The 20 Best Types Of Sushi Ranked

Perhaps the most iconic Japanese food, sushi goes far beyond its initial impression of raw fish and rice. At its highest level, sushi is complex, with intricate knife work and deceptively simple components, such as sumeshi, often hailed as the most important part of great sushi.

The 20 Best Types Of Sushi Ranked

Sushi is more than just seafood, and a great example of this is inarizushi. Translated as "fox sushi" by NHK World, the sweet, stuffed abura-age, or fried tofu, is named after the Japanese folk belief that foxes love the ingredient.

20. Inarizushi

The flavors of this often vegetarian sushi are hearty, with plenty of texture and sweetness from the abura-age, which is marinated in soy sauce, sake, and mirin, and sometimes dashi. In Japan, inarizushi are commonly enjoyed in a bento or as a picnic item.

20. Inarizushi

It should come as no surprise that aptly named Philadelphia roll was first created in the city of Philadelphia. Inspired by Jewish cuisine, Madame Saito (aka the "Queen of Sushi") is often credited as the inventor.

19. Philadelphia Roll

Unlike most other sushi ingredients, tako, or octopus, needs several hours of preparation before it can be served. This is because fresh raw octopus is far too tough to be eaten straight (via Sushi University). Improperly prepared octopus is rubbery and basically inedible, making this seafood item a difficult ingredient to master.

18. Tako

A heady mixture of raw tuna and hot sauce, the spicy tuna roll is easily one of the most popular menu items in American sushi restaurants. Thrillist credits the creation of the spicy tuna roll to Maneki restaurant in Seattle.

17. Spicy Tuna

Besides nigiri and maki rolls, another common type of sushi is the temaki. Translating to "hand roll," according to Serious Eats, temaki is basically sushi rice and ingredients wrapped in a nori cone.

16. Temaki

Considered by many to be the easiest sushi to make, temaki can feature a wide range of ingredients — from vegetables to cooked or raw fish to pickles. Because its filled with so many ingredients, it is generally recommended that the diner only dip the corner of the nori into soy sauce to avoid overpowering the flavors of the roll.

16. Temaki

With over 100 types of squid in Japan, squid is considered an affordable and common ingredient in Japanese cooking (via Sushi University). When served fresh and sliced properly, raw squid is a tasty sushi ingredient.

15. Squid

From the deep-fried soft shell crab in spider rolls to the Dungeness crab (or imitation crab, more often) in California rolls, crab is a popular sushi ingredient. In Japan crab is often served nigiri style, with the sweet shellfish being the star of the show.

14. Crab

Probably the most common type of raw fish for sushi besides tuna, salmon is delicious both raw and lightly seared. While there are many varieties of salmon, masunosuke, or king Salmon, is considered to be a top choice for sushi.

13. Salmon

This festive American-style sushi roll is generally filled with tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab, all topped with more avocado and a drizzle of unagi sauce (via Just One Cookbook).

12. Dragon Roll

Besides the actual fish, salmon roe, or ikura, is also a popular sushi ingredient. Ikura is highly prized in Japanese cuisine, possessing a distinctive flavor and texture. The best way to describe the roe is juicy, with a clean and briny taste that pops in the mouth.

11. Ikura

This fun sounding roll is a classic of the American sushi lexicon. Filled with whole pieces of deep-fried soft-shell crab, avocado, cucumber, and sometimes asparagus or radish, this roll is hearty by sushi standards.

10. Spider Roll

Fish and shellfish aren't the only stars of the sushi show. Tamagoyaki, a Japanese omelet, is one such sushi ingredient that highlights the humble egg. In sushi, tamagoyaki can be served on top of rice as nigiri or by itself.

9. Tamagoyaki

Found on the menu at most sushi restaurants in the U.S., the colorful rainbow roll is essentially an upgraded California roll topped with slices of sashimi and other ingredients (like avocado, salmon, tuna, and yellowtail) explains The Japanese Bar.

8. Rainbow Roll

Like all fish, different parts of the tuna will contain more fat than others. While lean akami is delicious, some sushi lovers prefer the luxurious and rich toro, cut from the fattier pieces of the tuna.

7. Toro

You may be familiar with shrimp tempura, which is used in many American-style sushi rolls, and while delicious, it is a completely different dish compared to shrimp nigiri.

6. Shrimp

A prized ingredient in sushi, uni (or sea urchin) is a relatively modern addition. In fact, Sushi Modern explains it wasn't until after World War II that Japanese sushi chefs started to embrace the ingredient in sushi nationwide.

5. Uni

One of the most popular sushi rolls in the U.S., the California roll was not invented in Japan. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the California roll was created in the 1960s by Japanese sushi chef Ichiro Mashita at Tokyo Kaikan, a restaurant in LA's Little Tokyo.

4. California Roll

Kampachi, or greater amberjack, is a clean-tasting fish with a beautifully crisp texture and excellent balance of fat. Best consumed during summer and early fall, according to Savor Japan, kampachi is one of the best fish for nigiri.

3. Kampachi

Underrated in the U.S. for most sushi eaters, the humble mackerel, or saba, is a must-order for any sushi fan. For many, mackerel can be a divisive ingredient, seen as oily, fishy, and filled with bones.

2. Saba

While individual taste may vary, there's no denying tuna's outsized influence in sushi. Besides its popularity, tuna is also literally huge. For instance, Pacific Bluefin Tuna can reach 10 feet in length and top 1,000 pounds in weight (via Monterey Bay Aquarium).

1. Akami

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