5 Recipes For Making Sushi With Salmon

Why Salmon for Sushi?

Salmon is all-time favorite seafood (especially for the American audience) because of its tender nature. It has a delicate yet sharp flavor that doesn’t overpower the other accompaniments in the sushi. In addition, the meat of salmon has a buttery melt-in-your-mouth taste that attracted even the staunch Japanese when first introduced.

While it is often added raw in sushi, it doesn’t have to be so. You can enjoy cooked salmon in your sushi, and it will taste equally good. Salmon is a crowd-pleaser when baked, smoked, or grilled with good seasoning. In addition, they have a high-fat content, including zinc, iron, and potassium.

On the downside, wild-caught salmon cannot be used for sushi due to parasites and is almost too lean. However, salmon used in sushi is flash-frozen to very low temperatures minimizing the risk of parasites.  This is generally called the sushi-grade salmon.

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How do I Prepare Salmon for Sushi?

Salmon can be prepared in various ways, raw, smoked, baked, steamed, or roasted in the oven. Whatever method you cook, you need to prepare the fish to get that perfect slice of salmon, just like in a restaurant.

Salmon is a pretty delicate meat, and hence it needs to be handled with a light hand and with utmost care.


Not all knives work with sushi since the chances are that you may not get a clean slice. In the worst case, you may end up damaging the fish. Instead, use a salmon or fillet knife when preparing salmon for sushi.

Fillet knife has a relatively robust blade that allows you to maintain control over the action. It will enable you to cut along the backbone beneath the skin without any wastage.

The salmon knife is pretty sharp and glides through the flesh without tearing pieces off of it.

Remove Belly Fat

The belly part is the fatty part of the fish and the thinnest part of the fish. The belly fat is also highly flavourful and healthy since it is packed with omega-3.

However, the belly fat is removed when preparing the salmon for sushi. The most important reason is its texture. It is different from that of the other parts of the fish. And when left on the salmon, it doesn’t allow for even cooking.

Trim Away the Excess

When it comes to preparing the fillet, the first part is to trim the skin and the bones of the salmon. If you are experienced, you can take the skin all at once. Start at the tail and move towards the head, keeping the blade parallel and closer to the cutting board. Make a hole in the tail and grab the skin tightly. Hold on to it as you slice the skin gently.

However, as a beginner, you can make individual fillets. Start at the belly side and work towards the other end. Once the skin is removed, you can easily debone the fish of its pin bones and backbone.

Cut the Salmon

Once the salmon is skinned and deboned, you can cut the salmon depending on the shape and size you need for your sushi. Generally, you’d need them straight and as skinny as possible as thick portions of fish can overpower the sushi completely.

 The ideal measurement of the fillet would be 3” long, 1” wide, and ¼” thick unless mentioned otherwise.

Salmon Sushi Recipes

Salmon Nigiri

One of the most popular recipes of Salmon Sushi is the Salmon Nagiri which is simple sushi made using raw salmon. Imagine a glistening bright orange Salmon over a white bed of rice; that’s Salmon Nagiri!


  • Sushi-grade salmon fillets
  • Sushi rice
  • Tare sauce
  • Wasabi paste
  • Pickled ginger


  • Remove the skin from the salmon and thaw it by placing it in the fridge at 35°.
  • Wash and rinse your rice until the water runs clear.
  • Cook the sushi rice as per instructions, and once cooked, transfer it to a large bowl to let it cool down (just a tad bit). Once it is slightly warm, season it well with sushi vinegar or vinegar, salt, and sugar.
  • Slice the salmon against the grain at an angle of 30° to 45° using a sharp Japanese knife.
  • Take a small ball of maybe three tablespoons of rice and shape it into a small, firm oval shape. The top should have a small hump and the bottom, flat.
  • Place a dash of wasabi on top and cover it with a slice of salmon. As a final touch, you can brush some tare sauce on top of it.
  • Serve it with soy sauce and pickled ginger.


  • You can always skip wasabi and tare sauce if you do not have it.
  • Ensure that the salmon is neither too thick (it will not sit on top of the rice) nor thin (you will lose the taste).
  • The rice ball should be firm but not airtight. Instead, it should have pockets of air within.
  • If you aren’t used to raw salmon, you can pan cook the fish on one side. Alternatively, you can also use a blow torch for cooking the salmon.

Baked Salmon Sushi

Not a fan of raw fish? Why not try the baked salmon sushi? It has perfectly cooked salmon slices and plenty of fresh vegetables.


  • Sushi rice
  • Salmon – 6 oz (without skin)
  • Avocado – ½ large
  • Julienned carrot -1 cup
  • Julienned English cucumber – 1 cup
  • Rice wine vinegar – 2 tbsp (seasoned)
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Toasted nori – 4 sheets
  • Toasted sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Pickled ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi


  • Wash and rinse your rice until the water runs clear.
  • Cook your sushi rice and let it cool down ever so slightly. Season the rice with rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar when still warm.
  • Preheat the oven to 400℉. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and roast it for 8 to 10 minutes. Once cooled, break it into bite-sized pieces with a fork.
  • Lay the bamboo sushi mat on a flat surface. Place a nori sheet with the shiny face down on the mat.
  • Spread the cooled rice on two-thirds of the sheet and leave about one-third empty on the top.
  • Arrange in layers: the carrot, cucumber, avocado, and salmon. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
  • Begin rolling the mat applying form pressure to ensure tight roll. Keep going until you reach the top.
  • Apply a dab of water on the top edge and seal the roll.
  • Lay the roll on a cutting board and slice it into three equal slices. Ensure that the knife is sharp and dipped in water with a tinge of vinegar.
  • Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger.


You can also serve with spicy mayo (a combination of mayonnaise and Sriracha).

Salmon & Cucumber Sushi Rolls

The delicate salmon and the crunchy fresh cucumber bring together this heavenly sumptuous yet healthy sushi. At only 59 calories per piece, it is not only low-fat but also diet-friendly.


  • Sushi rice – 100 gm
  • Nori – 2 sheets
  • Salmon fillet – 100 gm thinly sliced lengthways
  • Cucumber – ¼ thinly sliced
  • Sake or mirin (2 tsp)
  • Rice vinegar – 25 ml
  • Wasabi
  • Light soy sauce
  • Pickled ginger
  • Salmon roe


  • Wash and rinse your rice until the water runs clear. Cook it with 200ml water and sake/mirin.
  • Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl to cool down. Season the rice with rice vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let it cool down slightly (it should retain its warmth).
  • Lay down the nori sheet on a bamboo mat. Spread rice on the top until it covers the entire surface, leaving space on top.
  • Place the salmon and cucumber along the length of the sheet. Add a dash of wasabi along the edge of the filling.
  • Grab the bottom of the mat and start rolling the sheet firmly but not too tight. Use water to seal the end.
  • Slice the roll into six pieces with a sharp wet knife.
  • Serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi, and salmon roe.


  • You can use any vegetable like avocado, asparagus, tofu, pepper, and more.
  • You can also replace the salmon with tuna, prawns, crabmeat, and smoked mackerel.
  • You can also test your adventure bones and replace the salmon with thinly sliced rare beef, teriyaki chicken, and deep-fried chicken.

Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll

A simple and basic way to enjoy sushi if you are not adventurous enough to handle raw salmon. The best part is that it can be an easy introduction to sushi for a novice.


  • Sushi rice – 2 cups
  • Rice wine vinegar – 6 tbsp
  • Nori – 6 sheets
  • Avocado – 1 thinly sliced
  • Cucumber – 1 thinly sliced
  • Smoked salmon – 8 oz
  • Wasabi paste – 2 tbsp


  • Soak the rice for 4 hours. Wash until the water runs clear. Drain the rice well and cook it with 2 cups of water.
  • Once the rice is cooked, add the rice wine vinegar and transfer it to a large bowl. Allow it to cool down completely.
  • Lay a nori sheet on the bamboo mat with the shiny side down. Spread a thin layer of rice over the sheet with at least ½ inch uncovered on top and bottom.
  • Thinly slice the salmon into long strips.
  • Add a small dash of wasabi to the rice. Then, arrange the cucumber, avocado, and salmon strips to the rice lengthways.
  • Grab the mat tightly and roll the sheet firmly from the bottom. Once you reach the top, slightly wet the edge of the mat with water and seal the roll.
  • Cut the roll into eight equal pieces with a sharp, wet knife.
  • Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger, or anything that tickles your fancy.


Ensure that the smoked salmon you pick doesn’t have an overpowering taste.

Salmon Sushi Roll With Shrimp Tempura

Though two different seafood appears in this sushi, they do not compete in terms of taste but instead, complement each other. The crunchy shrimp tempura gets along with the sharp flavor of the salmon fillets making this roll one of the mush-have sushi dishes.


  • Seasoned sushi rice – 2 cups
  • Nori – 1 sheet
  • Tempura shrimps
  • Salmon – 1 (sushi-grade fillet)
  • Julienned Japanese cucumber – ½
  • Fish roe or Masago
  • Pickled ginger
  • Wasabi
  • Soy sauce


  • Cook and season your sushi rice as usual.
  • Slice the salmon fillet by positioning your Japanese knife at a 45° angle.
  • Place the bamboo mat on a flat surface and cover it with plastic wrap.
  • Lay half a nori sheet on top. Spread warm sushi rice on top, leaving a 1-inch gap on top.
  • Moisten your fingers and apply gentle pressure to ensure the rice sticks to the nori sheet.
  • Flip the sheet over the bamboo mat and lay it upside down.
  • Arrange the shrimp tempura towards the center of the sheet covering its entire length. Layer the cucumber slices next to it.
  • Hold the bamboo mat from your side and roll it tightly.
  • Dampen the edges to ensure a proper seal.
  • Keep the roll on a cutting board and place salmon slices over it to cover the entire area of the rice.
  • Cover it again with the plastic sheet and bamboo mat. Clutch the mat tightly and shape the salmon over the rice.
  • Remove the cling film and use a sharp knife to cut the roll into six pieces.
  • Serve with Masago, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Can You Make Sushi with Salmon Fillets?

The simple answer is Yes! But in truth, the history of salmon sushi is a lot more complicated. Though sushi has its origins in Japan, the Japanese did not use salmon initially. The reason is that the salmon caught naturally in Japan had parasites, making it unsuitable as raw meat. Instead, it needs to be cured or cooked to make it edible.

However, Americans already used salmon in sushi as early as the 1970s. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that a successful partnership between the Norwegian salmon industry and Japanese food supplier Nichirei made Salmon Sushi famous.


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