20 Popular Sushi Toppings You Must Try

20 Popular Sushi Toppings You Must Try

Jun 06, 2024Jon Ng

Chopsticks just slow me down!!

Whenever I am up for sushi, exactly this is what I end up saying to myself.

But there's always room for more sushi in my stomach!

Yes! We Japanese are obsessed with sushi just like this and never get tired of trying the variety of sushi when we get the chance.

You must know, Japan is the origin of sushi and is unquestionably credited for introducing the delicacy to the rest of the world.

But do you know that the making of sushi is like a craft that requires only close watching and learning?

And your sushi will appear more crafty, alluring & delightful if you embellish it with the perfect toppings.

Many of my foreign sushi-lover friends often ask a common question; how to make sushis more appealing with toppings.

If you are also eager to know about it, this article is going to help you with assorted types of popular sushi toppings ideas, categorized into raw flesh, seafood, vegetarian, and so on.

So, let's explore the most used toppings & make your sushi tickle you from inside!

What are some popular Sushi toppings?

Some popular sushi toppings are: Fish roe, Ikura, Salmon, Maguro, Katsuo, Ebi, Japanese beef, Avocado, cucumber, sesame seeds, jalapeno peppers, pickled seaweed, crumbed prawns with salad.

Read on to find more sushi toppings.

Popular Sushi Toppings That You Should Never Miss Trying At Least Once

As a sushi lover, you certainly can experiment with several items that may be used to make delectable sushi roll toppings.

sushi toppings

Here I've compiled a list of our top recommendations for some of the best options accessible.

First, I will start with the raw fish & meat-based toppings, which are leading the sushi world & famous globally.

Tobiko (Fish Roe)

You've probably noticed some bright colored tiny pearl balls on top of Japanese sashimi or sushi rolls while strolling around a supermarket or any sushi restaurant.

But, have you ever got wondered what was that?

Well, that's actually a widely used sushi topping made from flying fish roe (Tobiko in Japanese).

Flying fish roe

Tobiko is usually served as a topping over clump sushi rice tied together by seaweed and garnished with cucumber.

A gent smoky or salty taste with a bit of sweetness and a crunchy texture makes the topping irresistible!

Moreover, tobiko is an excellent source of protein, minerals & omega 3 fatty acids which are fundamentally good for health.

You might be glad to know that it is thoroughly pasteurized before serving raw, making it absolutely safe to eat.

Tobiko Sushi

But there's something I want to warn you about.

And that is, never overeat this.

Tobiko has high cholesterol content, so eating without moderation may raise your cholesterol level.

But this will surely not lessen your hype for this fantastic sushi covering!

Let's know about another exciting fish roe sushi topping!

Ikura (Salmon Roe)

One late autumn, one of my foreign friends came to visit Japan & I took him for a sushi treat.

After telling him, salmon roe (Ikura in Japanese) sushi is one of the most popular dishes, I ordered two.


But my friend got a bit weird hearing about its popularity.

He thought it was an overly expensive and rare food.

But in Japan, it's widespread to garnish sushi rolls, which are affordable & easily accessible in just about every supermarket and convenience store.

Ikura sushi with chopsticks

So, I cleared his misconception & we both got ready with our chopsticks.

Salmon eggs are commonly garnished on seaweed-rolled rice to give the sushi plate a more appealing sight and provide more tastes to satiate the customer's desire.

Ikura Sushi

After stuffing it into our mouths, we both got a flavor explosion in our tastebud & ended up ordering more.

I think you already got the answer to why Ikura is considered a popular sushi topping.


Go on a sushi date with your partner & say, "You are the salmon to my sticky rice."

It will definitely melt your loved one's heart, just like the salmon topped sushi is melted in your mouth.

Yes, the charisma of salmon is not over yet.

We've known the salmon egg as a topping, but the salmon flesh is no less than that.

Salmon Flesh Sushi

A sushi plate is incomplete without the piece covered with orange flesh with white stripes.

But let me mention one thing!

Salmon is not a traditional Japanese topping, but it's popularly eaten as a sushi topping worldwide, including in Japan.

From beginners to chain sushi maniacs, everyone prefers the salmon topping due to its medium softness & mildness in flavor.

Also, you are getting this type of sushi topping at a low cost.

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Usually, it is served on steaky rice seasoned with soya sauce & wasabi, entirely making a perfect harmony of savor.

Salmon topped sushi with rice & wasabi

Are you concerned about eating raw salmon?

I know it's a matter to be.

Now I will tell you about the safety check of raw salmon.

The sushi makers ensure appropriate farming of the salmon & they never use previously frozen fish.

So you can fearlessly swallow it because it's hard to mess up sushi when topping it with salmon!

Maguro (Tuna)

Now I will talk about another popular-most sushi topping among Japanese & foreign people & that is tuna ( maguro in Japanese).

When I first learned about it, I wondered why people ran over this & ready to pay any amount.

But when I tried bluefin tuna (the most delicious tuna available in the world) topped sushi, I got my answer!

a fresh piece of bluefin tuna

The piece gave me such a melt-in-your-mouth type feel & I was lost in the aroma.

The top-notch sushi restaurants go to great extents to purchase and serve the freshest tuna possible.

So, when your plate of happiness is on your table, you will only explore the art in every bite & won't care about the price.

Maguro Sushi

But that doesn't mean you will need to break your bank to have them.

There are various types of tuna topping that you can enjoy at a reasonable price, like yellowfin tuna and canned tuna.

Yellowfin Tuna & Canned tuna

Commonly, they are served raw or pickled in soy sauce over steaky rice.

The raw tuna is entirely safe to eat & offers an intense zest.

But you need to know about the variation in the thickness of the flesh before ordering maguro garnished sushi, as you will have to mention your preference.

The toppings are classified into three portions: akami (lean tuna), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), and otoro (fatty tuna).

Tuna piece classification

Though akami is my favorite, you can simply try & compare them one by one.

Katsuo (Bonito)

Now it's time to say Kudos to an old friend!

No wonder I am talking about Bonito ( Katsuo in Japanese), as it is one of the ancient sushi toppings used in Japan since the Edo period.

The red-purple-colored, smoky-smelled & meaty-textured fish has earned its popularity in Japan and among foreigners because of its high-quality & balanced protein and iron content.

If you love the lean flavor, bonito will be your favorite sushi top in spring.

But bonito topped sushi will satisfy your fat obsession if you try this in winter, as the flavor turns richer and fattier in that particular season.

Bonito topped sushi with ginger & negi condiment

As far as oil control is concerned, you can use ginger and negi (Japanese long green onion) as a condiment.

Ebi (Shrimp)

Have you ever tried sushi that is shrimp-ly gorgeous?

Yes, I am this kind of obsessed with shrimp-on-top sushi.

It's not just me; the whole Japanese population admires shrimp (ebi in Japanese) covered sushi because of its scrumptious look that comes in different forms.

Such as "Ama-ebi," which is delicious and little, "Kuruma-ebi," being exquisite and large, and chubby "Botan-ebi."

It is ubiquitous seafood at Japanese sushi restaurants, as many of you are familiar with it.

In sushi restaurants, you will see boiled or raw shrimp peeled with the tail left on for decorative purposes.

Shrimp Sushi

Though boiled one is the most demanding, I suggest you try both as taste bud differs.

But Never skimp on the shrimp, or you will regret it later!

Tai ( Sea bream)

Who won't love stuffing their mouth with a piece of happiness?

It's hard to find anyone because sea bream (tai in Japanese) is said to bring good fortune and is widely recommended as a sushi topping for novices at sushi restaurants.

Sea bream fillet

Exploring a variety of sushi combinations is a loving journey & the sea bream topped sushi drops a great impression on beginners with its pinkish-white flesh, sweet taste, and translucent texture.

Now, let me tell you one thing!

Sea bream sushi

Sea bream has a special place in the heart of diet-conscious sushi eaters.

That's because it's high in protein and vitamins while being relatively low in fat.

Never get perplexed knowing sea bream as the expensive fish in Japan as you can avail it reasonably from an authentic sushi restaurant.

So, don't miss this auspicious fish topped sushi.

Ika (Squid)

Another notable seafood sushi top I would like to mention is squid (Ika in Japanese).

Squid topped Sushi

This mildly sweet tasted & chewy textured sushi top is served with sushi rice usually eaten in two ways, either cooked or raw.

It is more popular to eat it grilled in most countries, although the Japanese have eaten it raw on sushi or sashimi.

cooked squid sushi

Remember, the raw ones are blanched before getting used on sushi.

So, let the chewiness addict you!

Well, I have something on my bucket list for the meat lover!

And it’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t love beef.

So, below I am sharing about a regal sushi top.

Wagyu (Japanese Beef )

Despite not being a traditional topping, wagyu ( Japanese beef) has its fame worldwide.

cooked beef topped sushi

It's eaten raw or lightly grilled (Aburi style) to bring out the juicy taste and savory essence.

raw beef sushi

But to make the meat even more luscious, it is seasoned and grilled.

The fatty marbling appearance of the Wagyu topped sushi may compel you to start eating with hand but never get ashamed of it, my friend!

Now taking my discussion to some vegetarian toppings, which not only add to the taste but also make your sushi look fresh and rich in nutritional elements. 

Best Veg-friendly Sushi Toppings

If you are a vegetarian & not that much raw flesh lover, the upcoming list will meet your sushi craving!


Have you ever heard about a caterpillar roll?

I know an insect-like appearance has just smacked into your mind.

Caterpillar roll

It actually looks like this, but please don't worry, my dear friend!

You will start to love it after seeing its classic semblance & nutritional enrichments.

Are you thinking about how you can make this?

Well, that's easy!

To make the topping, you will have to peel a ripe yet firm avocado and cut it into thin slices that fit nicely over the sushi rolls.

Avocados, wrapped around a sushi roll in an overlapping pattern, complement the filling nicely & make the sushis look top-class!

Avocado topped sushi

The flavor and texture are truly delightful & delicate.

Besides these, along with some health benefits, avocados work as a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, potassium & vitamins.

It already seems like a win, right?

But it's not over yet!

You can use the blended avocado as a sushi topping sauce which is also delicious.

After putting avocado as a sushi topping, you can take an instagrammable picture & share your creation with a caption - “Bravocado! “ 


Wanna have a healthful and flavorful feast again?

Summer, winter, or autumn, cucumber will never disappoint you with its crunchy texture & flavor as a sushi topping.

If you want to make a cucumber filling, simply cut it into small, edible parts and wrap it in nori sheets with rice.

Cucumber topped sushi

You will get amused to see how nicely it pairs with the filling ingredients due to its high water content.

Also, our thin-skinned Japanese cucumbers do not have lots of seeds which are really best to use as the topping.

But, in general, cucumber gained its popularity as a sushi topping majorly because of its high nutritional value & abundance of antioxidants, which aid in reducing blood sugar levels.

Think, who will miss this mouthful refreshment?

It's nobody!

Sesame Seeds

Another crunchy topping with an enticing display is gonna accompany your fish & rice.

Yes, It's sesame seeds, one of the most used sushi toppings you will love to taste.

Black, white, or mixed sesame seeds can be utilized and softly sprinkled on top to garnish a California-style sushi roll, a traditional Japanese rice roll.

Sushi topped with sesame seeds

If you want to enhance the aroma, don't forget to toast the seeds lightly before scattering.


Now lost in the field of flavor & fragrance!

Pickled Seaweed

Pickled seaweed is another topping that I love to put on sushi.

If you anticipate its salty flavor, I will tell you not to bother because it's not overpowering.

seaweed topped sushi

It is most popular with pure vegans.

It also has antioxidant compounds & some minerals along with some underlying health advantages.

Jalapeno peppers

This recommendation is for the spice lovers like me!

If you want to raise the spice level a notch or two, I suggest adding sliced jalapeno peppers to each sushi roll.

sushi topped with jalapeno peppers

Certain kinds of seafood go well with the flavor and peppery aftertaste.

If you try this topping once, I'm telling you it's gonna be your favorite!

Now I am moving to something very simple yet different.

Those who choose egg over anything, I have a good news!

Fried Egg

Basically, sushi toppings do not have to be prepared with a vast list of ingredients.

Something as mere as a fried egg can be egg-traordinary!

Funny right?

But you heard it right!

Fried egg sushi

Tamago sushi is a typical Japanese dish where a light & sweet folded omelet is used as a crunchy sushi topping, making it exquisite.

The preparation of the topping is super easy!

Just season the eggs with soy sauce, sugar, and dashi, fry them in thin layers & keep rolling.

After that, cut the egg to a suitable size & wrap it in nori sheets over the sticky rice.

Tamago sushi

The sweetened omelet and vinegary sushi rice complement each other's flavors, resulting in a delicious dish that absolutely all the family members enjoy.

However, if you don't love raw fish but love sushi, this Tamago sushi will be your best friend!

Also, the kids love it, especially due to the sweetness.

So why the delay in making the delicacy?

Well, this wraps up our list of 15 delicious sushi toppings. As you can see, you have a plethora of choices. Whether you're a meat lover, a seafood addict, or a vegan, you'll find something to suit your palate and fulfill your hunger.

Pulled Pork with Coleslaw

Nowadays, sushi has become one of the most popular food trends in the world. There are numerous sushi fillings and toppings to explore, making it a great way to enjoy a wide variety of different flavors and textures. 

One particular combination of fillings and toppings that has become increasingly popular is pulled pork with creamy coleslaw. This combination offers a unique and delectable flavor, as the savory and smokey pulled pork is nicely balanced with the creamy coleslaw. 

When it comes to making pulled pork sushi, the most important step is to make sure the pork is cooked properly. 

For the best results, you should aim for the pork to be cooked slowly over low heat, with a combination of moist heat (braising) and dry heat (smoking). This will ensure that the pork is flavorful and tender. Once cooked, the pork should then be left to "pull," or separate into strands. 

The creamy coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to the pulled pork. To make coleslaw, simply mix together finely shredded cabbage, mayonnaise and a few other ingredients, such as sugar, lemon juice and finely chopped onion. 

The result is a delicious and creamy slaw that adds texture and flavor to the pulled pork. 

Pulled pork and coleslaw sushi rolls are a great option for sushi lovers looking for something a bit different. 

This combination is easy to make and is sure to be a hit with family and friends alike. Serve with your favorite sushi accompaniments and enjoy. 

If you want to take it to the next level, you can add some crunch with a toasted sesame seed topping. 

Simply toast some sesame seeds in a dry fry pan until they are lightly browned, and then sprinkle them over the sushi before rolling. This will add a wonderfully nutty flavor and crunchy texture to the dish. 

There is so much to explore when it comes to sushi fillings and toppings, and pulled pork with creamy coleslaw is one combination that is sure to tantalize taste buds. Why not give it a try today? You won't regret it.

Beef and Red Onion

Beef and red onion fillings for Negimaki Sushi is the perfect combination for those who are meat lovers. 

The distinct, seared and deep brown crispy appearance that these fillings impart give the sushi roll a fantastic color and wonderful taste. 

This type of sushi does not use raw fillings, but instead, is cooked to perfection with a medium rare center. 

To begin making your own beef and red onion fillings for Negimaki sushi, the first step is to thinly slice the beef. One of the most popular choices for this type of beef is flank steak. 

Sliced thinly, they can be easily curled into the shape of your sushi rolls. Flank steak is incredibly tender, robust in flavor and boasts a wonderful texture. 

Next, thinly slice some red onion which will be wrapped on the flank steak. Red onion adds a mild but zesty flavor which perfectly contrasts the more pronounced beef. 

If desired, the beef and onion can be marinated in a teriyaki sauce prior to rolling up the sushi. This will further enhance the flavor of the beef and give it a sugary glaze. 

When rolling the Negimaki sushi, it is important to ensure the shape is tight so that it holds the filling and does not come undone. 

Start off by placing some of the beef at the center of the sheet and layer the red onion on. Carefully roll the sushi roll and tuck the edges in to seal. You can cut the roll in half before serving or serve it whole.

Beef and red onion filled Negimaki sushi is a veritable feast for the eyes, with its wonderful brown crispy appearance, and a delight for the taste buds. 

This beloved sushi filling is perfect for both small and large gatherings, making it the perfect choice for your next party or gathering. Not only is it easy to make, but it is absolutely delicious. Give it a try and you are sure to be amazed!

 Crumbed Prawn with Salad

One of the most popular sushi toppings out there is definitely the juicy prawns crumbed with bread crumbs. 

These deep-fried, crunchy bite-sized pieces of goodness provide a strong and savoury profile to whatever dish they are added to. 

But why not take it a step further and add some fresh salad and vinegary rice for a more wholesome meal?

The combination of these two elements make for an incredibly delicious topping, one which will make all sushi lovers rejoice! Just imagine the lightly toasted bread crumbs, and freshly-fried prawns, coupled nicely with a bed of sweet-sour sticky sushi rice and some freshly-diced vegetables. 

It's a heavenly combination, and it's no wonder why it's such a popular choice for sushi connoisseurs all over the world.

For an extra crunch, you can always substitute bread crumbs for crushed potato crisps. The crispness of the chips provides a superb contrast of texture to the prawn, adding an exciting and unique dimension to the overall filling. 

To top it all off, adding a sprinkle of sesame seeds gives the topping a wonderfully subtle, nutty flavour and a certain sophistication that sets it apart from others.

As for the salad, this can be as simple - or as complex - as you desire. Thinly-shredded iceberg lettuce and a few slices of cucumber will give it that much needed crunch. 

The addition of a squirt of mayo or Japanese-style salad dressing will help bring together the ingredients, making them withstand the test of time and flavour.

What is great about this particular sushi filling is its versatility. You can easily play around with different combinations of ingredients, incorporating flavours that both you and your guests enjoy. 

Be it with spicy mayo, creamy Japanese dressing, buttery avocado, cooked shrimp panko or simply some freshly-squeezed lemon juice - the possibilities are virtually endless.

Crumbed prawns with salad are a superb choice for any sushi topping and the presence of the vinegary rice will only amplify their flavour, giving the dish an added zing. Give this seafood-packed filling a try during your next sushi-making session and experience a delightful taste sensation.

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno peppers are a fiery yet flavorful addition to sushi rolls that can happily amp up the spice level and take the taste to a whole new level. 

Whether choosing to experiment with the flavor kick of jalapeno in a spicy tuna roll or adding the peppers as a topping for a savory yellowtail hamachi sushi, you can be sure that your sushi will be packed with flavor and heat.

When adding jalapeno peppers to your sushi, you can go for it with full jalapeno slices or simply use a few of the diced pieces. 

Both options give a nice punch to the taste in every bite and prove to be delicious with the yellowtail hamachi. The robust flavor that comes with adding the peppers creates the perfect symphony of savory and spicy with every bite.

If you're looking for some extra kick, include some of the jalapeno's spicy seeds with your peppers. 

Each added seed brings up the spice level and an added level of depth to the flavor. For those who aren't too fond of the heat, simply remove the seeds before adding.

In order to help complement the bold flavor of the jalapeno, adding some zesty ginger and a hint of garlic can be beneficial as well. 

The ginger's citrus like aromatics will serve as an inviting aroma and offer a juxtaposition to the heat of the peppers. A garlic touch adds yet another layer to the taste for an unforgettable sushi experience.

When the jalapeno sliced or diced, be sure to not overdo it. You don't want your sushi to be overwhelmed with the heat or the flavors to get overpowering. 

The yellowtail hamachi should not be overshadowed but rather highlighted by the peppers. Balance is key and a few pieces will do just the trick.

Overall, jalapeno peppers offer an exceptional way to bring out the spiciness and tingle the taste buds of anyone. When paired with yellowtail hamachi, the flavors just juxtapose one another and make for the perfect hit of tang and heat. Whether you prefer milder sushi or bolder bites, jalapeno can make it possible.

Pickled Cucumber And Egg

Pickled Cucumber and Egg is a classic sushi combo that is widely enjoyed around the world. The combination is simple yet so flavorful and filling, making this combo a favorite among sushi lovers. 

The salty and tangy flavors of pickled cucumber pair well with the mild, yet delicious taste of egg, creating a unique taste that is sure to please the palate.

The slight sweetness of the pickled cucumber helps to balance out the saltiness of the other ingredients, creating the perfect combination of flavors. 

The egg adds a savory and creamy texture that complements the crunchiness of the cucumber. Together, these two ingredients create delicious, mouthwatering bites of sushi.

When preparing pickled cucumber and egg sushi, it's important to source the freshest ingredients available. Fresh cucumbers should be plump and free from defects, as any imperfections will be highlighted in the flavor. 

Eggs should also be fresh and free from any nasty smells or off tastes. For a delicious flavor, it's recommended to mix the pickled cucumber and egg with a good quality sushi rice. 

This combination of ingredients will ensure each bite is packed with flavor and texture.

In addition to the classic pickled cucumber and egg combination, there are a variety of ways that these ingredients can be served. 

For a quick and easy version, simply roll up some pickled cucumber and egg in nori with some sushi rice. 

Alternatively, the two ingredients can be prepared with a generous helping of mayonnaise or, for a unique twist, served inside a thin omelette.

Pickled cucumber and egg is a classic sushi combo that is sure to please the palate. 

The combination of tangy and salty flavors, complemented by the creamy texture of the egg and the crunchiness of the cucumber, creates an unbeatable taste. 

When prepared with fresh, quality ingredients, this classic combo is sure to be a hit with friends and family alike. 

So, the next time you are in the mood for sushi, don't forget this delicious duo of ingredients – pickled cucumber and egg.

Smoked Tofu

Tofu might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sushi, but this soy-based food is a versatile sushi filling and topping. Made from compressed soybeans, tofu is a great source of protein, containing essential amino acids along with vitamin B1, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. 

Whether you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian sushi option or just something different, smoked tofu could make a flavorful addition to your sushi roll.

smoked tofu sushi

Smoked tofu is full of flavor and packs a serious umami punch. Before you start making your sushi, it’s essential to prepare your smoked tofu. 

First, chop it into slices and make sure your slices are the same width so they’ll fit nicely in your sushi rolls. 

It’s important to give the tofu some time to marinate in order to enhance the flavor. Jot down your favorite flavors onto a list, like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and canola oil. 

This is a fantastic chance to get creative with your marinade and find the perfect combination of flavors for your sushi rolls.

Once your tofu is marinated, get ready to start rolling. Place a few slices of smoked tofu onto some nori (seaweed), spread a layer of sushi rice on top, tuck in the sides, and roll it up. 

Presenting your sushi roll with a few garnishes can give your plate an extra zesty zing. Try adding some finely chopped carrots, daikon, shiso leaves, and maybe a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds for a delightful and flavorful sushi experience. 

Smoked tofu doesn’t just add flavor to your sushi rolls, but it brings in a great texture as well. 

With its smoky depth and its chewy bite, it will certainly keep your taste buds tingling with excitement. For a classic sushi experience or a bit of adventurous spiciness, smoked tofu is sure to make a delicious addition to your sushi rolls. 

Cooking with smoky tofu is a sinfully delicious way of combining classic sushi flavors. 

Whether you’re making an eclectic combination, or participating in sushi-making class, smoky tofu sushi can be enjoyed as part of a sushi meal. 

It is a fantastic way of rethinking traditional sushi ingredients and giving sushi meals a modern twist.


No matter you come to Japan or go to any sushi restaurants, the above ideas of popular sushi toppings will make your upcoming sushi feast unforgettable & you will become an ultimate sushiholic for sure!

Just remember, you are never far from a sushi bar!

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