Spicy (Tinned) Tuna Rolls

Close up spicy tuna and avocado sushi rolls cut size up on a sushi rolling mat.

I don’t know why, but January always makes me crave sushi, or something else sushi or raw fish inspired. Looking back through my archives, in 2018 I kicked off the New Year with an Easy Salmon Poke Bowl, and in 2019 I made California Fresh Crab & Avocado Summer Rolls with Creamy Miso Yogurt, with my Korean Sashimi Salad following the month after.

Since leaving London, easy access to sushi is something I greatly miss. Yes every time I head into Canterbury I make sure to bring some of Happy Samuri’s fantastic made-to-order sushi selection home, but that is pretty much it. And I really, really miss eating sushi.

So, I decided to make my own.

Now, if you have a brilliant fish counter near you that sells sushi grade fish, brilliant. I really miss not having Moxton’s in East Dulwich literally around the corner from my house now I’ve moved, but I know there are people out there who just don’t want the bother of working with raw fish at home. So, I’ve re-created one of my favourites, the spicy tuna roll, with a can of tinned tuna.

Close up spicy tuna and avocado sushi rolls cut size up on a sushi rolling mat with white chopsticks and a blue dipping bowl of soy sauce.

How, I do have a special bamboo sushi rolling mat (ad) at home (I’ve used it as a backdrop in this pictures) which I would really recommend getting if you want to learn how to make your own sushi (it is actually rather easy) though if you want to give this recipe a go first before investing, a piece of baking parchment to stop the rice sticking set over a clean tea towel folded in half would be a good substitute – think of it a bit like making a swiss roll but without letting the tea towel get wrapped up in the roll!

Now, there are a few more Japanese speciality ingredients you might want to get your hands on, as well as a few substitutes. Sriracha, sushi rice and nori toasted seaweed sheets are pretty common place now, but Kewpie, Japanese mayonnaise can be found on the sushi counter in some Sainsbury’s stores, and online (ad). You can of course sub in light mayonnaise if you would prefer, or vegan mayo if you’d like to keep these dairy free. Furikake is a blend of sesame seeds, seaweed flakes and sometimes shisho I adore which you can find in Whole Foods or online (ad), but you can always sub in toasted sesame seeds, or leave the sesame out completely. All of this of course can also be found in a good Asian supermarket.

Once you’ve mastered this sushi roll, you’ll be able to play around with your own flavours and combinations.

Oh, and for that little something on the side, do check out my recipe for homemade sushi ginger – so much better than shop bought!

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Spicy (Tinned) Tuna Rolls

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes (plus cooling time)
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Sushi
  • Cuisine: Japanese


These easy Spicy Tuna Rolls with avocado use tinned tuna rather than fresh to make homemade sushi accessible and suitable for everyone!



For the Sushi Rice

  • 250g (9 oz) sushi rice
  • 3 tbsp Japanese rice wine vinegar (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

For the Spicy Tuna Rolls

  • 1 x 160g (5.5 oz) tin tuna in spring water or brine
  • 11 1/2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Furikake (plus extra for sprinkling) 
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 sheets nori seaweed 


  1. First, make the sushi rice. Measure the rice into a small lidded saucepan with 350ml (1 1/3 cups) cold water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Clap on the lid and leave to simmer on the heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the rice wine vinegar and salt together until the salt is dissolved. Set aside. 
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, making sure to keep the lid on. Leave to steam with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  4. Fold roughly 1/4 of the vinegar salt mixture into the rice. A few minutes later add another 1/4 and so on until you’ve added all the seasoning. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, make the tuna filling by combining the tuna, sriracha (to taste), Kewpie mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, chives and Furikaki, and slice the avocado. 
  6. To assemble the tuna rolls lay a nori seaweed sheet shiny side down on a bamboo sushi rolling mat or on a piece of baking parchment on a clean tea towel folded in half. Using a bamboo sushi paddle or wet fingers press 1/3 of the rice into the sheet leaving about 2cm clear at the edge furthest from you.
  7. Lay 1/3 of the avocado slices down the middle of the rice and spoon 1/3 of the tuna mixture along the avocado.
  8. Starting at the edge of the sushi roll nearest you and using the sushi mat / tea towel to guide you tightly roll the sushi roll away from you, making sure not to roll the mat into the sushi roll. Allow the roll to fall out of the mat and leave it to rest, seam side down until you have repeated the steps with the other two nori sheets and the rest of the filling.
  9. Transfer the sushi rolls to a cutting board. Dip a very sharp knife in cold water before slicing the sushi rolls, wetting the knife between each cut.
  10. Serve your spicy tuna rolls sprinkled cut side up with a little more Furikake, with Japanese soy sauce for dipping, a swipe of wasabi and some homemade sushi ginger.


Make sure to use Japanese rice wine vinegar which is seasoned, rather than Chinese, which is not.