How to Make Kid-Friendly Sushi

Kid Friendly Sushi: Skip the raw fish and make sushi at home using kid-friendly ingredients.

Learn How to Make Kid Friendly Sushi - a fun and healthy dinner recipe to make with the kids | healthy food ideas | sushi without fish

Today I’d like to dispel a nasty rumor about sushi: namely that it must contain raw fish. Truth is, sushi doesn’t have to contain fish at all. The term sushi actually comes from a Japanese word meaning “sour tasting” and refers to the vinegary rice from which sushi is made. Originally, vinegar was probably added to rice as a method of preservation for both the rice and the filling. Another thing you may not know (I didn’t!) is that the vinegar solution used to create sushi rice is called su.

I don’t know about your kids, but my youngest really won’t go for a big hunk of raw fish on his sushi. So for our first sushi-making experience, we decided to stick with fillings that were a little more kid friendly – like avocado, smoked salmon, cream cheese and veggies.

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Tips for Making Kid-Friendly Sushi

Here’s a little run-down on how we made our kid-friendly sushi:

Supplies needed:

sushi supplies

Kid-friendly filling ideas:

  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Scallions (finely diced)
  • Cucumbers
  • Red peppers
  • Smoked Salmon or other cooked fish
  • Cream cheese

(all vegetables cut in 1″ to 2″ matchstick size)

Kid Friendly Sushi

How to make a sushi roll:

  1. Make the sushi rice. The Pioneer Woman has a tutorial for perfect sushi rice on her blog. I followed something very similar except that my “su” did not include saki (just rice vinegar, sugar and a tiny bit of salt)
  2. Spread prepared rice on a cutting board or cookie sheet (to allow it to continue to cool).
  3. Prepare a bowl of “hand vinegar” (1 cup water, 1/4 cup rice vinegar) for working with rice.
  4. Cover bamboo mat with plastic wrap (not sure if this is traditional, but we were following the instructions that came with the rolling mat).
  5. Lay a piece of nori on the mat, then top with a 1/4 inch layer of rice. (dip fingers in hand vinegar to keep rice from sticking)
  6. Add a thin strip of filling in the middle.
  7. Starting with the bottom edge of the mat, roll up and away from you, pressing lightly while you roll. At the very end you will need to pull out the mat so you can finish the roll (hard to explain but you’ll know when you do it). Press lightly to seal the edges together.
  8. For an inside-out roll, flip over the nori and rice so that the rice is on the outside when you roll!

We also had tons of fun with the Rice Cube. It squishes the rice and fillings into cubes. Aren’t they cute?

sushi rice cube

Have you ever made sushi at home? What are your favorite fillings?

green & healthy wishes Micaela signature

Hey – I’ve got plenty more kid-friendly recipes where this one came from!


  1. I love California Rolls but most of my family members won’t touch it. I have to pick it up at the grocery store instead. I didn’t realize that it was fairly easy to make.

    1. Christy – Sushi takes some planning for sure but once you have all the supplies and ingredients, it’s pretty darned easy (and fun) to make! I hope you’ll try it sometime! 🙂

    1. Hi Robbie – Yes, I bet your “foodie” child would LOVE homemade sushi! I find my kids always love customizing their food and homemade sushi is definitely one of those opportunities!

  2. My daughter has been a sushi lover since about age 3. We let her try some at our favorite restaurant that we’ve eaten at for years. We still order a cooked kids meal for her but she digs in and tries our sushi and sashimi every time we visit. If you don’t trust a restaurant’s food to be safe for your child, why would you eat it yourself? Fun recipe, though! We haven’t done homemade sushi.

    1. Kudos to you for introducing your child to sushi at such a young age! My oldest has liked raw fish sushi for quite awhile but we didn’t try it that young. You should give homemade sushi a try sometime – it’s less expensive, that’s for sure!

  3. Morgan’s pre-school has included vegetarian sushi on the menu for years, and the wee ones as little as three have so much fun and gratification in helping to roll…that, and they’re more inclined to gobble it up if they created it. An easy at home for us is simply seaweed rolls around avocado and cuke with wee bit of lemon – easy fast meal for summer time!

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