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Cut Roll VS Hand Roll Sushi – The Complete Guide for You Now

Sushi, these days, is everybody’s favourite and equally easy to find. The Internet is bringing us newer flavours of Sushi every day. The list is never-ending, from Maki, Nigiri, and Uramaki to Sashimi and Temaki. One drawback to all these different types of Sushi is that the guides and menus expect us to know already what we’re buying. These menus offer us the dishes without explaining what exactly it is that we are ordering.

Luckily for you, this is where we come in with our basics on Sushi. We start with the difference between the most common categories of Sushi – a cut roll and a hand roll.

What is Sushi?

Before starting on different categories of Sushi, let’s first talk about what Sushi is. This mouth-watering Japanese dish consists of sticky sushi rice vinegar-flavoured and served with vegetables, egg, or raw Seafood. The dish is usually bite-sized and composed of fresh and simple ingredients. These straightforward ingredients are arranged beautifully, creating colourful and elaborate pieces. A slight misconception that the widespread belief has created is that Sushi refers to the seafood part of the dish. In actuality, though, Sushi refers to the vinegar-flavoured rice itself. Despite popular belief, Seafood is not a compulsory part of the dish. Sushi can be vegetarian, and there are tons of delicious rolls, for example, Avocado Nigiri and Mushroom Nigiri.

Generally, Sushi is made with raw ingredients and is served cold. It does not always have to be this way. Like the Tempura fried prawns and the California rolls cooked with imitation crab, Sushi can be cooked. The only ingredient that has to be in a Sushi dish is vinegar rice. It is what can be called a staple ingredient in Sushi.

Another common ingredient in it is Seafood. Fish is an essential category in Seafood, and Tuna, Halibut, Salmon, and Yellowtail are commonly used. The next Seafood category is Mollusks such as Scallops, Clams, and Abalone. Crustaceans like Crayfish, Prawns, Shrimp, crab, and squids are essential categories of Seafood used in Sushi.

Another essential ingredient used in Sushi is Nori. Nori is an edible seaweed sheet. This dried sheet is used to roll or wrap the delectable Sushi in. Let’s now move on to the two types of Sushi.

What is Cut Roll Sushi?

Cut Roll Sushi or simply Roll Sushi is referred to as ‘maki’ in Japan and on mostly all Sushi menus. The term ’makizushi’ is also used in some areas. Maki, aka Cut Roll Sushi, is made with rice, vegetables, raw Seafood, and fruits. All of these ingredients are beautifully arranged on a whole Nori sheet. The nori sheet used is roughly 20×18 cm or 8×7 inches.

After arranging the ingredients to give a beautiful look, the sheet is tightly rolled with rolling bamboo mats. These rolling bamboo mats help in creating a kind of open-ended burrito. A particular Sushi knife is then used to cut 6-8 pieces of the 8-inch roll. The size of the pieces of Sushi might vary with the type of Sushi being prepared.

After this, the pieces are arranged on a late to create a delectable palate. They are then served with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi. Usually, Maki is served to a group of people and eaten with chopsticks, one piece at a time.

What is Hand Roll Sushi?

Hand Roll Sushi is referred to as ‘temaki’ on Japanese menus, but it is less used in non-Japanese restaurants. The ingredients of Hand Roll Sushi are very similar to those in Cut Roll Sushi. The sheet of Nori used whole in Cut Roll is sliced in half in Hand Roll Sushi. The dimensions of the sheet are 4×4 inches which are 10×9 cm roughly. The ingredients are placed beautifully on the top of the sheet, then folded by hand. The sheet usually has a cone-like shape, but this also varies with the type of Sushi being prepared.

Hand Roll Sushi does not need to be cut into bite-like pieces, generally 3-5 inches long. The length of these pieces is much more significant when compared to Cut Roll Sushi. Another important difference is that Cut Roll Sushi can be stored, whereas these have to be eaten immediately.

Temaki is generally accompanied by pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi, as with Cut Roll Sushi. Dipping the Sushi into these is difficult considering the technology used to prepare the Hand Roll Sushi. According to tradition, Temaki is eaten with our hands and finished in a few bites. Temaki cannot be shared between people because of its shape and size.

Cut Roll vs. Hand Roll Sushi

Now that we’ve talked about each type of Sushi let us compare them side by side and find out their differences. One apparent difference between the two is that it is much easier to make Hand Roll Sushi. Preparing a Hand Roll Sushi demands a lot less equipment and effort.

The first and the most crucial difference between the two types of Sushi is the technique used to roll them. Cut Roll Sushi is rolled using a rolling bamboo mat, whereas Temaki is folded by hand without any cutting necessary. 

Hand Roll Sushi (Temaki) is always made with nori sheets of 4×4 inches. On the other hand, Cut Roll Sushi (Maki) can be made without the Nori sheets. Sushi Rice is a staple ingredient in both Cut and Hand Roll Sushi, and other elements are flexible and versatile. The ingredients depend on the type of Sushi being prepared. As is clear from their preparation method, the pieces are also different in size. The Cut Roll Sushi pieces are much smaller than the Hand Roll Pieces. The Cut Roll of Sushi is shared between people and is eaten using chopsticks. On the other

hand, Tamaki cannot be shared due to its size and texture and can be eaten with your hands.

How to Make Cut Roll vs. Hand Roll Sushi

Making Sushi demands a lot of practice and patience than one might think. Here is a guide to making Cut Roll Sushi:

  1. Cut Roll Sushi

You start with preparing the Sushi rice. Wash away the starch from the rice grain before cooking, so it sticks while it cooks. The rice should stick together without falling apart and without being mushy. After cooking, the rice is seasoned with sugar, rice vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

After preparing the flavorful Sushi rice, you have to choose the ingredients based on the type of Maki you’re making. Ensure the ingredients are fresh and from trusted and reputable sources. 

After the filling comes the central part, which is the rolling of the Maki, the rolling requires a lot of patience and practice. Here are the steps to do it.

  • Place your Nori sheet on top of your rolling bamboo mat with its shiny side down.
  • After this, you need to cover2/3 of your Nori sheet with half a cup of Sushi rice. Begin at the shortest end, and your layer should be 1/8–1/4 inch thick. This thickness depends on the amount of filling you add.
  • Add your fillings by imagining your rice in three sections and only filling the middle section.
  • After adding the filling, you can start rolling. Use your bamboo mat to take hold of the lower section of the sheet and roll it over the filling.

Next up is slicing your Sushi rolls with knives meant precisely for that purpose.

2. Hand Roll Sushi

Making Hand Roll Sushi (Temaki) is comparatively more straightforward and can even turn into a fun activity. Here are the steps to rolling Temaki:

  • Slice a Nori sheet in half and make sure your ingredients are prepared.
  • Placing the sheet on your clean and dry palm, shiny side down, add about 1/3rd cup of rice. This heap should be on the left third side inside your palm.
  • After the rice, add the fillings at the center of the heap to give the cone shape.
  • Start rolling from the bottom left corner and roll until the tip. You can seal the roll with a piece of rice on it.


Both Maki and Tamaki are delectable dishes with complex making techniques. These techniques, though, can be mastered with practice and patience. Make sure you have your tools and ingredients prepared before starting the rolling process of the Sushi. Now that we’ve discussed everything about these two, you can enjoy this delectable dish with a side of soy sauce.