California Roll Sushi Bowl – Fit Foodie Finds


This easy California roll sushi bowl is packed with fresh ingredients that’ll satisfy all your sushi cravings! It’s basically a deconstructed California roll placed into serving bowls, making for an easy lunch that you can throw together just like that.

A white bowl with a bowl of rice and cucumbers.

If you’re a fan of poke bowls, the classic California roll, or all things sushi, this California sushi bowl is for you! We love the tasty combination of seasoned crunchy cucumber, tender crab, and sticky rice topped with a delicious spicy mayo sauce. It’s quickly become my go-to alternative to sushi takeout 🥰🥰🥰

California Roll Sushi Bowl – What You’ll Need

  • Fresh cilantro:  we love tossing our sticky rice with fresh cilantro for an extra pop of flavor
  • Sesame oil: sesame oil is a staple in sushi recipes. It adds a unique nutty flavor
  • Nori: you’ll need sheets of nori (dried seaweed) to crumble into your sticky rice for that classic sushi taste.
  • Sticky rice: if you’re not sure how to make sticky rice, we’ll go over that in the FAQ section!
  • Mini cucumbers: we chose mini cucumbers for their crunchiness and smaller size.
  • Ginger: ginger is used to add flavor to the cucumbers in this recipe. Freshly grated is best.
  • Soy sauce: you can’t have a sushi recipe without soy sauce! This gets absorbed by the cucumbers to create the sushi flavor you know and love.
  • Cooked crab: Use either cooked crab or imitation crab meat for this sushi bowl, depending on your preference.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayo is the rich and creamy base for the spicy mayo sauce.
  • Chili garlic sauce: Instead of making a spicy sriracha mayo sauce, we opted for chili garlic sauce, which has a bit more flavor.
Cucumbers in a white bowl with a spoon.

Variations and Substitutions

Just like all sushi, there are so many different ingredient combinations to try. That said, we encourage you to find the perfect combo that resembles your favorite sushi roll. 

For example, if you’re not a fan of crab, you can swap it for any cooked or raw fish (as long as it is sushi-grade, of course!). Fresh sushi grade salmon would be BOMB in this recipe. 

You could also add a lot of tasty fixings like creamy avocado, green onion, and black sesame seeds,  or even go for a vegetarian option and swap the crab for crispy tofu.

A white bowl filled with greens and a spoon.


What is in a California roll?

A California roll is a sushi roll filled with avocado, crab (either real or imitation), and cucumber. It is typically wrapped in a sheet of seaweed and sticky rice. Sometimes it is topped with sesame seeds or spicy mayo. 

How do I make this recipe gluten-free?

To make this California roll sushi bowl gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce and substitute the crab for cooked shrimp or fish. You can also use cauliflower rice instead of sticky rice as your base. 

Our Go-To Way to Cook Sticky Rice

To make the sticky rice, we recommend using our Instant Pot sticky rice recipe. Follow these easy steps: 

  • First, rinse 1.5 cups of uncooked rice under cold water for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the rice to your Instant Pot, and then add 1.5 cups of water. Stir and make sure all of the rice is covered in water.
  • Close the lid and cook the rice under high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, let the rice naturally release for 8 minutes. After that, release the rest of the pressure and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes before using it in your sushi bowl.
A bowl of salmon and cucumber salad with dressing.


Store any leftover California roll bowls in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 day — sushi expires fast, especially if you’re using raw meat. 

We don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

A bowl of sushi with cucumbers and avocado.

Serving Suggestions

While this easy sushi bowl could easily be a complete meal on its own, it never hurts to add more flavor with some side dishes! This cold meal would pair excellently with this Instant Pot Sweet Potato Curry Soup or Pork Dumplings.

You would also really enjoy it with this Sesame Soy Kale Salad, Rainbow Sesame Noodle Salad, or Ginger Pea Salad.

A white bowl with rice, cucumbers and avocado.

California Roll Sushi Bowl Recipe

This California roll sushi bowl recipe is full of great ingredients like crunchy vegetables, nori seaweed, tender crab meat, and creamy avocado to create the ultimate deconstructed sushi bowl that is simple to make and easy to love!

Prep:30 minutes

Cook:4 minutes

Fat 36

Carbs 38

Protein 5




  • 6 oz. cooked crab or imitation crab meat chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  • Prepare the rice. Add the white onions, rice vinegar, cilantro, salt, and sesame oil to a bowl and toss all of the ingredients together. Set aside.

  • Prepare the cucumbers. Add all of the ingredients for the cucumbers to a bowl and toss until the cucumbers are coated in the dressing. Set aside.

  • Prepare the crab. Toss the crab meat with lemon juice until coated. Set aside.

  • Mix the sauce. Mix the mayo and the garlic chili sauce in a bowl until smooth.

  • Add the cooked rice to the onions and toss to combine. Crumble the nori sheets into the rice and toss again.

  • Evenly distribute all of the rice, cucumbers, crab, and avocado into bowls and top with the spicy mayo. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Sticky rice directions:
    Rinse 1.5 cups of uncooked rice under cold water for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the rice to an Instant Pot and add 1.5 cups of water. Stir and make sure all of the rice is covered in water.
  • Cook the rice under high pressure for 4 minutes and then naturally let the rice naturally release for 8 minutes. Release the rest of the pressure and fluff the rice.
  • Set aside.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 492kcal Carbohydrates: 38g Protein: 5g Fat: 36g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 4g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.


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