How To Cut Sushi Rolls?

How To Cut Sushi Rolls? (5 Great Tips)

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Making perfect sushi rolls after various attempts can be highly rewarding, but your job is not done yet. I have seen many people complain that they finally got a hang of rolling but the sushi fell apart while trying to cut it into pieces. So, what’s the secret behind the precisely cut sushi rolls you get at the restaurants? Let’s find out.

How to cut sushi rolls? You need a very sharp Japanese knife to do the job. Place the sushi roll on the cutting board, moisten the knife blade and cut the roll into half, then put both halves together and further cut them into four pieces. This method works best for traditional maki rolls having Nori on the outside.

If you are cutting an inside-out roll, make sure you cover it with a plastic wrap to keep the toppings intact and prevent the rice from falling apart. While these are the traditional method used by sushi chefs, here are some more variations you may try based on the type of sushi roll and the sharpness of the knife.


#1. Push and Pull Method

Take any sushi roll to cut it using the push and pull method. Grab a sharp single-beveled knife and keep the sharp side down, moisten the blade with water. Hold the sushi roll with your left hand and cut it in two strokes. The first stroke should take the knife slightly forward and bring you halfway through the roll, next pull the knife backward to get a complete cut.

#2. Double Push Method

This style of cutting sushi also involves two strokes but slightly different in technique. Take your sharp Japanese knife and moisten the blade to prevent the rice from sticking on to it. Cover the roll with plastic wrap, squeeze slightly with a bamboo mat. Now, hold the roll with your left hand and apply gentle but firm pressure twice, pushing the knife slightly forward every time to get a neat cut.

#3. Single Pull Method

As the method suggests, this method uses just one sharp stroke so you need to use a really sharp knife for cutting. Wrap the roll with a plastic film and shape up one more time using the bamboo mat. Now, grab the knife, hold the roll with your left hand and make one forward pulling stroke to slice the roll into 6-8 pieces as you desire.

Try A Sushi Roll Cutter Instead

If you are still nervous about cutting your sushi roll with a knife, consider using one of the beautifully designed sushi roll cutters. Fortunately, there are so many sushi making tools available in the market today that beginners can easily use to make restaurant-like sushi at home.

You may get a sushi roll cutter from an Asian grocery store or buy it online from sites like Amazon (see my reviews). These cutters come in different shapes depending upon how many sushi rolls you wish to cut at ones. Here are a few things you need to know about these devices:

These are tabletop gadgets that can be easily set on the kitchen counter. They may be power operated or manual devices to cut a complete sushi roll into precise slices. Some devices may be big enough to cut multiple rolls at a time and they are more suitable for larger catering services.

If the device is power operated, you will need to find an electrical source to make it work. Start the device by pulling the lever or pressing the button to activate it. Every tool comes with a specific set of instructions so make sure you read them carefully. 

Tips To Cut Sushi Rolls Perfectly

 A good sushi roll is the perfect balance of the different ingredients used in preparing the dish. They also play an important part in how neatly you are able to cut the sushi. Here are a few that can ensure that you get precise and neat cuts every time.

#1. Always use the right sushi rice

The sushi rice is one of the most important components of this traditional delicacy and plays an important role when it comes to cutting the sushi roll. When preparing sushi at home, make sure you only use Japanese short grain rice. It not only tastes perfect but also makes cutting a lot easier. Using the wrong type of rice can make it difficult to cut the sushi roll.

#2. Moisten the Knife blade

Sushi rice is sticky and seasoning it with vinegar and sugar makes it stickier so you must moisten the knife blade to prevent the rice from sticking to it. A wet blade will breeze through the roll and give you a perfect cut as opposed to a dry blade that may make it difficult to drag through the roll.

Just sipping the knife once in water is not enough. You must wet the blade after each cut to get the restaurant-like consistency. So, now you know the secret that differentiates the perfect sushi slices from the ones with jagged edges.

#3. Roll tightly and compactly

Rolling sushi is an art that you need to practice in order to get perfect at it. While rolling your sushi, make sure you bind the ingredients together evenly and tightly in a compact way. This will give you a cleaner and precise cut through the different ingredients of the roll.

#4. Let the Nori settle in before you cut

Dampen the Nori at the sides to seal it properly. If the nori sheet is too dry, let the roll sit for some time and absorb the moisture from rice before cutting. When the Nori becomes slightly damp, it becomes easier to cut the roll.

#5. Always use a super sharp Japanese knife

 Finally, it all boils down to the type of knife you use for cutting your sushi roll. A kitchen knife is a complete no-no and it will only make you frustrated with sushi falling apart with every attempt. I would strongly recommend that you use an extremely sharp knife specifically made for sushi and invest in a sharpening device to ensure that you keep your knife in the best condition possible.

When buying a sushi knife, you have two options to choose from  – the one made of one piece of steel (Honyaki) and the other made of two pieces (Kasumi). The single piece steel is a high-quality knife but they come with a hefty price tag. If you like to make sushi frequently, I would recommend that you invest in a  good quality knife that lasts long.

If you are a beginner at sushi, the Yanagi ba knife is a good option to help you get thin slices of fish and cut sushi rolls with ease. There are also some other good options for the intermediate level and professional sushi chefs. I have created an in-depth article that can help you choose the best sushi knife at a reasonable price.

The best sushi knife for cutting rolls is a matter of personal preference for many. Some people may find a short and sharp knife easily to grab and make perfect slices, while others may prefer a one-sided thin blade knife. Whichever size you choose, make sure the blade is super sharp.

Common Mistakes To Avoid To Get A Neat Cut

#1. Not using a bamboo mat to roll the sushi may result in a loose roll that can easily fall apart. It just costs a few dollars to buy a bamboo mat but it can save all your hard work by making a really tight roll that does not break while cutting into pieces.

#2. Not measuring water and rice correctly when preparing sushi rice in a pot or cooker may result in a gooey texture. This not only makes it difficult to roll the sushi but cutting it also becomes challenging. Read my article that explains how to prepare perfect sushi rice from scratch.

#3. Using a regular kitchen knife to cut sashimi or sushi will only result in frustration and spoiled edges. To create a perfect culinary art like the chefs, you will also need to invest in a high-quality knife.  Read on to find my unbiased review on the 10 best beginner sushi knives.

#4. Adding too much soy sauce to the roll can make it squishy and difficult to cut with a knife. If you are a beginner, avoid using too much sauce or other condiments in your recipe.

#5. Using too many fillings inside the roll can make it difficult to roll as well as challenging to cut. If you are a beginner, stick to 1 or 2 fillings only and make sure they are evenly sliced so that the knife can cut through them with ease.

#6. Some people may tell you to use oil on the knife blade to get a smooth cut but this can spoil the flavor of your sushi. Only adding water to moisten the blade is enough.

Related Questions

How to clean the knife blade?

You may use a few drops of vinegar to clean the blade between uses. This not only keeps the knife in good shape but also enhances the flavor of sushi due to the presence of vinegar on the blade.

 Can I make sushi rolls in different shapes

Yes, there are different sushi tool and molds (see my reviews) available that allow you to make square and heart-shaped sushi rolls to add fun to your presentation.

Can I use a sashimi knife for cutting sushi

A sashimi knife is primarily meant for making thin cuts of the fish while a sushi knife is more multi-faceted to perform a variety of tasks.

How to sharpen a Japanese sushi knife?

The knives can be sharpened using a whetstone or sharpening stone that can be easily bought online. If you are a Japanese food enthusiast who loves making sushi at home, a whetstone can be a handy tool in the kitchen. Watch online videos to see how to sharpen a Japanese sushi knife using a whetstone.

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