Difference Between Roll and Hand Roll

Main Difference – Roll vs Hand Roll

Roll and hand roll are two words that are often associated with the Japanese delicacy Sushi. Sushi roll is commonly known as Maki sushi while hand roll is also known as Temaki. The main difference between roll and hand roll is their shape and preparation; roll or maki is cut into small pieces while a hand roll is made of a rolled cone of seaweed. You’ll understand the difference between roll and hand roll after reading this whole article.

This article looks at,

1. What is a Roll
      – Meaning, Ingredients, Preparation
2. What is a Hand Roll
      – Meaning, Ingredients, Preparation
3. What is the difference between Roll and Hand Roll

Difference Between Roll and Hand Roll - Comparison Summary

What is a Roll

The Japanese name for rolled sushi is Makizushi. This is a cylindrical roll formed with the help of a makisu (a bamboo mat). The sushi rolls are traditionally wrapped in a seaweed (nori), but they can also be wrapped in soy paper, shiso leaves or a thin omelet. As seen in Figure 1, the filling whose main ingredient is vinegared rice is spread on the nori, which is placed on the makisu. Then it is rolled with the help of the makisu. This roll is cut into six or eight pieces.

Difference Between Roll and Hand Roll - 1

Figure 1: Preparing Maki sushi

There are three main types of rolls based on their shape. They are,

  • Hosomaki (Thin Rolls)
  • Chumaki (Medium Rolls)
  • Futomaki (Thick Rolls)

There are also inside out rolls called Uramaki. In this type of rolls, the nori is rolled up on the inside of the rice, so the outermost layer of the roll is rice.

Difference Between Roll and Hand Roll

Figure 2: Sushi rolls

What is a Hand Roll?

Hand roll, also known as Temaki, is a large cone-shaped roll, with a shape similar to that of an ice cream cone. The nori is on the outside, and the sushi ingredients spill out the wide end of the cone. This is usually eaten with fingers since it is difficult to pick it up with chopsticks. A hand roll is typically about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. They are not usually pre-made and are eaten quickly after making since the nori absorbs the moisture from the filling, which makes the roll less crisp and difficult to bite.

Difference Between Roll and Hand Roll

Figure 3: Hand roll or Temaki

Difference Between Roll and Hand Roll


Roll: Roll is a cylindrical sushi roll formed with the help of a bamboo mat.

Hand Roll: Hand roll is a large cone-shaped sushi roll.

Alternative Names

Roll: This is also known as Makizushi.

Hand Roll: This is also known as Temaki.


Roll: There are different types of sushi rolls including, Hosomaki, Chumaki, Futomaki and Uramaki.

Hand Roll: Hand roll (Temaki) is a type of a sushi roll.


Roll: Sushi rolls are cut into six to eight pieces.

Hand Roll: Hand roll is not cut into pieces.


Roll: Sushi rolls are eaten with chopsticks.

Hand Roll: Hand roll is eaten by hands.

Summary – Roll vs Hand Roll

Roll and hand roll are preparations of Sushi. There are different types of sushi rolls (maki sushi) and hand roll (Temaki) is one of them. The difference between roll and hand roll is their shape and preparation.

1. Guthrie, D. (n.d.). Maki Sushi or Sushi Rolls | Sushi rice rolled up in nori. Retrieved May 19, 2017, from />

Image Courtesy:
1.”Roll maki” By Peterjhpark at English Wikipedia  via
2.”Wikimania Sushi” By Wikimedia Israel – Wikimania 2011 Pre-ConferenceUploaded by Patrol110 via
3.”Temaki-zushi” By Arashiyama – Own work via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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