Kappamaki (Cucumber Sushi Roll)

Kappamaki (Cucumber Sushi Roll)

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 8 rolls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
373 Calories
3g Fat
78g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 373
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 439mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 28%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 225mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Japan, cucumber rolls are called kappamaki, and they happen to be one of the most popular sushi rolls.

Making sushi rolls requires a careful attention to detail, but they're not hard. In fact, this is a good recipe to start with if the process is unfamiliar to you because it only requires three ingredients: nori (dried seaweed), sushi rice, and cucumber. As there is no fish included, this roll is also perfect for vegetarians and vegans. (It also happens to be a roll that children in Japan enjoy.)

The word kappa doesn't actually mean cucumber in Japanese (that is kyuuri); it refers to a demon or imp figure from Japanese traditional folklore whose favorite food was believed to be cucumbers. The word kappa is related to water; it's a combination of words meaning "river" and "child." And so, kappa is associated with cucumbers, hence the name of this sushi roll. Interestingly, no other Japanese cucumber dishes are called kappa.

This recipe calls for Japanese cucumbers, which are long, slender, and thin skinned. They do not have seeds or any bitter taste and are therefore easy to handle and a pleasure to eat. If you cannot find Japanese cucumbers, mini Persian or English cucumbers are good substitutes. In a total pinch, you can use garden-variety cucumbers, but be sure to scrape out their seeds.


  • 4 sheets nori, cut in half

  • 6 cups prepared sushi rice

  • 2 Japanese cucumbers, cut into long sticks

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Kappamaki (cucumber sushi roll) ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Put a piece of nori on top of a bamboo mat (makisu).

    Piece of nori on top of a bamboo mat

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Spread about 3/4 cup of sushi rice on top of the nori.

    Spread sushi rice on top of the nori

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Place 1/8 of the cucumber sticks horizontally on the rice.

    Cucumber pieces on top of the rice and nori

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Roll up the bamboo mat, pressing forward to shape the sushi into a cylinder.

    Roll the nori around the rice and cucumber using the bamboo mat

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Press the bamboo mat firmly with your hands.

    Press the bamboo mat firmly around the sushi roll

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Unwrap the bamboo mat and remove the sushi roll. Repeat the process to make more rolls.

    Sushi roll on top of a bamboo mat

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Wipe a knife with a wet cloth before slicing sushi.

    Knife and wet cloth on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Cut the sushi roll into bite-sized pieces.

    Kappamaki (cucumber sushi roll) cut into pieces

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Store Kappamaki

As with most sushi rolls, kappamaki is best and freshest the day it is made, but it will keep for a day or so if need be, covered in the refrigerator. You can make the sushi rice, which is a stickier rice, ahead of time, or slice the cucumbers a few hours ahead of time, or the night before, to ease the prep process.