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You Can’t Go Wrong with A Philly Roll (Inside Out Roll, 8pc)


Total: 35 - 45 minutes

Sushi Rice: 30 - 40 minutes

Rolling: 5 minutes

“What do you think of Philly Roll? I mean, it’s not traditional to use cream cheese in Sushi, right?”

I get asked these types of questions during the sushi class. Quite often. The idea of “Authentic sushi” must be strongly invented in the mind of non-Japanese folks is my guess.

Let me clarify: Modern Japanese people eat pretty much everything you can think of, or eat more than what most westerners eat. Did you know there are more Italian flags than Japanese flags displayed in Japan? That is because there are many Italian and Pizza restaurants (operated by Japanese chefs) hanging Italian flags outside of their establishments. What does this mean is Japanese eat more than what westerners think of “traditional” Japanese food. This, of course, includes cheese.

Which brings us to a Philly Roll.

Yes, Philly Roll is not “Authentic” Sushi. It was not born in Japan. It’s an American Invention. But, Inside out (rice out) rolls are ALL AMERICAN INVENTION. I am still amazed that so many people don’t know about this fact (which is why I keep writing these articles and recipes.)

Though many people I talk to during my sushi class believe using cheese in Sushi is wrong - or more like offensive to the authenticity and tradition of Japanese cuisine, I say this: Japanese would use whatever they can to advance their culinary tradition. The spirit of Kaizen, never ending improvement, is always there and certainly, present in Sushi.

So, this is what I respond to the “Ok to use cream cheese in sushi?” questions. “Great idea! Smoked salmon and cream cheese go well.”


No Sushi Salmon? Use Smoked Salmon Instead

Sushi grade salmon may not be available where you live. If that is the case, you can use smoked salmon, which should be available at most supermarkets in US and the rest of the world.

Cucumber or not cucumber?

It’s certainly optional. Since cucumber has lots of water, it will add a nice refreshing taste to fatty smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Use plastic when putting fish egg

Use plastic to prevent fish egg from spreading all over the cutting board. It will keep your roll nice and clean and also save your cleaning time.

INGREDIENTS (for one roll):

  • 200g (1 cup) Sushi Rice

  • 1 Nori Seaweed, half sheet

  • 50 g Smoked Salmon or Sushi Grade Salmon

  • 2 -3 pcs Avocado, sliced ½ inch thick

  • 20g Cream Cheese

  • 20g Masago or Tobiko Fish Egg


  • Cutting Board

  • Knife

  • Makisu, Sushi Rolling Mat

  • Plastic wrap

  • Spoon


(How to spread rice for Inside Out Rolls, Step 3 - 12)

  1. Make Sushi Rice (follow this recipe).

  2. Wipe the cutting board with a wet towel to moisten.

  3. Place half sheet nori horizontally, rough side facing up.

  4. Wet your hands.

  5. Grab sushi rice, tennis ball size, approximately 200g.

  6. Place the sushi rice on the top left corner, shaping it like a potato.

  7. Using the bottom part of your left palm, apply pressure, spread the sushi rice horizontally.

  8. With your right hand, making a “U” shape, guide the sushi rice so that it covers the top half to 2/3 of the Nori.

  9. Rhythmically, turn your left hand three times to cover the top portion of the Nori with rice.

  10. Clean your hands with a wet towel, dip your fingers in the water.

  11. Using fingertips, apply the pressure, spread the rice to the bottom, from the left, center, and right.

  12. Spread the sushi rice all the way to the top and corners to cover the entire sheet of Nori as even as possible.

  13. Flip the Nori with Sushi Rice so the Nori is facing up.

  14. Place Smoked Salmon, Avocado first, then cream cheese using a spoon.

  15. Pick up the bottom edge of the Nori, roll like a Yoga mat. The bottom edge should land below the top edge of Nori.

  16. Seal, then roll another 90 degrees forward.

  17. P­­lace a Makisu over the roll and squeeze.

  18. ­­Place plastic wrap on the cutting board, spread Masago using a spoon.

  19. Flip the roll and place the top part on the fish egg, turn so that plastic covered part is facing up.

  20. Wrap it one more time with Makisu.

  21. Cut into eight pieces - keep cutting halves, starting from the center.

  22. Remove the plastic off from the roll.

  23. Plate and serve.

(Philly Roll, Steps 14 - 22)


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