How Long Does It Take to Make Sushi?

Today, sushi has an established fast-food status. Indeed, in restaurants, sushi can be made in a matter of minutes if rice is pre-cooked and other ingredients are pre-sliced.

However, depending on the complexity of sushi, the timing may vary significantly, extending endlessly for the finest recipes. If you’re wondering how long it will take you to make sushi for yourself or for a party, I’m here to help.

How long it takes you to make sushi depends mainly on the amount that you’re making. For example, expect to take roughly 45 minutes to make enough for yourself (if you move quickly) or about an hour if you take your time. On the other hand, if you’re making sushi for a large group of people, say 12 or more, then expect to take well over 90 minutes.

This guide will list the core steps in sushi preparation and indicate approximate times required for each one. Then, I’ll provide you with a handy table of the time required to prepare sushi based on portion size. Read on to find out how long it takes to make sushi and learn some helpful tips on preparation.

how long does it take to make sushi

Steps for Making Sushi at Home

Before determining how long it takes for a skilled person to prepare sushi, let’s break down the main steps.

But first, I should distinguish between different types of sushi. In fact. ‘sushi’ is the name of the rice used in traditional Japanese dishes such as onigiri, nigiri, temaki, and maki.

While the first three types can be found in US restaurants, the most popular one remains maki. Thus, I’ll outline instructions for making simple maki without fancy garnishes or ingredients that require a long time to prepare.

Naturally, depending on the recipe and your skill level, the indicated times may vary.

Cook the Rice

Correctly cooked rice should be soft and sticky, though not overly mushy. It’s a crucial step in preparation that drastically affects how your maki will taste.

First, you should measure the right volume of rice. Typically, one cup of uncooked rice equals two cups of cooked. It’s sufficient with half of a cup per person, so allow a full cup for two people, two cups for four, and so on.

Then, rinse the rice before cooking. Put it in a strainer and rinse with large amounts of water. Repeat the rinsing at least five times. The water should lose color, becoming completely clear. This step is essential to soften the rice.

Boil two to three times more water than rice. Don’t use too much water, though. Otherwise, the rice will not dry thoroughly. Instead, salt the boiling water and cook for the time indicated on the pack.

Time required: About ten minutes for measuring and rinsing the rice and about 10-20 for cooking. Total time: 20-30 minutes. It’s the longest step in the process.

Cool and Dry the Rice Thoroughly

Once the rice is cooked, place it on a flat dry surface and leave until it’s fully dry and cool. Then, distribute the rice evenly on the platter or mat to speed up the process.

While the rice is drying, put a tablespoon of sugar into a measuring cup and a bit more than a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or sushi vinegar.

Mix it until the sugar dissolves, then add the liquid slowly into your rice. Do this only when the rice is dry, and don’t pour everything at once.

Time required: This depends on the amount of rice and how thin a layer you managed to distribute on a platter. If the layer is thin enough, the rice may take about ten minutes to dry thoroughly. You can use paper towels, gently pressing them on the rice (don’t mush it!) to speed up the process.

Prepare Other Ingredients

The time this step takes widely depends on the chosen ingredients and the quantity. However, cutting can typically be done while the sushi rice is cooking.

Thus, let’s assume the process doesn’t add any extra time to the preparation process.

Shape the Rice

You should shape the rice before placing it on the nori.

First, take a bowl of water to wet your hands, as the rice will be extremely sticky. Wet your fingertips only slightly, as large amounts of water in rice will ruin the texture of the nori.

Next, take a bit of rice and start forming a thick cylindric shape. Make sure it’s compact.

Time required: Depends on the skill and amount of rice. You can do this in five minutes, making a portion for two and about 20, making a portion for over ten people.

person rolling sushi with bamboo mat

Place Rice and Other Ingredients on the Nori

Place the nori sheet on a bamboo mat. Don’t cover it entirely, but leave a narrow bare edge for easier rolling. Ensure that you’re doing it on a flat and large surface.

Now, it’s time to put the ingredients on the nori.

Start with the rice. Cover the whole nori with an even, thin layer of rice. Leave a bare edge at the opposite end of nori. Don’t press the rice too hard, and make sure to wipe your hands each time before handling the nori.

If your hands are wet, the nori will absorb the moisture and become chewy. Place all other ingredients on the rice in a thin layer, distributing them evenly.

Time required: Largely depends on the serving size. Expect five minutes for a portion for two people and up to 25 for a party size portion.

Roll the Maki

Finally, you can start rolling the maki. This process often takes longer for beginners, though skilled sushi chefs can do it in a couple of quick moves.

First, wet your fingertips slightly and take the bare edge of your bamboo mat.

Then, start rolling it forward, ensuring all ingredients stay in place. Stop each time the algae make a full turn. Constantly press the nori down, but not too hard, to compress your maki.

Finally, wet the bare edge of the nori to make your roll stick. Cut the roll to even pieces. Your knife must be very sharp; otherwise, it will stick and ruin the shape of maki. Repeat if required.

Time required: Under five minutes for a single roll. A typical roll yields approximately eight maki pieces, so to make more maki, you need more time. Expect about half an hour for a portion for 12 people.

How Long Does It Take to Make Sushi?

Number of PeopleAmount of SushiTime to Prepare
16-840-45
212-1640-50
424-3250-60
848-64Slightly over an hour
1272-96Over one and a half hours

In Summary

Hopefully, this guide has given you a brief idea of how long it takes to make sushi. Now, you can plan your time easier, especially if you’re planning to prepare sushi for a party.

Remember that beginners usually need more time than indicated. However, with practice, you’ll learn to measure, cook, slice and roll the ingredients much quicker.