Sushi bake is an easy Asian casserole that is rich and creamy and allows you to enjoy sushi without having to learn how to roll! You can even make it spicy! Made with easily available ingredients that you don't need to go the Asian grocery stores for, this pantry-ingredient-recipe is the perfect party dish for sharing with friends and family. On the table in 20 minutes (excluding rice cooking time.)
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Easy to make: This sushi in casserole form recipe is so easy, even beginner cooks can make it perfectly the first time. Plus, you only need simple pantry ingredients that are readily available at regular stores.
- Easy to customise: switch out the tinned tuna for salmon or imitation crab and you have a new dish! Or use sriracha aioli instead of regular may on half the rice, and you have a 2-in-1 dish!
- Crowd pleaser: I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't enjoy this savory and creamy fusion recipe. Make a feast of it with these sushi side dishes and some mugicha tea!
What is Sushi Bake?
Also known as sushi casserole, baked sushi or pan sushi, it's essentially a deconstructed sushi that is warmed up in the oven!
Note: for more Asian rice recipes, click here.
- sushi rice: if you can't get Koshihikari short grain rice (the typical rice used for Japanese cooking), you can use some of these Japanese rice substitutes. I like to cook my rice with some dried kelp, to give it extra flavor, but it's not really necessary! Leftover rice can also be used in these easy recipes.
- Sushi seasoning: you can make your own with rice vinegar, sugar and salt (exact quantities provided in the recipe card below.)
- Furikake seasoning: this Japanese mix is available at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Asian markets and Japanese grocers. It's a rice seasoning that makes even plain white rice delicious! (You can actually make your own by mixing sesame seeds with small bits of seaweed and other ingredients.)
- Mayonnaise: I highly recommend Japanese Kewpie mayo instead of regular mayo, as it is just so much more savory! If you can't get Kewpie Mayonnaise, mix ½ teaspoon of sugar with your mayo to give it more oomph. Sour cream should also work for this recipe but I've never personally tried it so can't advise on quantities yet.
- Cream cheese: This helps the topping melt and ooze over the rice. It helps to take the cream cheese out of the fridge 5-10 minutes to soften it, before mixing with the mayo. If not, it can be hard to get rid of the lumps!
- Canned Tuna: This can be replaced with canned crab imitation crab meat or real crab meat which, to be honest, I much prefer the texture of. However, I'm using canned tuna in my recipe as it's more accessible and more affordable.
- Avocado slices: I highly recommend topping with sliced avocado, as canned tuna can be a bit dry, even mixed with mayo. Take it from the fridge just before assembling, so you have the cold avocado contrasting with the warm rice!
- Sesame oil: drizzle this on, along with more mayo, after the dish comes out of the oven. It'll smell oh-so-fragrant!
- Green onions: thinly sliced spring onions are a great garnish to introduce some freshness to the baked dish.
- Lightly toasted sesame seeds: either black or white work and will introduce some texture to the recipe.
- Nori Sheet, optional: if you want to make it a "handroll party", serve the baked dish with roasted seaweed sheets, cut into man-palm-sized rectangles, for you to roll or wrap the baked rice in. (Korean seaweed, or roasted gim, is a great substitute.) If you entertaining a little more formally, slice up the sushi bake, wrap in seaweed then place the seaweed snack on a tray to present as Asian canapés.
📖 Variations & Substitutes
- Spicy casserole: For some spice, you can also use kimchi mayo, sriracha mayo, sambal spicy mayo or gochujang mayo. Alternatively, sprinkle some gochugaru flakes or sliced chilies on top of the dish.
- Cheesy: sprinkle some grated cheese on before popping the dish into the oven.
- Deconstructed California Rolls: Use imitation crab instead of canned tuna, pile on the sliced avocado and sprinkle on some Japanese fish roe (tobiko) or shrimp roe (ebiko) after removing from the oven. To go luxe, use ikura instead- this umamilicious salmon roe is my favorite topping actually but sadly very pricy! (When applied liberally, it costs more than the rest of the dish!!)
- Half-and-half: feel free to use 2 different fillings on top of the rice. You can do a teriyaki salmon bake or a creamy salmon on 1 side, and this tinned creamy tuna on the other! You can even give it a Southeast Asian spin by using spicy tuna curry!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Optional: coat the casserole dish with some sesame oil. (I used a 10 inch one.) This helps give your deconstructed sushi roll a bit of a crispy bottom.
Once the rice is cooked, mix in the sushi seasoning (vinegar with sugar and salt dissolved in it. You may need to microwave the mixture to get the sugar to dissolve.)
Optional: you can also add some sesame oil if you want it more like Kimbap than Japanese sushi rolls.
3. Whilst the rice is cooking, place the softened cream cheese, mayo and tuna (or crab stick, if using) in a bowl and mix well.
4. Scoop the rice onto the baking dish and spread till the entire dish is filled.
5. Liberally sprinkle ½ of the Furikake on top of the rice as it pretty much provides all the flavor for the recipe, if you're not adding fish roe later. (I used almost ½ the packet!)
Tip: Try to get it in an even layer across the rice. (I had to use a spoon to spread the above out.)
6a. Spread the tuna mixture on top of the rice, till all the rice is covered.
6c. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425F/ 218.3C for 12-15 minutes or till the top turns golden brown and bubbly.
7a. Whilst the dish is in the oven, cut the avocado and other garnishes.
7b. Top the hot casserole with avocado slices, green onions, sesame seeds, sliced chilies etc.
Serve with seaweed and enjoy!
🥡 How to Store
Extras should be kept in an airtight container in the chiller as soon as possible. (Rice goes bad really quickly so don't leave it out at room temperature for a long period of time.)
To reheat, place it in a 325/ 162.8C oven for 10-15 minutes or in the microwave for 30 seconds, followed by 10 second increments till warmed through.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger. Not only is this part of traditional Japanese meals, but the acidity of the pickle helps to lift the flavors. If not, pickled sliced cucumbers work too and have a beautiful crunch!
Tip #2: When mixing the vinegar, salt and sugar with the cooked rice, don't stir the rice. Instead, you want to use the traditional Japanese technique or cutting and folding the rice. This ensures it doesn't become mushy.
Tip #3: Fanning the rice whilst mixing in the vinegar-sugar-salt helps improve the texture.
🥗 Suggested Accompanying Recipes
Enjoyed this easy homemade baked sushi Recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below! If you REALLY liked this dish, please consider supporting it by buying me a coffee! 🙂 (No obligation though!) Thank you and have a great day!
Sushi Bake (with Canned Tuna)
- Baking dish or casserole dish
- Rice Cooker OR Pot with cover
For the rice
- 1 Cup uncooked If you can't get Koshihikari short grain rice, you can use risotto rice or these Japanese rice substitutes. I like to cook my rice with 1 piece of 1-inch dried kelp, to give it extra flavor, but it's not really necessary!
- ¼ Cup rice vinegar Substitute for the rice vinegar, sugar and salt: shop-bought sushi seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the topping
- ¼-⅓ Cup Furikake seasoning available at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, online, Asian markets and Japanese grocers. (You can make your own by mixing sesame seeds with small bits of seaweed and other ingredients.)
- ¾ Cup Mayonnaise UseJapanese Kewpie mayo if you can. If you can't get it, mix ½ teaspoon of sugar with your mayo to give it more oomph. Sour cream should also work for this recipe but I've never personally tried it so can't advise on quantities yet.
- 3 Tablespoons Cream cheese Take it out of the fridge 5-10 minutes before mixing with the mayo, so that it can soften. If not it's a pain to get a smooth spread.
- 2 Cans Tuna 5 oz cans (but don't sweat it if the weight varied a bit.) In oil or water both work. This can be replaced with canned crab imitation crab meat or real crab meat
- 1 avocado sliced, cold out of the fridge
- Sesame oil Drizzle
- 1 sprig Green onions sliced thin
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds white, black or a mix, lightly toasted.
Optional, to wrap
- Nori Sheet Roasted, preferably, cut into palm-sized rectangles. Substitute: Korean gim seaweed
- Optional, for a crispy rice bottom: coat a thin baking pan with some sesame oil.
- Cook short grain rice as you normally do. (Add 1 piece of dried kelp if you have it for more flavor.)
- When the rice is cooking, microwave the vinegar, sugar and salt so that the sugar dissolves in the vinegar. Alternatively, you can just use ready-made sushi seasoning.
- After that, stir the softened cream cheese, mayo and drained tuna until it is evenly mixed.
- Once the rice is cooked, scoop it into a large bowl then use the flat rice scoop (or spatula if you don't have 1) to mix the sushi seasoning into the rice by cutting and folding the rice. (Not stirring- this makes the rice mushy.) If you want more savory food, add some sesame oil too. (This will make it more like Korean Kimbap than Japanese sushi.)
- Spread the rice onto the baking dish then top with ½ the furikake, followed by the tuna mix, then the rest of the furikake. (If you want it spicier, you can add some chili flakes now.) Try to get them in even layers.Tip: taste it now- everything is cooked- to see if the flavor is sufficient. If not, add more seasoning!
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425F/ 218.3C for 12-15 minutes or till the top turns golden brown and bubbly.
- Whilst the dish is in the oven, cut the avocado and other garnishes then place on the dish once out of the oven.
- Enjoy with seaweed, sliced cucumber and pickled ginger!
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