Maki VS Temaki 4 Differences & How To Tell Them Apart

If you are in that phase of your life where you are exploring different cuisines and the Japanese cuisine enchanted your taste buds, then I believe you must have fallen in love with the charm of sushi. And are you trying to discover more and more about sushi? Yes, and also did the concept of Maki and Temaki baffled your brain? Then you are just at the perfect place.

If you have visited a cafe popular for its Japanese food, you must have picked up the menu and wondered which one would be better? maki or temaki? I will tell you.

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What are maki and temaki and what is their prime difference?

Maki is the classic sushi omnipresent in cafes and restaurants. Structurally, it appears as a cylinder cut into either 6 or 8 pieces. There are several types of Maki, including Hosomaki and Futomaki.

Temaki is a sushi hand roll- a single large cone-shaped piece on the outside can be stuffed with varieties of ingredients and becomes complicated to eat with a chopstick.

Maki and Temaki both are covered with nori sheets, an edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine but Temaki has the tendency to soak up and moisturize. Hence, you need to grab your temaki roll and eat it as soon as your order arrives.

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Also, to prepare a maki roll, you need to be a virtuoso chef with a good culinary experience. If you manage to cook a perfect maki roll on your first go, it would be magical. However, temaki is perfect for beginners to make because temaki does not require a complex process.

Maki and Temaki, however, are equally popular Japanese dishes with almost equal flavouring, taste and ingredients. Some might say these dishes have no variation. So how do you actually differ between the two dishes more extensively? Here are some ways which can help you get your pick.

The difference in appearance between Temaki and Maki

The first and foremost way the foodie realizes that the two dishes are different is through their shape and size. Maki is cylindrical, cut into 6 or 8 small pieces, and each piece is finely cut. Maki is usually a one-bite food, which can be served as an appetizer, much like hors d’oeuvres.

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Temaki, however, needs the rice to be spread differently unlike that of a maki roll. Usually, the rice is rolled on the layer of Temaki to make it look like an ice cream cone, long and conical. Temaki is eaten in a way you would eat a subway. It cannot be cut into smaller pieces, if you do, it won’t be called a temaki then.

Maki is ubiquitous, temaki is not

Usually, when you go to an eatery, the first sushi roll to show up on the menu will be Maki. Usually, maki is served as an appetizer. If you watch a lot of movies and tv shows, you may have noticed maki rolls decorated in a platter and it is served by waiters. Perhaps it is because maki is fancier sushi.

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After all, the appearance and charisma reflected by the dish have become a principal factor in the culinary industry.

Temaki, however, is uncommon and you would not see many people ordering a temaki. You would not happen to know about temaki if you are not into Japanese cuisine. Although, that does not make it any less tasty than maki rolls.

If you are an amateur cook, try making temaki

If you want to dazzle your friends and family by cooking a dish belonging to foreign cuisine, temaki should be on the top of your bucket list. An admirable fact about temaki is that it is beginner-friendly. Temaki is much easier to make when compared to making maki rolls. Temaki rolls just require some deft hands and caution.

If your kid says he wants to experience what cooking is like, make him your little chef by letting him make temaki rolls. Temaki rolls are kid-friendly, as long as they are supervised. It is really difficult to make a mess out of temaki rolls.

The fun part is, temaki rolls can be customised in any way possible and innovate new sushi styles. They use a thinner nori sheet and do not need a precise cut as maki rolls do and it can be cut in half so as to obtain 2 temaki rolls. To add some flavour to your roll, you can also add rice to enhance flavour.

If your roll appears a little crooked, do not fret. Until the bottom is sealed sharply and there is no sign of rice does falling out, you are all good to go.

However, maki rolls don’t treat cooks the same way. One wrong cut or overfilling brings you back to step one. In other words, not at all beginner-friendly. The right amount of everything and exact cut techniques should be known.

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Maki can be shared, temaki is hard to share

Temaki is a long roll meant for a single person. Maki is cut into smaller pieces and is preferably shared. If you go on to split the temaki, the fillings may spill and make a mess. It is eaten like a subway. If you would not like the other person to bite on the same food you eat, which may also disgust some foodies. And, if you cute temaki, it would be no longer called temaki.

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Maki roll is easier to share among people. People do not have to face problems like tearing the food into two parts. So, if you are extremely hungry and would not like to share food with your mate, you know exactly what to order!

All the primary sushis

I believe that I have shared every information about maki and temaki you need to know. Now let’s talk about all the other types of sushis that exist in Japanese cuisine. If you have not eaten sushi before and want to know your ideal sushi type, I can help you out.

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Out of all sushi rolls, makizushi or California roll is known to be the most typical dish that can be found in nearly every restaurant that serves sushi. Maki is layered with rice and seaweed. As per the ingredients to stuff into a maki roll, it truly depends on the chef. Maki needs to be crafted and cut with detail and dexterity.

Some say if you haven’t tried a maki roll, you are missing out on Japan’s best sushi. So if you are throwing a birthday party or hang out with your friends, the makizushi shall do just the right job!


Uramaki comes under the traditional sushi rolls and is an “inside-out”‘ sushi. The stuffing is wrapped in nori sheets, surfaced entirely with sushi rice. There is a further add-on of roe, onions and many more taste-enhancing components.

Uramaki is called the “rebel roll” because it stands out of the rules to wrap up typical sushi.


Hosomaki is a thinner version of makizushi. It only needs to be filed with one ingredient and that’s it. Usually, the onion maki and cucumber maki are parts of hosomaki because they only have one filling.


Out of the bigger makis that you see with 3 or 4 fillings, there is a high chance that it must be a futomaki. So a roll that includes rice, salmon or tuna, roe and cucumber will make a futomaki.


A singular hand roll sushi meant for a singular person with as many stuffings as required. Layered with nori sheets, it mainly consists of vinegared rice, fish and cucumber. The prime distinction of Temaki is its structure, which is not like sushi.

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Gunkanmaki is the fanciest of sushis to ever exist. It is more of a delight from its appearance than its taste. Relatively smaller, it is bite-sized and is made with high culinary expertise.

The sushi rice is surrounded by nori sheets, and it is constructed in a way to give it the finest look possible. Gunkanmaki uses roe as its most common topping.


Nigiri is a raw sushi cut into fine strips. If you are into anime, you would often see sushis like Nigiri being portrayed. The fish is laid as an envelope over a ball of rice and is one of the sushis which have a subtle spice. This happens due to a thin punch of wasabi between the layers.

You can devour a nigiri in a single bite because it usually contains one stuffing. But sometimes, the larger ones may require more bites, but there can only be one ingredient and that’s the rule when you prepare nigiri.


There have been numerous arguments going on about whether you can call sashimi sushi or not. Sashimi does not have rice as an ingredient and that is quite astonishing that the whole concept of sushi is based on rice.

However, if we consider sashimi as sushi, it may be one of the spiciest ones. Sashimi may seem simple and plain but is one of the most expensive sushi because of its high-quality meat and exceptional skill to cut the fish in the right combination.

I am positive that you will be impressed by the quality that charms out of regular sushi. The flavours are subtle and delicate and if you are able to catch up on its real taste, deem yourself an official Japanese cuisine admirer.

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Summing Up

So that was pretty much all about maki and temaki. I am sure you must have gotten the right pick for yourself. Developing a taste in sushi is one of the finest experiences you will countenance. Moreover, now when there is an internet feud about which sushi tastes better, you will be all set!

Most people choose uramaki over any other sushi. But your taste buds may not say the same. Explore every sushi and come back with a good review.

Whether it is maki or temaki, I hope sushi bedazzles you too, like it has done many other foodies around.

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