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Delicious Philadelphia Roll Sushi Recipe

Delicious Philadelphia Roll Recipe with Step-by-Step Instructions
Close up shot of Philadelphia roll sushi

A distinctly American take on sushi rolls, Philadelphia rolls are a popular option in sushi restaurants all across the US and other parts of the world. The complementary flavors of the smoked salmon and cream cheese mixed with the crunch of the cucumber make this roll a real treat.

Best of all, these are one of the easier sushi rolls to make! We will take you through how to make this delicious roll step-by-step.

Close up shot of Philadelphia roll sushi

What is a Philadelphia Roll?

Widely popular in North America and other parts of the world, the Philadelphia roll is a type of sushi roll that is prepared in the uramaki style, or with the rice on the outside of the nori sheet (sheet of dried seaweed) and the fillings on the inside.

The Philadelphia roll offers a delicious combination of flavors and textures. The smoked salmon provides a savory smoky flavor, while the cream cheese adds a creamy and slightly tangy element to your roll.

This delicious combination of ingredients provides a Westernized twist on traditional sushi rolls.

What’s in a Philadelphia Roll?

Philadelphia Roll

The primary ingredients of a Philadelphia roll are sushi rice, a nori sheet, and cream cheese. It’s most often also made with salmon but I have seen crab or shrimp used as well. The filling usually also contains cucumber and sometimes avocado.

While I prefer the salmon to be included in the filling, it can also be prepared with the salmon draped over the top of the roll similar to an Alaska roll.

Also, I prefer to use smoked salmon as I think the smoky flavor goes well with the cream cheese. However, raw salmon is also commonly used in this roll.

How to Control the Thickness of Your Sushi Roll

You can control how thick your sushi rolls are by how much of the nori sheet you use.  This recipe uses the entire nori sheet which makes thicker rolls.If you like smaller rolls, you can cut the nori sheet in half.  This will definitely make the roll thinner and easier to eat with chopsticks but it can be trickier to roll.  You can also cut off the top 1/4 of the nori sheet to reduce the thickness of the roll depending on your preference.

How to Make a Philadelphia Roll?

While preparing all sushi rolls, the basic steps are cooking the sushi rice and any other cooked ingredients, cutting and preparing the ingredients, adding the ingredients to the nori sheets and rolling the sushi roll using a bamboo mat. See below for a step-by-step walk through of how to make Philadelphia rolls:

Cook Sushi Rice

1. Rinse 1 1/3 cup of sushi rice by placing it in a colander and running water through it until the water is clear.

Rinse the sushi rice in water prior to cooking

2. After the rice is rinsed, add it to a sauce pan with 1 2/3 cups of water.

Add sushi rice to a sauce pot with the amount of water as recommended on sushi rice package

3. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the rice simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft.

Bring sushi rice to a boil and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until fully cooked.

4. Remove the rice and place into a bowl or dish and let cool. I would line the dish with parchment paper prior to adding the rice to avoid sticking.

Add sushi rice to a bowl or casserole dish lined with parchment paper. This prevents the rice from sticking to the bowl or dish.

5. Mix 1/4 cup of sushi vinegar into your rice. Stir until it has absorbed into the rice. Once cooled and fully absorbed, your rice is ready to roll!

Mix sushi vinegar into the sushi rice using a chopping motion until the vinegar until fully absorbed into sushi rice.

Check out the following article for a deeper discussion into sushi rice and a recipe: Sushi Rice: Easy Sushi Rice Recipe

Prepare Ingredients and Assemble the Rolls

1. Slice the salmon: Slice your salmon into strips roughly 1/4 thick or even a little thinner. You ultimately want to cut enough slices so that you will be able to have a layer that stretches evenly over the entire length of each of your rolls.

2. Slice the cream cheese: Cut the cream cheese evenly into 4 strips that are the length of your nori sheet.

3. Cut the avocado and cucumber: Slice the avocado in half the long way. Remove the seed and cut each half into 6 slices. Each whole avocado should yield around 12 slices. I would also drizzle a little lemon juice over your cut avocado to prevent it from browning in your roll. Then cut the cucumbers into strips that are as long as your nori sheet and about 1/8 inch thick.

4. Prepare your bamboo sushi mat: Cover your bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap. This will help keep the rice from sticking to it.

5. Press rice onto nori sheets: Next, place the nori sheet onto the plastic wrap with the shiny side facing down. Then press around 1 cup of rice onto the nori sheet in an even layer. Tip: Mix a splash of sushi vinegar into a bowl of water and use to wet your hands prior to handling the sushi rice. This will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. Some people also use sushi vinegar for this.

Spread rice on nori sheet

6. Sprinkle sesame seeds over rice: Lightly sprinkle sesame seeds evenly across the rice, making sure to cover all the rice.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over rice

7. Flip the nori sheet over: Gently flip the nori sheet over so the rice is facing down. You will add the filling directly to the nori sheet with the rice on the outside.

Flip nori sheet over

8. Add the salmon: Add the slices of smoked salmon in an even layer across the bottom of the nori sheet.

9. Add the avocado and cucumber: Add the avocado slices and cucumber sticks horizontally along the nori sheet on top of the salmon. In general, I add 2-3 avocado slices and 1-2 cucumber sticks depending on the size of each ingredient and how everything fits.

10. Add the cream cheese: Add the strip of cream cheese to nori sheet next to the salmon, avocado and cucumber. Make sure your cream cheese strip (along with all your other ingredients) stretches the entire length of the nori sheet so that all the cut sushi pieces have the same amount of ingredients.

Fill the sushi roll

11. Roll the sushi: Use the bamboo sushi mat to fold your roll until it is completely enclosed. Once the rice is making contact with the nori sheet, pull back the sushi mat so it doesn’t get caught in the roll. Still using the sushi mat as your guide, finish rolling until the roll is completely wrapped. Then wrap the sushi mat around the roll and gently press, tightening the roll together.Keep in mind that rolling sushi is an art that may take some practice so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look perfect your first time. It will get easier the more you do it.

Rolling sushi

12. Cut the roll: Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 pieces. I do this by first cutting the roll in half. Then cutting each half in half. Then cutting each fourth in half. Tip: Be sure to clean and wet the edge of your knife before cutting each roll.

Cut the Philadelphia roll

13. Serve and enjoy: I usually serve with soy sauce and wasabi. Sushi rolls are traditionally served with pickled ginger as well.

Philadelphia Roll Recipe

Close up shot of Philadelphia roll sushi

Philadelphia Roll Recipe

Delicious Philadelphia Roll Recipe with Step-by-Step Instructions
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Philadelphia Roll, Philadelphia roll sushi
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Rolls
Calories: 419kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Bamboo Sushi Mat
  • 1 Pot for cooking sushi rice
  • 1 Sharp knife and cutting board

Ingredients

Sushi Rice

  • 1 1/3 cups Sushi Rice dried, will cook to 4 cups
  • 1/4 cup Sushi Vinegar

Sushi Roll

  • 4 Nori Sheets
  • 8 Ounces Smoked Salmon
  • 4 Ounces Cream Cheese
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 English Cucumber Sliced into 1/8 sticks
  • Lemon Juice
  • Black and white sesame seeds

Instructions

Cook Sushi Rice

  • Rinse 1 1/3 cup of sushi rice by placing it in a colander and running water through it until the water is clear.
  • After the rice is rinsed, add it to a sauce pan with 1 2/3 cups of water.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the rice simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft.
  • Remove the rice and place into a bowl or dish and let cool. I would line the dish with parchment paper prior to adding the rice to avoid sticking.
  • Mix 1/4 cup of sushi vinegar into your rice. Stir until it has absorbed into the rice. Once cooled and fully absorbed, your rice is ready to roll!

Prepare Ingredients and Assemble the Rolls

  • Slice the salmon: Slice your salmon into strips roughly 1/4 thick or even a little thinner. You ultimately want to cut enough slices so that you will be able to have a layer that stretches evenly over the entire length of each of your rolls.
  • Slice the cream cheese: Cut the cream cheese evenly into 4 strips that are the length of your nori sheet.
  • Cut the avocado and cucumber: Slice the avocado in half the long way. Remove the seed and cut each half into 6 slices. Each whole avocado should yield around 12 slices. I would also drizzle a little lemon juice over your cut avocado to prevent it from browning in your roll.
    Then cut the cucumbers into strips that are as long as your nori sheet and about 1/8 inch thick.
  • Prepare your bamboo sushi mat: Cover your bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap. This will help keep the rice from sticking to it.
  • Press rice onto nori sheets: Next, place the nori sheet onto the plastic wrap with the shiny side facing down. Then press around 1 cup of rice onto the nori sheet in an even layer. Tip: Mix a splash of rice vinegar into a bowl of water and use to wet your hands prior to handling the sushi rice. This will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. Some people also use sushi vinegar for this.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds over rice: Lightly sprinkle sesame seeds evenly across the rice, making sure to cover all the rice.
  • Flip the nori sheet over: Gently flip the nori sheet over so the rice is facing down. You will add the filling directly to the nori sheet with the rice on the outside.
  • Add the salmon: Add the slices of smoked salmon in an even layer across the bottom of the nori sheet.
  • Add the avocado and cucumber: Add the avocado slices and cucumber sticks horizontally along the nori sheet on top of the salmon. In general, I add 2-3 avocado slices and 1-2 cucumber sticks depending on the size of each ingredient and how everything fits.
  • Add the cream cheese: Add the strip of cream cheese to nori sheet next to the salmon, avocado and cucumber. Make sure your cream cheese strip (along with all your other ingredients) stretches the entire length of the nori sheet so that all the cut sushi pieces have the same amount of ingredients.
  • Roll the sushi: Use the bamboo sushi mat to fold your roll until it is completely enclosed. Once the rice is making contact with the nori sheet, pull back the sushi mat so it doesn't get caught in the roll. Still using the sushi mat as your guide, finish rolling until the roll is completely wrapped. Then wrap the sushi mat around the roll and gently press, tightening the roll together.
    Keep in mind that rolling sushi is an art that may take some practice so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look perfect your first time. It will get easier the more you do it.
  • Cut the roll: Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 pieces. I do this by first cutting the roll in half. Then cutting each half in half. Then cutting each fourth in half. Tip: Be sure to clean and wet the edge of your knife before cutting each roll.
  • Serve and enjoy: I usually serve with soy sauce and wasabi. Sushi rolls are traditionally served with pickled ginger as well.

Video

Notes

You can control how thick your sushi rolls are by how much of the nori sheet you use.  This recipe uses the entire nori sheet which makes thicker rolls.
If you like smaller rolls, you can cut the nori sheet in half.  This will definitely make the roll thinner and easier to eat with chopsticks but it can be trickier to roll.  You can also cut off the top 1/4 of the nori sheet to reduce the thickness of the roll depending on your preference.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Roll | Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.9g | Protein: 12.4g | Fat: 21.6g | Saturated Fat: 8.7g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 695mg | Potassium: 481mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 1.4g | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Philadelphia rolls good for you?

While smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber and nori are good for you, the sushi rice and cream cheese add sugar, fat and calories to your roll, making it one of the less healthy sushi options.

Are Philadelphia rolls gluten free?

Yes, all the ingredients in Philadelphia rolls are naturally gluten free.

Are Philadelphia rolls cooked?

Philadelphia rolls usually contain salmon that can be either smoked or raw. All other ingredients are cooked so if you use smoked salmon, there are no raw ingredients in the roll.

Final Thoughts on Philadelphia Rolls

You can’t go wrong with smoked salmon and cream cheese nicely wrapped with rice and nori combined with the refreshing crunch of cucumber and nutty flavor of avocado. Because preparing the Philadelphia roll has fewer steps than many other sushi rolls, this is a great recipe to start out with for all the aspiring sushi chefs out there. Happy cooking!

Check out the below articles for more great information and recipes:

The 25 Best Cooked Sushi

Delicious Shrimp Tempura Roll Recipe

How Long Does Salmon Last in the Fridge? Your Questions Answered

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