Maki Vs Temaki – Are They the Same? See These 6 Differences!

Who doesn’t love sushi? Most of us are too busy downing pieces of sushi to note the differences between maki and temaki. As long as it tastes good, we are happy. But if you are slightly more curious than the average sushi fanatic you may be interested in knowing the differences between maki and temaki. This article is going to be the ultimate temaki vs maki guide and quickly turn you into a sushi expert. Let’s get started!

What is the difference between maki and temaki? Maki is your standard sushi roll with rice, raw fish in the middle, and enclosed in seaweed. These sushi rolls are usually sliced into 6 or 8 pieces. Temaki is similar (rice, seaweed, and raw fish) but are cone-shaped rolls and it is not cut into pieces.

Temaki is not designed to be shared. Instead, you are supposed to grab the pointy end of the cone which is enclosed in seaweed and bite into the open end where most of the raw fish is located. In contrast with maki sushi, you are expected to pick up bite-size chunks with chopsticks. Maki sushi contains much less seaweed than temaki and because it has already been cut up it is perfect for sharing with friends and family.

Now you understand the basic differences and similarities between maki and temaki, let’s explore them in a little more depth!

What Are the Similarities Between Maki vs Temaki?

Maki and temaki are very similar. They both are types of sushi rolls containing rice, seaweed, and raw fish.

1. Casing

Both maki and temaki sushi rolls are encased in seaweed. The seaweed is used to keep the sushi rolls together and provides the rolls with their distinct shape. The seaweed also adds some nice texture and a salty/briny flavor to the sushi. If you don’t like seaweed, avoid both maki and temaki and instead stick with nigiri or sashimi.

2. Rice

Both maki and temaki sushi rolls are loaded with classic sticky white sushi rice. In both maki and temaki, the white rice surrounds the filling and is wrapped in seaweed. If you aren’t a big fan of sushi rice, then you are better off ordering sashimi which is just slices of raw fish without any rice.

3. Filling

Technically maki and temaki sushi rolls can feature any filling you can imagine. However, most maki and temaki contain raw salmon or tuna. Other common variations include chicken or crab. There is no strict rule when it comes to filling, and both maki and temaki have similar fillings.

After reading about all of these similarities, you may be thinking that maki and temaki are the same thing. Not so fast! Keep reading our maki vs temaki guide to understand the differences between these sushi rolls.

What is the Difference Between Maki vs Temaki?

The main difference between maki and temaki is the shape. Maki is a cylinder that has been cut into small pieces, while temaki is a large cone shape that is uncut. Also, maki is designed to be shared, while temaki is only for one person.

1. Cone Shape Vs Cylinder

The biggest difference between maki and temaki is the shape. Maki are your classic cylinder-shaped sushi rolls that are then cut into circular bite-sized shapes. In stark contrast, temaki are cone-shaped rolls that are never cut up.

2. Maki is Designed For Sharing

As maki rolls are chopped into nice little bite-sized pieces, you can easily lean over your friend’s shoulder and grab some of their sushi. Unfortunately, temaki sushi is not designed to be shared. Temaki is served as one big uncut cone. You could cut it up, but most of the filling is placed towards the top of the cone so you can’t just cut it in half and give your buddy half.

3. Maki is More Common

You will find maki at virtually every sushi restaurant you turn up at. This is not the case with temaki. Temaki is a fairly recent trend and is more popular in casual sushi restaurants or takeaway places. We personally prefer the classic maki sushi rolls.

4. Temaki Has More Filling

In maki sushi, there is a thin strip of raw fish running down the center of the roll. Maki rolls are mostly rice which means it can be hard to get full when eating them. Temaki rolls tend to have a lot more filling. Some temaki have a pile of raw salmon or tuna at the opening of the cone. If you are looking for a protein kick, ordering some temaki may do the trick!

5. Temaki Is Eaten With Hands

If you get anxious at the thought of using chopsticks, then temaki is the perfect sushi for you! It is perfectly acceptable to pick up temaki with your hands and take a big bite. Temaki is usually too big to pick up with chopsticks, and as the filling is top-heavy, it doesn’t make sense to cut it up.

In contrast, most people eat maki with chopsticks. The small pieces are easy to pick up with chopsticks, quickly dip in some soy sauce and then plop in your mouth! As maki are pre-cut, they are much more comfortable to eat, but there is something fun about eating temaki with your hands. It will remind you of a sushi taco!

6. Temaki is Easier To Make

If you make the smallest mistake when making maki, the roll will collapse, tear, or won’t close. There is a reason that sushi chefs in Japan spend years and years studying before they are allowed to create sushi rolls.

If you are a home cook and are thinking of creating sushi for the first time, we recommend starting with temaki. You don’t need expert rolling skills and don’t need to create a smooth cylinder shape. Just wrap everything in seaweed, and if it ends up resembling a cone, that is a bonus!

What Are Some Other Types Of Sushi?

There are 5 common types of sushi. These include:

  • Nigiri
  • Maki
  • Uramaki
  • Temaki
  • Sashimi

We have already covered maki and temaki. So here is some more information on the other common types of sushi so the next time you hit your favorite sushi spot, you can impress the waiter.


Nigiri is the most traditional and popular form of sushi. Nigiri features a strip of raw fish laid over a clump of white sticky rice. The most popular toppings are salmon and tuna. Nigiri is extremely healthy, and even though the flavor is very subtle, it tastes amazing with a tiny bit of soy sauce and wasabi, washed down with sake!


If you are on a low-carb diet or aren’t a big fan of rice, sashimi is the perfect choice for you! Sashimi is nigiri without rice. Sashimi is just a slice of raw fish, typically salmon and tuna. Purists eat sashimi with just a touch of soy sauce and maybe some wasabi.


Uramaki is very similar to maki rolls. They are cylindrical sushi rolls that have been chopped into pieces. The only difference between uramaki and maki rolls is that with uramaki, the rice is on the outside, and the seaweed on the inside. Whereas with maki rolls, the rice is on the inside and seaweed on the outside. Uramaki rolls can have a range of filings, from cooked chicken to raw tuna and everything in between.

Final Thoughts

Maki and temaki are similar yet different! Just remember maki is your classic cylinder sushi roll chopped into small pieces. Whereas temaki is a large cone piece of sushi fully enclosed by seaweed. Both maki and temaki are made with rice and seaweed and can have any filling, but the most popular is raw salmon or tuna.

Maki vs Temaki FAQ

What does temaki roll mean?

A temaki roll is a cone-shaped sushi roll that is fully encased in seaweed and is filled with rice and typically raw fish. The filling often spills out of the top of the cone, and it is eaten with fingers rather than chopsticks.

Why is wasabi eaten with sushi?

Wasabi is eaten with sushi to add extra flavor to the often bland fish and white rice. In the past, wasabi also killed bacteria in the raw fish, making it safer to eat sushi.

What is temaki style?

Temaki style refers to sushi rolls that are rolled by hand into a cone shape. They are served whole, unlike maki, which is cut into small pieces. Temaki also features a filling that overflows from the top of the cone and is eaten with hands rather than chopsticks.

What are the 3 main types of sushi?

The 3 main types of sushi are maki (cylindrical roll with seaweed on the outside), temaki (large cone-shaped roll covered in seaweed), and uramaki (similar to maki but seaweed is on the inside of the roll, and the rice is on the outside).

What is sushi without rice called?

Sushi without rice is called sashimi. However, technically sushi must contain rice, so sashimi is a different Japanese dish, but it has the same type of raw fish used in nigiri (classic sushi with a ball of white rice and a strip of raw fish on top).

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