How I Make Sushi Rolls for 3 People for Under 6 Dollars

I have stated before that one of the keys to financial independence is to save money on recurring expenses such as eating out.

This is my final product. Dinner is ready!

So, as my wife I can tell you, I am the cook in my house. Since my early college days, I have been perfecting my cooking abilities to the point that nowadays I can pretty much make any dish from any type of cuisine you can ever imagine.

One of the last types of cuisines I decided to tackle was Japanese, mainly sushi. I guess I used to think that it was too complicated and financially inefficient to keep fresh sashimi grade fish at home in order to make sushi. That was until about a year ago when I decided to go on YouTube and watch other regular people like myself make sushi.

To my surprise, sushi is incredibly easy to make. With very little practice, one can make sushi comparable to the average sushi restaurant out there. Yes, I know, sushi is a lot more than sushi rolls and it can take a lifetime to become an expert. My goal here was never to replace the fancy sushi restaurants out there but instead, to provide a simple, nutritious, and tasty meal for my family to enjoy when we are craving sushi (which happens quite often I must say).

So these days, I rarely go out for sushi but instead, I treat my family with Spicy Tuna or Philadelphia rolls for 3 people for under 10 dollars.

Before you start laughing and saying that is impossible, take a look at my simple recipe below and the approximate cost for the ingredients. Needless to say, cost and availability of these ingredients will vary dependent of the area in the US where you live.

My super simple and cheap Philadelphia Roll recipe (ready in approximately 30 minutes)

Ingredient Approximate Cost
I cup of sushi rice $0.50
1 ½ cups of water $0.00
2 sheets of seaweed paper (nori) $0.20
3oz. of smoked salmon $3.90  (I buy it at Aldi)
1 tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar $0.30
¼ cucumber $0.20
2 tablespoons cream cheese $0.20
1 tablespoon of sesame oil $0.07
½ avocado $0.35
sesame seeds to sprinkle $0.05
soy sauce $0.07
wasabi $0.10
Total Cost:   $5.94

So, there you have it! This is all you need in order to make 3 beautiful Philly sushi rolls. In addition to the ingredients, you will need to buy  a sushi making kit and a good sushi knife. But those are a one time expense that you will keep using for years to come.

Most of the time to prepare sushi rolls is spent waiting for the rice to cook (about 20 minutes) and cool down (about 5 minutes). You can use that time to cut the fish, vegetables, and nori so you have everything ready to start rolling them. It takes a little bit of practice to make your rolls but nowadays, I can make each roll in about 1 minute once I have everything else ready.

I used smoked salmon this time because I can keep it unopened in the fridge for up to two weeks and because I realize that sashimi grade salmon might not be easily available where you live . I often go to the Japanese store near my house and buy enough sashimi grade salmon for 3 rolls for about 5 dollars so if you use fresh salmon the total cost will go up to $7.40 or so. Still, a much better deal than spending $30 for takeout or $50 or higher if you go to a Japanese restaurant.

Keep in mind that although fresh fish for sushi is very expensive, you only need just a bit since you will be adding the rice, nori and vegetables.

To complete your meal, you might want to add a couple of cups of edamame (I buy mine frozen at Trade Joe’s or Grocery Outlet) and 3 packets of Instant Tofu Miso Soup.

There are plenty of recipes and YouTube videos out there to show you how to make Philadelphia rolls so I’m not going to teach that here but I’m including some pictures of how I make it here. Most importantly, I encourage you to try it (if you like sushi of course) and engage your kids and your spouse or significant other. Making sushi can be a lot of fun.



If you already make sushi at home or are planning to try it now, leave me a message below and share your experience.

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