What Ingredients Are Used In A Dragon Roll?

Discovering sushi is a wonderful experience but you can feel a bit confused when you first glance at a sushi menu. Most decide to leave out the descriptions and unless you’re willing to jump on a google search, or have done your sushi homework before going to the restaurant, you can be bewildered. 

In the U.S., people only started developing refined palates about 50 years ago. Before that, American fare was pretty simple food. Think meat and potatoes in most areas of the country, and fish in the northeastern part of the United States. Standard American food pretty much consisted of meat with tons of gravy and a delicious side of mashed potatoes.

Food historians believe that sushi arrived in the U.S. when Los Angeles had a restaurant called Kawafuku open in Little Tokyo. Kawafuku catered to Japanese businessmen and their colleagues who happened to be American. This is when sushi really took off.

Fun Fact:  Sushi rolls and other sushi’s such as nigiri, uramaki, maki, and other rolls can be eaten with your hands. They usually eat sushi rolls with their hands in Japan, so it is seen as traditional to do so. 

About Dragon Rolls 

Dragon rolls are one of the most popular types of sushi rolls. Like any sushi roll, it is quite difficult to tell what is inside it, so you need to do some homework if you are deciding to make your own at home. This guide will help you to do that. 

First of all, we need to know that sushi, is defined as a roll made of primarily vinegared rice and then topped with fish or seafood, it can often include other ingredients as well, and there are plenty of vegan/vegetarian options for sushi that exist now.

When it comes to sushi, the dragon roll is an irresistible choice for many. With its vibrant colors and enticing flavors, this delicious roll has fans all around the world. In this article, I will discuss the key ingredients that give the dragon roll its unforgettable taste and texture.

The backbone of the dragon roll is, without a doubt, the sushi rice—a short-grain, sticky rice mixed with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The rice is then layered with toasted nori seaweed sheets, which form the roll’s outer shell. Inside this shell, a combination of fresh ingredients is nestled, including creamy avocado slices, crunchy cucumber, and tender tempura shrimp. Eel may also be used as a substitute or an addition, depending on personal preferences and regional variations.

The final touch to the dragon roll is its signature topping—a beautifully arranged layer of thinly sliced avocado, giving it the appearance of a dragon’s scales. Drizzled over the avocado is a mouthwatering unagi sauce, which is made from soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Together, these ingredients create a harmonious symphony of flavors and textures that make the dragon roll a sushi lover’s delight.

We need to quickly acknowledge one thing that you will see on a sushi menu that is not sushi, sashimi. Sushi always contains rice as a base, sashimi is not sushi because there is no rice, it is simply thinly sliced raw meats. 

There are many types of sushi, there are eight main types of sushi; Makizushi,  Inarizushi, Sukeroku, Chirashizushi, Narezushi, Nigrizushi, and Oshizushi. Then there is the eighth type of sushi, this is the type that the Dragon Roll falls into.

This is known as western-style sushi. Simply because unlike the other sushi’s which originate in Japan, these types originate in the western world. 

Dragon rolls are occasionally called “caterpillar rolls”, this is because they look like caterpillars or dragons. With green layers of avocado and cucumber wrapped around the exterior, they look like they have dragon scales. They are also long and served in the shape of a caterpillar. 

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.


Looking over Dragon Rolls, let’s have a look at the traditional ingredients inside a dragon roll.

  • Avocado. 
  • Crab Sticks.
  • Cucumber.
  • Eel.
  • Sushi Rice. 
  • Sesame Seeds. (Sometimes)
  • Nori. (Sometimes)
  • Wasabi. (Sometimes)

Dragon rolls are very nutritious, they always use fresh ingredients that are high in Vitamin A, C, Calcium, Iron, Fiber, Potassium, and Magnesium. NOt only that but they’re great for your diet, dragon roll can be very filling and tasty and only contains just under 250 Calories! 

Knowing how nutritious they are and how low in Calories they are, now we can tell you how to make them, unless you are hugely against any of the ingredients, we are sure you are probably hankering for one of these right now. 

Making a Dragon Roll

Classic Dragon Roll
Red Dragon Roll
Black Dragon Roll
5 from 68 votes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4
Calories 245 kcal


Classic Dragon Rolls

  • 2-3 sheets Nori
  • 2 cups Sushi rice
  • An Avocado
  • A Cucumber.
  • 10 Sushi grade medium shrimp (10 should be enough)
  • 1/2 cup Tempura
  • 50 gm Tobiko (flying fish roe)
  • 50 gm sushi-grade barbequed eel.

Red Dragon Roll

  • 3 cups Sushi rice
  • A tablespoon of black sesame seeds
  • 6 sheets Nori
  • 1/2 Small cucumber
  • A small avocado
  • 6 oz Sashimi-grade tuna.
  • 1/4 cup fried onions
  • 1/4 cup Tobiko
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

Black Dragon Roll

  • Nori Leaves
  • 50 g Sushi rice
  • Rice wine vinegar (only a few millimeters).
  • 30-40 g Salmon keta
  • 30-40 g Lime
  • 1 Avocado


Classic Dragon Roll

  • Start by cutting the tails off of the shrimp and set aside. Keep one shrimp aside with its tail uncut for use later on. Add the tempura to a dash of water in a bowl. Mix it all together until the mixture is fairly thick. One by one dip the shrimp in and deep try them for half a minute each. You want them to be golden brown on the outside. Set them aside when done.
  • Now slice the cucumber into thin long sticks and peel the avocado into thin layers as well. Carefully spread the sushi rice onto a nori sheet and flip it over a mat so that the rice is facing upwards.
  • Now, place the cucumber and avocado slices you previously cut onto the price, followed by tempura shrimp and eel on top of that.
  • Roll it inside-out in style and cut the ends. Leave the rest whole for now.
  • Now, elegantly cover the top of the roll with the layers of avocado you peeled and use a mat (bamboo is best) to tighten it to the roll.
  • Use a spoon to carefully spread some tobiko onto the roll, it is up to you if you cover the entire roll or just the top side.
  • Now, you may cut the roll and realign it into the shape of a dragon. Use your imagination and have fun with it, you can use tobiko to create eyes, carrots for horns, and so on.
  • We recommend serving this wish with teriyaki sauce on top and soy on the side.

Red Dragon Roll

  • To start, slice up your tuna into 1cm square sticks. Then cut your avocado in half and scoop out the pulp. Once you have done this, slice it into thin sticks. Following that, cut the cucumber into thin slice.
  • Similar to above, roll the sushi inside-out in style, and place the tuna, avocado, and cucumber on top. Adding a little sriracha sauce on the top with a sprinkle of Tobiko. As some sesame seeds and fried opinions as well. Serve immediately.

Black Dragon Roll

  • Make up your rice and drain it, spread it onto a surface, and season it with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then cut your nori sheets in half and spread the rice around it evenly.
  • Slice up your avocado like before and overlap them into your rice like before.
  • Lay another nori sheet on top of your avocado and rice, use your mat to compact it.
  • Place the spiced tina inside the roll as you would with the crab meat in the red dragon roll.
  • Once done roll it up, cut, season, and serve.


Black dragon rolls are a unique type of spicy tuna sushi rolls. They usually include peppers, onions as well as a peppered tuna with some hot seasoning, and cucumber. This recipe is one for those who want to be a little more ambitious.


Calories: 245kcal
Keyword Black Dragon Roll, Classic Dragon Roll, Red Dragon Roll
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Types of Sushi.

If you are curious about the different types of sushi that exist, we have a list here for you. 

There are many types of sushi and if you are just entering the world, you may want to try a bit of each to find your favorite. 

Nigiri This sushi has a topping, which is usually fish, served on top of sushi rice. 

SashimiThis dish is fish or shellfish, served alone with no rice, and is always raw and delicious. 

Maki-  Maki is rice and a filling wrapped up in seaweed. 

Uramaki Uramaki is similar to Maki, but the rice is on the outside, while seaweed wraps the filling. 

TemakiTemaki is a sushi that has been hand-rolled into the shape of a cone with seaweed on the outside and all the fillings stuffed inside. 

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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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