Difference between Roll and Hand Roll Sushi

By: | Updated: Nov-11, 2021
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Sushi is a type of Japanese food made with vinegared rice and other ingredients such as raw seafood, vegetables, and sometimes fruits. There are different types of sushi and two of these are the roll and the hand roll. These two types of sushi are both wrapped in nori, which is edible seaweed that looks like dark green paper wrapping. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the roll and the hand roll if you were to just look at their names; however, when you read this article, you’ll discover that they actually differ in a lot of ways.

Summary Table

Roll Sushi Hand Roll Sushi
Also called “maki” Also called “temaki”
Cylindrical or tubular and cut into 6-8 smaller pieces Made into a cone
Each piece is smaller than a hand roll A single piece is bigger than a piece of maki
A smaller amount of ingredients per piece A larger amount of ingredients per serving
Always has rice Doesn’t always contain rice
Eaten with chopsticks and in one bite Eaten with the hands and takes at least 2 bites to finish
Can be shared Single serving


Roll or maki sushi
Roll or maki sushi

A roll is a type of sushi otherwise known as “maki” in Japan. The term “maki” was derived from the Japanese word maku meaning “to wrap or coil.” It is made with Japanese rice, raw fish or other seafood, and vegetables or fruits. All these ingredients are wrapped up and rolled in a whole sheet of seaweed called “nori”, with the use of bamboo mats. The cylindrical roll is then cut into six to eight smaller pieces before being served, making it good for sharing. Chopsticks are used when eating rolls. Since they come in small pieces, they are traditionally eaten in one bite.

Hand roll or temakia sushi
Hand roll or temakia sushi

A hand roll is a type of sushi which is also called “temaki” in Japan. A hand roll is a popular cone-like, casual Japanese food. It is made with a sheet of nori which is usually cut in half and filled with Japanese rice and neta. Neta is what they call the fish, be it salmon, tuna, or other seafood, that is included in the mix. Other preparations do not include rice and sometimes have fruits or vegetables. Hand rolls are prepared by hand and served immediately after being folded. Each piece is about four inches long and is meant for single serving. Hand rolls are traditionally eaten by hand and take more than a single bite to finish.

Roll vs Hand Roll Sushi

What is the difference between roll and hand roll sushi? Rolls are called “maki” while hand rolls are called “temaki.” Rolls are cylindrical in shape and cut into six to eight smaller pieces before being served. Hand rolls, on the other hand, are cone-shaped, single pieces of casual Japanese food. In terms of size and quantity of ingredients, a single serving of roll is smaller and has less filling compared to a hand roll. Rolls always have rice but hand rolls sometimes do not contain rice. Chopsticks are used to eat rolls and a piece is usually eaten in one bite whereas the hands are used to eat hand rolls and each piece takes at least two bites to finish. Since there are six to eight pieces per serving of rolls, this type of sushi is good for sharing. Conversely, a single serving of a hand roll is always meant for solitary consumption.

Type of Roll

Maki roll comes in a wide variety of styles. These are the most popular types of sushi rolls today:


Hosomaki means thin rolls. This is a Japanese style wrap made with a thin layer of nori seaweed on the outside. The main ingredient of hosomaki are usually sushi rice and vegetables, but can also be filled with anything you like.

The inside of the wrap is typically stuffed with raw fish or vegetable sushi rice. This type of sushi dish uses only one filling. Since hosomaki is long and thin, it can also be served as appetizer.


Futomaki means thick or japanese sushi rolls. This type of sushi uses a lot of different fillings such as cucumber, crab, spicy tuna, and different kind of veggies wrapped in seaweed sheet.

The fat and cylindrical roll is sliced crosswise into rounds and served with pickled ginger, wasabi or tempura.

How to make Futomaki:

2 sheets seaweed (nori),

4 to 5 oz each

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

3 oz sake 1 tbsp sake vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp wasabi powder

Cooking Directions:

1) Soak one sheet of nori in water for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, drain the water and place on top of another sheet of nori. Repeat this process two more times until all three sheets are stacked together in order to form the roll shape.

2) Mix sugar and sake in small bowl. Pour sake mixture over all three sheets and spread evenly.

3) Place the roll on a tray covered with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

4) Mix sake vinegar, soy sauce and wasabi powder in small bowl. Pour mixture over the roll. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then serve with pickled ginger or wasabi paste.


The third type of maki sushi is called nakamaki which is an in-between size. It’s not too thick like futomaki and neither too thick like hosomaki. You will find on average three ingredients so it’s very convenient to eat.

California Roll

A California roll is a popular sushi roll in the United States, and there are many varieties of California rolls. The California Roll is a sushi roll consisting of a thin, long cylinder of sushi rice wrapped around a filling.

It is sometimes called the “California Roll” because it was invented in California.

How to Make California Roll


1 pack of cooked rice (preferably sushi rice)

1 cup of cooked shrimp (tail-on or chopped)

1 avocado (peeled, chopped)

2 sheets of nori seaweed (cut into halves)

1/2 cup of imitation crab meat (finely chopped) or real crab meat (finely chopped) or canned crab meat, drained well.

Step 1: Cook the rice. First of all, wash the rice. Then put it in a rice cooker or pan. Add 1 cup of water to it and cook it on high heat for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring it occasionally to make sure that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the rice is cooked, take it out and let it cool down for about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Assemble your California roll with your favorite ingredients. To assemble your California roll, you will need 1 sheet of nori seaweed (cut into halves), 1/2 avocado (peeled, chopped), 1 cup of imitation crab meat (finely chopped) or real crab meat (finely chopped) or canned crab meat, drained well and 1 pack of cooked shrimp (tail-on or chopped).

Take one half of the nori seaweed and place on a flat surface and your makisu. Next spread out half of avocado on top of nori seaweed. Add about 3 pieces of imitation crab meat or real crab meat or canned crab meat on top of avocado.

Now put another sheet on top and roll into a tube shape by folding one end over the other end. Roll tightly until you reach the end. Seal the ends by wetting your fingers with water and gently squeezing the roll. Repeat the same process for all the sushi rolls.

Step 3: Cut your California roll into small pieces. Take your California roll and place it on a cutting board. Cut it into small pieces with a sharp knife or scissors and place them on a plate.

Step 4: Serve your California roll to your friends and family!

Philadelphia Roll

The Philadelphia Sushi Roll is a traditional Japanese dish, popular among the locals in Philadelphia. It’s a simple recipe that involves assembling a sushi roll from layers of different types of fish, rice and vegetables.

While this type of roll is usually served with wasabi and soy sauce, you can also add your favorite condiments or seasonings to make it taste even better.

There are a few common variations to this recipe. The most common one is to add cucumber to the Philadelphia Roll Sushi Recipe, but some people also add cream cheese and avocado. Some people also add shredded carrots and daikon radish to their Philadelphia Roll Sushi Recipe.

Uramaki Roll

Uramaki is one of the traditional Japanese sushi rolls. In Japanese, Uramaki means inside- out roll. Instead of getting your typical roll sushi surrounded by seaweed on the outside, Uramaki roll has the rice on the outside and the nori inside.

The popular uramaki rolls are spicy tuna rolls made from tuna, chili sauce, nori, spicy mayo. In sushi restaurants, they are usually served with wasabi, tempura or sometimes served along with sashimi and nigiri.

How to make uramaki roll


Sushi rice, cucumber, avocado, salmon fillets, dried seaweed, sesame seeds


1) Wrap makisu with plastic wrap and set it aside

2) Spread the rice on the nori sheet as above side

3) Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds

5) Flip it over. Now, the nori is facing up.

6) Add your favorite filling in the middle of the nori .

7) Cut the uramaki sushi into slices depending on your preference.

8) Enjoy your inside-out sushi with your friends and family


Makizushi is made from seaweed and vinegared rice filled with different ingredients such as fish and vegetables.

The main difference of makizushi from other types of sushi is that you can enjoy several different flavors in the same roll.


Chumaki is the medium-sized sushi roll. It is slightly bigger than Hosomaki sushi. Chumaki usually contains 2-3 ingredients with nori on the outside.

How to Make Hand Roll Sushi

Making hand roll sushi is a great way to get creative with your food. You can make it in a short amount of time and prepare a delicious meal for your family. You can make hand roll sushi with different ingredients such as tuna, salmon, crab meat, and vegetables. Temaki or hand roll is better eaten right after you make it.

Here are some easy steps on how to make hand roll sushi:

Prepare the sushi rice and your favorite fillings
Take one seaweed sheet and cut it in half or quarter horizontally
Place the nori on your palm with the shiny side down
Spread sushi rice evenly
Add your favorite ingredients over the rice. And don’t forget to align them in a diagonal line from the top left corner to the bottom center corner.
Roll the sushi by bending your hand so that it starts to form a cone shape or mini burrito.
Enjoy your conical shape sushi with your friends and family!


When it comes to Japanese cuisine, you have a lot of choices. However, it’s safe to say that sushi is a staple in Japanese culture. It’s not only a delicious meal, but it also has a lot of symbolism. Sushi is one of the most famous Japanese dishes.

It is made with vinegared rice, called sushi rice. It has a sweet taste, but also has a refreshing sour taste, which can make it seem quite different from western sushi.

There are many different types of sushi. There are sushi rolls that are not made with rice at all. They are made with raw fish, seafood, vegetables and sometimes even meats.

Sushi mostly have cylinders shape that are sliced into several individual pieces. But, there are also many types of non-cylinders rolls, such as Temaki sushi or hand roll sushi.

Hand roll sushi looks like mini burito with ice cream cone shape. There are also some sushi rolls that have been influenced by Western cuisine to some extent such as Californian rolls and Philadelphia rolls.

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