spicy tuna sushi

How to Make Spicy Tuna Sushi

Here is an amazing spicy tuna sushi recipe! One of my favorite sushi, simply make your favorite spicy tuna salad, choose a crunchy ingredient and start rolling! 

Rolling sushi might take some practice to perfect and can get a little messy in the beginning, follow my steps and practice to become a true sushi chef!

I’ve described how to make a spicy tuna salad before, in my spicy tuna pasta recipe, find it here. It is just such a nice addition to a lot of recipes, cheap and easy to make. 

Check out my other sushi recipes to combine with this one; spicy salmon sushi, fried sushi,  and spicy shrimp roll. Let’s see how to make spicy tuna sushi!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

spicy tuna sushi

Spicy tuna sushi

Spicy tuna sushi! One of my favorite sushi as it involves tuna! Try it out and enjoy.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sushi
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2 rolls (8 sushi pieces)


  • 200 gram sushi rice
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 nori leaves
  • 150 gram canned tuna
  • 8 strips cucumber (~10cm)

Sauces & Spices

  • 1 tbsp Japanese mayonaise
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Optional sides

  • soy sauce
  • wasabi
  • pickled ginger
  • sesame seed garnish
Keyword Spicy tuna sushi

What to consider when choosing ingredients

In this section I’d like to break down the ingredients that where chosen for this recipe and tell you why. This way you will actually learn how to create your own recipes and learn how to cook, rather than following a to do list.

First of all the base of the recipe, spicy tuna sushi. The canned tuna I particularly like because of the convenience and costs it has, while canned it conserves for a very long time so you can always have it in stock, it’s very easy to make a tuna salad base out of it and tastes delicious.

Of course, fresh tuna would yield a totally different type of sushi which is high in cost, but also very high in quality. As it’s very expensive where I am from, I will save using fresh tuna for later recipes.

The sriracha and Japanese mayonnaise give this creamy spicy tuna salad which I really enjoy. You could also choose a bit more healthy sauces, like a yoghurt based sauce combined with some tomato based chili paste for example, made from scratch this would be definitely a lot more healthy but also quite a bit more work. 


The spices I add to this salad are to boost the flavor like always, I like using garlic powder if I am not using fresh garlic. Something that rarely happens.

Other than that, the cucumber adds some crisp to the structure of the sushi, the taste is pretty much dominated by the spicy tuna. Alternatively I would recommend changing the cucumber for finely chopped red onion, another vegetable I really enjoy.

In general, think about the flavor, structure and visual of the sushi when choosing ingredients. In this case it’s mayonnaise to balance the spicy flavor, cucumber and sushi rice to create the structure of the sushi and the sushi itself in combination with the filling that makes the food visually appealing, especially the red spicy tuna inside the sushi.

It’s always nice to serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger next to sushi, just to finish the palate and add some additional taste for those who like it.

Try around different spices in the tuna salad, different vegetables for the crisp and also play around with the used amounts in the rice and fillings to find out what your favorite combination of sushi is. I highly recommend doing such experiment to help you build knowledge in the kitchen! Let’s have a look at how I did it:

Step 2: Cook the sushi rice

To start, you want to prepare the sushi rice at least 15 minutes in advance to let it cool down before use.

Cook the rice as suggested by the packaging, if this isn’t present, here’s what to do:

Thoroughly clean the rice, you want to rinse it until the water running through the rice is crystal clear! After that, add the rice to a boiling pan and add water. The water should reach about the height of your last finger bone above the rice.

Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stir to avoid rice sticking to the pan. Once boiling cover the pan with a lit and set the heat to low. You only want a slight simmer, let sit for about 10 minutes to ensure all the water to evaporate. Once this point is reached, add the rice vinegar and stir with a fork. Important here to cover the rice and let is cool down, if you don’t cover it the rice will dry out and be ruined! Don’t lift the lid in this period!

That’s is for preparation, let’s continue with the sushi stuffing!

cooked sushi

Step 3: Preparing the sushi insides

Starting off with the tuna salad, simply take a mixing bowl and throw in the tuna, sauces and spices and mix well. Have a taste and see if you like it, if not add more ingredients to have the salad more focused on the added ingredient.

After that, chop the cucumber, cut of a 10 cm piece and chop triangular of rectangular strips from it and that’s it! The insides are now finished and you are ready to roll.

spicy tuna salad

Step 4: Rolling the sushi

Now place a bowl of water large enough to fit your fingertips and all of the sushi insides next to the flat surface you will be rolling on (like a kitchen table or top). Place a sushi rolling mat on the surface, cover it with cling film and place the nori leave on the film, shiny side down. 

filling setup
rolling set up

Wet your hands and cover the nori in rice, leaving 3 cm open on the top side. Ideally, you have an evenly distributed surface of rice on the nori leave, about 2 or 3 grains thick. Wet fingers again and remove rice from fingertips.

Now put your insides of the sushi in the middle of the leave, as a single strip from left to right. Play around with the amounts to see what you like, don’t overdo it because the roll won’t close otherwise!

rice on nori
spicy tuna sushi unrolled

Now wet your hands again to remove rice if there is any and start rolling by taking the rolling mat and lifting it. Try to get this lifted side of sushi tucked in, with the cling film staying with the rolling mat, not tucking in. 

If successful, continue rolling the mat by pulling it over the leave and make sure the nori leave that is tucked in stays tucked in. If this works, tightly roll the mat and the sushi all the way to the last pieces of rice, keeping the “lid” of the nori open. Put some pressure on the mat to firmly form the sushi.

rolled sushi before closing

Use some water to wet the lid, this will make it stick. Continue pulling on the mat to close the sushi. Gently squeeze the sushi to make a firm roll. You might need some practice, but if it all works out you will end up with a great, tightly formed sushi roll, congratulations!

Rolled sushi

Inside out roll

To perform an inside out roll, simply go back to the step where you placed the rice on the nori leave but do not leave an opening! Fully cover it with rice, a bit more careful then when rolling normally. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and flip the nori leave such that the rice faces down, add insides and roll like usual. No need to water the lid before closing!

rice on nori inside out
inside out roll

Now remove the mat and the cling film from the sushi and place it on a cutting board, use the sharpest knife you have to cut the sushi. You want the knife to be super sharp such that you are not squeezing the sushi, rather cutting it. Cut precisely in the middle of the sushi, lay the 2 halves parallel and repeat. Now you will have 4 parallel pieces of sushi, halve all of them again one last time. This method is clearly visualized in this video.

first cut
cut #2&3

Now choose your favorite garnish, I used either some Japanese mayonnaise or sriracha, both with sesame seeds! Serve on a flat plate or the cutting board you just used, add separate containers of soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger and don’t forget the sushi sticks!

Definitely check out my other sushi recipes, I would recommend making all at once so you have enough sushi for quite some people!

I hope this worked out well for you, making sushi can be quite a difficult and time consuming task. Let me know what you think and enjoy!

served spicy tuna sushi

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