Easy Shrimp Hand Roll Recipe: Prep, Roll & Serve Fresh Sushi at Home

We’ve all been there, craving that perfect bite of sushi but not quite up for the challenge of rolling it perfectly. Enter the shrimp hand roll – a delightful, no-fuss way to enjoy all the flavors of sushi without needing a black belt in sushi making. Originating from Japan, this dish is a fun and interactive way to enjoy seafood, wrapped up in a crisp seaweed sheet with a touch of sushi rice, and a burst of flavor from the shrimp and your favorite fillings.


Embarking on making shrimp hand rolls is an exciting culinary experience. Here’s everything you’ll need to bring these flavorsome bites to life.

For the Rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Shrimp

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

For the Vegetables

  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled ginger

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (adjust based on your preference for heat)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Each ingredient plays a pivotal role in creating the intricate balance of flavors and textures in shrimp hand rolls. From the tanginess of the pickled ginger to the creaminess of the avocado and the spicy kick from the sriracha-mayo sauce, all components come together to make every bite unforgettable.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Before diving into the pleasure of making shrimp hand rolls, it’s crucial to have the right tools and equipment by our side. The process isn’t complicated, but having these essentials will make the task smoother and more enjoyable.

  • Rice Cooker or Pot: To perfectly cook the sushi rice, a rice cooker is highly recommended for its convenience and consistency. However, a regular pot with a lid will do just fine with a bit of attention during cooking.
  • Bamboo Sushi Mat: Although we’re making hand rolls, which are less strict on form than traditional sushi rolls, a bamboo sushi mat can still be useful for beginners to achieve a tighter roll.
  • Sharp Knife: A sharp knife is vital for slicing the shrimp, vegetables, and the roll itself into perfect bites. A dull knife can ruin the appearance and texture of the hand roll.
  • Cutting Board: A good-sized cutting board is necessary for preparing the ingredients. It offers a stable surface for cutting and helps to keep the workspace organized.
  • Rice Paddle or Spoon: This will help in evenly spreading the rice on the seaweed sheet without tearing it. A rice paddle specifically designed for sushi rice is best, but a regular spoon can be used with care.
  • Small Bowl of Water: This might seem trivial, but a small bowl of water is a savior when working with sticky sushi rice. Dipping your fingers in water prevents the rice from sticking to them, making the process cleaner and easier.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Precision is key in cooking sushi rice and mixing seasoning or sauces. Using measuring cups and spoons ensures that the flavors are balanced perfectly.

Gathering these tools and equipment before starting will not only ensure a smoother cooking process but also enhance our hand-rolling experience, guaranteeing our shrimp hand rolls turn out delicious and visually appealing.

Prep Work

Before diving into assembling our shrimp hand rolls, let’s tackle the essential prep work. This groundwork ensures a smooth hand-rolling experience, allowing us to enjoy the process as much as the eating.

Cooking the Rice

Cooking sushi rice correctly is fundamental to crafting the perfect hand roll. Start by rinsing 1 cup of sushi rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This step removes excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky. After draining, transfer the rice to a rice cooker. Add 1 ¼ cups of water, as sushi rice requires a little less water than regular rice for a firmer texture. Cook following your rice cooker’s instructions.

Once cooked, transfer the rice to a wooden or plastic bowl to prevent sticking. Gently fold in a mixture of 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt, previously heated until dissolved. This seasoning gives the rice its distinct sushi flavor. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before assembling your hand rolls, spreading it thinly on a plate can speed up this process.

Preparing Shrimp

For the shrimp, you’ll want to ensure they’re prepared properly to be both flavorful and easy to eat. If using raw shrimp, start by peeling and deveining them. Boil water in a medium pot and add the shrimp, cooking them until they turn pink and opaque, which should take about 2-3 minutes. Immediately transfer the cooked shrimp to an ice bath to stop the cooking process and cool them down. This method ensures the shrimp remain tender and juicy. If you’re using pre-cooked shrimp, simply thaw them if they’re frozen and skip to the next step.

Slicing the Vegetables

The vegetables add crunch and a pop of color to your hand rolls, making them as visually appealing as they are delicious. For the best texture and ease of rolling, it’s important to slice them thinly. Use a sharp knife to julienne cucumber and avocado into long, slender strips. Carrots can be either shredded or cut into similar thin strips. If using leafy greens like spinach or lettuce, ensure they are washed, dried, and torn into smaller pieces. These prep steps not only enhance the final roll’s appearance but also ensure a balanced mix of flavors and textures in every bite.

Assembly Instructions

Now that our ingredients are prepped and ready, let’s get into the most exciting part – assembling our shrimp hand rolls. Follow these steps, and you’ll be enjoying your delicious creation in no time.

Laying Out the Nori Sheets

Begin by laying a nori sheet on a clean, dry surface with the shiny side down. Orient the sheet so that one of the corners points towards you, creating a diamond shape. This positioning makes it easier to roll by hand, allowing for a more comfortable grip and control during the rolling process.

Spreading the Rice

Wet your fingers slightly to prevent the sushi rice from sticking to them. Take about 1/4 cup of the seasoned sushi rice and spread it thinly over the lower half of the nori sheet. Leave a small border around the edges to ensure a clean roll. Aim for an even layer so that every bite has a harmonious balance of rice and fillings. Remember, the rice is the bed upon which you’ll layer your ingredients, so its distribution is crucial for the roll’s structure.

Adding Shrimp and Vegetables

Place your prepared shrimp along the center of the rice. Add a sprinkle of sliced avocado, cucumber, and any other vegetables you’ve prepared. The beauty of hand rolls is their versatility, so feel free to customize the fillings to your taste. However, be mindful not to overfill to ensure a tight roll. The combination of crunchy vegetables and the tender, flavorful shrimp creates a delightful contrast in textures.

Rolling Techniques

To roll, start by lifting the corner of the nori sheet closest to you. Fold it over the fillings to start forming a cone shape. Continue rolling, gently squeezing the contents to compact them slightly without squashing. Once you have rolled it halfway, dab a little water along the far edge of the nori to help seal the roll. Continue rolling until the cone is fully formed and the nori sheet’s moistened edge adheres to itself, securing the roll.

Repeat these steps until all your ingredients are used up. Each hand roll is a personal serving, perfect for immediate enjoyment. Serve them as is, or with a side of soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger for a complete sushi experience. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if your first few rolls aren’t perfect. The most important part is enjoying the process and the delicious results.

Serving Suggestions

After mastering the art of making shrimp hand rolls, serving them in a manner that complements their freshness and flavors becomes the next step. Here, we’ll guide you through perfecting the presentation and selecting the best accompaniments to turn this delightful sushi into a complete meal.


To elevate the dining experience, consider these accompaniments that pair beautifully with shrimp hand rolls:

  • Soy Sauce: Opt for a low-sodium soy sauce to allow the natural flavors of the shrimp and vegetables to shine through.
  • Wasabi: A small dollop of wasabi on the side for those who enjoy a spicy kick can enhance the flavors.
  • Pickled Ginger: Serve pickled ginger as a palate cleanser between different types of sushi or bites.
  • Tempura Vegetables: For a contrast in textures, crispy tempura vegetables make an excellent side.
  • Miso Soup: Begin the meal with a warm, comforting bowl of miso soup to prepare the palate for the sushi adventure.
  • Green Tea: A pot of steaming green tea complements the meal with its subtle bitterness and refreshing aftertaste.

Presentation Tips

The presentation is key to transforming a simple meal into an extraordinary experience. Keep these tips in mind for an Instagram-worthy presentation:

  • Bamboo Mat: Roll out a bamboo mat as part of your serving table decor. It adds an authentic sushi-making vibe.
  • Individual Plates: Serve each hand roll on petite, individual plates to highlight their unique fillings and the effort put into rolling each one.
  • Garnish: A sprinkle of sesame seeds, thin slices of avocado, or a leaf of shiso atop each hand roll adds color and enhances flavor.
  • Sauce Dishes: Small dishes for soy sauce and wasabi allow guests to dip their sushi without overpowering it. Adding a tiny brush can be a charming touch for drizzling soy sauce elegantly.
  • Chopsticks and Chopstick Rests: Provide each guest with their own set of chopsticks and a chopstick rest to avoid messes and round off the authentic sushi experience.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Preparing your shrimp hand rolls in advance can be a real time-saver, and proper storage ensures they stay fresh and delicious. Let us guide you through the best practices.

Make-Ahead Instructions

For a head start, you can prepare several components of the shrimp hand rolls beforehand. Cook the sushi rice up to a day in advance, keeping it covered with a damp cloth to maintain moisture until you’re ready to use it. The shrimp can also be cooked and stored in the refrigerator overnight. Vegetables like cucumber, carrots, and avocado can be sliced ahead of time, although avocado is best cut closer to serving time to prevent browning. For the best experience, assemble the hand rolls just before serving to keep the nori crisp and prevent it from getting soggy.

Storage Recommendations

If you find yourself with leftover shrimp hand rolls, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a short period. Wrap them individually in cling film tightly to prevent air exposure and keep them for up to 24 hours. However, be mindful that the quality and texture, especially of the nori, will start to decline as it absorbs moisture from the filling. For the rice and cooked shrimp, those can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to two days. Remember, freshly made and consumed hand rolls provide the best taste and texture experience.


We’ve walked through the delightful world of making shrimp hand rolls at home, from the joy of assembling them to the art of presenting them beautifully. By preparing ingredients ahead and following our tips for storage, you can enjoy these delicious bites any time the craving hits. Remember, the fresher the hand roll, the better the taste and texture. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to dive into the satisfying experience of making your own shrimp hand rolls. Let’s make every bite an occasion to remember!

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