Hosomaki Sushi Recipe (Japanese Maki Sushi)

Learn how to make homemade Hosomaki with this easy recipe! This beginner-friendly recipe will help you create authentic Japanese sushi rolls, from preparing the rice to rolling the perfect sushi!

Looking for homemade sushi recipes? Try my Inari Sushi, Avocado Futomaki Sushi, or Chirashi Sushi!

4 types of hosomaki sushi.

If you’re a fan of Japanese sushi rolls, you’ve come to the right place! Hosomaki is a thin roll featuring a single filling inside and the easiest sushi roll to master. Whether planning a special gathering or simply craving a taste of Japan in your everyday meals, try this recipe!

Why You Will Love This Recipe 

  • This beginner-friendly Hosomaki recipe is simple and perfect for trying at home. No special skills are needed.
  • This authentic Japanese recipe will give you the traditional way of making sushi that brings out its natural flavors.
  • Customizing your sushi—pick your favorite sushi filling (See the variations below) from classic fish, vibrant vegetables, and a delicious vegetarian option.

Different Types of Maki Sushi

Hosomaki, futomaki, uramaki on a cutting board.

Before diving into the recipe, let’s briefly clarify the types of traditional Japanese sushi rolls. Maki sushi or Nori maki is a general term for sushi rolls, where sushi rice is rolled with a black nori sheet. From the top view, we have hosomaki sushi, futomaki sushi, and uramaki sushi. The image above shows the differences in size.

Type Of Sushi Roll

The sushi roll, known in Japanese as Maki sushi or Nori maki, is made by wrapping a nori sheet (seaweed) around a layer of vinegared rice and some fillings in the center.

  • Hosomaki, meaning “thin roll,” is a basic type of sushi where rice and a single filling are wrapped in seaweed.
  • Futomaki, or “thick roll,” features a larger, wider sushi roll containing a variety of colorful and flavorful fillings.
  • Uramaki, known as the “inside-out roll,” is a roll in which the rice is on the outside, wrapped around the seaweed and filling. It is a subtype of futomaki.

*Learn more about the type of sushi here.

This simple knowledge will make ordering sushi at Japanese restaurants a more enjoyable and effortless experience for you!

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Hosomaki Sushi:

Hosomaki roll ingredients.

Ingredient Notes

  • Japanese Short-grain Rice: The best rice for sushi rolls is short-grain rice, which is more starchy than long-grain rice and helps maintain the desired shape of the sushi roll and onigiri rice balls. I won’t go into the details of how to cook rice in this recipe, so please see the “How to cook Japanese rice on the stove” recipe.
  • Sushi Filling: Select one ingredient from options like cucumber, pickled vegetables, or raw fish (See the filling variations below). For example, I will use cucumber and make kappa maki in the following instructions.
  • Nori Sheet: Nori is a type of seaweed that’s dried, crispy, and sold in sheets like in the picture above. Get this full-size nori sheet (8.3″ x 7.5″ or 21 x 19 cm) at a grocery store, and we will divide it into half for this hosomaki recipe.
  • Rice vinegar, sugar, and salt are used for making vinegared rice. Other types of vinegar may be too strong for the rice, so I highly recommend using rice vinegar. You can also use store-bought seasoned rice vinegar.

Makisu (Bamboo Sushi Mat)

makisu, bamboo sushi mat

A Makisu, also known as a bamboo mat or sushi mat, is a traditional tool used in Japanese cuisine for rolling sushi. It is made from thin bamboo strips woven together with string. The makisu provides support and helps shape the sushi roll while keeping the ingredients tightly wrapped.

When you closely observe the side profile of Makisu, you’ll notice that one side is flat while the other is round. Place the nori sheet on the flat side to achieve a smooth surface for your sushi roll. If you don’t have a Makisu, you can still make sushi using plastic wrap as a substitute.

How To Make Hosomaki: STEP BY STEP 

Here are some quick visual instructions! For all the detailed ingredients and instructions, you can go to the printable recipe card below.

Step for preparing sushi rice.

Step 1

Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Step for preparing sushi rice.

Step 2

Blend rice and sushi vinegar thoroughly.

Cucumber filling for sushi roll.

Step 3

Prepare a sushi filling of your choice (I use cucumber in this recipe).

How to make hosomaki.

Step 4

Lay the nori sheet, rice, and the filling on a makisu to prepare for the rolling.

Assemble the hosomaki.

Step 5

Hold the filling with your finger and start rolling, applying gentle pressure to shape.

Complete assembling the hosomaki.

Step 6

The first one is complete! Let it sit for a few minutes, and slice it into small pieces.

Kappa maki served on a plate along with soy sauce and chopsticks.

Serve the hosomaki rolls with soy sauce for dipping. For an extra kick of flavor, you can also enjoy them with a side of wasabi and pickled ginger. If you prefer a spicier twist, adding some spicy mayo would be great as well!

Recipe Tips

  • Avoid mashing the rice grains while combining them with the seasonings. If the sushi rice is still hot, you can use a paper fan to cool it to room temperature.
  • When spreading the rice on the nori sheet, wet your hands with water to prevent sticking, as rice tends to be quite sticky. You can also use a rice paddle as it can make the spreading process easier.
  • Nori sheets have a shiny side and a rough side. When placing the nori sheet on a makisu, ensure the shiny side faces down, and the rough side faces up.
  • Keep a damp cloth nearby and wipe the knife after each cut for smoother slicing.

Hosomaki Sushi Fillings

6 hosomaki filling variations.

Hosomaki is versatile as it can be easily customized with different fillings inside. Here are 6 popular hosomaki rolls for you to try at home!

By the way, ‘Maki’ simply means ‘roll.’ Each sushi roll is named by combining the ‘main ingredients’ with the word ‘maki,’ such as kappa maki and natto maki.

Here are more tasty options to try:

  • Raw salmon
  • Fish egg
  • Tamagoyaki (Japanese egg omelet)
  • Imitation crab sticks

Your Questions Answered

How do you eat hosomaki?

Pick up a piece of hosomaki sushi using chopsticks or your fingers. Dip the sushi into a bit of soy sauce, and enjoy!

What is the black wrapper in sushi?

The black wrapper in sushi is called “nori.” It is a type of seaweed that is roasted and dried. Nori is commonly used to wrap sushi rolls or onigiri rice balls.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan alternatives for hosomaki fillings?

Yes! You can find vegan and vegetarian options, such as kappa maki, kanpyo maki, oshinko maki, natto maki, and avocado maki.

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Onigiri free ebook cover.

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Holding hosomaki and about to dip into soy sauce.

Leave a Rating!

I hope you enjoy this Hosomaki Roll! If you try it, don’t forget to leave a rating to share your thoughts—I love hearing from you!

4 types of hosomaki sushi.

Hosomaki Sushi Recipe (Japanese Maki Sushi)

5 from 4 votes
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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 5 rolls
Author: Juri Austin
Learn how to make delicious Hosomaki with this step-by-step guide. This beginner-friendly recipe will help you create authentic Japanese sushi rolls, from preparing the rice to rolling the perfect sushi!


  • 1 Makisu (Bamboo sushi mat) (You can also use cling wrap to roll sushi)


  • 400 g Cooked Japanese Rice, 2 US cups
  • Sushi Filling of your choice, cucumber, pickled vegetables, kanpyo, tuna, or avocado.
  • 3 Nori Sheet, full size nori sheet

Sushi vinegar

  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


  • Prepare Sushi Vinegar: Add rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl and blend well.
  • Make Sushi Rice: Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl and gently combine it with the sushi vinegar mixture. After thoroughly blending, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the rice cool to room temperature before rolling.
  • Prepare Other Ingredients: Divide a nori sheet in half. Follow the lines on the seaweed and cut along their direction with your hand or scissors. Cut the filling into thin strips.
  • Assemble the Sushi: Lay the nori sheet on a makisu, and evenly spread the rice on the nori, leaving half an inch (1.2 cm) uncovered at the top. You can use your hand or a rice paddle for this step. Place your chosen sushi filling in the center of the rice.
  • Roll the Sushi: Align the seaweed with the bottom edge of the sushi mat. Hold down the filling with your middle finger, lift the mat with your thumb, and roll from the front to the end of the rice. Apply gentle pressure to shape the roll. Lift the sushi mat and roll it to seal it. Apply gentle pressure again to shape the roll.
  • Slice the Roll: Wet the knife with the damp cloth and cut the hosomaki roll into bite-sized pieces.



  • When preparing the sushi rice, be careful not to mash the grains while stirring. Use a gentle folding motion to mix the rice and seasonings.
  • If the sushi rice is still hot, you can use a paper fan to cool it down to room temperature.
  • Use around 70-80g of rice for each roll as a guide to avoid overflow when rolling.
  • When spreading the rice, ensure it is evenly distributed on the nori sheet.
  • Nori sheets have a shiny side and a rough side. When placing the nori sheet, ensure that the shiny side is facing down.
  • Make sure to cut each sushi rolls to the same length. It looks visually appealing when each piece has the same height when serving.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: -1.7g
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: hosomaki, thin sushi roll
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