A Culinary Ode to the Big Apple: The New York Roll Sushi

Fact Checked By: Macaria Valerie

Post Updated On:


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In the bustling heart of New York City, where the skyline is a fusion of architectural wonders and the streets echo with the symphony of diverse cultures, food has always been a reflection of the city’s dynamic essence. Enter the New York Roll Sushi — a delightful mélange of traditional sushi artistry and the bold flavors iconic to the Big Apple. While sushi purists might raise an eyebrow at this East-meets-West concoction, there’s no denying its unique appeal. This article will delve into the origins, ingredients, and the culinary craftsmanship behind the New York Roll, showcasing how it encapsulates the spirit of a city known for its boundless creativity and innovation. Whether you’re a seasoned sushi enthusiast or a curious foodie, come along on a gastronomic journey that bridges the streets of Tokyo and New York, one sushi roll at a time.

New York Roll Sushi

The New York Roll, like the California Roll, is a Western adaptation of traditional sushi, showcasing ingredients that are more readily available or popular in the West. Here’s a recipe for making a New York Roll. As with any sushi roll, the freshest ingredients yield the best results.

New York Roll Sushi Recipe

Sushi Rice:
  • 2 cups sushi rice (short-grain rice)
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Roll Ingredients:
  • 4 sheets nori (seaweed sheets)
  • 8 oz. fresh salmon or smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced thinly
  • 1 small cucumber, julienned or thinly sliced
  • Cream cheese (optional for those who like its richness)
  • Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish, optional)
  • Soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger (for serving)


Prepare the Sushi Rice:

  • Rinse the sushi rice in cold water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch and prevents overly sticky rice.
  • Cook the rice according to its package instructions or in a rice cooker.
  • While the rice is cooking, in a small saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat just until the sugar dissolves but do not boil. Set aside to cool.
  • Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl. Gradually add the cooled vinegar mixture, gently folding it into the rice using a wooden spoon or rice paddle. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature.

Assemble the New York Roll:

  • Place a bamboo sushi mat on a clean surface. Lay a sheet of nori, shiny side down, onto the mat.
  • Wet your fingers with water (to prevent sticking) and evenly spread a layer of sushi rice onto the nori, leaving about half an inch of nori exposed at the top.
  • Lay slices of salmon (or smoked salmon) in a horizontal row near the bottom third of the rice.
  • Add slices of avocado and cucumber over the salmon.
  • If using cream cheese, add a thin slice or spread a small amount next to the salmon.
  • Beginning at the bottom, use the bamboo mat to tightly roll the sushi into a cylinder. Use gentle pressure to ensure the roll is firm.
  • Using a sharp knife, wet with a bit of water or vinegar, slice the roll into bite-sized pieces.


  • Arrange the sushi rolls on a plate, garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired, and serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Note: This recipe can be customized according to personal preferences. Some variations might include adding herbs like dill or other fillings to complement the salmon. Enjoy your homemade New York Roll!


Making the perfect New York Roll requires some attention to detail and a few tips and tricks. Here are some insights to help you achieve sushi success:

  • Rice Consistency: Ensure that your sushi rice is neither too dry nor too wet. It should be sticky but not gooey. This makes it easier to spread on the nori and ensures your sushi roll holds together well.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: When using raw salmon, ensure it’s sushi-grade and as fresh as possible. This guarantees both safety and a delightful flavor. If you’re wary of raw fish, smoked salmon is a flavorful and safe alternative.
  • Rolling Technique: When rolling the sushi, apply even and gentle pressure to ensure the roll is compact without squeezing out the ingredients.
  • The bamboo sushi mat should be wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent rice from sticking to it.
  • Sharp Knife: To cut the roll cleanly, use a sharp knife. It can be helpful to wipe the knife with a wet cloth between cuts to prevent rice and ingredients from sticking and dragging.
  • Enhancing Flavor: For an extra kick, consider adding a dash of lemon zest or finely chopped dill to complement the salmon.
  • A drizzle of spicy mayo (a mixture of mayonnaise and sriracha) on top can add another layer of flavor.
  • Texture Contrast: Toasted sesame seeds can be sprinkled on the outside of the roll for added texture and flavor.
  • For a more dynamic texture, consider adding thinly sliced radishes or sprouts.
  • Cream Cheese Caution: If using cream cheese, remember it’s a dominant flavor. Use sparingly unless you want it to be the star of the show. Also, room temperature cream cheese is easier to spread.
  • Presentation: Remember, we eat with our eyes first! Arrange your sushi rolls artfully on a plate and garnish with pickled ginger, wasabi, and a small dish of soy sauce.
  • Experiment and Personalize: The beauty of making sushi at home is tailoring it to your tastes. Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients or leave out any you’re not fond of.

Remember, like any skill, sushi-making improves with practice. So even if your first roll isn’t picture-perfect, it’ll likely still taste delicious. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!

Why This Recipe Is Just So Good…

The New York Roll, like its counterpart the California Roll, is an emblem of the versatility and adaptability of sushi. Here’s why this particular recipe stands out:

  • Fusion of Flavors: The New York Roll encapsulates a delightful blend of East meets West. The creamy avocado and refreshing cucumber pair harmoniously with the rich, fatty flavors of salmon. The optional cream cheese adds an indulgent richness, a nod to the iconic New York bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
  • Texture Variations: The roll provides a myriad of textures in one bite: the silky smoothness of fresh salmon, the creamy avocado, the crisp cucumber, and the sticky, soft rice all enveloped in the crisp nori.
  • Accessible Ingredients: For many, sourcing sushi-grade raw fish can be a challenge. The flexibility of using smoked salmon, widely available in many supermarkets, ensures that the flavors of sushi can be enjoyed without the hunt for specialty ingredients.
  • Balanced Profile: The roll offers a balance of macronutrients: proteins from the salmon, healthy fats from avocado and optionally, cream cheese, and carbohydrates from the sushi rice. This makes it both delicious and satisfying.
  • Visual Appeal: The contrast of the salmon’s pink hues against the green avocado and white rice makes for a visually stunning dish, turning a simple meal into an elegant presentation.
  • Customizable: The New York Roll’s foundation allows for various tweaks. Whether you’re adding a sprinkle of chives for a mild onion flavor or introducing a spicy mayo for a kick, there’s room for creativity.
  • A Celebration of New York: As the name suggests, this roll pays homage to the Big Apple. Just as New York City is a melting pot of cultures and flavors, this roll captures the essence of diversity and fusion.
  • Beginner-Friendly: For those new to sushi-making, this roll is relatively straightforward. It doesn’t demand the precision of more traditional rolls, making it perfect for sushi novices.

In essence, the New York Roll is a culmination of ingredients and techniques that bridge traditional sushi with Western flavors, offering a delightful gastronomic experience that pays tribute to the dynamism and innovation of both worlds.

Storage Instructions

Storing sushi, especially rolls that contain fresh fish like the New York Roll, requires some special considerations to ensure safety and maintain taste. Here’s how to properly store New York Roll sushi:

Immediate Consumption is Best:

  • Sushi, particularly those made with fresh fish, is best eaten immediately after it’s made. This ensures you’re enjoying it at its peak flavor and freshness.


  • If you must store it, place the sushi rolls in an airtight container to prevent any air or contaminants from affecting the quality.
  • Store in the coldest part of your refrigerator (usually the back), not just the door shelves.
  • Consume refrigerated sushi within 24 hours. Remember that raw fish is perishable and doesn’t have a long shelf life even when refrigerated.

Avoid Freezing:

  • Most sushi rolls, including the New York Roll, do not freeze well. Freezing can alter the texture of the rice and fish, making it less appealing when thawed. However, if the sushi contains only cooked ingredients and you are not concerned about a potential change in texture, you can freeze it for up to a month. Always use airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.


  • If you’ve stored sushi in the fridge and are serving it again, let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before eating. This slightly improves the texture and flavor as cold rice can be hard and less flavorful.
  • However, never let sushi sit out for long periods, as this can lead to bacterial growth, especially in rolls containing raw fish.

Signs of Spoilage:

  • When in doubt, throw it out. If the sushi has a sour or off-putting smell, has been stored for more than 24 hours, or if the fish looks discolored or slimy, it’s best not to consume it.

Additional Tips:

  • Do not store sushi with strong-smelling foods in the refrigerator. The rice can absorb odors, which can alter the taste of your sushi.
  • If you’re planning to make sushi in advance for an event or gathering, consider using ingredients that are less perishable, like vegetables or cooked ingredients.

Remember, while sushi is a delicious and delightful dish, it is also delicate. Proper storage is crucial to maintain its quality and, most importantly, to ensure it’s safe to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a New York Roll?

A: A New York Roll is a Western adaptation of traditional sushi, often containing ingredients like fresh or smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber, and sometimes cream cheese. It’s a fusion roll, celebrating the flavors of both traditional sushi and popular ingredients in the West.

Q: Is the salmon in a New York Roll cooked?

A: The New York Roll can be made with either fresh sushi-grade salmon or smoked salmon. If using sushi-grade salmon, it’s typically raw, while smoked salmon is pre-cooked.

Q: Can I use other types of fish in a New York Roll?

A: Absolutely! While salmon is traditional, you can experiment with other types of fish or seafood. Just ensure they are fresh and suitable for sushi.

Q: Why is it called the New York Roll?

A: The roll is named after New York City, drawing inspiration from the city’s love for smoked salmon bagels with cream cheese, a popular breakfast item.

Q: Is it hard to make sushi at home?

A: Making sushi at home requires some practice, especially when it comes to rolling, but with the right ingredients and tools, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Q: Can I make a vegetarian or vegan New York Roll?

A: Yes! You can omit the salmon and use additional vegetables, tofu, or other plant-based alternatives. The cream cheese can also be substituted with vegan cream cheese.

Q: Do I need a bamboo mat to make sushi?

A: A bamboo mat (makisu) helps in rolling sushi evenly and tightly. However, if you don’t have one, you can use plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, but a bamboo mat is recommended for best results.

Q: How do I ensure my sushi roll doesn’t fall apart?

A: Make sure to spread the rice evenly and not overstuff the roll. When rolling, apply gentle but firm pressure to ensure it holds together. Using slightly damp hands when working with sushi rice can also prevent sticking.

Q: Is sushi rice different from regular rice?

A: Yes, sushi rice is a special short-grain or medium-grain rice that becomes sticky when cooked, making it perfect for sushi. It’s also seasoned with a mix of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Q: Can I use brown rice for my New York Roll?

A: Yes, you can use brown sushi rice as a healthier alternative. Just remember that brown rice has a different texture and flavor, which will slightly alter the taste of your sushi.

Q: How does the New York Roll differ from traditional Japanese sushi?

A: The New York Roll, like other Western-inspired sushi rolls, incorporates ingredients that aren’t traditional in Japanese sushi, such as smoked salmon and cream cheese. Traditional Japanese sushi tends to focus on the purity and flavor of individual ingredients, especially the fish.

Q: What’s the importance of sushi-grade fish in the New York Roll?

A: Sushi-grade fish is specifically selected and processed to be consumed raw. It’s held to a higher standard of freshness and has undergone freezing methods to kill parasites. For safety reasons, it’s crucial to use sushi-grade fish if opting for raw salmon in the roll.

Q: How does the rice vinegar seasoning impact the flavor and texture of sushi rice?

A: Rice vinegar seasoning, combined with sugar and salt, gives sushi rice its characteristic tangy and slightly sweet flavor. It also impacts the texture, making the rice slightly glossy and helping it stick together better, which is essential for sushi rolls.

Q: Why might some purists be against the inclusion of cream cheese in sushi?

A: Traditional sushi emphasizes the natural flavors of fish and rice. Cream cheese, being rich and dominant in flavor, can overshadow the subtle flavors of the other ingredients. Purists often favor simplicity and authenticity in sushi.

Q: Can nori quality impact the overall taste and texture of the New York Roll?

A: Absolutely. High-quality nori is crisp, aromatic, and has a rich sea flavor. Lower-quality nori can be chewy and less flavorful, affecting the overall experience of the sushi roll.

Q: What is the ideal rice-to-filling ratio for the best sushi roll experience?

A: A good rule of thumb is to have a thin, even layer of rice, leaving enough space at the top to seal the roll. The filling should be generous but not overstuffed, usually about the width of a pencil for each ingredient.

Q: How does the use of smoked salmon in a New York Roll impact its flavor profile compared to raw salmon?

A: Smoked salmon introduces a deep, smoky flavor and a more robust salmon taste. Raw salmon, on the other hand, has a milder, fresher flavor with a buttery texture. The choice between the two significantly alters the roll’s taste.

Q: Is there a specific technique to achieve uniform and clean cuts for sushi rolls?

A: Using a very sharp knife is crucial. Dipping the knife in water mixed with a little rice vinegar prevents sticking. Gentle, long, sawing motions, rather than pressing down, help achieve clean cuts without squishing the roll.

Q: What role does wasabi play in the consumption of sushi, and how should it be used with a New York Roll?

A: Wasabi adds a spicy kick and is believed to have antibacterial properties, which can be useful when consuming raw fish. For a roll like the New York Roll, a small dab on the sushi or mixed in the soy sauce is enough. However, with rolls containing rich ingredients like cream cheese, one might use wasabi sparingly to avoid overpowering the other flavors.

Q: How does the New York Roll’s fusion approach reflect the global evolution of sushi?

A: Sushi has evolved and adapted as it’s traveled outside Japan, with local ingredients and tastes influencing its form. The New York Roll, with its unique ingredients, epitomizes this global evolution, blending traditional sushi elements with flavors iconic to Western palates, showcasing sushi’s universal appeal and adaptability.

For those passionate about sushi, diving deep into its intricacies and variations, like the New York Roll, can be both an educational and gastronomic adventure.


In the vast world of sushi, where tradition often meets innovation, the New York Roll stands as a testament to culinary adaptability and the magic that ensues when cultures merge. Drawing from the rich tapestry of New York’s food scene and the timeless art of sushi-making, this roll encapsulates a bite of the Big Apple’s audacity and flair. Its melding of flavors—whether it’s the smoky notes of salmon or the rich creaminess of cream cheese—invites both admiration and debate, much like the city itself. As the world of sushi continues to evolve, the New York Roll is a delectable reminder of how boundaries in cuisine can be redrawn, producing dishes that not only satiate our hunger but also tell a story of places, people, and passion. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the vibrant avenues of New York, the journey of sushi is as diverse and delightful as its many variations, with the New York Roll carving its unique niche in this delicious narrative.

Photo of author

Macaria Valerie

About the author

With over 15 years of experience in the culinary world, Macaria Valerie has developed a unique niche expertise in the art and science of rice cooking. Born in Taipei and raised in San Francisco, Macaria's passion for perfectly cooked rice is a blend of her Taiwanese roots and modern culinary techniques. She has traveled across Asia, gathering traditional rice recipes and cooking methodologies. Macaria is not just about plain rice. She's explored the depths of risotto in Italy, paella in Spain, biryani in India, and sushi in Japan. Yet, she believes that the core of these dishes lies in mastering the basic foundation - the rice. In her popular blog, "Expert Reviews Best Rice Cooker", Macaria shares not only her favorite rice recipes but also reviews the latest in rice cooker technology. She's been a consultant for major kitchen appliance brands, aiding in the development and testing of their rice cooker lines. In her spare time, Macaria conducts workshops and classes, ensuring that the art of cooking perfect rice is accessible to everyone. Whether you're aiming for a simple bowl of fluffy white rice or venturing into the intricate world of flavored rice dishes, Macaria Valerie is your go-to guide in the rice cooker niche.

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment

For security, use of CloudFlare's Turnstile service is required which is subject to the CloudFlare Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

error: Content is protected !!