How To Make Boston Roll Sushi

Boston Sushi Rolls are pretty similar to California rolls in the way that it’s a type of rolled sushi made of seasoned rice, green vegetables, but instead of containing crab, the Boston sushi roll contains poached shrimp.

The Chinese symbol for sushi is believed to have its origins in the translation of foods that are made with fish. Later, the symbol for sushi became one that indicated that the fish was pickled with salt and rice. Thanks to globalization, sushi became available and popular with people from all over the world.

However, in Japan, sushi was introduced somewhat differently. This early sushi was known as Narezushi. For Narezushi, raw fish is stuffed full of rice and then the fermentation process begins. This process can take up to two months before it’s done. Now you know more about your beloved sushi!

It’s an inside-out sushi roll where the nori seaweed features on the side, but the rice is on the outside coating the filings. It’s traditionally topped with bright orange tobiko or the less expensive alternative masago.

If the idea of raw fish has put you off trying sushi before, then you may be more inclined to try a Boston sushi roll as it contains poached shrimp instead of raw fish.

Although sushi originates from Japan, the Boston sushi roll recipe is actually a U.S adaption from the East Coast which pays homage to the shrimp fishing in the Boston area.

This article will let you know how to make the most delicious Boston sushi roll in your own home – it’s surprisingly easier than you think!

The world of sushi boasts a diverse array of flavors, rolling techniques, and regional inspirations. Among these delectable offerings stands a favorite for many sushi enthusiasts: the Boston roll. This tasty creation offers a delightful fusion of traditional Japanese elements and New England flair, showcasing the best of both culinary worlds.

The Boston roll is known for its tender, succulent pieces of cooked shrimp, rich avocado, and crisp cucumber that melt in one’s mouth. These ingredients are elegantly wrapped in nori (seaweed) and perfectly seasoned rice, often garnished with a drizzle of mayonnaise or other sauces to further enhance its flavor. As a popular variant of traditional sushi rolls, the Boston roll has become a staple in many sushi restaurants in both its namesake city and beyond.

What is a Boston Sushi Roll made out of?

A traditional Boston sushi roll contains the ingredients seasoned rice, poached shrimp, cucumber, avocado, nori seaweed, and tobiko. Some add spicy mayo or lettuce as well.

However, instead of the rice being tucked on the inside of the nori seaweed like in most common sushi rolls, it coats the outside and is then coated in tobiko which complements the soft rice with its smoky and salty flavor.

Some people substitute tempura shrimp if they’re willing to spend the extra time deep-frying the shrimp in batter, but we opt for the easier and healthier option of the poached shrimp – plus it’s just as delicious.

How to make Boston Roll Sushi

Preparing your veggies

The way to make this recipe much simpler for yourself is to make sure your cucumber and avocado are sliced and prepared before you begin cooking.

You’ll want to cut them into matchstick pieces.

Cook your rice

The key to a good sushi roll is getting the rice just right, that’s why you’ll need to know high-quality short-grain white rice with less water than you normally would for cooking regular rice.

You want the rice to stay nice and fluffy even when the sushi roll is rolled, so overcooking the rice will leave it turning to mush. The best ratio of water to rice to use is 1:1 (for this recipe it’ll be one cup rice and one cup water).

Once the rice is cooked (when it looks fluffy), take it off the heat and transfer it to a bowl where it can cool down slightly. When it’s warm, but not boiling hot, add sushi vinegar to the bowl and stir thoroughly until it’s properly mixed in.

Poach your shrimp

The next step and one of the easiest steps is poaching your shrimp. Place the shrimp in simmering salty water on the stove and then remove from the heat and let the shrimp cook for 3-5 minutes.

After that, immediately transfer the shrimp to a bowl of ice water to prevent the shrimps from cooking further.

Preparing your sushi roll

Lay out your bamboo mat with plastic wrap or foil on top. Place half of the nori sheet on top of the bamboo mat and then evenly spread your cooked rice on top.

Then flip the nori sheet over and place your poached shrimp and veggies sparingly on top (don’t overfill).

Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo mat lifting the edge up and over the filling and then roll it away from you. Keep rolling and keep everything tight together until the ends meet.

Then add your tobiko onto the exterior of the rice and then tuck into your Boston sushi rolls.

Can I use something else to substitute tobiko?

Tobiko is a very distinct ingredient and there’s a reason why it’s so popularly used in the Boston Sushi Roll recipe. Its bright orangey color and strong smoky, salty taste is a welcomed addition to the roll.

People commonly substitute tobiko for masago as it is a lot cheaper, however, it doesn’t offer the same flavor or crunch as tobiko does.

If you’re going to spend the time making your Boston sushi rolls, then you may as well treat yourself to the tad more expensive ingredient of tobiko as it’ll bring your recipe altogether.

If you’re not a fan of fish eggs, then you can completely leave them out of the recipe. You could always use finely chopped black olives to cover your sushi rolls with

What nori sheets are best to use for this recipe?

The best kind of nori sheets to use for a Boston roll recipe, or indeed, any sushi roll recipe will be a very dark green, almost black color, and have the same thickness all over.

The best nori sheets have a naturally sweet flavor to them and are distinctively rich.

What kind of shrimp is best to use for Boston Roll Sushi?

You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe, we like to get ours fresh from the local fish market as they still have lots of flavor to them.

Before starting the recipe, you’ll want to peel the shell off and devein the shrimp. If you’ve never done this before then you can find some YouTube videos to show you what you should discard when using shrimp.

How do you know when an avocado is ripe enough for Boston Roll Sushi?

Picking an avocado that is ripe enough is key to achieving the right consistency for the Boston sushi roll. You’ll want to make sure that it’s right but still firm enough that it won’t turn into a mushy mess when you’re trying to cut and arrange it.

The best way to know if it’s ripe is to place the avocado in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze it, if it’s firm but still slightly squishy then it is perfect for this recipe.

However, if it doesn’t have much give then it is not ripe enough. However, you can squish the avocado very easily then it’ll be too ripe for this recipe.

Ripe and ready avocados also have a slightly darker color. The easiest way to ripen your avocados is by leaving them at room temperature, keeping them in a cold environment will only slow down the ripening process.

For more great sushi ideas and fish recipes visit how long is sushi good forBoston Roll sushidifferences between sashimi and sushidragon roll ingredients, and Nigiri vs Sashimi.

Also check out the best noodles for ramenbest white rice brandsalternatives to Arborio rice, and if you’re looking for great recipe try Easy Thai noodles.

How to prevent your sushi roll from falling apart

If your sushi roll won’t stay together, then you may have used the wrong type of rice. Sushi rolls will also fall apart if you have overstuffed them or if the nori sheets are too dry.

Make sure when you’re assembling your sushi rolls that you are squeezing the rolls tightly to keep them together.

What can I use instead of a bamboo mat?

If you don’t have a bamboo mat lying around your home, then you can always use a thick kitchen towel shape and roll the rice and filling of your sushi rolls.

Boston Sushi Rolls are a quick and simple way to integrate Japanese cuisine into your diet.

The recipe which is made up of tasty poached shrimp, creamy avocado, perfectly cooked rice, and cucumber will leave you feeling proud of your culinary ability.

If you’re not a fan of raw fish, then this recipe will be great for you. The recipe is also completely safe for pregnant women to enjoy.

Our BEST Boston Sushi Rolls

Boston Sushi Rolls are pretty similar to California rolls in the way that it’s a type of rolled sushi made of seasoned rice, green vegetables, but instead of containing crab, the Boston sushi roll contains poached shrimp.
5 from 40 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American, Japanese
Servings 2 People
Calories 175 kcal


  • 2 cooking pans 
  • Sharp knife
  • Bamboo mat
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap or foil


  • 1 cup Short-grain sushi rice
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1.5 tbsp Sushi vinegar
  • 6 oz Shrimp
  • 6 tbsp Tobiko
  • 0.5 Cucumber cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 sheets Nori seaweed
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tbsp salt

Optional Ingredients

  • Soy Sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Gari


  • Measure out all your ingredients and dice your cucumber and avocado into ½-inch slices.
  • Wash your rice and add it to a pan with 1 cup of boiling water, or alternatively, add to a rice cooker. (On the stove the rice should take 10 minutes to cook, whereas a rice cooker will take around 12 minutes).
  • Once the rice is cooked, place it in a large bowl and let it cool down until it is warm. When there is no longer lots of steam coming off the rice, add the sushi vinegar to it and mix thoroughly.
  • Next, bring a pan of water to the boil on the stove and add in a teaspoon of salt. Once the water has boiled, add the shrimp, cover up the pan and then remove or turn off the heat.
  • Leave the shrimp to cook in the pan for around 5 minutes then transfer them to a bowl of iced water to stop them from cooking any more.
  • Then drain the shrimp, peel off the shell and remove the tails. (You can keep the tails on if you do like to eat them). You can also do the step before you cook the shrimp.
  • You’ll now begin making your sushi rolls, so lay out your bamboo mat in front of you with a sheet of plastic wrap or foil on top to prevent the rice from sticking to the mat and will make cleaning up afterward much easier.
  • You’ll now begin making your sushi rolls, so lay out your bamboo mat in front of you with a sheet of plastic wrap or foil on top to prevent the rice from sticking to the mat and will make cleaning up afterward much easier.
  • Fold your nori sheets in half so they are equal and then cut them with scissors and place them near the bottom of the bamboo mat.
  • Lightly wet your hands with water or vinegar and take around ¾ cup of the cooked sushi rice. Spread the rice gently over the nori sheets in a thin layer until it reaches the edges.
  • Then flip the rice and nori sheet over so that the nori sheet is on the top and the rice is on the bottom.
  • Place your cooked shrimp, sliced avocado, and cucumber on top of the nori sheet evenly. Do not add too much filling, otherwise, you’ll have trouble rolling your sushi roll properly.
  • Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo mat and lift the edge up gently over the filling so you slowly start folding the sushi. Roll the mat away from you, applying light pressure so it doesn't fall apart. Do not roll the bamboo mat into the sushi roll.
  • When the ends of the filling have met, remove the bamboo mat and spread tobiko on top of the roll (optional).
  • Cover the sushi again with your plastic wrap or foil and then cover with the bamboo mat. Gently squeeze to make the tobiko stick to the sushi roll and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Now remove the bamboo mat but leave the wrap on whilst you cut the roll into how many pieces you would like. Then you can remove the wrap from each piece individually. 
  • Repeat the process until you’ve used up all your remaining ingredients.
  • Serve with a dipping sauce or paste of your choice and enjoy!


Calories: 175kcal
Keyword Boston Roll Sushi, Boston Sushi Roll
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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