Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Sushi? [Easy Recipes]

According to mentalfloss.com, sushi is a 22 million dollar industry. This means that sushi can be pretty expensive to buy from a restaurant. The price of sushi is different depending on where you live, but most people agree that sushi is an expensive meal to enjoy. Most couples who go out for sushi don’t leave the restaurant without spending $50 or more. 

When looking at the prices of sushi around the country, I came to the conclusion that the prices vary depending on where you live. The bottom line is that sushi restaurants charge higher prices because they can. Luckily, there are cheaper options for those who enjoy sushi but don’t want to break the bank going out for dinner.

Usually making sushi from home is cheaper than eating sushi in the store. This will depend on the ingredients that are used. Vegetables are a cheaper and healthier option for a sushi filling. 

There are certain tools that can be used to make sushi at home, so the first time you make sushi, it may be a little more expensive than normal. If you’re willing to eat sushi from the grocery store, that is another cheaper option than buying sushi from a restaurant. Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Sushi? 

Breaking Down The Cost

Technavio.com estimates that the sushi restaurant market will increase by 1.24 % over the year 2021. That is because sushi is becoming the new “go to” meal for friends to enjoy when they get together for dinner. 

Sushi restaurants know how many people enjoy sushi, so the cost can sometimes be elevated. There are also other contributing factors that we can take into consideration when we are discussing the “why” behind the cost of sushi. 

Why Is Sushi So Expensive?

One reason for the expensive price of sushi  is because of the ingredients used. Sushi grade fish or meat must be used, and this can be pricey. Most ingredients in sushi are premium grade, and some must be shipped. Shipping contributes to the overall price because restaurants must charge enough so that they can make a profit as well. 

The fact that you’re eating at a restaurant can contribute to the overall price of the sushi also. Upscale restaurants will have sushi that matches the price of other similar items on their menu. The dining experience and atmosphere alone makes some people willing to pay for expensive sushi. 

We also have to take into account that it takes a skilled chef to be able to create a sushi roll that is not only tasty, but is visually pleasing as well. Let’s face it, rolling all of these ingredients into a neat roll and then cutting it into smaller pieces is not an easy task, but somehow these men and women make it look like an art. We have to keep this in mind when considering the cost of sushi in a restaurant. A portion of the price could be viewed as paying for the labor of the chef. 

Last but not least, the availability of raw fish and other ingredients plays a big part in how expensive the sushi rolls will be. Having to import premium grade fish will increase the price. Some areas that live closer to ports might have lower prices (New Orleans is one of these places) for their sushi rolls because they are located closer to the coast, which means fresh seafood doesn’t have to be shipped as far. Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Sushi? 

Restaurant Price Vs. Making Sushi At Home Price

According to Sushinomicsindex.com, New York has the most expensive sushi roll at $8.72 per roll. Los Angeles and Florida follow closely behind with an average cost of $8.16 per sushi roll for LA and $8.15 per roll for Florida. New Orleans brings up the bottom of the list with an average price of $5.40 for their sushi rolls. 

What Ingredients Do I Need To Make Cheap Homemade Sushi? 

You can make five homemade sushi rolls for around $10 depending on what ingredients you use. Using vegetables can definitely cheapen the cost for you, but you can also buy enough sushi grade meat, use what you need, and freeze the rest for the next time. See the table below for ingredients and prices for each. 

Ingredients Approximate Price
16 ounce sushi rice $3.00
10 Nori sheets (seaweed) $4.00
Rice vinegar(or sushi rice seasoning) $3.09
Imitation crab (optional) $4.00
Organic avocado $1.50
10 ounce Frozen organic Tuna (optional) $16.99
Soy sauce $2.00
Wasabi $3.00

If you choose, you can include vegetables in your sushi rolls as well. Some vegetables that are great substitutes are lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, and asparagus. Vegetables are a healthier and cheaper option than meat. 

What Tools Do I Need To Make Sushi From Home?

There are several tools that are needed to make sushi, and some that aren’t absolutely necessary, but will make your meal preparation easier. Remember that once you buy these tools, you will not have to buy them again. It may be more expensive to begin your homemade sushi adventures since you must buy these tools, but they are a one time buy. 

1. Bamboo Mat

Bamboo mats cost around $4.00 on Amazon. I really think they are necessary in order to keep the rice from sticking to the surface below it. They are also used by professional chefs to roll the sushi up after the ingredients are layered. Plastic wrap can also be placed over the bamboo mat to help keep ingredients from sticking to it. Helen’s Asian Kitchen Sushi Mat, 9.5-Inches x 8-Inches, Natural Bamboo

2. Japanese Sushi Knife

Even though a sushi knife isn’t absolutely necessary, (a serrated knife can be used) I think that it is essential to achieving the desired look and neatness for homemade sushi rolls. These restaurant grade knives are around $20 online. If you’re serving sushi for a party, I would suggest investing in one of these. You want your sushi rolls to look aesthetically pleasing to your guests. Yoshihiro VG-10 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Sujihiki Japanese Slicer Knife, 9.5inch (Octagonal Ambrosia Handle)

3. Julienne Slicer

These are normal kitchen utensils that most people already own, but if you don’t own a slicer, you can purchase one for under $5. These are important for making sushi, because they allow you to thinly slice the vegetables for your sushi roll. Sunkuka Julienne Peeler Stainless Steel Cutter Slicer with Cleaning Brush Pro for Carrot Potato Melon Gadget Vegetable Fruit

How To Make Homemade Sushi?

This quick and easy recipe will allow you to make sushi rolls for 4-6 people in less than 30 minutes. 

Ingredients: 

For this recipe, you will need one packet of nori sheets, 1-2 cups of sushi rice, sushi rice seasoning or rice vinegar, meat (optional), vegetables of choice, one avocado and mayonnaise. 

Step 1: Cook your rice according to the package directions. 

Step 2: Drain the rice and dump it onto a glass plate to cool. 

Step 3: If you didn’t cook your rice in something that was pre-seasoned, then you need to season your rice with sushi rice seasoning. If you did, then skip this step. 

Step 4: Mix the rice and seasoning together with a fork. 

Step 5: Lay your nori sheet flat, spread the rice over the sheet, then layer your vegetables and toppings of choice. 

Step 6: Spread mayonnaise over the toppings and then roll up the sushi roll and cut it into smaller sections. 

Step 7: Enjoy! 

Not everyone is a fan of mayonnaise, so you can skip the first part of Step 6 if mayo isn’t for you. This is the good part about making sushi at home! You can use whatever toppings and sauces that you want. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and sauces that you think will taste well together. Write your recipes down and rate them on a scale of 1-10 at the bottom. This will help you remember what to do the next time you want to make sushi. 

Other Options For Cheap Homemade Sushi

Unless you practice, there is a good chance that your sushi roll will not look as good as a professional chef’s sushi roll. These things take time and practice to achieve. There are other options for those of us who are not as artistic when it comes to the art of cooking. 

Buy A Sushi Roller

Buying a sushi roller gives the chef the option to roll up their sushi inside a machine. This helps create sushi rolls that are tighter, neater, and cleaner. When cutting the roll into smaller chunks, the roller ensures that the roll is tight and easily able to be cut in pieces for your enjoyment. These are available from around $12-$25. 

This is probably the best option for those of us who want to make sushi at home and do it cheaply. The ingredients are all layered into the small machine, then you simply roll them up and cut them into smaller pieces. Delamu Sushi Making Kit, 20 in 1 Sushi Bazooka Roller Kit with Chef’s Knife, Bamboo Mats, Bazooka Roller, Rice Mold, Temaki Sushi Mats, Rice Paddle, Rice Spreader, Chopsticks, Sauce Dishes, Guide Book

Buy Premade Sushi At The Supermarket

Supermarket sushi will not be as tasty as fresh sushi that is made in a restaurant or in your home, but if you shop around and look for the right brand, price and place to buy, it may be worth it for you. 

A spicy tuna roll has an average price of $5.99. It isn’t restaurant quality, but the price is cheaper, and quicker to obtain since you won’t have to make it yourself. 

The Bottom Line

Making homemade sushi is no easy task, but for those who want to enjoy sushi without breaking the bank, it is the cheapest option. Even though you may not have sushi that looks as good as a restaurant’s, you will be able to experience making your own sushi and experiment with different toppings, sauces and ingredients. This isn’t an option when you visit a restaurant. 

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