Sushi bake recently emerged as a tasty trend when communities were required to quarantine due to the worldwide pandemic. It is a straightforward concept that stems from the traditional rolled sushi dishes of the Japanese.
This particular recipe provides you with a quick and super simple way of creating sushi in a casserole form, which provides a large batch.
Making rolled sushi is an art form that requires special skills; however, this popular baked sushi recipe is easy and takes the difficulty and time out of rolling individual servings of sushi.
You scoop it, wrap it in a sheet of seaweed that has been roasted to perfection, and eat! This is an excellent dish for large families, parties, and other types of social gatherings.
What – exactly – is Sushi bake?
It is a special take on the traditional Japanese dish. In short, it spins traditional sushi rolls into a casserole. All of the common ingredients are used, such as tobiko (fish roe), salmon, rice that has been vinegared, and tantalizing crab sticks.
Once it is finished baking and hot from the oven, it is scooped up and combined with roasted seaweed. Think of a broken-down version of the popular maki, and you have sushi bake!
I love the fact that you may prepare this dish in a casserole pan! It makes it so easy to create a full meal consisting of sushi that can feed a large group of people. Anyone that loves sushi is sure to love this take on the classic.
You can layer it with sushi rice, special sprinkles of the favorite, furikake, and top with a delicious filling created with imitation crab, spicy salmon, Japanese-based mayo, scallions, and cream cheese – or any other ingredient that you like!
Then, top it off with eel (or unagi) sauce and bake! Upon serving, you can combine it with your favorite toppings.
Sushi bake can be created in many different ways – based on your tastes and your preferences. I will be including my ultimate, go-to recipe here.
However, even I change it up depending on what I am craving and what products are available in my kitchen.
Just do a little experimenting with the food combinations you like when it comes to traditional sushi rolls.
I guarantee – whatever combinations you choose -you will create a mouthwatering, crowd-pleasing dish that is well-loved and highly memorable!
Watch the video
Origin of the Dish
There is no definitive history of how this fantastic sushi-based casserole developed; however, many resources point to the fact that it could have started in Hawaii. It has been around for some time, though.
You can find early mentions of it on the internet as early as 2011; however, it really took off during shutdowns in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ingredients for Sushi Bake
1 Layer of Rice
The rice used in sushi is typically known as Meshi (飯 (めし), short-grain rice cultivated in Japan; this is known for its overall stickiness. This stems from the high level of starch that is known as “amylopectin.”
The stickiness makes it easier to consume with traditional chopsticks. It is also beneficial when it comes to shaping the rice when making sushi.
The sticky rice with a high starch level is best for sushi bake; however, you may substitute it with jasmine rice. If you do this, just make sure to add a tad more water to soften the texture.
- Wash the rice you use, ensuring the water runs completely clear. If you want to achieve umami’s flavoring, cook it with an included piece of dried-out kelp or with a little kombu.
Many people mistakenly believe that the word “sushi” means “raw fish”; however, it means “vinegared rice.” It is combined with salt, rice vinegar, and sugar to achieve that distinguished Japanese flavoring after steaming the rice.
- If you like, you may place a little furikake seasoning in with your sticky rice. You may also sprinkle it on top of the rice.
This seasoning provides seafood flavoring. It typically includes seaweed, salt, MSG, sugar, bonito flakes, and sesame seeds. It is effortless to find this seasoning.
Just check out your local Asian grocery store or purchase it from an online retailer.
2 Imitation Crab Meat
While this is not real crab meat, it provides the same basic flavoring for significantly less money. You can use this imitation meat at home to create a tasty sushi bake!
Imitation crab meat is already cooked when you purchase it; however, to enhance the taste of your sushi casserole, you may cut the pieces, fry them, sauté them, steam them, or even chill them before adding them.
The choice is yours and is based on your unique tastes and preferences!
How to safely handle imitation crab meat
Imitation crab meat is a food product that is perishable and could experience spoilage very fast. Once purchasing, refrigerate immediately.
When using imitation crab meat, inspect it thoroughly to ensure that it is safe for consumption. If it has any mold or unusual coloring or it smells off to you, discard it immediately.
If you cook the imitation crab meat, limit the time it is under heat. It is typically very tender and may fall apart or lose its shape if it is cooked for too long.
Making imitation crab last longer
Yes, it is a processed food, but you can make your imitation crab meat last even longer by freezing it. Once you pull it out, inspect for signs that it has gone bad before eating it.
Remember, always refer to the expiration date included on the packaging, too, when deciding if it is safe to eat.
3 Masago or tobiko
Tobiko (とびこ) is the Japanese word for “flying fish roe”. It is widely popular among sushi enthusiasts. If you would like to create a juicy, fun bake, add these to your recipe.
4 Mayonnaise and cream cheese
To enhance your sushi casserole dish’s flavor, you should add combinations of mayonnaise and sweet cream cheese. This will help bind all of the other ingredients while providing an incredible boost of flavor to the bake.
If you prefer the taste of sour cream to cream cheese, you may use that ingredient instead.
5 Unagi sauce
Also known as an eel sauce, this condiment adds a punch of flavor when you drizzled this on top of your baked sushi. I love its sweet, umami flavor, and it’s a perfect addition to any grilled dishes or onigiri.
You can find this at your local Japanese store or you can make your own recipe at home.
6 Hot sauce
When electing to add hot sauce to your baked sushi dish, add a little to spice up the flavoring, but not enough to add a strong heat. Asian-based hot sauces are ideal for this bake.
Avoid those flavorings that add a tang as they simply do not compliment the dish.
Is Sushi healthy if it is baked?
Generally speaking, this is not a very healthy dish. Indulgent? Yes. Tasty? Yes. Healthy? NO. This is mostly because of the added ingredients, like sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salty crab meat, and high-carb rice.
Now, it is possible to swap out your ingredients a little to make it healthier if that is what you want.
If you prefer, you could use white rice, brown rice, or even purple rice – if you so desire!
You could substitute the imitation crab meat with canned tuna fish or salmon that has been baked.
How do I eat baked sushi casserole?
I prefer to eat mine with Korean seaweed. All I do is, roast up my seaweed to where it is a bit on the crispy side. Then, I lie the pad down, scoop the sushi casserole out, and put it on top.
I also like to put the casserole in a bowl and crumble up the roasted seaweed on top of it. It is a very flexible dish.
You can combine it with certain seasonings, cheeses, and spices – it is all up to you!
Step by step instructions
For sushi rice
1 Be sure that you rinse your sushi rice with cold water. This helps to remove excessive levels of starch. You have to make sure that the water runs clear. Once this happens, drain it completely.
2 Add 2 cups of water (for every 2 cups of rice), this moistens it up and helps to ensure that it is evenly cooked. Then, simply put it in your rice cooker to complete the process.
3 Once the rice is finished, season it up with rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. This is where you can add the furikake seasoning. Now, mix it all up thoroughly. Set aside.
For the Creamy Topping:
4 Take a medium bowl and combine Japanese mayonnaise, sriracha, and cream cheese that is room temperature. Use a hand mixer to make a smooth mixture.
5 You can add other ingredients that you like, such as cucumber, imitation crab meat, and any other bit that you like. Be sure to mix everything up nicely. Set aside.
For the Sushi Bake:
6 It is time to start preheating the oven. 400°F is the best temperature.
7 Take a baking dish and spread out the sushi rice. Press it down just a little. Then, use some furikake Bonita flakes and sprinkles on top.
8 Take the creamy topping that you created and spread evenly or cover it on top of the rice.
9 Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. You want to ensure that the top is a little bit golden-colored and bubbling a bit.
10 Allow the sushi casserole to cool down for 5 or more minutes before adding those toppings that you like.
11 Drizzle with the unagi sushi sauce. Sprinkle some Furikake seasoning, seaweed or Nori flakes, fish roe, or any of your favorite toppings.
12 Lie roasted nori or seaweed on plates and scoop the casserole on top and serve! Enjoy!
How to store the leftovers?
- If there are any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and put them into the refrigerator.
- If you do not plan on eating right away, you may place it in the freezer for several weeks.
How long will the baked sushi last?
- If placed in the refrigerator – it will last for three days.
- If placed in the freezer, it will last for several weeks.
How to reheat it?
- Preheat the oven. Heat the sushi casserole in the oven at 400°F for about 7 to 10 minutes (the time depends on the amount of leftover). Make sure to loosely cover the top with aluminum foil.
What goes well with baked sushi?
If you enjoy cooking, baking, and all things food-related, you know that little things can make an immense difference in the dining experience.
Sushi is known for its beauty in mixing with many different ingredients and creating worthy taste meals. You can experiment with a vast host of spices, seasonings, flavors, and textures.
Edamame beans are a delightful side dish when it comes to sushi. It possesses a freshness that is common to fresh, steamed vegetables. It contains a form of pleasant saltiness -like popcorn.
It also has an addictive flavoring. You can serve them on a side for a healthy snake that involved popping the pod and pulling out those luscious beans. Combine it with a cold Japanese-based beer, and you will have a fantastic meal!
Coated in a delicious cold water-based batter, the crispy and deep-fried tempura taste goes exceptionally well with this baked casserole. If you want to increase the healthiness of the dish, choose tempura prawn.
Couple it with a chili sauce that is sweet for dipping, and you will create a memorable, mouthwatering dish. You can check my recipe here.
With combinations of tofu, spring onions, white miso paste, and wakame, the hot miso soup makes an excellent side to this Japanese baked casserole. It will warm the body and please the palate! You can check my Instant Pot Miso Soup here.
White noodles, the crisp of seaweed, a pop of cherry tomatoes, and cucumber combined with a sesame-flavored Goma dressing, you will find that this is not only a healthy side dish but that it is delicious, too!
These are rich, robust, small dumplings – enriched with a deep garlic flavor. It is typically stuffed with your selection of prawn, vegetables, or chicken and served up with a side of your favorite sweet-flavored chili sauce.
While a bit naughty in indulgence, it is a super nice addition to sushi bake! Highly addictive, too! Check the potsticker or gyoza recipe here.
Suppose you are looking to experience a vast array of tastes and textures familiar to the Japanese culture. In that case, these skewers topped with a drizzle of teriyaki are perfect!
My personal favorite is chicken kushiyaki. These are topped with that wonderful teriyaki drizzle, flavorful sesame seeds, combined with the ever-popular soya beans and a touch of red pickles.
I also love the same ingredients with an original prawn or an asparagus-based kushiyaki.
Sushi Bake Recipe
- baking dish
For Sushi Rice:
- 3 cups short-grained rice (cooked)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1½ tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup Furikake seasoning (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
For the Creamy Topping:
- 4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
- 3 oz Mayonnaise (use the kewpie mayo)
- ½ cup cucumber (diced)
- 8 oz imitation crab meat (shredded or diced)
- 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
- 3 tbsp Unagi sauce (add extra if you wish)
- ¼ cup Furikake seasoning
- ¼ cup Seaweed flakes
- ¼ cup Fish roe (optional)
- Nori sheets (pre-cut)
For Sushi Rice:
- Be sure that you rinse your sushi rice with cold water. This helps to remove excessive levels of starch. You have to make sure that the water runs clear. Once this happens, drain it completely.
- Add 2 cups of water (for every 2 cups of rice), this moistens it up and helps to ensure that it is evenly cooked. Then, simply put it in your rice cooker to complete the process.
- Once the rice is finished, season it up with rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. This is where you can add the furikake seasoning. Now, mix it all up thoroughly. Set aside.
For the Creamy Topping:
- Take a medium bowl, and combine Japanese mayonnaise, sriracha, and cream cheese that is room temperature. Use a hand mixer to make a smooth mixture.
- You can add other ingredients that you like, such as cucumber, imitation crab meat, and any other bit that you like. Be sure to mix everything up nicely. Set aside.
For the Sushi Bake:
- It is time to start preheating the oven. 400°F is the best temperature.
- Take a baking dish and spread out the sushi rice. Press it down just a little. Then, use some furikake Bonita flakes and sprinkles on top.
- Take the creamy topping that you created and spread evenly or cover it on top of the rice.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. You want to ensure that the top is a little bit golden-colored and bubbling a bit.
- Allow the sushi casserole to cool down for 5 or more minutes before adding those toppings that you like.
- Drizzle with the unagi sauce. Sprinkle some Furikake seasoning, seaweed or Nori flakes, fish roe, or any of your favorite toppings.
- Lie roasted nori on plates and scoop the casserole on top and serve! Enjoy!
Watch the Video:
How should I store the leftovers?If there are any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and put them into the refrigerator. If you do not plan on eating right away, you may place it in the freezer for several weeks.
How long will the baked sushi last?
- If placed in the refrigerator – three days.
- If placed in the freezer for several weeks.
How to reheat?
- Heat it in the oven at 400°F for about 7 to 10 minutes (depends on the amount of leftover). Make sure to loosely cover the top with aluminum foil.
Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.