How to Cut Sushi? Learn the Easy Process

Updated On: June 29, 2021
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Sushi is polarizing yet definitely an iconic dish. Whether you like them or not, you have to agree when cut to perfection and presented in a good way, it looks gorgeous. A well-cut plate of sushi looks like a work of art. It might just entice even sushi skeptics to give it a try.

Cutting sushi isn’t just about taking your knife and making cuts however you want. There is a method to it all. And that’s why you see some people struggle with cutting it.

This guide will be all you need to know about how to cut sushi. There are three main methods, but the basic principle is pretty simple. Let’s get started.

Before You Start Cutting

Before you even touch the knife to the sushi, there are some preparations you need to do. It’s pretty simple stuff and nothing too major. So, don’t worry too much about it.

Things You Will Need

Let’s get what you will need to be sorted out first. There are basically two things you need to get cutting.

A High-quality and Sharp Knife

Of course, you need a sharp knife. The sharper, the better. High-quality Japanese knives will work wonders when it comes to cutting sushi.

RELATED: Best Sushi Knife

Cutting Board

A good and large cutting board is the second essential piece of equipment that you need. This will give you a stable cutting surface.

Plastic Cling Wrap and Bamboo Mat

Plastic cling wrap and bamboo mats are the last essential things. These will help you shape the sushi and prepare them for cutting.

Cutting Maki Rolls

Cutting traditional maki rolls is one of the easiest. Maki rolls with nori on the outside can be cut by placing the whole roll on the board. Cut it into two halves in the middle and then put them together. Now, cut them into more pieces. You should have four equal pieces of cut sushi.

One small but important detail a lot of people miss is they don’t moisten the knife. Moistening the knife will help it go through the sushi much more easily. So, do that.

Of course, there are inside-out rolls as well. Cutting them is almost the same with one exception. It’s best if you wrap them with plastic cling wrap or film. What this does is essential makes the rolls stick together and prevents the toppings and rice from falling apart.

Sushi Roll Cutting Methods

There are three prominent methods you can try when cutting sushi. These should be used depending on the type of sushi and also how sharp your knife is.

Method 1 – Double Push

The double push method gives you a clean cut with two short but precise strokes. It’s called the double push because you need to make two forward strokes with the knife.

  • Step 1 – Moisten Blade

Everything starts with moistening the blade, as you will soon learn. Moistening the blade with water will make it go through the sushi easily.

  • Step 2 – Cover Sushi with Plastic Wrap

Cover the roll with some plastic wrap and squeeze it with a bamboo mat. This will squeeze the sushi roll.

  • Step 3 – Hold the Roll and Cut

Use your left hand to hold the roll, make sure you keep it in place. Now just use your knife to make two forward movements and cut the roll.

Method 2 – Push and Pull

The other method is the push and pulls method.

  • Step 1- Moisten the Knife

Okay, let’s make one thing clear. Moistening the knife is going to be a step in all the methods. It’s a crucial step that will help the knife to not stick onto the roll when you cut.

  • Step 2 – Hold the Roll and Cut the Roll

All you need to do now is hold the sushi with your left hand and use your knife to cut. As you can tell from the name, ‘push and pull’ here refers to the forward and backward motion of the knife.

Take the knife close to the roll and make a forward cutting motion. This should cut your sushi halfway through. Then bring the knife backward and cut the sushi all the way.

Method 3 – Single Pull

As the name describes, this method uses just one quick cutting motion to cut the sushi. You will need a very sharp knife for this. Needless to say, the single pull method is the fastest way of cutting.

  • Step 1 – Wrap the Roll with Plastic Film and Squeeze with Bamboo Mat

Wrap the roll with a clean and fresh plastic wrap film, and then use a bamboo mat to squeeze the rolls. This will make them retain their structural integrity and make it easier for you to cut without destroying the rolls.

  • Step 2 – Cut the Rolls with One Smooth Motion

Hold the sushi rolls with your left hand, and then make equal cuts with a quick pulling motion of the knife. The knife should go clean through.

See, that wasn’t too hard, was it? Cutting sushi isn’t really that difficult if you know the right techniques and all the tips and tricks.

As we mentioned earlier, you can use either of the three methods to cut sushi. It all depends on how much time you have and also how sharp your knife is.

Sushi Cutters Are Great for Beginners

Here is something you probably didn’t know existed. There are dedicated tools you can get to cut sushi. They are called sushi cutters and are great for beginners. If you aren’t quite comfortable cutting sushi with a knife, these can be a great option for you.

Having said that, we highly recommend you give using a knife a try. Once you master cutting sushi with a good old knife, you wouldn’t want to use anything else.

Nonetheless, you should get these nifty little tools in almost all Asian grocery shops. They are a tabletop gadget that you can conveniently keep on the counter.

There are different types of sushi cutters as well. You can get a manual one or an electric-powered one. Of course, if you choose to get one that’s powered, you will need to find a power outlet for it to work.

And there are also different sizes. Larger ones can cut many sushi rolls at once. These will come in handy if you have a lot of cutting to do or there are guests over, and you need to serve a lot of sushi to them.

Whichever one you end up buying, make sure you check out the instructions on how to use it. That will give you the best use of the tool, and you won’t ruin your sushi.

Just to reiterate, we would still highly recommend cutting your sushi with a knife. Give it a try, at least. With enough practice, you will become a pro!

Tips to Know

To really make sure you have the best chance of success, here are some tips and best practices you need to know. These are some common things you need to keep in mind next time you try your hand at cutting sushi.

Hold the Knife the Proper Way

There is a proper way of holding your knife when you cut sushi. Proper hand placement will give you better control over your knife and make cleaner cuts overall.

Since most of us will hold the knife with our dominant hand, place the index finger on top of the knife. The rest of the fingers will hold the handle firmly. Don’t hold it too firmly, though. You need to let the handle sit relaxingly on your palms for the most comfortable grip.

Use the Right Rice

Yep, you read that right. If you’re making the sushi yourself, not using the right rice for the job can hamper your chances of getting a clean cut. Use short-grain Japanese rice for making sushi.

Roll It Tight

One of the reasons why your cuts aren’t coming out as you would hope them to be may not be because of your cutting technique. Rather it could be you didn’t roll it properly.

Make sure to roll the sushi tightly and compact it. This will fuse all the ingredients and also make the sushi much more structurally solid. Cutting it will be easier as well and the knife will virtually glide through it, making very clean cuts.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know how to cut sushi, you can practice on your homemade sushi rolls. Who knows, you may just impress the household members with your newfound skills?

Don’t be nervous. That’s an important thing you need to remember. The first try may not come as you would have liked. But if you follow our guide and practice enough, you will be cutting sushi like a pro in no time.

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