6 Ways To Roll Sushi Without Using A Mat

There are several ways to roll sushi. But not all of them are effective. Sushi rolls which originated from Japan, have gained fame all over the world. With a simple and easy method, you can make budget-friendly sushi at home.

6 Ways To Roll Sushi Without Using A Mat

By using traditional materials, you can get it in just one try. You may use your bare hands, a tea towel, or a bamboo mat to roll it. If a bamboo mat is not available, then tea towels can also be used to roll sushi. It gives the same result as a bamboo mat. With bare hands, rolling sushi is also possible but make sure your hands are cleaned and you roll the sushi tightly.

Reading forward, you’ll get more knowledge on ways to roll sushi. Though the available ways to roll sushi may seem complicated for beginners, there are still more exciting things to learn from it. So, from this guide, you’ll learn the best and effective ways and methods to do it perfectly.

6 Ways To Roll Sushi Without Using A Mat

Sushi can be rolled in many other ways other than the aforementioned ways. Aside from its pleasing appearance, this traditional dish also has what it takes when it comes to its taste. But it depends on the way how it’s rolled. Sushi that’s used as an attempt won’t taste good when served compared to others. It would taste too aired and moist. You don’t want moist sushi. 

In Japan, most professionals can manage to roll their sushi by using several ways away from the traditional mat. It’s quite tricky how they do it but here are some ways how they do it. Of course, you can mimic it and be like a pro.

1.Making Sushi with The Use of a Towel

Yes, you have read that right, a towel. Using a towel is also a way to roll your sushi. But how will a towel help in making sushi? Hold up; we will cross the bridge when we get there. What you should be preparing first are the ingredients needed for the sushi. Otherwise, you will not need a towel at all.

First Step – Prepare Your Rice

First, prepare the rice you will be using for the sushi that you will be making. Also, do not forget your toppings! You can have any vegetable of your choice for this one.

People who do not live in Japan and vegetarians all over the world often use market-available vegetables as an alternative to seafood ingredients. But using seafood meat as an ingredient will be great if you have access to it. 

Second Step – Start Arranging The Ingredients

Now that your ingredients are all prepared, arranging and laying them down above the thick towel is time. Do not forget to put plastic above the towel beforehand to avoid the rice sticking to it.

Lay the Nori (seaweed paper) first, then spread the rice above the paper evenly. Next, place your vegetables or meat at the edge of the rice. It does not matter how you would arrange your vegetables, for we are rolling them sooner anyway.

You might be asking; how can a mere towel be an alternative for a rolling mat? Its secret lies in its thickness and flexibility. The thickness of the towel itself resembles the hardness of a bamboo mat. So, make sure that the material you are going to use has a decent level of consistency- not too thin, but not too thick as well.

Third Step – Cover The Sushi

Now for the exciting part, cover the sushi with the plastic you have and then cover it with the towel. Then, one thing that is left to do is start rolling your sushi, and you are done! Top with avocado or some sort.

Sushi rolled using towels doesn’t have much of a difference compared to other types of rolled sushi. This is one way of making sushi if you don’t have extra money to buy some wooden sushi rollers as most sushi hubs own. 

Also, if you’re not confident in using your bare hands, a clean towel is a great choice to start your sushi rolling adventure. It’s handy, inexpensive, and yet effective.

2.Making Sushi with A Professional Sushi Roller Equipment

Suppose you still cannot correctly roll your sushi using a towel even after many attempts and you are losing every hope in making your best sushi and let us say that you have an extra budget in your pocket. This is an expensive, pro way of rolling your sushi. 

In that case, you might have to consider buying the perfect sushi roll equipment! Aside from not having to try countless times rolling with a towel, this small but fantastic equipment will make the task easier for you.

The so-called Leifheit Perfect Sushi Roll is explicitly designed as a roller for the combination of raw fish and cooked rice- basically for making sushi! The equipment is shaped like a scotch tape holder and with a slip that lets you manipulate it. So how do you use it?

  1. You have to lay the sheet of seaweed paper inside the machine to follow your own choice of toppings.
  2. After that, close the lid tightly to ensure that none of the ingredients will go out of it during the rolling process. 
  3. Now, hold the slip and give it a slight tug to start rolling it. When you do this, you will push the ingredients you have put into a 9-inch-long tube, which will be the foundation of the sushi’s shape.

With this machine, it is less likely that you will make a mistake because it does the work for you. It is time-efficient and requires you less effort. You can also make as much sushi as you want with this, even if you do not even have prior knowledge of making one. You have to load, roll, and take it out.

3.Rolling Your Sushi with a Sushezi Tube

This next way of rolling sushi without a bamboo mat has the same idea as the last one. Yes, we are going to make use of a tube. This tube is not like those you see in water systems. It’s a different tube that anyone can use to roll their sushi. It isn’t just the ordinary tube that we use for water pipes. This one is a tubular device that is invented just for the sake of your sushi making experience. So, for sure, it is safe to use.

It is said to be the most flawless device you can use if you aim to make a massive serving of sushi for a vast crowd. This can also save you time and effort rolling your sushi without a rolling mat. Imagine making a bunch of sushi with equal, perfect rolls. 

Why? It’s because it is really fast and easy to use. So, what is this mysterious device? Its name is quite fancy and witty at the same time, the Sushezi!

  1. Put your ingredients inside the tube. Make sure to leave the Nori aside. The tube will then serve as a tool to compress it into a cylindrical shape. After that, take it out carefully.
  2. Now that you have your perfectly shaped sushi rice, it is now time to finally wrap it up with the Nori that you have set aside, and you’re done!

4.Perfect Your Sushi Roll Through Sushiquik Sushi Frame

It might be your first time making sushi, and you do not know how many or what are ingredients you should use. The measure of each ingredient is essential when it comes to sushi. 

Using too much will tear the seaweed paper. While using too few ingredients makes it limp. It might get frustrating, especially when you have already tried countless times but still failed. Worry not! Because this sushi training frame is here to save you from that frustration of ways to roll your sushi.

This equipment is aimed at those who want to enjoy making and rolling sushi without a mat while practicing. It is called Sushiquik, making your sushi and rolling quickly. It comes with two plastic and durable tools.

  1. First is the training frame, which ensures that even those first-timers who do not know how to measure ingredients use the right amount of rice.
  2. The second one is what they call the rolling cutter. Just like what the name implies, it cuts the sushi that you have made with the frame into an evenly sized slice, which is satisfying. Also, this cutter guarantees that everyone will get a fair cut.

5.Roll Your Sushi with Sushi Magic

Suppose you plan to save up money to buy the original bamboo mat eventually but want to practice something similar that is not that expensive. In that case, you should try learning sushi magic. 

That’s right, sushi magic! This sushi making device lets you discover a similar way of making sushi with a Makisu. It does not precisely resemble the original mat, but it is somehow close.

The Sushi magic is made of a silicone sheet instead of a bamboo one, giving it more flexibility. It comes with convenient outer handles that resemble a rolling pin. It is specifically designed to flawlessly compress and shape your sushi rice in the easiest way possible with perfect rolls. There are just two steps that you have to do to make your sushi. Put and twist.

  1. Put all of your ingredients inside the silicone sheet.
  2. Second, hold the handles and turn to start rolling it. When you reach the end of the sheet, your sushi is all set! 
  3. Besides, it is said that it produces a pretty consistent tube-like sushi shape and spares you of the mess. With that, I would say that this one is a must-try for practicing if you would eventually want to try the bamboo mat.

6.Rolling Your Sushi Without Using Anything

Of all the aforementioned ways to roll your sushi, sometimes using nothing is a great choice. Especially if you’re on a tight budget but want to make sushi. If you want to eat sushi and would not bother to buy or improvise a rolling mat, this one’s for you. 

Do not be surprised cause I saved the best for last- you can make and roll sushi with just the use of your own hands! Now I would say that is the most convenient of all, don’t you agree?

Just like the mentioned process, lay your ingredients on a flat surface. Neatness is important when you eat sushi. Make sure it’s tidied up. If you are done with that, it is now time to prepare yourself, and of course, your hands. Cooking equipment makes the cooking process more manageable, so using only your hands is expected to be a little challenging. Besides, you have to focus, and it requires practice.

As tightly as you can, roll your sushi slowly, keeping in mind that you have to shape it into a cylinder. Make sure to leave at least a little space at the edge of the seaweed paper for you to be able to seal it shut with water. That is all, and you’re done.

You can also check out this ultimate guide to sushi etiquette.

6 Ways To Roll Sushi Without Using A Mat

Frequently Asked Questions 

One of the best Japanese foods on the planet is sushi. It is defined as any dish that is made with vinegar rice, rolled with Nori, and served. You ask yourself, is this food for me? What if I don’t have all of the materials needed but able to buy the ingredients? What are the ways to roll my sushi?

What can I use to roll sushi if I don’t have a bamboo mat?

In planning to make sushi a lot at home, a bamboo mat must create a sushi roll. But if you don’t have one, you can use a thick, clean towel or plastic wrap to be an excellent substitute. Plastic might give you a hard time especially at first-timers so a towel would be your best bet. 

The method in rolling sushi is still the same, no matter what tool you will use. Using a thick towel as a substitute for a bamboo mat can also wipe your mass if you’re already done.

It permits you to shape and roll the sushi rice since it’s so adaptable; you can roll it excellently and effortlessly. You can also use plastic wrap. It makes the seaweed more flexible when moving. It also traps the moisture between the rice and the seaweed.

Plastic wrap is also a great substitute because it’s a great way to avoid washing your towel and bamboo mat. It is a great life hack for me. These methods not only allow you to make a traditional sushi roll but can also save you money from buying a mat.

How do you roll sushi by hand?

You can roll sushi with your hands by placing your thumbs underneath the sushi mat and over your filling, lift the edge closest to you. To ensure an even roll, you need to keep your hands a few inches apart when lifting the edge.

To shape the roll into a consistent log, you need to press it gently with your curved hands. Pull the sushi mat away to your roll.

Press tenderly along the length of the log and proceed as you move it away from you. See if it was tightly packed and make sure because it may fall apart when sliced and divided.

How do you wrap a sushi mat?

In wrapping a bamboo mat, you need twice its length and layout a plastic wrap piece. The sushi should orient it, so the plastic wrap short side is a place near you. You should lay the bamboo mat on the plastic wrap center and make up the mat parallel at the plastic wrap to the short end of it.

Overlap the base finish of the saran wrap and spot it over the bamboo mat. Next, you should fold the top end of the plastic wrap and place it over to the bamboo mat. Press the bamboo sticks to make sure that parts have already been folded over. In little triangles, fold the corner.

So, they won’t stick out. To make sure that the sticks have already been folded, fold the two sides in. Turnover, so the folded parts are down and start rolling beautiful shaped sushi.

How do you roll sushi like a pro?

To roll sushi like a pro, the first step, on a sushi mat, place a sheet of nori. Pat an even layer of sushi rice. Over the edges of the nori, hang the rice on it.

Put your gloves on and get a damp towel to dab your fingers. It should return you to the initial step. Place your filling ingredients in a line. Start to the near edge of the rice layer.

Each of them should be in its line, with each row. Now, hold the edge of the math with your thumbs and start rolling. To get it going, you need to pull first the sushi mat. It would be best if you pulled it away from you once it’s rolled over.

Cut it in half, clean the knife and do it alternatively. That’s how you do it. For your finish, delicious sushi, plate like a pro.


Finding your best sushi roller is a challenging task especially for beginners. There are several ways on how to roll sushi and find which best suits your needs is a great start. Whenever you use a sushi mat, make sure to know how to clean it well.

It’s important to keep in mind that a mat is not the only one available and you can pull off that great roll of sushi by using your hands, plastic wrappers, or even a modern, pro-level sushi maker that is beginner-friendly. Do not panic, rolling sushi is easy if you follow the steps properly and be patient. It’s easy, handy, and won’t require you pro-level skills.

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