California Roll Sushi Bowl – The Cookie Rookie®

This tasty California Roll Sushi Bowl is a deconstructed sushi bowl made with creamy avocado, fresh crabmeat, and crunchy cucumbers.

such bowl on a table scape with chopsticks

California Roll in a Bowl

No time to cook? That’s okay because this California Roll Sushi Bowl recipe will be ready in under 30 minutes. This yummy sushi bowl is sure to delight your guests or your family.

This yummy recipe consists of all the great flavors found in California rolls, deconstructed into a rice bowl. If you love sushi, you’ll love these!

Why You’ll Love this Sushi Bowl Recipe:

  • No Mess: It’s a California Roll in a bowl!
  • Simple to Make: This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
  • Healthy Meal: Fresh avocado, cucumbers, and crabmeat make this a healthy homemade meal.

If you like this dish, be sure to try our Poke Bowls or Homemade Ramen Cups!

deconstructed California roll served in a bowl
hand holding chopsticks, and picking up a piece of imitation crab out of a sushi bowl

How to Make a Sushi Bowl

You can jump to the recipe card for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Rinse rice under cool water until the water runs clear.
  2. Add rice and water to your rice cooker, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Add the cooked rice to a large bowl and drizzle over the rice vinegar, stir, then set aside until cool.
  4. Assemble the bowls. Divide the rice between four bowls. Top with avocado, imitation crab, and cucumber.
  5. Whisk together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl. If you prefer a thinner sauce, whisk in 2 tablespoons of water.
  6. Serve with spicy mayo and garnish with sesame seeds, green onion, or nori furikake. Enjoy!

Ingredient Notes

  • Sushi Rice is a specific type of short-grain Japanese rice and it really makes this bowl feel like you’re eating sushi! Sushi rice is available in the International aisles of most grocery stores.
  • Water helps cook the rice.
  • Rice Vinegar is what gives sushi rice its unique flavor. I like seasoned but if you have unseasoned, mix together 2 tablespoons of 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.
  • Avocado is a classic addition to a California roll – it adds a fresh creaminess to the bowl.
  • Cucumber adds a great crunch to the bowl. I prefer English or Persian because they have softer skin and fewer seeds.
  • Imitation Crab is the classic protein in a California roll. Most imitation crab is already cooked, but double-check to make sure yours is before you buy it.
  • Mayonnaise is the base of our spicy mayo – I prefer Japanese mayo but regular mayonnaise would work too.
  • Sriracha makes the mayo spicy. Feel free to add as much or as little as you like.
how to make a sushi bowl step by step photos
What is a California roll sushi bowl?

A California sushi bowl consists of all of the great flavors found in California rolls (imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber) deconstructed into a rice bowl.

Does a California roll sushi bowl contain shellfish?

Shellfish allergy sufferers, fear not! Imitation crab doesn’t actually contain any crab. It’s made from white fish that is simply shaped and colored to look like crab legs.

Why do I need to rinse rice before cooking it?

Rice is high in starch, so there is often starchy residue on the grains. If you don’t rinse this residue off, you can end up with gummy, gluey rice.

What is nori furikake?

Nori furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend made from dried seaweed flakes, sesame seeds, and salt. If you’re unable to find it, you can simply sprinkle on the component ingredients.

Recipe Tricks and Tips

  • We do not recommend assembling the bowls ahead of time, or the rice will dry out, and the avocado will brown. But you can prep each part and assemble fresh when ready to eat!
  • Use imitation crab meat if you’re allergic to shellfish.
hand reaching towards a deconstructed sushi bowl
sushi bowls on a table

Make Ahead Instructions

  • The sushi rice can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
  • The spicy mayonnaise can also be prepared 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover California roll sushi bowls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.


  • I do not recommend using any rice other than sushi rice, but if you cannot find it, some people have had success with Calrose rice.
  • If you have unseasoned rice vinegar, mix together 2 tablespoons of 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
  • If you prefer, you can use real crab meat. Be sure to cook the meat before adding it.
  • You could also use cooked shrimp or smoked salmon.
  • If you want to try nori furikake but can’t find any, use dried seaweed flakes, sesame seeds, and salt to approximate the flavor.

Sushi Rice Tips

  • Be sure to use sushi rice. Other white rices are not as sticky and will not perform the same. Sushi rice can be found in the International aisle of most grocery stores.
  • Rinse the rice thoroughly to remove excess starch and avoid mushy rice.
  • You can also cook the rice in a rice cooker, if you have one.
  • Gently fold in the rice vinegar to avoid smashing the rice into a mushy blob.
  • Let the rice cool completely before using in sushi bowls to prevent it from melting the toppings.
overhead view of a sushi bowl filled with cucumbers, avocado, imitation crab, and more

The California Roll Sushi Bowl is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. Made with fresh ingredients and topped with a spicy mayo sauce, this recipe is sure to please!

If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy! You can also jump to recipe.

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