Can You Use Canned Tuna For Making Sushi?

Nowadays, people have been using different kinds of fish meat and kinds of seafood for their sushi; but for budget-minded sushi lovers, can you use canned tuna for making sushi? 

When it comes to making your homemade sushi, you can use canned tuna in your roll with a budget. However, note that the taste won’t be the same with authentic tuna and other fish meat. Still, canned tuna offers new flavors on your sushi. If you want to use canned tuna, it’s better to use water-based than oil-based to avoid its fishy smell.

Aside from sushi fish alternatives, you can always try using canned tuna for your sushi recipe. If you want to recreate your homemade sushi and add some twists to it, stay tuned as we give you some recipes of sushi with canned tuna.

Can You Use Canned Tuna For Making Sushi

4 Sushi Roll Recipes Using Canned Tuna

Using canned tuna and even veggies can still help you make a delicious sushi recipe. Best of all, canned tunas are highly accessible in various supermarkets, groceries, and even convenience stores. Canned tuna sushi is a fast and quick meal to customize, which makes it more fun!

Recipe #1 – Canned Tuna Sushi

A perfect addition to a picnic or packed lunch is canned tuna sushi. It is easy to make, although it takes a little practice to get the roll right. Tinned tuna goes very well along with a bit of sweet chili sauce and onions, and you have no concerns about dealing with fresh ingredients, as is the case with traditional sushi.

Chopped cucumbers, capsicums, or spring onions, if you want to add a bit of flavor and crunch to the canned tuna sushi. First, here are the ingredients that you’ll need.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 ½ cups cooked sushi rice
  • 1 small tin tuna in brine, drained
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • ½ small onion, finely diced
  • 6 sheets toasted Nori (seaweed)
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi, optional

How To Make Canned Tuna Sushi?

  1. Add the cooked sushi rice to the sugar and mirin and cool it down. Put the drained tuna, sweet chili sauce, and finely diced onions together in a dish.
  2. Place a nori sheet on a sushi mat, rough side up. Spread the rice over the Nori, press firmly, and leave the side farthest from you with a 5 cm gap.
  3. On the closest edge, position the tuna. Roll the sushi tightly to form a roll by using the mat to get started. To further secure the roll, moisten the 5 cm gap with water at the end of the Nori. Chill until required.
  4. Slice the rolls into 1 ½ cm or ½ inch slices just before serving. You can add wasabi to the sushi or serve it on the side.

Recipe #2 – Canned Tuna Sushi Hand Rolls

Hand rolls are another kind of sushi that you can do, aside from the regular ones. Just like the first sushi recipe, you can do it easily using the ingredients below.

  • 3 rice cooker cups short-grain sushi rice
  • 5 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoon salt
  • A can of albacore tuna
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ English cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 eggs
  • 10 sheets of sushi nori or seaweed
  • Wasabi (optional)

How To Make Canned Tuna Sushi Hand Rolls?

  1. Wash and strain the rice a few times and place it in a rice cooker bowl. Fill the 3 cup sushi rice line with water, slightly below the standard 3 cup line, and cook. In a small cup, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. To warm it up, you can microwave it if the salt and sugar do not dissolve well, and set aside. 
  2. Cut the cucumber into about 3 inch long sticks while the rice is cooking, and cut the carrots into almost 3-inch long matchstick sizes. 
  3. Combine the tuna and the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar into small pieces, and cook over medium heat in a small saucepan. Let the mixture boil until the sauce has saturated the tuna and most of the pan is dry.
  4. Whisk together the eggs with a pinch of salt and pour about ⅓ of it into a small non-stick pan, ideally a square tamagoyaki pan, but as long as it’s not too large, whatever you have on hand should work.
  5. Start rolling the egg up when the bottom is cooked, and the top is beginning to look cooked through. Pour another ⅓ of it in when the egg is all on the other side, and repeat, rolling out. Put the remaining ⅓ in there, then roll it up.
  6. If you have made a rolled egg, cut it into sticks about a cucumber stick’s size. Break the sheets of your seaweed in half.
  7. Move it to a big bowl when the rice is finished, and pour the vinegar mix. Quickly whisk the mixture until thoroughly mixed with rice using your rice scooper or a thin spatula. You want to use a “cutting” action of some kind, so you don’t break the rice.
  8. Place the seaweed on the shiny side of your left palm. Then, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of rice to the left half of the board. To flatten it, press down and spread it out a little and bring in a few fillings, diagonally from the bottom right to the top left.
  9. Take the bottom left corner and bring the rice filling (center of the sheet) to the top right and proceed to roll it up until the seaweed is completely wrapped around it. Just bear in mind that for too long, the seaweed will not remain crisp.

Recipe #3 – Canned Tuna Salad Sushi Roll

Long sushi rolls filled with tuna salad and wrapped in rice and seaweed are tuna salad sushi rolls. This sushi roll style is popular as makizushi or maki sushi, which in Japanese means rolled sushi. Here are the ingredients that you’ll need.

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • ⅔ cup of canned tuna
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Dash of salt
  • Japanese hot mustard (Karashi), optional
  • 4 sheets of Nori (dried seaweed)
  • 6 cups prepared sushi rice
  • Gari Shoga (sweet pickled ginger), for garnish soy sauce, for dipping.

How To Make Canned Tuna Salad Sushi Roll?

  1. Combine the diced onion, tuna, mayonnaise, and salt in a bowl to make the tuna salad mixture. Alternatively, use your favorite recipe for tuna salad. Add some Karashi mustard to the tuna salad mix if you like spicy tuna salad.
  2. To avoid the seaweed or any stray rice from sticking to the mat, cover the bamboo mat with a piece of plastic wrap. It makes for quick cleanup as well. On top of the bamboo mat, place one nori board.
  3. Spread on top of the nori sheet with ¼ portion of sushi rice. Spread a line of the tuna salad horizontally over the rice in the middle.
  4. Roll up the bamboo mat, pushing forward to form a cylinder with the sushi. Firmly press the bamboo mat and separate it from the sushi. Repeat the process and produce more rolls of tuna salad.
  5. Until slicing the sushi, clean the knife with a wet cloth. Break the roll of sushi into bite-size bits. Add gari shoga to garnish and serve with soy sauce.

Recipe #4 – Spicy Tuna Roll

If you want to add some spice to your canned tuna sushi roll, here are easy ways to do it. Make sure to gather these ingredients first.

  • 2 cups sushi rice (460 g), cooked
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar (60 mL)
  • 4 half sheets sushi-grade Nori
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

How To Make Spicy Tuna Roll?

  1. With the rice vinegar, season the sushi rice, fan, and stir until room temperature. Place one sheet of Nori on the rolling mat with the rough side facing upward.
  2. Combine the tuna-filling ingredients in a small tub and set aside.
  3. Wet your hands, grab and put a handful of rice on the Nori. Without smashing the rice down, distribute the rice uniformly in the Nori.
  4. Place a wide spoonful of the tuna filling in a horizontal row, 1-inch or 2.5 cm from the bottom.
  5. Roll the mat over the filling, grabbing both Nori and the sushi mat, so that the extra space at the bottom reaches the other side, pressing down to make a comfortable tight roll. To prevent the roll from keeping its form, squeeze down along the way.
  6. Slice the roll into six equal parts, and rub the knife on a damp paper towel each cut to make sure that it cuts smoothly.

Tips For Making Sushi Rolls More Easily

If you find it hard to roll your sushi, here are some things that you can consider. It is one of the hardest parts of sushi for first-timers, but you can do it nicely and perfectly with proper practice.

Keep Your Fingers Wet

Before spreading your rice onto the Nori, dip your fingers in a bowl of water. This way, you can keep the rice from sticking to you and spread the rice into an even layer easier. Dip again as your fingers start to get sticky.

Always Keep The Rice Warm

Warm rice spreads on the Nori more quickly, ensuring your Nori is less likely to tear. Moreover, warm rice allows my rolls to seal and remain sealed more easily.

Keep The Knife Wet And Sharp

It will help if you wet the knife before you cut the roll. This way, it will help you to keep the blade from sticking. As needed, rinse off the sticky residue. If you first cut your rolls in half, then cut and a half into three pieces, it’s easier to end up with rolls of even size. You need either a super sharp knife or you need a serrated knife. Don’t press down, but instead, use a sawing motion. Let the blade get the job done!


Nowadays, being practical is one of the rules in life that you should have. If you want to enjoy your homemade sushi roll, you can always try canned tuna as your fillings. Then, add some veggies and fruits to balance its taste. When making sushi, it’s all about using ingredients that you think will make the sushi taste unique.

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