Love a California Roll but want to satisfy your sushi cravings on demand at home? These homemade California Roll Sushi Bowls are full of all the same ingredients with spicy mayo sauce. We ditched the seaweed sheets, the rolling and went for an easy deconstructed California roll bowl perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.
Tangy sushi rice, imitation crab meat, creamy avocado, cool cucumber and spicy sriracha mayo is all here in this easy sushi bowl. Homemade sushi bowls are fast and easy to make. They are colorful, delicious and full of great nutrients.
Most of us aren’t going to roll our own sushi at home but may love to EAT sushi (which can also be very expensive). This sushi bowl recipe is the answer for those real sushi cravings without getting take out. Making a deconstructed sushi bowl takes care of a sushi fix in a way anyone can make for an easy lunch or dinner.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
All ingredients should be available at the local grocery store!
Short grain sushi rice. This is a special type of short grain white rice that becomes plump and very sticky when cooked. You’ll find it at the grocery store with the other types of rice (or with international foods) and it’s labelled as ‘sushi rice’.
I used Lundberg which has instructions for the stove top, instant pot and a rice cooker. You’ll cook 1 cup of rice which will yield 3-3 1/2 cups of cooked rice.
Seasoned rice vinegar. You’ll find this with the other types of vinegar or in the international food section of the store. It gives the rice a wonderful flavor and creates a flavor base for the sushi bowl.
Imitation crab. This is available at more regular grocery stores. I used Trans-Ocean brand Crab Classic Imitation Crab Leg Style. The density of the meat is great and you can easily cut it into bite-size pieces. This brand is also gluten-free, fully cooked and ready to use. Any brand will work. Check that the brand you buy is already cooked and ready to eat! Some are not cooked (and would need to be).
English cucumber. These cucumbers do not need to be peeled and are seedless. Persian cucumbers can be substituted and also do not need to be peeled.
Mayonnaise. This is the base of the spicy sauce. If you can find Japanese mayo use it! It’s richer than American mayo because it only uses egg yolk instead of the whole egg. Regular mayonnaise works great too so either can be used.
Sriracha sauce. This well-loved hot sauce adds some spice to the sauce.
Topping ideas: sliced green onion, sesame seeds (white and/or black sesame seeds) or nori furikake (a Japanese rice seasoning of nori seaweed, sesame seeds, salt and kelp powder).
How to make these Sushi Bowls – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Make the sushi rice
Follow the instructions on the rice package for cooking 1 cup of uncooked sushi rice (it should indicate the amount of water to use and the process). Different brands have different preparation methods.
When the rice is done cooking add it to a large bowl and drizzle the seasoned rice vinegar over it. Stir to mix in (photos 1-2). Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before assembling the bowls.
STEP 2. Make the sauce
In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and sriracha. Whisk together (photo 3). The sauce will be thick. If you prefer a runnier sauce you can add a 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk to thin it.
STEP 3. Assemble the bowls
Grab 4 serving bowls. Divide and place rice in the bottom of the bowls. Top with the sliced avocado, imitation crab pieces and cucumber.
Spoon the sauce on top or drizzle it on if thinned. Garnish as desired and serve.
Substitute brown rice or white rice. Though sushi rice is unique in texture and authentic to a California roll if you’d like to swap in regular rice (or cauliflower rice) go for it. You can even use cauliflower rice to slim down the calories.
Make it a vegan sushi bowl. There are brands of vegan imitation crab that could be swapped in for the imitation crab. Substitute vegan mayonnaise in the sauce. All other ingredients are naturally vegan.
Add crunchy vegetables. To build on the traditional California roll ingredients for a larger bowl add some fresh vegetables! Thinly shredded red cabbage, matchstick carrots, thinly sliced bell peppers, sweet potato, fresh ginger.
To cool the rice faster: place the bowl uncovered in the refrigerator.
How to make your own seasoned rice vinegar. If you can’t find seasoned rice vinegar you can make your own vinegar mixture with regular rice vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix together 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Microwave until the sugar and salt have dissolved and use as directed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the imitation crab used, yes. We used Trans-Ocean brand which is
gluten-free (you’ll see the celiac label on the front of the package) but always check the ingredients of the imitation crab to verify.
Ideally room temperature which give the most flavor. After cooking the rice allow it to cool to room temperature but don’t serve it cold.
How to Store
For best results, we recommend eating these when made. When storing the rice can dry out and the avocado slices will oxidize (brown).
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California Roll Sushi Bowl
- 1 cup short grain sushi rice (uncooked)
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 larege avocado sliced or cubed
- 8 ounces imitation crab sliced
- 1 cup English or Persian cucumber sliced
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- Optional toppings sesame seeds, sliced green onion, and/or Nori Furikake
- Follow the package instructions to make the sushi rice. Use measurements for 1 cup uncooked rice.
- Add the cooked rice to a large bowl and drizzle the seasoned rice vinegar over the rice. Stir to combine. Set the rice aside and cool completely (to room temperature)* before assembling the sushi bowls.
- While the rice is cooling, whisk together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl. If you prefer a thinner sauce (one that you can drizzle), whisk in 2 tablespoons of milk or water.
- To assemble the sushi bowls, divide the rice between four bowls. Top with avocado, imitation crab, and cucumber.
- Serve the sushi bowls with spicy mayo on the side or drizzled on top. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onion, and?/or nori furikake.