The Spicy Tuna Roll is a classic Japanese sushi roll – smooth, creamy, and fiery spicy. Nori seaweed sheet is filled with seasoned sushi rice, avocado, and sashimi-grade tuna that’s tossed in sriracha spicy mayo. This hand roll recipe takes about 15 minutes from start to finish once the sushi rice is ready. I’ll share with you the secrets to make the best tuna sushi with a step-by-step guide!
We love Japanese sushi rolls, and I often make Boston Roll, Spicy Salmon Roll, or these delicious spicy tuna rolls for lunch, dinner, or evening snack! For kid-friendly tuna sushi, you can make Tekkamaki Tuna Rolls or Tuna Nigiri.
Spicy tuna hand rolls are rolled sushi made by rolling tuna and other ingredients (I used avocado) in nori seaweed sheet and seasoned sushi rice. You have two choices: either use nori to cover the rice and the fillings, like Tekkamaki, or make “inside out roll” (uramaki), meaning the rice is on the outside covering seaweed. This recipe uses the “inside-out” technique, a more popular version outside of Japan.
Ingredients in a Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll
- Tuna: You’ll need sashimi-grade or sushi-grade tuna for this recipe. I recommend you purchase the tuna from a reputable place, and smell it before buying. Place the fish on ice before cooking. The traditional spicy tuna roll recipe uses raw tuna, but if you’re not a brave raw fish eater, you can substitute tempura tuna or canned tuna.
- Spicy mayo: Or sriracha mayo, which is made of two ingredients: sriracha chili sauce and mayonnaise (1:2 ratio). Reduce the amount of sriracha sauce if you prefer a mild taste or add more for making it very spicy! I used the regular mayo, but you can substitute plain Greek yogurt for a healthier option.
- Avocado: Use ripe avocado with a dark green color. Avoid overripe avocado as it can get too mushy. Look for avocados that yield to firm gentle pressure.
- Nori Seaweed Sheets: Good nori should be black with a slightly green hue. The fresh nori sheet is crispy enough to easily break into half by folding it. You can find more information about nori in this post.
- Sushi Rice: It’s best to use Japanese short-grain rice for the best fluffy rice.
- Sushi vinegar: If you don’t have sushi vinegar, you can mix rice vinegar, sugar, and salt as a replacement. It adds more flavor to cooked sushi rice.
- Sesame Seeds: This ingredient is optional, but it adds so much flavor to your rolls. I used white sesame seeds, but you can also use black, or a combination of white and black sesame seeds.
You’ll also need a sushi bamboo rolling mat to make the sushi for the best result. Alternatively, you can use a piece of parchment paper.
How to Make Tuna Roll at Home
Making tuna sushi rolls is easier than you think! Just follow the step-by-step photos below or watch our spicy tuna roll video and you’ll make your own spicy tuna rolls perfectly at home:
1. Cook the sushi rice with a 1:1 ratio between rice and water so that the rice is not too mushy for your rolls. Cook according to the instruction. Season the cooked rice with the sushi vinegar and mix well. If you don’t have sushi vinegar, use the mixture of white vinegar, sugar and salt.
2. Cut the Tuna into 1/2-inch strips.
3. Make the spicy mayo by mixing together sriracha sauce and mayo to make spicy mayo. Mix tuna strips with spicy mayo in a medium bowl.
4. Cut off 1/3 of the nori seaweed sheet using kitchen scissors. Then place the remaining nori sheet towards the bottom of the mat, shinning side facing down.
5. Evenly spread rice over nori. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
6. Flip the rice covered nori sheet so that rice is facing down. Place the avocado and seasoned tuna on top of the nori.
7. Start rolling using your bamboo mat to firmly keep the roll in place. Apply some pressure to tighten it up.
8. Once the roll is complete, you can move it to the cutting board and cut them into pieces.
Tips & Tricks for Making the Best Tuna Sushi
- Make sure to buy sushi-grade tuna for this recipe. You’ll need to cut the tuna into 1/2-inch strips for easy rolling.
- Use Japanese short-grain sushi rice. You’ll need to add less water than cooking the regular rice (a 1:1 ratio between rice and water) so that your rice won’t get mushy during the rolling process.
- Once the rice is cooked, transfer the hot rice to a large bowl and let it cool down slightly. When it’s still very warm, add the seasoning and mix well.
- I recommend covering the mat with a piece of plastic wrap for easy cleaning.
- To prevent the rice from sticking to your hands, you can make Tezu, a hand dipping liquid made with 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons rice vinegar. Wet your hands with Tezu before handling rice.
- To prevent sushi rolls from falling apart, you’ll need to squeeze the roll gently while rolling. Once you finish, you can place the bamboo mat over the sushi roll and gently squeeze the roll again.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Calories Does a Spicy Tuna Roll Have?
For this recipe, there’s about 60 calories in each piece of tuna sushi, and 500 calories in each roll.
Is Spicy Tuna Roll Raw?
Traditional spicy tuna roll recipe calls for raw tuna, so you’ll need to buy sashimi-grade tuna.
If you don’t like the idea of eating raw fish, substitute tempura tuna or canned tuna.
What Does Spicy Tuna Hand Roll Taste Like?
Tuna has a texture almost like rare filet mignon, and doesn’t have “fishy” taste. Spicy tuna roll has a nice balance of sweet, tangy, savory, and spicy flavor. The avocado adds a nice creaminess to the roll.
Is Tuna Roll Good for You?
Tuna sushi roll is good for you as tuna contains omega-3, an essential fatty acid. It also has limited calories without added fat. You can use brown rice instead of white rice for an even healthier version.
If You Love This Recipe Try Out These Japanese Sushi Roll Recipes:
I hope you like this recipe, and if you tried it, let me know how your Spicy Tuna Roll turns out in the comments below!
Spicy Tuna Avocado Roll Recipe (+VIDEO)
For Sushi Rice
For Spicy Tuna Rolls
Optional for Serving:
- soy sauce
- wasabi paste
- pickled ginger
- Make the Sushi Rice: Wash the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Then add the rice and water to the rice maker. Cook according to the instruction. Once cooked, transfer the hot rice to a large bowl and let it cool down slightly. When it’s still very warm, stir in the sushi vinegar (or the mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt).
- Cut the Tuna: slice the tuna into 1/2-inch thick strips.
- In a small bowl, mix together sriracha sauce and mayo to make spicy mayo.
- Mix tuna strips with spicy mayo in a medium bowl.
- Assemble Tuna Avocado Rolls: Lay out the bamboo mat with an optional piece of plastic wrap on top (this will make clean up easier).
- Cut off 1/3 of the nori seaweed sheet using kitchen scissors.
- Place the remaining nori sheet towards the bottom of the mat, shinning side facing down.
- Take ¾ cup of cooked rice and evenly spread over nori. (You can dip your hands in Tezu vinegar water* to prevent sticking.)
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds evenly on top. (I recommend toasting the sesame seeds first. Simply add them to a dry skillet on medium heat. Spread them evenly in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.)
- Flip the rice covered nori sheet so that rice is facing down.
- Place tuna strips and sliced avocado on top of the nori.
- Place the thumbs underneath the bamboo mat and lift the edge up and over the filling.
- Roll the bamboo mat away from you and apply some pressure to tighten it up. Keep rolling until the ends meet.
- Once the roll is complete, move the roll to the cutting board and cut each roll into 8 pieces.
- Serve with optional soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi paste.
- Great sushi rolls start with the right sushi rice. The best rice for sushi rolls is high-quality short grain Japanese rice. When cooked properly, it will stay fluffy even after it’s tightly rolled.
- *Tezu water for dipping hands: Mix together 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons rice vinegar.
- It’s best to eat spicy tuna rolls the same day, as the raw fish won’t taste as fresh the next day.