Highest Protein Sushi – Which Kinds Are Best?

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Don’t you just love sushi? And, believe it or not, sushi is actually very healthy! They are generally low in carbs and fat. Furthermore, sushi is an excellent source of protein that doesn’t come from red meat!

So, which types of sushi contain the most protein? These include rolls like tuna rolls, salmon rolls, Alaska roll, rainbow rolls, and sashimi. All of these types contain fish and other types of seafood that are extremely high in protein, making the entire bite packed.

Today, we will look at what makes sushi high in protein and list some of the best ingredient options. This will enable you to even create your very own high-protein sushi rolls!

And, we have naturally included some common types of sushi that are high in protein and exactly what they are.

Sushi – What Exactly Is It?

Arguably everybody by now has heard or eaten sushi. But, have you ever realized that sushi doesn’t just consist of your regular California or rainbow roll? Sushi is actually a very broad category of dishes.

In a nutshell, sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that consists of sumeshi (vinegared rice), raw seafood, and vegetables. However, sushi can also include tempura-fried seafood or vegetable ingredients.

Sushi almost always contains seafood. This can include fish like tuna, halibut, or salmon, but also mollusks, crustaceans, squid, and crab. Some more examples of seafood are crayfish, prawns, scallops, and shrimps. 

Then, sushi also often has Nori. Nori is a dried type of edible seaweed that is used to wrap and roll sushi in.

The preparation methods and assembling techniques vary quite drastically, which ultimately gives you a wide range of options to choose from.

Types Of Sushi

Naturally, there are many different types of sushi. We won’t go into too much depth on each in this article. But, you can have a look at some of our many sushi-related articles which go into a lot more depth.

The two main forms of sushi are cut roll and hard roll sushi. Cut roll sushi consists of ingredients that have been rolled together into a log and sliced.

Hand roll sushi has been rolled in a Nori sheet to form a cone-like shape that isn’t sliced at all. Naturally, hand-rolled pieces are much larger as compared to the bite-sized cut roll pieces.

Furthermore, maki (aka cut roll sushi) also has a bunch of sub-categories. This includes hosomaki, futomaki, and uramaki.

We have made a column below to help easily break down the different types of cut roll sushi (maki).

Type of MakiCharacteristicsExample
HosomakiA thin roll of sushi that only contains one ingredient enclosed by rice. The roll is then wrapped in a sheet of nori.Kappa maki (cucumber and rice) Shinko maki (pickled daikon and rice) Natto maki (soybean and rice) Tekka maki (tuna and rice)
FutomakiThicker sushi roll that contains anywhere between 3-10 ingredients. This naturally creates a much thicker cut roll.Spicy tuna roll Spider rolls
UramakiSushi roll that doesn’t contain a nori sheet on the outside of the roll. Rice is usually used to enclose the ingredients.California roll Alaska roll Philadelphia roll

Is Sushi High In Protein?

Now, regardless of the type of sushi you are making (the different types of maki and hand rolls), what affects the protein content is naturally, the ingredients that the sushi contains.

For example, if you are making a hosomaki roll with cucumber, there is virtually no protein. However, if you are making one with tuna only, it will have a naturally higher protein percentage.

So, the real question isn’t whether or not sushi is high in protein, but which common types of sushi have a high protein content. For that, we need to look at which common sushi ingredients are high-protein ones.

High Protein Sushi Ingredients

Before we dive into which ingredients do contain protein, it’s important to mention that sushi rice doesn’t have a high protein count.

So, you will need to resort to alternative sources. 100 grams of cooked rice only gives you about 2.4 grams of protein.

Nori on the other hand has a much higher protein content. About 30-50% of a dry nori sheet is pure plant-based protein. But, on the other hand, because you are using so little of it, it won’t be enough to fill your daily protein needs.


First, we’ll start with the more common types of fish used for sushi. This includes salmon, tuna, and halibut.

Salmon is a diverse and often used sushi ingredient. There are even different types of salmon you can buy and different smoked flavors.

Salmon contains 20.4 grams of protein for every 100 grams. And, it is high in vitamins A, D, and minerals like calcium.

Now, when it comes to tuna, everyone knows it has an extremely high protein percentage. Tuna can contain up to 28 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Halibut is also not an extremely popular sushi ingredient, however, it does make a fantastic addition if you’re looking for a high protein sushi roll.

Halibut contains over 21 grams of protein! Not to mention loads of vitamins and minerals it contains too.

Then, another type of fish that has an extremely high protein count is Pollack.

Pollack is a very flavorful fish that contains 17.4 grams of protein per 100 grams of fish. It is also exceptionally high in Omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and selenium.

Cod is equally high in protein, measuring at 17.5 grams per 100 grams of fish. However, as you may know, or have seen, cod isn’t the most popular choice of seafood for sushi.

Other Seafood

Prawn is one of the most common non-fish ingredients used for sushi. And, it is surprisingly high in protein for such a small ingredient.

Prawns contain roughly 17.6 grams of protein per 100 grams. And, they are high in omega 3 and vitamin B12.

But, if you thought prawns are high in protein, wait until you come across some shrimp! These tiny creatures contain 24 grams of protein per 100 grams! Incredible, right?

Crab is another equally popular Crustacean. However, one thing to be aware of is that true crab is a very hard to come by ingredient.

True crab has a little over 20 grams of protein per 100 grams. However, imitation crabs’ protein content depends on its composition.

Lobster is also very high in protein, despite being a bit on the more expensive side. In fact, it is arguably one of the highest protein seafood ingredients you can choose.

IngredientProtein per 100 grams
Tuna28 grams
Shrimp24 grams
Mussels24 grams
Lobster22.1 grams
Tilapia22 grams
Halibut21.5 grams
Crab20.5 grams
Salmon20.4 grams
Scallops20 grams
Sardines19.8 grams
Prawns17.6 grams
Cod17.5 grams
Pollack17.4 grams


Unfortunately, there aren’t all too many high-protein vegetables used in sushi. So, a completely vegetarian sushi option that is high in protein will be a bit difficult to create without a ton of unconventional veggie substitutions.

Edamame is a common Japanese ingredient used and often used in sushi too. Edamame is high in vitamins, minerals, and protein. 1 cup of edamame contains roughly 18.46 grams.

Avocado is also a traditional sushi ingredient that contains about 4.02 grams of protein for every medium-sized avocado

Other than that, you will have to look at other vegetables and legumes such as chickpeas, mung beans, broccoli, asparagus, and fava beans.

You also get high-protein nuts like almonds and pistachios that can be incorporated into a sushi roll for some texture.

Which Sushi Rolls Are The Highest In Sushi?

So, we have discussed exactly which ingredients contain a high amount of protein.

So, let’s have a look at some existing sushi rolls that are naturally high in protein. This will make it very easy to choose exactly what you need and want to make.

Tuna Roll

As we have mentioned, tuna has an extremely high protein count—one of the highest when it comes to sushi ingredients.

A tuna roll contains raw tuna, rice, and nori. When this roll is served with some spicy mayonnaise or sriracha, it is referred to as a spicy tuna roll.

They are a type of roll-cut sushi, specifically, uramaki. These are a high protein and low carb sushi roll option which is packed with flavor.

Rainbow Roll

Rainbow rolls are another type of uramaki sushi (rice on the outside) that is filled with avocado, cucumber, and crab sticks.

Fish like tuna, yellowtail, eel, salmon, and snapper are also commonly used to create beautiful colorful layers.

So, the exact protein amount will be determined by the type of seafood you are using. But, as we have mentioned before, crab, tuna, and salmon are very high-protein options to use.

Alaska Roll

An Alaska roll consists of crab meat, cucumber, avocado, and fresh onion. This combo is then topped with a slice of raw salmon. This uramaki bite contains three protein-rich ingredients, so is a no-brainer!


Sashimi isn’t a type of cut or hand-rolled sushi. Sashimi is thinly sliced pieces of raw fish that are served with soy sauce. So, naturally, most types of sashimi will have high amounts of protein.

You can have a look at our list above for the best fish sashimi options that are high in protein.

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