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11 Most Popular Sushi Rolls to Order

most popular sushi rolls displayed on a restaurant table

Sushi is a creative blend of flavors, textures, and aesthetics that has won over the palates and hearts of foodies all over the world. Sushi roll options have grown to include a wide variety of inventive and delectable options as sushi restaurants continue to innovate and experiment. In this culinary journey, we set out to investigate the most well-liked sushi rolls, which are said to elevate your palate to new levels of delight. This guide serves as your entryway to the iconic and delicious rolls that have swept the sushi scene, whether you’re a seasoned sushi enthusiast or someone new to the world of raw fish and rice. The world of sushi is as diverse as it comes, ranging from traditional California rolls to avant-garde creations.

Rainbow Roll

Contents: Imitation crab, cucumber, avocado, salmon, tuna, shrimp, yellowtail

Rainbow Sushi Roll with salmon, eel, tuna, avocado, royal prawn, cream cheese Philadelphia, caviar tobica, chuka

We can’t help but be captivated by the stunning Rainbow Roll. This visually delightful and delectable roll is an American sushi classic and a favorite among many of us. As its name suggests, the Rainbow Roll boasts a vibrant array of colors that resembles a beautiful rainbow, making it a feast for both the eyes and the palate. At its core, the Rainbow Roll typically features a California Roll, which is made up of sushi rice, nori (seaweed), avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab meat. The magic truly begins when we see the roll topped with a variety of thinly sliced, fresh sashimi, including salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and sometimes shrimp or eel. These colorful toppings create the “rainbow” effect that gives this roll its name. As we savor each bite, we’re struck by the harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The succulent, velvety sashimi contrasts beautifully with the crunchy cucumber and creamy avocado. The nori adds a touch of umami, while the sushi rice, seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt, provides a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.

California Roll

Contents: Imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado. 

California roll maki sushi

Next on our sushi journey, we find ourselves drawn to the California Roll, an all-time favorite and a classic introduction to the world of sushi. As we take a closer look, we see that this inside-out roll comprises sushi rice, nori (seaweed), avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab meat. Biting into the roll, we experience a delightful interplay of textures and flavors: the creamy avocado, the crispy cucumber, and the tender imitation crab all nestled within the seasoned rice. As a perfect choice for sushi novices and those who prefer cooked ingredients, we can’t help but appreciate the simple yet delicious appeal of the California Roll.

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Spicy Tuna roll

Contents: Tuna and spicy mayo.

We are enticed by the Spicy Tuna Roll, a bold and flavorful delight that awakens my senses. This sushi roll features fresh, diced tuna combined with spicy mayo, wrapped in sushi rice and nori (seaweed). Upon taking a bite, I’m met with a harmonious fusion of flavors: the tender, rich tuna elevated by the fiery kick of the spicy mayo. The balance between the heat and the delicate taste of the fish creates a truly tantalizing experience. The Spicy Tuna Roll is an irresistible choice for those who crave a little spice in their sushi adventure.

Spider Roll

Contents: Tempura soft-shell crab, cucumber, avocado, and spicy mayo.

spider roll maki roll

Moving into cooked sushi, we’re captivated by the unique and delicious Spider Roll. This intriguing sushi creation features soft-shell crab that’s been lightly battered and deep-fried, accompanied by avocado, cucumber, and sushi rice, all wrapped in nori (seaweed). As we savor each bite, we’re struck by the incredible textural contrast between the crispy, succulent crab and the smooth avocado and crisp cucumber. Drizzled with a touch of unagi sauce or spicy mayo, the Spider Roll offers a delightful balance of flavors that keeps us coming back for more, making it an unforgettable part of our sushi experience.

Shrimp Tempura Roll

Contents: Shrimp tempura, avocado, and eel sauce.

crispy ebi tempura maki sushi roll

Continuing our exploration of sushi rolls, we encounter the scrumptious Shrimp Tempura Roll. This popular choice features succulent shrimp that has been coated in a light, crispy tempura batter and deep-fried to perfection. Paired with avocado, cucumber, sushi rice, and nori (seaweed), this roll is a perfect example of harmonious flavors and textures. As we indulge in each mouthwatering bite, the delicate crunch of the shrimp tempura melds beautifully with the creaminess of avocado and the refreshing crispness of cucumber. With its delectable combination of flavors and satisfying crunch, the Shrimp Tempura Roll has undoubtedly secured its place in our hearts as a sushi favorite.

King Crab Roll

Contents: King crab and mayonnaise.

As we continue our sushi adventure, we encounter the luxurious King Crab Roll. This exquisite sushi roll features succulent, tender king crab meat, often combined with avocado, cucumber, sushi rice, and wrapped in nori (seaweed). Every bite we take is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures; the sweet, juicy crab pairs perfectly with the creamy avocado and the crisp cucumber. This roll showcases the true essence of the king crab, providing a delectable and memorable sushi experience. The King Crab Roll stands out as a regal treat, leaving us savoring each delicious morsel and craving more.

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Dragon Roll

Contents: Eel, cucumber, crab sticks, eel sauce, and avocado.

Traditional Dragon Roll

The Dragon Roll, a personal favorite of mine. This captivating roll typically features a core of creamy avocado and tender eel or cucumber, enveloped by sushi rice and nori (seaweed). The roll is then topped with thinly sliced avocado, resembling the scales of a dragon, and drizzled with a rich unagi sauce. We experience an exquisite combination of flavors and textures – the buttery avocado, the savory eel, and the refreshing cucumber, all perfectly complemented by the sweet unagi sauce. The Dragon Roll truly captures the essence of culinary artistry, making it an unforgettable part of my sushi experience.

Boston Roll

Contents: Shrimp, cucumber, and avocado.

A sushi menu would not be complete without the delightful Boston Roll, a favorite for many of us. This roll pays homage to the city’s seafood tradition, featuring succulent poached shrimp as the star ingredient. Paired with fresh avocado, crisp cucumber, and a touch of Japanese mayonnaise, the roll is wrapped in sushi rice and nori (seaweed). As we savor each bite, we’re struck by the perfect harmony of flavors, with the tender shrimp complementing the creamy avocado and refreshing cucumber. The Boston Roll offers a delicious and satisfying experience, solidifying its place among our favorite sushi rolls.

Alaska Roll

Contents: smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado, and optional asparagus.

alaska roll

As we continue our search for sushi, I come across the delectable Alaska Roll, another dish I can’t wait to share. With succulent, fresh salmon slices and creamy avocado at its core, this delicious roll pays homage to the pristine Alaskan waters. This roll, which is made of nori (seaweed) and sushi rice, offers a mouthwatering taste of the ocean. The symphony of tastes and textures that the buttery salmon and the creamy avocado create with each bite astounds me. The Alaska Roll is a crucial component of my beloved sushi experience because it gives you a genuine taste of the wealth of the ocean.

Philly Roll

Contents: Salmon, avocado, and cream cheese.

philadelphia roll

We can’t wait to talk about how much we adore the Philly Roll. This unusual roll, which combines delicious smoked salmon, decadent cream cheese, and crunchy cucumber, is modeled after the well-known Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich. This flavor fusion provides an irresistible taste sensation when it is wrapped in sushi rice and nori (seaweed). The silky smoked salmon and cream cheese contrast well with the cool cucumber as we savor each delectable bite, providing an appealing medley of tastes and sensations. We have a special place in our hearts for the Philly Roll, which stands out as a creative and delectable sushi dish.

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Cucumber Roll

Contents: Cucumber, rice, nori.

Amidst the world of sushi rolls, the cucumber roll stands out as a refreshing and delicious option. Crisp cucumber is the star ingredient in this straightforward but tasty sushi roll, which is covered in nori (seaweed) and sushi rice. This roll is the definition of simple, healthful food, with just a mild salt and vinegar taste. We enjoy the crisp, refreshing freshness of the cucumber as we chew, which is wonderfully complemented by the salty sushi rice. The Cucumber Roll is a crucial component of our sushi journey because it is the perfect choice for people looking for a light and energizing sushi experience.


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  1. Decided on the California Roll although I don’t eat sushi. I figured the ingredients are all to my liking. I loved it! I even tried a couple with a little wasabi…yummy. I can finally eat sushi. Next I’ll try the Boston Roll. I can’t wait. Thanks for the description list.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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