This crazy easy California sushi bowl is the quickest way to satiate a sushi craving. Super healthy and budget-friendly!

California Sushi Bowl with sauce and chop sticks.

Did you ever want to try all of the sushi rolls on the menu? If you love sushi as much as I do, but don’t exactly like getting the bill at the end of the meal, this recipe is for you. I’ve created this quick and easy California sushi bowl recipe that anyone can make at home with absolutely no need for any tedious rolling. If you’re a fan of easy bowl meals, try our burrito bowl or egg roll in a bowl, too!

What’s a California Sushi Bowl?

This California sushi bowl is basically a California roll deconstructed. Simple and balanced, all this roll contains is crab, avocado, and cucumber. We use the same exact ingredients in this recipe, with the addition of a not-so-secret secret sauce and seaweed.

California Sushi bowl ingredients

How to Make Sushi Rice for this Recipe

While you can get away with using plain steamed rice, going the extra mile to whip up sushi rice will really elevate the flavors. Here’s how to do it:

  • Cook the Rice: Prepare the rice using a rice cooker or pot.
  • Make the Sushi Vinegar: In a small bowl whisk 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and a sprinkle of salt together.
  • Season the Rice: Using a rice paddle or fork, pour the seasoned rice vinegar over the cooked rice and toss.

Assembling a California Sushi Bowl

This sushi bowl recipe is so simple, a kid could put it together. Here’s how to do it…

  • Make the Spicy Mayo: In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame oil together.
  • Assemble the Bowl: Layer the sushi bowl as follows – sushi rice, imitation crab meat pieces, avocado chunks, cucumber, and seaweed (aka nori).
  • Drizzle the Sauce: Finish the sushi bowl off by drizzling the sauce on top. Dig in and enjoy!

3 Top Tips for the Best California Sushi Bowl

A couple of handy tips will help you nail this recipe.

  • Add more sriracha if you like heat. If you like it super spicy, add more sriracha to taste.
  • Prep the sauce ahead of time. If you have the time, whip the sauce up a couple hours ahead of time. As it marinates in the fridge, it will develop a ton of flavor.
  • Clean the rice thoroughly. To prevent your rice from turning out mushy or starchy, rinse it until the water runs nearly clear. To do so, pop it in a pot, submerge it in water, and swirl your hand around the pot to loosen the starch. Drain and repeat!

Different Toppings to Play Around With

If you’re a fan of poke bowls, you already know how many toppings you can experiment with. Below, find a couple of ingredients to inspire you.

  • Protein: Tuna, salmon, shrimp, or tofu
  • Veggies: Shredded carrots, soy beans, seaweed salad, or ginger
  • Odds & Ends: Sesame seeds, green onion, or tobiko

Best Practices for Storing

While this bowl is best eaten fresh, feel free to prepare the ingredients and store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. If you’re a fan of meal prep, you can pull the ingredients out of the fridge and make quick California roll sushi bowls for on the fly lunches throughout the week.

California Sushi Bowl in a to go tray.


What’s the best type of rice to use?

Short-grain Japanese rice is best. You’ll find it labeled as “sushi rice” in most grocery stores and Asian specialty food stores.

Is a California roll considered real sushi?

This is widely contested, as a California roll isn’t a traditional Japanese roll. Imitation crab is also fully cooked versus raw.

Can I swap out the rice for anything else?

Sushi rice is the best option, but feel free to use cauliflower rice or quinoa if you want to go healthier.

How long does a California sushi bowl keep fresh?

Like most seafood recipes, sushi bowls are best eaten fresh and straight away after assembling.

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About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.