Avocado-Cucumber Sushi Rolls
Japanese Recipe

With the proper tools and a little practice, homemade sushi can be a great activity for the whole family. We’re starting with a basic avocado-cucumber roll, but feel free to add your favorite restaurant fixings once you’ve mastered the basics. All necessary materials can be found at Asian markets or online.

Directions   Print recipe     Email to a friend
Serves 6–8 sushi rolls
Sushi Rice
 2  cups uncooked premium-quality Japanese sushi rice*
 ~ water (depends on your chosen cooking method: stovetop or rice cooker)
Sushi Rice Dressing
 4 tablespoons rice vinegar**
 3  tablespoons sugar
 1  teaspoon salt
 Sushi Roll
 3–4  full-sized  sheets nori ***
 1  ripe Haas avocado, halved, pitted, thinly sliced and spritzed with lemon juice (to prevent browning)
 ~  optional soy sauce, for dipping
 ~  optional wasabi
 ~  optional pickled ginger

* The short grain produces slightly sticky rice with a faintly sweet taste. Never substitute long grain or Basmati rice.

** You may also enjoy bottled seasoned sushi vinegar and skip making the dressing yourself.

***Nori is edible roasted Japanese seaweed pressed into thin sheets.


Set out a bamboo sushi mat covered with plastic wrap (to prevent sticking), a rice paddle, sharp chef’s knife and a glass or wooden bowl for dressing the cooked rice with the vinegar dressing. Do not mix the vinegar with metal utensils or place in a metal bowl, as the vinegar will react.

Prepare Rice and Dress

  1. Pour the rice into a wire mesh strainer and rinse under cool running water. Lightly agitate the rice with your hand to remove excess starch and talc used as a moisture preventative.NOTE: Do not skip this step or your rice will be gummy and not taste correct.
  2. Place the rice in a spacious bowl, cover with water and soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Select your cooking method: stovetop or electric rice cooker. Refer to the rice package for stovetop instructions and the owner’s manual for rice cookers.
  4. Once cooked, cool the rice to room temperature. Use the rice paddle to release the steam and a fan to cool things faster.
  5. Transfer the rice to a wooden or glass bowl before dressing. Do not use a metal bowl, as the vinegar will react.
  6. Prepare the dressing by combing the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the sugar and salt dissolve, then remove from the heat.
  7. Drizzle the mixture over rice and gently stir to coat each grain.

NOTE: Never refrigerate the rice at this point or it will become dry and compromise the quality of your sushi.

Roll Sushi

  1. Place the sushi mat so that the slats are horizontal. Do not set vertically or you will not be able to roll the sushi.
  2. Take a sheet of nori and break it in half horizontally. Place the shiny side down across the top of the mat.NOTE: Set out a small bowl of water and a moist towel to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.
  3. Place approximately ½ cup of rice on the nori. Using clean hands, spread the rice thinly—no more than ¼ inch thick over the nori. Leave a ¾ inch border for sealing the sushi roll.
  4. Place several cucumber sticks horizontally across the center of the nori. Top with avocado strips.NOTE: Do not overfill.
  5. Place your thumbs at the edge of your mat and roll once over the nori. Hold so that you form the beginning of the rounded roll.
  6. Pull the mat back and roll the sushi with your hands. Press gently forward until you have a cylinder. Remove any excess rice on the border for a perfect seal.
  7. Place the mat over the cylinder and gently roll to tighten so the ingredients do not fall out. Do not squish it. Bring the mat back and make any adjustments with your hands.
  8. Let the roll sit, uncut, for several minutes. This rest period allows the rice to moisten the nori, making it easier to cut.
  9. Repeat the process until all rolls are complete.

Cut Sushi 

  1. Place the sushi roll on a cutting board.
  2. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the roll in half with a gentle sawing motion.
  3. Dampen your knife, then line up the two halves. Cut into eight pieces of sushi.
  4. Plate the sushi and serve with soy sauce, a dollop of wasabi and slices of pickled ginger.
  5. Serve immediately. Sushi is best enjoyed fresh and not stored.