How to make nigiri sushi? #13

Nigiri sushi is more common than maki and nigiri is much easer to make. Of course many people who just got into sushi making go for maki sushi. I don’t know the reason behind it, but it is true. May be maki sushi looks more beautiful and complicated, but the main difference between both is that nigiri is very light sushi, meanwhile maki a bit heavy (that’s the feeling you get when you eat them).


The understanding of this comes with time or straight away. So, how to make nigiri sushi? Since you already know how to cook sushi rice from my previous guide, I will explain how to make small sushi pieces for nigiri sushi. Well, there are actually three ways: using hands, using rolling mat and using the nigiri sushi making plastic box. There are pros and cons for each method, but good nigiri are done by hand.
So plastic box.


I thought it would be easy to make nigiri and bought one. Well it makes the rice preparation process a bit easer, but you get quite big nigiri pieces and sometimes correction by hand is necessary. Wet the plastic box and add rice, press each side of the box and you got the rice for nigiri.

The Rolling Mat method.
Use plastic layer on top of the mat. Place a chunk of rice on the mat and begin pushing the mat together – making a long wide looking sausage out of the rice. Some strength is needed. When you are done, cut the sausage into pieces of about half an inch wide. Pieces will look a bit ugly so you will have to use hands to give it a better look.

Using hands.
Well, as you can see it comes to using hands anyway. Your hands should be wet, pick a small chunk of rice and use your hand to mould the rice. Hold the rice on your left palm and use the three long fingers to press the rice into the palm. You will get the idea quite fast. Also you will notice that hands will become very sticky even though you apply water, so wash your hands and continue.

How to place a fish on nigiri sushi rice?
Pretty simple, put the fish on top of it. The Japanese method is to take fish place it on the palm and place the nigiri rice on top, then firmly press and fish sticks to the rice.

nigiri sushi plate

I have a video prepared to show you how it is done, soon it will appear in the top of this entry.

Coming next …   How to boil shrimps and What are basic ingredients for Nigiri Sushi.

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valarieJanuary 18th, 2008 at 4:16 am

all great, informative and comprehendable. i love ur website.

ShonaJanuary 23rd, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Im Sri lankan, looking for a guidence ho wto make sushi. I found many sites, but this site gave me confident to start making on my own Sushi.

MikeJanuary 31st, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Fantastic website! Very informative and I love the pictures to go along withe your explanations. Please keep it coming I am new to sushi but I will be a pro at this before long. Thank You!

RaquelFebruary 9th, 2008 at 1:13 am

Great tutorial, thanks a lot!!!
I’ll try making some myself tomorrow 🙂

JuanMarch 7th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Thank you so much for all of your helpful tips, I appreciate you taking the time to teach us how to make sushi and I look forward to putting my new skills into practice, adios.

MayMarch 14th, 2008 at 10:59 am

I read through your website on how to make sushi rolls and california rolls.. you made it seems so easy.. I am ready to try it out myself soon.

BTW, what sort of ingredients should I use for making vegetarian sushi? Please advise. Thanks

Than Than NweMarch 17th, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Thank you so much! What a fantastic website. I found many other websites but only yours gives the methods step by step I now feel much more confident in making sushi for the very first time.

ManmeetMarch 17th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

very easy to read and follow the recipes, pictures help alot.
Good work

chef sushiApril 11th, 2008 at 5:20 pm

great recipe , and good informative, like the way you explain and with pictorial .. continue coming with more recipes … i just loves japanese food !

CarlaJune 25th, 2008 at 1:21 am

i’m going to try it, though its a bit hard to find some stuff for sushi making in Argentina, I already got the rice vinegar, but still gotta find the perfect rice and nori!
and of course i dont have a rolling mat, si ill see what i can do about that….

BarbaraAugust 5th, 2008 at 2:26 am

Very informatiove. I will definitely try it.

ferlinAugust 31st, 2008 at 6:06 am

fantastic. love the explicit instructions, explanations and warnings. the photos helped a lot too. thanks!

bosjefSeptember 16th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Thank you. This is just the site I was looking for.
very well explained nice pictures too! 🙂

AgnesOctober 14th, 2008 at 5:01 am


Sushi is really my favorite, that why I was so glad when I learned it from your website. The ingredients are readily available in the store. It’s really fun doing your favorite food.

It was really a big help for a beginner like me who love to eat sushi.

Thanks a lot, more power.

Merry GRaceOctober 27th, 2008 at 4:46 am

I found your website really educational.I am very thankful i was able to find your site.It is very comprehensive that makes it is to understand.Thank you very much.Now, I can make my own sushi.

jBarbaraJanuary 10th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I took a very brief class on sushi making and have found this web site to be so very helpful in refining my sushi. The results are so much tighter and creative! Thank you.

DakaJanuary 13th, 2009 at 4:07 am

I’m also interested in vegetarian sushi (I’m veggie but will prepare sashimi for friends etc).

I use datemaki omlette (with nigiri but you could use in maki), daikon (easy to self pickle from fresh but it’s not pretty yellow like coloured with additive store stuff), pickled ginger (amazushoga), cucumber pickle (any Jap one will do but the one with beefsteak in is best. Beefsteak is a herb btw and not meat), avacado, aubergine pickle (Japanese style not chinese/thai), fried bean curd, fried gluten (especially marinaded in seafood style), umeboshi (weird choice but it’s tartness add to some ingredients), and any vegetables you like can be made to work I think.

sushiJanuary 16th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Thank you for your comment Daka.
My idea was to show the basics. As for ingredients. It is up for people to choose what they like the most. Of course I could provide a great list of ingredients. But then again people go to different places and may like different sushi. When they know how to do the basics then they can do anything else that they like.
Don’t you agree.

beapodrnFebruary 2nd, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Thank you for the info on how to make sushi, I’m all the way in Poland, and wanted to treat my frends with sushi, I hope they will like it:)It is very helpfull about how to prepare rice for cooking.

Ch1leFebruary 7th, 2009 at 2:19 pm


Algul vaatasin, et ohhoo kasutab VICI krabipulki, ei teadnudki, et neid kuskil kaugel on… siis see tikutops… ja siis SEEMNED! HAh, Eestlane!

Anyhow, absolutely fabulous guide!

jamieFebruary 13th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Great website, really want to have a go.
Might be quite tricky getting nori, etc, in supermarkets in Ireland though

emmaFebruary 23rd, 2009 at 9:11 am

Thank you so much! I can make my favorite sushi perfectly at home now.

sueApril 9th, 2009 at 9:35 am

Thank your for your great website guiding us with step by step pictures. Very motivating to try something new. Had tried it last year and very sucessful.
I am going to continue making more sushi and maki.

saeedApril 27th, 2009 at 10:16 am


Love the way you explain every step in detail ,but it looks like you have stoped ? Any new sushis coming up ?

MacyAguilarJune 9th, 2009 at 1:37 am


very interesting site. Putting up such detailed step by step procedures will surely make anyone understand how sushi is made. The pictures explain everything even more making it easy for everyone to follow the directions. I also appreciate the natural tone and advice given. Thank you for all the information. It really boost my interest in sushi.

Lisabell BethamJune 12th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Hi,nice website,do you how to make rice tuna?Pls

roberto andradeAugust 24th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

thank you for sharing this info.

Kristain ScottSeptember 1st, 2009 at 7:09 am

I love to eat, I want to say thank to you as your article provide me such as informative data by which I learned how I can make sushi so simply. The ingredients are easily available in our kitchen.
Your article is very useful for all beginners like me who love to eat sushi but don’t know how to make it.

sushi cateringOctober 8th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I work in a high end sushi restaurant as a chef (started about 2 months ago) and let me tell you ITS HARD to make perfect high class sushi…. i believe it when they say “A master sushi chef has minimum 10 years of experience in japan”, But your web site explain the basic’s of making sushi so well. Keep up the googd work

Yes it is hard to get rice to the right condition. Takes a lot of cooking. But also a good hint is to spread the rice after cooking on a table and let it sit.

NatiNovember 5th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

You make it all seem so easy!
Thanks for all the pictures — they help a lot.

I plan on debuting my sushi-making skills this weekend and your site helped a LOT!
I’ll let you know how it worked out.

Hugs from Brazil!

ShaunNovember 23rd, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Thank you for all the information and the stunning manner in which it is presented. It’s given me the confidence to try my hand at it for my “sushi-crazed” family.

Thank you once again from Cape Town, South Africa

DanteAugust 9th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I have just read and study the guidelines of how to make sushi….Now my saliva is drifting on my lips… 🙂

AbiyeNovember 6th, 2010 at 11:00 am

What a a chef never in my dreams that Sushi can be done but you make it as easy as it can get and belive me I will start right now and keep the great explanation
Thanks from Ethiopia

RenatoJune 23rd, 2011 at 7:21 am

This is one of the best and comprehensive sushi explanations I have ever come across. I will be able to pass it on to all of my students so that the cooking knowledge will live on forever.
Thank-you from Tassie, Australia

Elvira PaimalanAugust 1st, 2011 at 2:38 am

Hi this is Elvira from Philippines,thank you very much for your informative and tips how to make sushi specially to the sushi rice the tips from beginning how to choose the rice until how to cook and its very helpful, the technique you teach here is very important.Im a newly sushi maker,I really love Japanese food because its very clever very artistic.
Again Thank you very much in this site, keep up the good work.

HelenMarch 3rd, 2012 at 9:07 am

Great site. Thanks for the tip about wetting the nori after rolling the maki to soften it – I was wondering why mine were so tough!

jocelyn garciaMarch 16th, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I m jocelyn from the PHILIPPINES but now i live here in ROME,ITALY.Thank you so much for the good and clear explanation how to prepared sushi,,,with your help I can do it now because my employer wants this very much.Again a big thank you.

NockMarch 22nd, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Woaw. I just made maki following your recipe and it was awesome :-D. We ate some salad during the time the rice was prepared so we actually used the leftovers in the sushi as vegetables to go with the salmon and MG it was good :-). Thank you for this understandable explanation on how to make sushi 🙂 it literaly made my day ^^

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