This Easy Sushi Bake - or Sushi Casserole - is ridiculously easy to make, thrifty, and tastes far better than it has any right to! SO good!
Originally published February 10, 2020. Updated 9/30/22.
Anyway, Facebook did the thing where it showed me about 2 seconds of a post, then refreshed the page and made it impossible to find again.
This is always annoying, but in this case ... at least it resulted in a new recipe on the blog!
You see, the thing I managed to get a glimpse of something that looked like a sushi casserole. I didn’t catch the name of the dish, see who had shared it, or have time to read literally anything about it.
With our grocery day still several days away, an intense need *right then*, and no patience at all, I made this for the first time from items we already had on hand: short grain rice, imitation crab, mayo, furikake.
Homemade Sushi Casserole!
My easy sushi bake recipe is based on a scaled-down version of my Sticky Sushi Rice Recipe, with toasted sesame seeds added for some texture and crunch.
Then I made a layer that was a modified version of my Spicy Tuna Maki filling.
I added an egg, as this is a casserole and I wanted it a bit more coherent than it would be without it... without adding a TON more mayo.
It’s an easy meal that comes together SUPER quickly - Maybe 10 minutes of actual work time, the rest is just waiting for the rice to cook, and the dish to bake.
... and this is FAR tastier than something so frugal, quick, and easy to make has any right to be.
It actually reminded me a bit of one of my favourite sushi rolls ever, one I haven’t had in 15 years - the Baked Tilapia Roll at Sun Sushi in St John's. Augh, so good!
Anyway, yeah - quick and easy to make, super budget-friendly, and very satisfying!
This will definitely become a go-to easy weeknight dinner in our house, and is a fun , easy option for potlucks and family gatherings.
What is Sushi Bake?
This easy family dinner is basically a deconstructed sushi roll, in casserole form. It takes the best parts of sushi - the vinegared rice and fillings - and layers them together in baked form.
It’s a great way to enjoy the amazing flavors of homemade sushi... the easy way. No fussing with rolling maki, and you don’t have to invest much time.
Even the most beginner of home cooks can make this easy sushi bake recipe, with no special equipment required - you just spread ingredients, bake, and serve!
When things normalize, I can absolutely see this becoming a popular potluck dish.
Anyway, for most people, this easy meal came about as a pandemic trend in 2020. In reality, it’s been around - as a variety of different versions - a lot longer - at least 5 years longer!
Philippine restaurants soon picked up the idea of her original recipe, and it became a popular restaurant dish out that way later that same year. Now, there are even businesses dedicated solely to selling these casseroles!
They’re generally sold in various sizes of trays, from 1-2 person servings, all the way up to bigger trays for large families.
... Is this a Sushi Hotdish?
I've mentioned the whole hot dish thing in my Southwest Hotdish.
With a Minnesotan husband, "is this hotdish?" (cue anime dude releasing a butterfly?) has become a bit of a joke in this household.
I would have to say no, this is not sushi hotdish. There are no vegetables in it, and I'm not convinced that mayo, Sriracha, and egg counts as "binder" in the same way that cream sauces are used in MN hotdishes.
I'm not Minnesotan, though, so my 2 cents may not count, LOL!
... It’s a “Sushi Bake”!
After I made my sushi casserole recipe, baked and served the dish, I decided to Google to see if I could figure out what I had caught a glimpse of, on Facebook.
As it turns out, this is a “Sushi Bake”, and it’s become a quarantine cooking trend (for good reason!)
... I always seem to miss out on these things. Much like a tomato/feta/pasta TikTok trend that a friend mentioned the other day, I’d not heard a thing about this one, either!
Some add cream cheese to the rice, or cucumber or mango to the layers... but I’m happy with the way I went with ours.
I’d considered chopping a cucumber into it, but baked cucumber didn’t interest me, and I’d worried it would give it an unpleasant texture. I wanted cucumber involved, though, so that’s why I served it on the side!
This is a super customizable dish in general, I’ll get to that in a minute. First: the base ingredients!
Best Sushi Bake Ingredients
To make this recipe as-is, you will need:
What kind of white rice you use is up to you - there are several options, so go with what makes the most sense or is most available to you!
I tend to go traditional with this, using sushi rice. It’s a variety of Japanese rice - a short-grain rice - that’s commonly used to make the sticky rice used in creating sushi rolls.
I like the texture of it, but you can use almost any variety of white rice for this. Calrose Rice is a popular option.
I try to keep it to a short or medium grain rice, but Jasmine rice would be a nice, fragrant alternative that would be tasty in this recipe.
Imitation Crab Meat
This is a flavoured white fish product - usually pollock - sold in the seafood sections of most grocery stores. Also called Surimi, it can be sold in stick or flake form.
I usually run in through the food processor to finely chop it for the imitation crab mixture, but you can hand chop it for bigger / more irregular texture, if you prefer.
We used Kewpie Mayonnaise, a Japanese mayo, commonly found in Asian markets.
It’s richer and a bit more... umami... than traditional North American mayo.
That said, you can totally use whatever regular mayo you have on hand for this.
Furikake rice seasoning is another ingredient that’s usually easy to find in Asian supermarkets.
It’s a savoury seasoning blend, consisting of fine bits of nori, bonito flakes, sesame seeds, and a variety of other seasonings.
Can’t find any locally? Try my recipe for homemade furikake! (It’s a sugar-free version).
... but there are many ways you can customize it with your favorite toppings, as well!
Sushi Bake Variations and Garnishes
We went super basic with this - just using what we had on hand.
If planning ahead, though, there are other different flavors you could add, either in or on the side of, to customize it to your tastes.
The best part? You can design your sushi bake around your favorite sushi roll!
A few ideas:
I really enjoyed having fresh cucumber slices on the side of ours. As previously mentioned, though, chopping some up and adding it to the crab layer is something that some people do! (If you try that, let me know how it goes!)
I liked having the cold, crunch as a contrast to the warm casserole, so I’ll be sticking with that, myself.
I love green onions in general, and I liked the bit of bright, oniony flavour it brought as a garnish.
Some time, I may throw some in the food processor with the imitation crab - that would also be great.
We used a sheet of nori - a roasted seaweed sheet - as a garnish/side/stand-in for cutlery, but you could make a layer of the seaweed snack right in the casserole if you like.
It will change texture, between the heat and moisture in the dish, though. I like my nori seaweed sheets dry and crisp, so didn’t add it to ours.
I usually love a ton of wasabi with my sushi, but was feeling a bit lazy when making this the first time... so I didn’t mix up any wasabi.
Over subsequent batches of this, I’ve taken to mixing some prepared wasabi into mayonnaise and using it as a second drizzle.
I love the way the pale green drizzle looks with the orange-red of the dynamite sauce drizzle.
Aside from sriracha mayo and my wasabi mayo drizzle, there are other sushi sauce options that you can incorporate into your sushi bake.
Sushi Sauces can be drizzled on the entire casserole before or after baking, or served on the side. This can be the perfect way to allow everyone to customize their own meal.
You can sometimes find ready-made sushi sauces in grocery stores, but they’re so easy to make at home!
See my Sushi Sauce Recipes post to learn how to make Dynamite sauce, Eel sauce, and Mango sauce.
Masago / Tobiko / Fish Roe
I didn’t happen to have any kind of roe on hand, so I didn’t use it when originally writing this post.
Since then, sometimes it does get sprinkled on each serving as a garnish. I love the fun texture it adds to the dish!
Avocado slices would be great, either as a side/garnish, or baked into the actual dish.
If I had some avocado on hand, I would have chopped it really small, tossed it with a bit of lime or calamansi juice, and spread it over the rice layer.
Baked avocado has such a nice texture and flavour, I could definitely see it having worked well in this.
Unfortunately, the “I have an idea and I’m making this tonight!” thing doesn’t work so well with the “not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, EAT ME NOW, whoops, too late!” nature of avocados!
Much like with the wasabi, soy sauce is such a common accompaniment for sushi. I had no idea how I’d incorporate it, aside from being a dip on the side.
... so I didn’t. I don’t think soy was “missing” from the dish at all.
If you really want soy, I’m thinking a bit of a drizzle over the rice later might be the best way?
Shrimp or Other Seafood
While I normally wouldn’t bother baking sashimi-grade fish, fish or other types of cooked seafood types could be really good in this, either with or instead of the imitation crab.
Scallops, crab, shrimp, real crab meat, a mix... whatever!
Salmon sushi bake, tuna sushi bake ... there are all kinds of different variations you could make with this recipe!
Philly Roll Casserole
We love Philadelphia sushi rolls, and they’d translate well to a bake. Instead of using the fake crab, arrange slices of smoked salmon over the rice, and drizzle with some melted cheese.
To serve, be sure to add some sliced or diced cucumbers on top!
Gluten-Free Sushi Bake
As is, the only thing possibly standing between you and a gluten-free sushi bake is the imitation crab.
Be sure to check the ingredients when buying it - many varieties use wheat flour, some do not.
I find that brands in Asian grocery stores are more likely to use non-wheat binders, than the brands in mainstream grocery stores... I don’t know if that’s a general rule, or just what’s available local to me.
Aside from that, just make sure that any other ingredients you may add - such as soy sauce - is a gluten-free variety, if you’d like a gluten-free casserole.
How to Make Sushi Casserole
This is a super easy recipe to make, and it come together in 3 main parts. Before getting started, preheat your oven. Then...
Make the Sushi Rice
For best results, measure the rice into a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the well with cold water.
Add the uncooked sushi rice and cold water to rice cooker, and set to cook.
Once rice is cooked, dump the hot rice into a large mixing bowl.
Add the vinegar mixture to the large bowl, folding it into the cooked rice carefully, being careful not to mush it.
Grease pan with sesame oil or pan spray. Spread rice mixture in pan, press to flatten a bit into an even layer.
Sprinkle with a nice layer of furikake on top of the rice, set aside.
Make The Crab Layer
Remove packaging from imitation crab, if applicable.
Crack egg into the bowl, beat to break up, then mix well to fully combine. This will hold that layer together a bit, so it’s not so loose.
Spread crab mixture in pan...
Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, and top with another thin layer of furikake.
Make the Sriracha Mayo Topping, and Bake!
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ⅓ cup of mayo and sriracha.
Drizzle over the sushi casserole - I used a pastry bag, but a spoon works fine.
Let the leftovers cool to almost room temperature before covering.
Leftovers are good for 3 or 4 days, when refrigerated in a covered , airtight container.
I use a Pyrex baking dish that has its own cover, and I find it pretty handy!
We’ll dish up a serving of this onto a microwave safe plate, and nuke it til it’s heated through.
My husband likes it warm, I like it piping hot - so how long you heat it for will vary based on how powerful your microwave is, and your own personal preferences.
More Sushi & "Sushi-Adjacent" Recipes
Here are a few more recipes that you may enjoy!
DIY Sushi Birthday Cake
Homemade Gyoza / Potstickers
How to Make Sushi Rice
Matcha Green Tea Pavlova
Pepper Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Cream Sauce
Potluck DIY Sushi Party
Spicy Tuna Maki
Sushi Sauce Recipes - Dynamite, Eel, and Mango
Tuna Avocado Mango Maki
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Easy Sushi Bake [Sushi Casserole]
- Rice Cooker
- 9 x 13 Baking Dish
- 2 cups Uncooked sushi rice
- 2 ¼ cups Water
- ¼ cup Seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds
- Sesame oil or Pan spray
- 1 lb imitation crab meat
- ½ cup Kewpie mayo
- Sriracha to taste
- 1 egg
- Black sesame seeds
- ⅓ cup Kewpie Mayo
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- Green Onions
- Nori sheets
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Rinse rice well. Add rice and water to rice cooker, and set to cook.
- In a small sauce pan, mix rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat on low setting until sugar and salt dissolve.
- Once rice is cooked, dump the hot rice into a large mixing bowl. Fold the vinegar mixture into the rice carefully, being careful not to mush it.
- Add the toasted sesame seeds, gently fold in.
- Grease pan with sesame oil or pan spray. Spread rice mixture in pan, press to flatten a bit. Sprinkle with a nice layer of furikake, set aside.
- Remove packaging from imitation crab, if applicable. Chop up or run through a food processor, like I did.
- Add mayo, stir well to combine. Season with sriracha, to taste.
- Crack egg into the bowl, beat to break up, then mix well to fully combine.
- Spread crab mixture in pan, top with another thin layer of furikake. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
- Mix together remaining ⅓ cup of mayo and sriracha. Drizzle over the sushi casserole - I used a pastry bag, but a spoon works fine.
- Bake for 25 minutes.Serve hot, garnished with cucumbers, nori, green onion, and anything else you'd like!