Homemade Sushi (with brown rice)

Making your own sushi at home is actually not as hard as one would think, and it can make for a very fun evening with friends or family…both young and old. My picky 3-year-old wouldn’t even think about touching a piece of sushi until the first time she saw us making it at home (with brown rice of course).

Recipe - Homemade Sushi (with brown rice) from 100 Days of Real Food

We had allowed our older daughter to be up on a chair at the counter with her own cutting board, bamboo mat, chopsticks, and fun little soy sauce dish (she already knew she liked vegetable sushi). Of course her little sister wanted to do the same, but we told her she couldn’t “make” any sushi unless she ate it. And what do you know…once our child (who barely even eats veggies in the first place) gave it a fair chance she actually liked it.

I didn’t know if I should have been more shocked that she ate the sushi or the vegetables! She does love to “dip” her food so I am guessing the soy sauce aspect had something to do with it.

I do want to make sure I share that (especially if this is your first time making sushi) it can take some time to get the hang of it, and it also requires a lot of chopping. It can also make a little bit of a mess particularly if kids are involved. So we definitely like to reserve this event for a special occasion or weekend activity, but think it is worth the effort for such a fun and unique experience.

A while ago I mentioned that I thought a child’s “first impression” of a food was important and making sushi at home turned out to be the perfect way to introduce it to my picky 3-year-old.  She will now eat it anywhere!

Recipe - Homemade Sushi (with brown rice) from 100 Days of Real Food

Homemade Sushi (with brown rice)

Making your own sushi at home is actually not as hard as one would think, and it can make for a very fun evening with friends or family…both young and old.
4.3 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 4 people


  • 3 cups brown rice short grain (Some packages of white rice specifically say “sushi rice” on them, but you don’t see this label as often on brown rice. I’ve found that any short-grain variety is adequate.)
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ pound shrimp raw, or cooked real crab…please do not buy anything labeled as an imitation!
  • ½ pound tuna raw, sushi-grade (or salmon)
  • 2 carrots peeled
  • 1 cucumber peeled
  • 1 avocado or more, depending on how much you like them
  • 1 package nori aka seaweed sheets


Prepping the Sushi

  • Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.
  • Before cooking the shrimp, stick a skewer or toothpick through each one from end-to-end so they will be “straight” after they are done cooking and will therefore be easy to cut into strips. Boil the skewered shrimp in the water for 3 – 5 minutes or until they are firm.
  • Chop the cooked shrimp, raw fish, peeled carrots, and peeled cucumber into little julienned strips (pictured above). Similarly, slice the avocado(s), but save them for last since they could start to turn brown.
  • Once the rice is done, stir in the rice wine vinegar. Some sushi recipes also call for sugar to be added to the rice, but we think it tastes just fine without it. Also, it is best to use a wooden or bamboo spoon when handling the rice.
  • Cut the sheets of nori in half, long ways, and cover the bamboo mats with plastic wrap.

Assembling the Sushi

  • Lay 1 of the half sheets of nori along the bottom of the plastic covered bamboo mat.
  • Completely cover the top of nori with a thin, uniform layer of rice.
    Sushi Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
  • If you prefer the nori to be on the outside of your sushi roll then leave it the way it is with the rice on top. If you like the rice to be on the outside (like me) then flip it over like I did in the picture below.
  • Make a nice and neat row along the very bottom edge of the nori with whatever ingredients you’d like on the inside.

  • Using the bamboo mat as an aide, roll the nori over as tightly as you can and keep rolling until it is closed up completely.
    Sushi Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
  • Squeeze down on the roll with a little force to really secure it together.
    Sushi Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
  • If the rice is on the outside (like the picture) we think it is best to lay a little piece of saran wrap over the top of the roll before cutting it. Using a sharp knife cut through the plastic and the roll until you have the desired number of pieces of sushi.

    Sushi Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
  • We believe in eating as we go when we have to work this hard for our food so enjoy!

    Sushi Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food


Necessary supplies: bamboo rolling mats (one for each person participating), saran wrap, cutting boards (one for each person participating), a very sharp knife, soy sauce (and little dishes for dipping), chopsticks (which can be modified with a rubber band and of paper for the little ones), and a flat wooden or bamboo spoon.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Sushi (with brown rice)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 737 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 163mg54%
Sodium 628mg27%
Potassium 1083mg31%
Carbohydrates 119g40%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 6880IU138%
Vitamin C 23.8mg29%
Calcium 187mg19%
Iron 5.8mg32%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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49 thoughts on “Homemade Sushi (with brown rice)”

  1. 5 stars
    This homemade sushi recipe looks amazing!!! I always wanted to make sushi at home with my sushi making tools by Susheff because it is much cheaper than the restaurant. I hope I can make the perfect sushi for my kids with the help of this awesome article. Thanks for sharing such an amazing sushi recipe.

  2. You don’t need to use Saran wrap to make sushi! It’s plastic # 3 containing PVC and it’s not supposed to come in contact with food. It’s very dangerous, especially when making food for kids. Naked bamboo mat works just fine.

  3. You can definitely see your skills within the work you write.

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  4. I’ve been making sushi for years because it’s so expensive at restaurants and tastes so much better fresh. I wanted to say that you don’t need a bamboo mat. I use a piece of foil a little bigger than a sheet of seaweed. I just spread the rice on that instead of the bamboo mat. It works really well. Just wanted to say that in case someone wants to try sushi but doesn’t have a bamboo mat.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jamie. Lisa usually gets them at Earth Fare but our Harris Teeter also has wild caught options of both, as well. ~Amy

  5. Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this article reminds me of
    my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this.
    I’ll send this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a
    very good read. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 3 stars
    I would also suggest spreading the rice layer by hand (wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick) – avoid destroying rice grains with your wooden spoon/spatula.
    Also, be both firm and gentle when rolling your sushi.
    (If you’ve already applied a lot of force during the first layering of rice, then there isn’t a need to smash your rice and ingredients)
    This is to help protect the flavor and preserve the texture of restaurant-grade sushi.
    Of course, roll it too loosely and the sushi may fall apart when eating.

  7. What kind of raw fish is safe to get? My husband and I love the Philadelphia roll (with avocado cream cheese and salmon) and my 6 yr old daughter will eat any sushi under the sun lol. It’s a family favorite. I’d love to make it at home, but don’t know where to find “safe” raw fish to use. If someone can please direct me in the right direction, it’d be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Karina – The Philadelphia Roll is actually made with smoked (not raw) salmon so no concerns there. Wherever you normally buy fish they may offer wild-caught “sushi-grade” tuna, which is okay to eat raw and what we usually buy.

  8. you know, I always bought my sushi in the grocery store and thought it was fantastic. Then, I started making at home to my tastes. I found a wonderful book about steaming food that included different dipping sauces. I experiment and had a great time learning about the whole sushi making experience. The other day, I was lazy and stopped in at the grocery store and picked up a few packages of the “fresh” stuff in the store. How disappointing. It was so bland. Once you start making your own, you will never go back to the store bought stuff!

  9. Great idea. Do you know how whole wasabi is? I see the paste in stores but unsure of whats REALLY in there. Thank you for sharing. I come to your site almost every day now (after stumbing upon it a few months ago) for lunch and dinner ideas. I am a Pollan fan too and until the rest of the country is on board its nice to have a network to help educate and inspire me. Big thanks!!

  10. I realize no one has posted here in awhile, but wanted to mention that for folks that don’t like seafood sushi (like me) there are options besides veggies. We have a restaurant here in Sacramento called Tex Wasabe’s (owned by FoodNetwork’s Guy Fieri) that serves sushi with such fillings as BBQ beef! That is my favorite sushi by far! I can’t recall some of their other fillings, but I think they’ve used turkey with a spicy BBQ/mayo sauce also. Getting a hankerin’ for it now…

    1. S&B wasabi paste has additives and coloring: Horseradish, sorbitol, rice bran oil, sugar, modified food starch, salt, water, cellulose, wasabi, artificial flavor, citric acid, turmeric, xanthan gum, artificial color (FD&C Blue #1).

      Eden Foods powdered wasabi ingredients:
      Horseradish, mustard, wasabi

  11. What brand of rice wine vinegar do you use? I’ve always used Mirin which has sugar in it… What do you suggest? Thanks! :)

  12. I made these rolls on Friday! A great and easy treat! Now if I could just figure out the trick in rolling a ‘tight’ sushi roll, I will be in business!! Great recipe. Love your blog!

  13. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I want to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get something done.

  14. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank God I found it on Google. You’ve made my day! Thank you again..

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      My girls eat mostly veggie rolls too and their favorites are cucumber, carrot and avocado. You can also consider trying mushrooms, egg, mango, and/or cooked asparagus…don’t be afraid to get creative!

  15. Made sushi tonight – it tasted great but it didn’t look nice and kept falling apart. I either used the wrong rice (frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s) or I didn’t press hard enough. Guess I have to practice some more. ;)
    I made two different kind: one with shrimp, the other with smoked salmon. Both tasted really good.
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I’ve never used frozen rice before so not sure what the consistency would be. Was it short grain and did you add the vinegar?

      1. It is short grain. You’ll have to try it sometime: Tj’s frozen Organic Brown Rice, microwave perfect in 3 minutes (sorry, I use my microwave a lot – at least for now), so good! I did use the rice vinegar – love it!
        Anyway, I am pretty sure it was not the rice – I was fighting the sushi mat and probably didn’t press hard enough. I’ll practice some more and post again!

      2. 100 Days of Real Food

        You definitely have to press down hard when you are rolling the sushi. And what they say is true…practice makes perfect! Good luck :)

  16. I have wanted to make sushi on my own for awhile now and I love salmon and Tuna, however I can never find where to buy the raw fish at. Where were you able to find “sushi grade” Tuna and Salmon

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Here in Charlotte we usually buy all of our seafood from Earth Fare, but I’ve also seen sushi-grade wild caught tuna at Harris Teeter.

  17. My kids like sushi, but we haven’t ever tried to make it ourselves. I am also concerned with feeding the raw fish to young children because they may not have the anti-bodies to handle any bacteria that may be on the raw stuff. The cooked fish I’m more comfortable with for the younger crowd. It does look pretty easy to make, though.

    It should probably mentioned that you need to be sure to get sushi quality fish. Not any raw salmon or tuna will do. Non-sushi quality is far more likely to make you sick if you eat it raw. Of course, you also have to be extra careful storing and preparing the proper raw stuff, too, which is one reason I haven’t tried to make it myself.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Greg – that is a great point…I just updated the post to read “sushi grade” tuna. It is definitely safer to be as specific as possible when it comes to something like that rather than assume someone would know what to buy. Also, my 6-year-old wanted to try some of our “red” tuna so bad, but I wouldn’t let her. Luckily, both of my girls were happy with just veggie and shrimp rolls.

    2. Sushi is really about the preparation of the rice and isn’t really about the fish. The nice thing about that is you can put anything in the rolls like veggies and such. You don’t even need the nori you can just place toppings on top of the rice and eat it that way.. just in case you have picky eaters that don’t like nori :)

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