What salmon to use for sushi: A guide to perfect rolls

Sushi is a popular Japanese dish that has become a national phenomenon worldwide. It is no wonder that sushi rolls are now a staple in many parts of the world, and salmon is a favorite ingredient. So what salmon is best to use for sushi rolls? Here is a guide to help you choose the perfect salmon for your sushi rolls.

Types of Salmon

There are several types of salmon, but not all of them are suitable for sushi rolls. Here are the three most common types of salmon:

1. Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic Salmon is a type of salmon that originates from the Atlantic Ocean. It has a mild sweet taste, which makes it a popular choice among sushi lovers. However, Atlantic Salmon is not recommended for sushi rolls due to the high risk of parasites that it carries.

2. Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon, also known as Silver Salmon, has a delicate flavor and a firm texture that makes it ideal for sushi rolls. It is also less fatty than other salmon types, which gives it a clean taste. Coho Salmon is widely available and is a popular choice for sushi chefs.

3. Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon, also known as Red Salmon, has a distinctive bright red color and a rich flavor that makes it a favorite among sushi lovers. It has a firm texture and is easy to cut, making it ideal for sushi rolls. However, since it is prone to parasites, it is essential to buy only sushi-grade sockeye salmon.

Benefits of Using Sockeye Salmon in Sushi Rolls

Sockeye Salmon has several benefits that make it an excellent choice for sushi rolls:

  • High in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Low in mercury levels
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Distictive red color adds visual appeal to sushi rolls

How to Choose Fresh Sockeye Salmon for Sushi Rolls

When buying salmon for sushi rolls, it is essential to look for a few key things to ensure that the salmon is fresh and safe to eat:

  • Buy from a reputable fishmonger or sushi supplier
  • Look for bright red flesh with no dull or brown spots
  • Check for a fresh ocean smell, not a fishy odor
  • Ensure that the salmon has been cleaned properly with no scales or bones left
  • Choose sushi-grade sockeye salmon labeled with the FDA’s “MNRF” logo, which indicates that it has been properly frozen to kill parasites

How to Prepare Sockeye Salmon for Sushi Rolls

Preparing sockeye salmon for sushi rolls requires some skill and knowledge. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Thaw the frozen salmon in the fridge overnight
  2. Remove the skin and any bones left if any
  3. Cut the salmon into thin slices of sushi-grade quality using a sharp knife
  4. Use the salmon slices in sushi rolls or nigiri sushi

Bonus Tips for Using Salmon in Sushi Rolls

Here are some additional tips to help you make the perfect salmon sushi rolls:

  • Use a sushi mat to roll sushi
  • Use short-grain Japanese rice for sushi
  • Season the rice with sushi vinegar for the authentic sushi flavor
  • Experiment with other sushi ingredients like avocado or cucumber


Sockeye Salmon is the best salmon to use for sushi rolls due to its firm texture, rich flavor, and low parasite risk. When choosing sockeye salmon, look for sushi-grade quality, and prepare it properly for the best results. With these tips, you can make perfect sushi rolls that will impress your friends and family.


1. Is Atlantic Salmon safe for sushi rolls?

No, it is not recommended to use Atlantic Salmon for sushi rolls because it has a high risk of parasites. It is best to use sushi-grade salmon, such as Coho or Sockeye salmon.

2. How can I tell if salmon is safe to use for sushi rolls?

The salmon should have a bright red color with no dull or brown spots. It should also have a fresh ocean smell, free of any fishy odor. Make sure you purchase sushi-grade salmon that has been frozen properly to kill parasites.

3. Can I use frozen salmon for sushi rolls?

Yes, you can use frozen salmon for sushi rolls as long as it is properly thawed and prepared.

4. Is it necessary to remove bones from the salmon before using it for sushi rolls?

Yes, it is essential to remove any bones left in the salmon before using it for sushi rolls. This will ensure a safe and comfortable eating experience.

5. What type of rice should I use for sushi?

You should use short-grain Japanese rice for sushi. This type of rice has a sticky texture that holds the sushi rolls together well.

6. Can I be creative with my sushi rolls?

Absolutely! Sushi rolls are an excellent way to experiment with different ingredients and flavors. You can use other ingredients like avocado, cucumber, or cream cheese to add variety to your sushi rolls.


1. FDA. (2017). Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance Fourth Edition. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/media/80637/download

2. Salmon University. (2019). The Best Types of Salmon for Sushi. Retrieved from https://salmonuniversity.com/archives/9472

3. Sushi Encyclopedia. (2021). Sockeye Salmon – Sushi menu, Salmon. Retrieved from https://thesushienthusiast.com/salmon/salmon-sockeye/

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