How to make Homemade California Rolls

Homemade California rolls were a huge part of my life as a holistic nutrition student.

The girls and I would get together on a Saturday afternoon; each required to bring one random sushi ingredient, and the host would be responsible for preparing the grains.

Some weekends we’d have wild rice + yam rolls with spicy mayo, other times sprouted quinoa with marinated avocado. It was always different, creative and deliciously healthy.

Best of all, they couldn’t be simpler to make!

Required tools

  • Sushi mat – you can find them in any grocery store in the Ethnic isle
  • Sushi nori – again, in the Ethnic isle
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Cloth or paper towel folded into a 3″ x 3″ square


Grains – you’ll need about 1/4 cup uncooked grain and 1/2 cup water for every 2 rolls (ratio of 1 grain: 2 water). For this recipe we used:

  • 1 1/4 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 3 1/2 cup water

Rinse grains, combine grains and water in a medium sized saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Allow to sit covered for 10 minutes before removing lid and allowing to cool for a couple of hours

Filling – get creative! You can try stuff like:

  • Vegetables – yams, spinach, cucumber, carrots, peppers, sprouts – sliced long and thin
  • Protein – beans, hummus, soaked nuts, seeds, chicken, leftover burgers, steak – sliced long and thin
  • Soy sauce or Braggs seasoning (gluten-free)
  • Pickled or fresh ginger
  • Wasabi

Step by step…

1 ) Get your tools ready

2 ) Get your ingredients piled up

3 ) Place 1 sushi nori sheet on the sushi mat

4 ) Lightly wet the paper towel or cloth in the bowl of water. Wipe the cloth across the entire nori sheet. You don’t want it too wet, lighter is better, just to soften the sheet up so it doesn’t crack.

5 ) Place 1/4 cup of cooked grain on the end of the nori, leaving about 1″ at the horizontal edge. Press flat.

6 ) Place filling on top being sure not to overdo it or you wont get the thing closed!

7 ) Fold over the 1″ section over top of the filling, using the sushi mat as a guide.

8 ) Use your fingers to fold that section into the filling. Begin to roll the sushi mat, keeping the top edge free so it doesn’t get tangled in your nori. This takes a bit of practice but the best thing is – you can retry and it wont mess up anything!

9 ) When there’s about 1″ left at the end, dab your towel with a bit of water and wet the edge. This will help the edges stick together

10 ) Press the roll down on the wet edge

11 ) Lightly squeeze the roll to allow the edge to seal.

12 ) Roll the mat around the California roll, lightly squeezing.

13 ) Gently unravel the sushi mat and vwoala! You made your first California roll!

14 ) Okay, now you have a bazillion others to make. Chop chop!

15 ) Once complete, slice each roll with a sharp knife, making about 6-8 pieces per roll. Serve with wasabi, ginger, and Braggs.

Although the days of late night study groups are a thing of the past, the California roll has become the staple in our house.

They’re great as a leftover for your lunch, make for a fantastic dinner party activity… and they make your thyroid happy. What’s more to love?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. I want to make sushi sooooo badly now!!! But I have not been able to find the mat and nori at my grocery store! I guess I’ll have to go to an actual ethnic store.

  2. I have posted before that I’ve wanted to learn how to make my own sushi rolls. I mean, it’s not hard. In theory. Rice + veggies inside nori. But then I think about what a mess I’d make trying to roll them up and think…well…maybe I’ll skip this project for now.

    You made it look easy & do-able. Thanks!

  3. As someone who doesn’t eat sushi, I’m always jealous of my friends and their pretty rolls when we go out. I can’t wait to make my own! It seems like the veggie rolls in restaurants are always the same couple of ingredients.

    • That is brilliant. I’m going to have to try that wasabi sandwich trick!

  4. sushi is my very favorite thing… it’s so fun to make at home! although when it’s just me, I’ll make a hand roll, or just roll it and eat, not cut into pieces ;)

    these look GOOD!

  5. Thank you for this post — I’ve wanted to try making our own sushi but I never really knew where to begin. Yours looks so pretty!

  6. Can even messy kitchen connoisseurs be successful at these?! They look great and I love California rolls. I would love to have a dinner party where everyone makes their own!

    • Yes, I am a connoisseur of broken dishes, food caked onto the ceiling, and messiness beyond your wildest dreams. If I can do it, you can!

  7. WOw! thank you for doing the step by step as a fitness guru I love brown rice and for this reason I can rarely eat sushi at restaurants because they use white. This is so awesome Im going to share this post with all my friends :)


  8. I’ve tried to make these CA rolls so many times. I do ok until I have to cut them. Better sharpen my knives, you think?! ;)
    The recipe and direction looks terrific. I’ll try again.

  9. Oh you make this look so easy and mess free…however I just don’t picture when I attempt this for it all to be so clean.
    However your step by step instructions do give me hope that I might be able to pull this off…PLUS what a super great lunch idea for my kids. I think they would love picking out the stuffing to go with the grains.

  10. Beautiful photos and tutorial. I had it up just before when I was making cucumber rolls :) Next time I would love to use millet and brown rice! Had some extra white sushi rice I needed to use today. Still perfecting my technique!

  11. When we make sushi at home we use sweet brown rice. It is more sticky than regular brown rice and works and tastes great =) Have not tried the rice/millet combo yet, but looks delicious!

  12. I Love to make sushi at home. For those that want the rolling mat, I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, it came in a kit that included a sushi knife. You can always look online and order it, which may end up being cheaper in the long run.

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