Philadelphia Roll Recipe

Philadelphia Roll on sushi plate

This philadelphia roll recipe will explain to you, step by step, how to duplicate this very popular roll in the comfort of your own home. 

And it has also become one of the most common items ordered in sushi bars and restaurants in America.

Rumor has it that the the name of this roll came from the use of Philadelphia brand cream cheese in the recipe. And quite honestly, that's the brand you need to pick up if you decide to make this roll. Knock off's and cheapo brands just don't cut it.

If you are still not convinced and the old scrooge is whispering in your ear to watch your pennies, try to think of it this way. If you are going to pay good money to get real sushi grade smoked salmon for this roll, why skimp on the cream cheese?

Another thing to note is that this recipe uses the traditional, nori on the outside, rice on the inside rolling method.

The reason for that, is to try to keep it simple. I promised you "simpler" recipes on here and this is the simplest.

If you want to roll it with the rice on the outside and nori on the inside (like for a California can! Just follow the recipe for making a generic uramaki roll and substitute the ingredients from here, into that roll---instead of the crab, use the smoked salmon, instead of avocado use cucumber and then add the cream cheese and roll it). 

It really is that easy.

So without further ado, let's get going on this philadelphia roll recipe.

Philadelphia Roll Recipe


Sushi Rice (this will yield 4 cups of rice and this recipe 4 rolls)

(Try to buy a high quality Japanese short grain white rice if you can)

Sushi Nori

Ingredients for filling: 

Ingredients for a Philadelphia roll: slivered cucumbers, green onions, cream cheese and smoked salmon

1 - 8oz package of Philadelphia brand cream cheese sliced into 3/8 inch matchsticks

2 green onions finely minced

4 oz sushi grade cold smoked salmon (sliced into 3/8 matchsticks) or regular sashimi grade salmon if that's what you prefer

1 salt-scrubbed hot house, english or Japanese cucumber sliced into slivers

imitation wasabi or real wasabi (optional)


Bamboo Sushi Mat


Full sheet of nori on a sushi mat (makisu)

1. This roll is made by laying a full 8 x 7 inch sheet on a bamboo sushi mat with the 8 inch side closest to you. Leave about 3 or 4 slats showing on the side closest to you to help you roll it better.

Measuring 1 cup of sushi rice for philadelphia roll
Placing 1 cup of rice on full sheet of nori for philadelphia roll

2. This is about the best way I have found to make your philadelphia rolls a consistent size. Take your 1 cup measure and moisten the inside with vinegared water so that the rice will not stick. Shake out any excess. Then measure out 1 cup of rice and put it on your nori sheet. Refer to the pictures above.

Dipping fingers in vinegared water
Tapping fingers on towel to remove excess vinegared water

3. Dip your hands in vinegared water (1/4 cup rice vinegar + 1 cup water) and tap your fingers on a folded damp rung-out towel to remove any excess water.

Spread rice evenly all over nori leaving 2 and 1/2 inches at far end
Showing 2 and 1/2 inch at far end

4. Spread 1 cup rice over the entire sheet coming to the edges on the right, left and closest to you but leaving about a 2 1/2" strip along the 8 inch side farthest away from you.

Swiping a row of wasabi across sushi rice

5. Spread your wasabi or a condiment across the center of the rice if you are using any. This is not usually used in a philadelphia roll recipe, but I like it a lot so I use it.

Adding a row of cream cheese across rice for philadelphia roll
Adding green onions to philadelphia roll

6. Spread a row of cream cheese strips across the center of the rice on top of any condiment you may have used.

7. Sprinkle the cream cheese with green onions.

Adding smoked salmon to philadelphia roll
Adding cucumber to philadelphia roll

8. Lay a row of salmon on the far side of the cream cheese.

9. Now lay a row of slivered cucumber on the side of the cream cheese closest to you.

Put thumbs under the mat closest to you and lift up using fingers to hold fillings in place...

10. Lift the edge of the mat closest to you with both hands by putting your thumbs under the mat and while lifting up, use your fingers to hold the fillings in place.

Continue rolling and holding fillings in place...
Stop when mat touches nori on other side of the roll...

11. Keep rolling, while pressing the fillings into the rice and stop when the mat touches straight down on the far edge of the rice. Make sure the exposed nori is still visible.

Tighten up the roll by tugging first with your left hand in the center
Next tighten it on the left hand side
And tighten also on the right hand side

12. Tighten up this part of the roll by pulling the mat covered part of the roll with your left hand while also tugging 3 times on the free edge of the mat with your right hand; once in the center, once on the left and once on the right.

Finished philadelphia roll

13. Now, continue to roll until the exposed part of the nori has been rolled under. Hold it still for a little bit to allow the roll to seal.

Slice the roll first in the center
Set the 2 halves side by side and slice in the center again
Slice these remaining pieces in half one more time to make 8 pieces

14. Wipe your sashimi knife on your damp vinegared towel so that it won't stick, and slice the roll exactly in the middle (left picture). Take the 2 pieces and lay them side by side and slice in the center again (middle picture). Finally, slice each remaining piece in the middle one more time (rightmost picture) making 8 total pieces.

And there you have it.

The Philadelphia roll recipe. Congratulations!

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author