Hand Roll Vs. Cut Roll (Maki) Sushi: A Comparative Discussion

Before we go to the in-depth comparison of hand roll vs. cut roll, we need to clear some basics.

The cut roll is mostly known as a sushi roll. In Japan, people call it Makizushi which is then rolled form of sushi. It also looks like an open-ended burrito!

Imagine, sushi is being served in an ice-cream cone – that would be a hand roll! And in Japan, people call the hand roll ‘Temaki’!

Hand Roll Vs. Maki/Cut Roll Sushi: An In-Depth Comparison

delicious sushi

The term ‘Maki’ is also referred to as cut roll. And I believe it’s the short form of Japanese ‘Makizushi’. So, don’t be confused if some people call the cut roll maki.

The basic ingredients of both hand and cut roll are pretty much the same: sushi rice & nori (seaweed). Still, there are some other differences and we will talk about them here.

  1. Ingredients

To enjoy any culinary delight, you should have a clear understanding of their ingredients. Apart from the basic ingredients, you can go creative like everyone else.

That’s the reason the California roll differs significantly from the Alaska roll!

Let’s talk about the Maki/cut roll first. If it’s vinegar flavored, then the cut roll is made from seafood (raw fish), vegetables, and sushi rice. Often, they are wrapped in nori which is nothing but Japanese seaweed.

The same goes for the hand roll too! Their basic ingredients are the same but Maki is generally made of pickled vegetables, Japanese shiitake mushrooms, and omelet in addition to the sushi rice and is wrapped with nori.

Between the two, the cut roll contains more ingredients than the hand rolls.

  1. Shape

So, hand roll sushi shapes like a cone, right? But cut roll sushi shapes almost cylindrical or tubular. The reason is pretty simple why cut rolls are tubular. We make them tube-shaped and then cut them into smaller round pieces.

There are so many types of sushi and almost all of them have a different shape and look. But we are talking about cut and hand roll sushi here, so let’s stick to that!

  1. Various Types

In many restaurants, you will find mainly 2 types of maki: Futomaki & Hosomaki. The main ingredients of hosomaki rolls can be salmon, tuna, or just cucumber. There will be only one among the 3. And they are pretty thinner.

On the other hand, Futomaki rolls are thicker and unlike the Hosomaki, they contain multiple main ingredients.

  1. Difficulty in Preparation

When we talk about cut roll vs. hand roll sushi, we must understand the level of preparation difficulty between the two.

Temaki roll or cut roll is much easier to prepare than the hand roll. In fact, preparing cut roll is the easiest among all the sushi types.

  1. Taste Variation

Of course, they can be filled with different ingredients as well. That’s why the California hand roll tastes different than the Alaska roll. And both of them somewhat different from the dragon rolls in terms of taste.

  1. Serving

The way we serve and eat maki and hand rolls differ as well.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the hand roll may look like a burrito; but people don’t eat it that way. Normally, such rolls are cut into 6 to 8 pieces and served.

So, if you have a game night or family gathering, hand roll can be a great choice. The way we eat them also differs.

We use chopsticks to eat the cut roll. That’s the proper way. But we use our hands to eat the hand roll sushi. The reason we use our hands because they are bigger in size and they are cone-shaped.

If you use chopsticks to eat your hand roll sushi, it will become too much sophisticated.

How to Make Cut Roll Sushi?

If you have never made sushi before, this may sound tricky. But with a little bit of practice, you will get there!

You know the ingredients; so let’s learn to make it! The main part is preparing the rice the right way.

Take 20 cups of Japanese rice and boil them on a stovetop. Selecting the rice will determine the taste and quality of the sushi you are making. So, select carefully.

With the rice, add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and salt. Also, add ¼ cup of sugar. Keep stirring until you get the desired consistency.

You need something that will act as a roller. A bamboo mat will do the trick. On top of the mat, lay the seaweed sheet (nori) to cover the rice.

Make some long strip and thin vegetables of your choice. Now, on top of the nori, assemble the boiled rice and spread it evenly. Put the vegetables on the rice.

Now, add any other ingredients you like (fish, shrimp, crab meat, etc.). Get a sharp and clean knife and chop to make a clean cut.

How to Make Hand Roll Sushi?

I would like to share a cool video on it first. Watch a complete sushi making video first, then everything I talk about later will make sense to you!

Just like the cut roll preparation, boil the rice as described above.  Start the assembly process once the rice is properly cooked. Lucky for you – you don’t need any bamboo mat for the hand roll.

Let the rice boil and prepare the ingredients meanwhile. Slice the vegetables, raw fish, and other ingredients of your liking to add to your sushi.

Now depending on the size of the sushi you desire, cut the nori into half or even in smaller sizes.

Make sure both of your hands are completely dry for the next step. Lay the nori sheet on your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to scoop rice. Now, flatten the rice and add your favorite ingredients.

Now, fold the wrapper and make a cone shape (you can start by folding the bottom left corner). Once you have done making the cone shape successfully, you are done!


How many pieces of sushi are in a hand roll?

Answer: There are 8 pieces. But don’t be surprised seeing 6 pieces too.

Are sushi rolls healthy?

Answer: Sushi rolls are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart health.

Is California Roll real sushi?

Answer: Not everyone; especially the sushi-loving people are ready to call that. California roll is a mixture of crab meat and avocado rolled in rice. But it does not contain any raw fish. That sounds like sushi, but not everyone agrees with that.

Is there raw fish in a California roll?

Answer: No. It does not contain any raw fish like the nigari or other types of sushi rolls.

Are you supposed to eat sushi rolls in one bite?

Answer: Yes. But if the piece is too big for one bite, you can cut it into smaller pieces first before eating.

Is it rude to eat sushi with a fork?

Answer: Using chopsticks is the custom but if you are not comfortable or accustomed to chopsticks, you are welcome to use a fork.


I believe I covered everything when we talk about hand roll vs. cut roll sushi. The good thing about them is that you can add a wide variety of fillings to make them taste exactly what you like.

My personal favorite is California hand roll sushi but you can make your favorite just by tweaking the ingredients. If you are a vegetarian, you can add just the vegetables!

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