In this post, you will learn how to cook sushi rice and make a classic Philadelphia roll. This recipe is very step-by-step and also contains detailed video instructions. The Philadelphia sushi roll remains my favorite one. It is an easy sushi recipe and a great start to your sushi experience i! In case you get tired of the classic combination of avocado, cucumber, and salmon, you can add slightly different ingredients. It can be cream cheese sushi roll, salmon roll sushi. Instead of cucumber, add a soft, thinly chopped pear and quite a bit of Dor Blue to the cream cheese. You can also add persimmon, or mango, or both. You can put shrimps, tuna, or salmon inside of the Philadelphia roll sushi. If you don’t eat raw fish, you can make a smoked salmon sushi roll. (It tastes great as well!) If you have trouble cutting the slices to wrap the roll in salmon, you can put the salmon inside and wrap it in avocado. Or do not turn the roll inside out at all and leave the roll with rice inside.

Let’s prepare all the ingredients for the original sushi Philadelphia! 


Step-by-step instructions

1. Rinse the rice

  •  It is imperative to rinse the sushi rice well. First of all, put rice into a saucepan and pour it with cold water. (The water should cover the rice). Then, rub the rice grains with your hands. Drain water and repeat the process.
  • Now, pour rice with water again and rinse with your hand in circular motions. Drain the water carefully. For a better result, repeat it three to four times. Thirdly, place a pot of rice under running water. The water pressure should not be intense, so the rice does not splash out of the pan.
  •  Rinse for a couple of minutes until the water is clear. 

2. Right amount of water

  • Each sushi rice is different and requires an additional amount of water. For the best outcome, look at the package’s instructions, but, sadly, not all manufacturers write them. 
  • I’m afraid you’ll need to experiment for a while to reach a perfect result. For my rice, I generally need 175 ml of water per 100 g of rice.
  • Weigh the rice again after rinsing. Pour the right amount of cold water, but take into account the water that has been absorbed into the rice.

3. Cooking

  • Different rice is cooked at various times as well. For example, my rice requires 15 minutes, but before that, there was another manufacturer, and I cooked rice for 17 minutes.
  • When cooking, it would be great to add some seaweed. Kombu is an attractive choice, but ½ tbsp. Wakame will also entirely indulge the taste. If you don’t have any seaweed, don’t worry, the flavor will be marvelous in any case! 

4. How to tell if the rice is ready? 

  • That is one of the critical questions you should ask when cooking the Philadelphia sushi roll. I advise not to open the lid immediately during cooking. Ideally, the rice should sit for another 10 minutes. But beginners will have to open the cover. Gently grab a couple of grains on top. Each grain should retain its shape but not be hard on the inside. The water should be completely absorbed. Tilt the saucepan slightly to the side to see if the water is leaking from the side. If there is still water and the rice is ready, turn the heat to maximum and leave it on the stove for a few seconds.

 5. Seasoning

  • After cooking the rice, it is crucial to let it stand under the lid for 10 minutes and only then start seasoning. Immediately after 10 minutes! Rice dressing usually consists of rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. It is better to use a good quality rice vinegar. 


rice for sushi

Usually, for two people, 150 g of rice is more than enough. You will get ten nigiri, five gunkans, and two rolls. Nevertheless, for beginners, I recommend cooking more rice if something does not work out as planned. 

3 minutes 30 minutes2-3 servings

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 200 g (7 oz) rice 
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) water 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • Kombu sheet 5×5 cm (I often add a 1 tsp of dried wakame)


1. Put rice into a saucepan, pour it with cold water ( the water should cover the rice). Rub the rice grains with your hands. Drain and repeat. Do everything quickly, do not leave the rice in the water for a long time; otherwise, the water will be absorbed into the rice. 

2. Now, pour water in the pan with rice, and rinse with your hand in a circular motion. Repeat 3-4 times until the water is evident. 

3. Weigh the rice again and pour in cold water, but take into account the water that has been absorbed (I weigh with the pan and subtract its weight)

4. Boil the rice quickly, reduce heat to the lowest heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Try the rice; if necessary, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove rice from the stove.

 5. Keep the rice covered with a lid for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add sugar, salt, and vinegar. Stir the rice very gently with the chopsticks (it should feel like you are cutting rice with chopsticks). Rice is very brittle, do not stir it with a spoon. Cool the rice to human skin temperature. 


How to make sushi

Does Philadelphia Roll have raw fish? Yes, sure. If you are afraid to eat raw fish, you can make sushi with lox (salted salmon).

Making sushi at home, undoubtedly, differs from a restaurant. It is not profitable to buy a whole fish home and butcher it. We just need to get a perfect thick piece of fillet on the skin, preferably the fillet’s center. Ask the fish seller to cut the piece you want (maybe, he/she agrees). From time to time, I find sellers who do it with great pleasure for me. In fact, it’s a Saturday tradition for me because I was fortunate to have a fish shop in the market. Although I live far from the sea, my local market also has fresh French tuna, scallops, and excellent salmon. Make sure to notify the seller that you will be making sushi and eating raw fish. Let’s hope on the conscience of the seller (if he/she has one). If you are lucky enough to buy some wonderful fresh tuna and if you, like me, are crazy about raw fish, you can cook this Tuna poke by Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog.

Now let’s check the fish. Look closely at the fish, inspect it. You shouldn’t be worried about anything—color, smell, whatsoever. The fillet should be firm, not frayed. The fatty layer should be white. The fish itself should look like a natural salmon color. Not too red or pale, no gray tint. Ask to sniff the fish. The smell should be fresh and marine. In case you doubt something, it is better to postpone the preparation of sushi.

By the way, for making sushi you need a very sharp knife. Be sure to sharpen your knife right before preparing the sushi. My advice for you is to have a single-sided blade.

How to cut a piece of salmon without leaving a residue? For two people, I always buy 600-700 g of salmon fillets. I take out the bones with tweezers, cut the fillet lengthwise, where the ridge passed. With a long knife, I cut off 2 slices where the costal bones were. We will cover the roll with these two pieces of fish.

Cut the other part of the fillet, which is closer to the back, from the skin. From this part, I cut off 5-6 thick pieces for nigiri. From the rest of the fish that is left, I cut thin strips for gunkans in salmon without nori. Such nests for themselves, a ball of rice, are wrapped in 2 strips of salmon. On top is a Philadelphia and avocado mousse (The video of the preparation of this gunkans is in the video recipe at the bottom of the page). Everything else, all sorts of trimmings and small pieces go to the classic gunkans or roll with salmon inside, which I wrap in avocado. I have the video recipe for Avocado roll on my Youtube channel. But today, the protagonist is a Philly roll sushi. So, let’s get started.

Watch How To Make It


7 minutes 7-10 minutes 1 roll

INGREDIENTS (serves 1)

  • 2 slices of salmon to cover the roll (their total length should be 18 cm, width 7-9 cm) 
  • 4 tbsp cooked sushi rice
  •  ⅓ ripe avocado
  •  cucumber
  •  2 tbsp Philadelphia cheese (or any other cream cheese)


1. Peel the cucumber. Cut into thin strips and avocado into sticks. Fry the sesame seeds quickly in a dry pan. 

2. Cut the nori sheet. As for me, I love large rolls. Therefore, I do not cut the nori sheet into 2 parts; I take 4-4.5 strips (15-16 cm) for the roll.

3. Wrap the mat in plastic wrap. Lay the mat flat side towards you. Place the nori on the edge of the mat with the rough side facing you. Pull the nori sheet down so that the mat’s free edge can completely cover the nori sheet. 

4. Step back 3-4 cm from the bottom edge and layout the rice in a thin layer. Smooth it out with slightly damp hands. Fill the edges of the leaf well with rice.

5. Cover the nori sheet with the rice with the free edge of the mat.

6. Turn over so that the nori is on top and the rice is on the bottom. Unfold the mat so that the nori’s free edge, which is closer to you, is without rice. The nori sheet should rest entirely on the mat. 

7. Place cream cheese, cucumber strips, and avocado in the center. Cover the ingredients with the free edge of the nori.

8. And use a mat to twist the roll. Iron from edges to the center.

9. Iron from edges to the center. Cover with salmon and press down with the mat again.

10. Use a damp knife to cut the roll into 8 pieces. Moisten the blade after every 2 pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

philadelphia roll

11. Transfer gently to a plate. Serve as soon as rolls are ready! Bon Appetit!

You can find a detailed video of this recipe on the Youtube channel.

By the way, on my YouTube channel Bible of taste I have more interesting video recipes.

We cannot travel yet. But we can make this Philadelphia Sushi Roll or my lovely Spicy Chicken Ramen and read about Japan. I hope we will travel soon and use the advice from this travel blog by Kalyan Panja.

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I'm Alona Bogdanova – cookbooks writer from Ukraine. I create and photograph gourmet, approachable and exciting recipes for every day.

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