade sushi on a plate with pickled ginger, tamari and chopsticks.
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Homemade Sushi without a mat

You don’t need a bamboo mat to make homemade sushi! A piece of parchment paper is all you need to make sushi at home. Think of this as less of a recipe and more of a guideline.  Feel free to get creative with the fillings. For fish rolls, you can use good quality, sushi grade raw fish, but if you’re hesitant to use raw fish at home, go for cooked, flaked fish (or shrimp) instead. You can also swap out the fish for vegetables (think julienned carrots, sprouts, roasted mushrooms, etc.). You’ll need to make a batch of Easy Sushi Rice before beginning. For a spicy salmon variation, check out these Spicy Salmon Sushi Wraps.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: easy homemade sushi, how to roll sushi without a mat, sushi without a mat
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Parchment paper (or a bamboo mat, if you have one)
  • Bowl of water for dipping your fingers

Ingredients

  • Nori sheets
  • Cooked Sushi Rice (recipe link above)
  • Julienned cucumber
  • Avocado slices
  • Cooked or raw salmon, tuna, shrimp or veggies

For serving (optional)

  • Tamari or soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled ginger

Instructions

  • Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down with the long side closest to you, on a square of parchment paper (or on a bamboo sushi mat). Spoon some rice on top of the nori. Dip your fingers in water (this will help prevent the rice from sticking), then pat the rice into an even layer, going all the way to the sides but leaving a 1-inch border across the top and bottom.
  • Line a few julienned cucumbers horizontally across the bottom third, topped by a couple of avocado slices and some flaked salmon.
  • Now it’s time to roll! Hold the parchment (or sushi mat) and use it to roll the nori over the filling. The first roll should go all the way around the filling. Use the parchment to tighten the first roll, squeezing the filling into a nice compact log. Then continue rolling, using the parchment as leverage. Once you get to the end, wet the edge of the nori and seal it.
  • Continue with all of your rolls. Once your rolls are ready, use a sharp knife to slice them crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Serve the sushi with tamari or soy sauce for dipping, along with wasabi and pickled ginger.

Notes

Tips:
  • Use a piece of parchment paper that’s bigger than your sheet of nori by a few inches on the top and bottom (this will give you leverage when rolling). Or you can use a sushi mat!
  • You’ll need to make a batch of this Sushi Rice before beginning. 
  • For vegetable rolls, try shreds of carrot, julienned cucumber and/or avocado slices. We also love cucumber, avocado and omelet rolls, made with thin strips of cooked omelet. You can even use leftover cooked vegetables (think roasted mushrooms, sautéed greens, diced winter squash, etc). Feel free to get creative with the flavorings, adding in diced kimchi, a drizzle of soy glaze or a smattering of sesame seeds.
  • Use your sharpest knife when cutting the rolled sushi into rounds. If your knife is too dull it might have trouble cutting cleanly through the nori. 
  • Serve the sushi with soy sauce or tamari for dipping, along with wasabi and pickled ginger (which you can find at most supermarkets that sell sushi—ask for them at the sushi counter).  Let your own sushi tradition begin! 
  • Try these Spicy Salmon Sushi Wraps.