Ever had a strong craving for sushi, but don’t want to pay tons of money for takeout? And making sushi at home can sometimes be time-consuming. My Cold Sushi “Bake” is the answer to all your problems! It’s a super tasty casserole with all of the sushi toppings and flavors, but none of the hassle.
I admit – this should probably be called sushi casserole since it’s cold… but something about “sushi bake” rolls off the tongue better to me. So anyhow, a cold sushi bake is the perfect lunch or dinner idea when those cravings hit! It honestly couldn’t be easier: layers of sushi-seasoned rice, creamy imitation crab salad, spicy marinated cucumber salad, and tons of nori crumbles on top. Let’s get into it!
- Imitation Crab – Imitation crab tastes sooo good in Asian dishes. We’re going to take some imitation crab and shred it using forks, a hand mixer, or whatever method you prefer.
- Sushi Rice – Sushi rice is actually really easy to make! All you need is short-grain rice, rice vinegar, a bit of sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- Cucumber Salad – We’re going to make a layer of cucumber salad by quickly marinating thinly-sliced cucumber in a sweet and spicy mixture. It’s irresistible!
- Sushi Toppings – This is where you can go crazy with your favorite sushi toppings. Nori, furikake seasoning, sesame seeds, avocado, roe, even tempura flakes. The possibilities are endless!
How to Make an Easy Cold Sushi Bake
This recipe for cold crab sushi bake is truly so easy, and you get a beautiful and tasty dish at the end of just a few minutes of work!
- Start out by cooking and seasoning your rice. You want to cook some sushi rice (or short-grain rice) according to package instructions – meanwhile, cook rice vinegar and sugar in a small saucepot until everything is melted.
- Stir the cooled vinegar mixture into the rice to give it that signature, slightly sweet taste and sticky texture that sushi is known for. Then go ahead and add this to a casserole dish and set it aside.
- Next, make your cucumber salad. Slice cucumber into then pieces using a mandolin, add some vinegar, sriracha, chili powder, and agave… once it tastes like how you want it, cover and set in the fridge so the veggies soak up all of that goodness.
- After that, shred up your crab. Mix together with kewpie mayo (or regular if you don’t have it!), sriracha, a hint of sesame oil, and a pinch of cayenne for spice.
- Finally, it’s time to assemble. Start with your sushi rice layer, then the cucumber salad, and then the crab layer.
- Go crazy with your toppings for the final layer. Sliced avocado, black sesame seeds, extra sriracha, crushed nori strips… whatever tickles your fancy!
- You can serve as is, or pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes. It really gets better the longer that the flavors have to mesh together!
Variations/Substitutions for Cold Sushi Casserole
- Regular mayo is fine to substitute if you can’t find kewpie/Japanese mayonnaise.
- I love the thin strips for my cucumber layer, but you can always just slice into rounds.
- Try using canned tuna or sushi-grade salmon instead of imitation crab!
- Serve this with nori strips to really get the sushi-eating experience.
- Black sesame seeds, roe, tempura pieces, spicy mayo, dark soy sauce, or green onions would all make amazing toppings for sushi bake. Don’t limit yourself!
Other Easy Dinners You’ll Love!
Cold Crab Sushi “Bake”
- 2 cups uncooked sushi rice or short-grain rice
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 16 oz. imitation crab
- ½ cup kewpie mayo or regular mayo
- 2 tbsp. sriracha
- ½ tsp. sesame oil
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 ct. English cucumber
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. agave
- 1 tbsp. sriracha
- chili powder to taste
- crushed nori strips
- black sesame seeds
- Start by adding the sushi rice, sea salt, and water to a large pot.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the rice has soaked up all of the water. This will take about 15-20 minutes on the stovetop.
- In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar and sugar.
- Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let this mixture cool.
- In a 9×13 casserole dish, add the cooked rice. Stir the vinegar mixture into the rice until the rice is sticky. (It'll dry as it cools.)
- Set aside, or cover and add to the refrigerator.
- For the cucumber salad layer, wash an English cucumber.
- Using a mandolin slicer, slice the cucumber into thin strips.
- Add the cucumber to a bowl with the rice vinegar, agave, sriracha, and chili powder to taste. Cover, and set in the fridge to marinate.
- Shred the imitation crab – I've found the best method is using a hand mixer, but you can also use a knife.
- To a large bowl, combine the shredded crab, kewpie mayo, sriracha, and sesame oil. Stir in cayenne pepper to taste. Set aside.
Combining the Sushi Casserole
- Finally, take out the dish with the sushi rice from the refrigerator.
- Top with the layer of marinated cucumber salad, the crab salad, and your favorite sushi toppings – I use sliced avocado, crushed nori, sesame seeds, and more sriracha drizzle.
- You can eat as is, or set it back in the fridge to get it extra cold. Enjoy!
The Coined Breakdown
- Total Cost per serving: $1.37
- Total Cost (8 servings): $10.93
- Those Other Guys: $15.99 per serving