How To Roll Inside-Out Maki

Uramaki is the Japanese word for inside-out rolls. They are a little more difficult to make than maki rolls are. These are very similar to maki rolls, only with the rice on the outside instead of inside the nori. There are many types of popular uramaki rolls, several of which will be posted in the near future! So watch for them… they’ll be up soon!

Rolling the Maki

Prepare the rolling mat.

Lay a piece of nori on the rolling mat, shiny side down.

A piece of nori on the rolling mat

Place about 3/4 cup of sumeshi on the nori.

Placing the rice on the nori

Wet your hands with water so the rice won’t stick to your hands. I find it’s useful to have a small bowl of water sitting next to my work area so I don’t have to keep running between the sink and my work area to keep my hands wet. Spread the rice over the nori with your hands, covering the entire sheet of nori.

Spreading the rice

Spread the rice over the entire sheet of nori

Turn the nori over, so the rice side is facing the rolling mat (this is why we cover the rolling mat with plastic wrap 🙂 )

Flipping the nori over

The nori flipped over

Place your desired fillings along the bottom edge of the nori.

The fillings on the flipped over nori

Using the rolling mat, begin to tightly roll the sushi. Start at the side nearest to you, and roll away from you. Try to roll it without letting the rice stick to the rolling mat. If the rice sticks, try cooling the rice a little more before you make the next roll.

Rolling the uramaki

Rolling the uramaki

Rolled uramaki

When the sushi is completely rolled, use the rolling mat to squeeze the sushi so it does not unroll when you are trying to cut it.


If you are putting some sort of fish or vegetables on top of the roll, lay thin strips overlapping on top of the roll.

Placing the toppings on the uramaki

Toppings on an uramaki roll

Squeeze the roll again with the rolling mat to press the toppings onto the sushi roll. This will help ensure that the toppings don’t fall off when you cut or eat the sushi.

Squeezing the uramaki roll

If, instead, the recipe asks you to roll the sushi in something such as masago or sesame seeds, you can either put the topping on a plate and roll the entire roll in it, or spoon the topping over the roll and press it into the roll so it doesn’t fall off.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the sushi into six or eight pieces, depending on how thick you like your sushi. It helps to have your knife freshly sharpened; otherwise it’s pretty easy to squish your sushi when you are cutting it. This can cause the sushi to fall apart when you are eating it, and become kind of a pain in the butt. Also, it helps to wet your knife before cutting the sushi, so the rice and fillings won’t stick to it.

Eat your sushi! Yum!

WARNING: Please be very careful using the knife! Do not allow children to use sharp knives, and keep fingers and other body parts away from the blade. I am not liable for any injury you might incur while using knives or other sharp objects. Not to mention I don’t want any of you to get hurt (especially during the holiday season!)

40 thoughts on “How To Roll Inside-Out Maki”

  1. Lady Madonna -

    Hi Allison!

    I cooked maki-sushi for the first time on Christmas Eve. Your blog was very helpful for rolling the maki. And now I was wondering how to roll uramaki and you come up with this post. Thank you!

    By the way, are you planning to give advice on preparing fish for sushi? Mostly tuna and salmon. For my first maki I used smoked salmon but I’d like to learn to do real sushi.

  2. Allison -

    Yay! I’m so glad I could help! 🙂 I am definitely planning on doing a few posts about preparing fish sometime in the future when I can find the time (and money) to go out and find some good sushi-grade fish. 🙂

  3. Nick -

    I always thought this was the “regular” maki and the kind with nori on the outside is “inside-out.” I mean, everything I make (I work at a sushi bar) has the rice on the outside. Provided there’s more than one ingredient. For just kappa maki or a tuna roll or whatever, I roll the nori on the outside. Anyways, I could be wrong. I was the one searching YOUR site for tips, after all.

    And yeah — I only use a half sheet of nori. Unless it’s one of those monster rolls with 5 kinds of fish and a whole avocado in it. But that’s a different story. Anyway I forgot what I initially was gonna ask.

  4. Allison -

    I have always seen this kind of sushi referred to as inside-out everywhere I have gone and in every sushi book I have read… if you do a search for inside-out sushi most of the results say the rice should be on the outside. 🙂 But I can understand why you might think differently, especially if everything you make is what I would call inside-out!
    Interesting… next time I’ll try it with a half sheet… although mine seemed to turn out fine using a whole sheet of nori. 🙂
    Let me know if you remember what you were originally going to ask! 🙂

  5. Nick -

    I’m aware of the title! I guess it makes sense. To my mind, the rice outside is one hell of a lot easier to roll. Then again I’m usually cramming two or three ingredients into a roll. Nobody ever orders kappa maki!
    On a side note, hours after I wrote the above comment, I was explaining to the police why I was sleeping in the road, where my shoes were, and where the empty rum bottle came from. Honest to god I don’t remember much. But you can celebrate cause I’m not holding this article responsible.
    Where was I … I do the bowl of water thing, despite the sink next to me, and my original question had something to do with how to not squish your ingredients. I think it was “how do you not squish your ingredients?” When avocado or something soft squeezes out along one edge of the roll before you can “close” it, there is no saving that roll. I can’t think of a way to change how I roll, nor describe this very well. With practice, this disaster has diminished, but it seems to be a mistake other than using too much of whatever. If that makes any sense.

  6. Allison -

    I see. Makes sense. 🙂 I agree that no one seems to like kappa maki much (except for my mom – she requests I make it all the time!)
    Oh dear! Well, I’m glad SushiDay isn’t to blame, but I hope everything turned out all right!
    Hehe when things squish out of my roll, I tend to just try to poke them back in, or let them fall out and then eat the end pieces before anyone finds out! 😀 Of course, I don’t suppose you can eat them, seeing as you work in a restaurant! 😛 I try to hold my ingredients as I’m rolling until they are surrounded by sumeshi or nori, which seems to help sometimes, but aside from that I don’t really have any tips for keeping the end ingredients in the roll! Sorry… 🙁

  7. Geoffrey -

    A tip for anyone new to making uramaki: the most common mistake (seen in cheap grocery store sushi everywhere) is to use way too much rice. Just enough that you can’t see the green of the nori through the rice is ideal; a big thick layer really produces, in my opinion, far inferior sushi.

    I also find that sprinkling sesame seeds (or whatever) on the rice before flipping the nori over onto the plastic and rolling it works better than sprinking after you roll, since the rolling itself pushes the seeds/roe/whatever else you’re sticking on the outside into the rice a lot more effectively than you’ll be able to do after it’s rolled.

  8. Cheryl -

    This is the best web-site! I have been looking on diffrent sites on how to roll sushi. You are by far the best site I have seen in the 5 hrs. I have been looking. Thank you for being here!!!!!

  9. Amy -

    Hey Allison –

    Well my sushi is looking a little better (and I certainly don’t mind eating any mess-ups! 🙂 ) but I always seem to run into trouble when cutting it. I do the whole wipe the knife off and get it wet thing, and I THOUGHT they were decently sharp, but maybe they’re not sharp enough as I always seem to squish things a little bit. Do you use a special sushi knife? I’m thinking maybe I need to find a super duper sharp knife somewhere. Any suggestions? 🙂

  10. Allison -

    🙂 I find that when the knife squishes the sushi more than it cuts it, it helps to sharpen the knife. I usually have my dad do it, (so this only happens when I am at my parents’ house!) so I can’t really give any pointers on how to sharpen it. :-/ I don’t use a sushi knife though, just a regular sharp knife (not a serrated one). Hope that helps!

  11. Dennis L Esparar -

    Im a cooking enthusiast and this days I really love to cook sushi in different ways, I brought some in our church and in our family reunion and they enjoy it.. FINDING YOUR SIGHT IS A VERY BIG HELP TO A NOVICE IN COOKING SUSHI LIKE ME… and know what I got a new idea of sushi… what about filling a barbecue and cucumber plus a dash of barbecue sauce in your sushi isnt it sound good… thank you so much and God Bless you…

  12. AJ -

    Thankyou for your easy and clear instructions! I made this (with some polluck, cucumber & roasted red pepper cream cheese) for the first time for a New Year’s Eve party last night. I wasn’t sure what the guests’ palettes would be like so I though making the inside-out sushi would look more inviting to some people who would usually not want to try sushi because of the omnipresent nori staring them in the face!! I was going to be a little late for the party so I dropped off my appy’s ahead of time, and when I got to the party a little later, almost all my sushi was gone!

    Very impressive website. Thanks again!

  13. Katie -

    I noticed in your finished picture that you have a stripe of nori not covered in rice. That happens to me EVERY time I try to make inside out rolls. Why does this happen and have you figured out how to fix it? Or is this just normal?

  14. Allison -

    Katie – I believe this is something that you just have to practice. If you cover the nori all the way to the end with rice, then you shouldn’t get that pesky uncovered strip of nori when you’re done. Even with practice though, this still happens to me at times (and I’ve even seen this happen in some restaurants) so no worries! 🙂

  15. Dave Thompson -

    I want to make my wife sushi for out anniversary. Have never done it before, but thought it would be kind of cool to do for her. These tips on how to roll sushi are going to be very helpful when I actually start making all of the sushi rolls. Thanks for the great sushi rolling tips.

  16. scott -

    My opinion only. When cutting your roll make sure your sushi is cold. I will wrap my roll in saran wrap and refridgerate for an hour. Do 3 or 4 or whatever ahead of time and cut when cool. Of course a SHARP knife and keeping water on the knife is necessary.

    Anybody use a bazooka?

    Do I need nori for an inside/out role?