9 Best Sushi Recipes

More than most food categories, sushi can feel unapproachable. The mystique around the sushi chef, the fact that you're handling raw meat, and the eye-popping garnishes at restaurants all combine to create a mental block for most people that keeps them from trying to make it themselves. But it doesn't need to be this way. People have been making sushi for over a thousand years, and if they can do it, so can you.

In an effort to bolster the courage of beginner sushi chefs and spark the creativity of salt-worn hands, we've put together a list of nine sushi recipes that are sure to wow the dinner table. This isn't a list of the typical sushi rolls you'd find at a restaurant and how to make them. Some of them get a little creative with the sushi label. All the same, each of these dishes embodies our love of seafood (and vegetarian equivalents) and is perfectly suited to scratch the sushi itch when the restaurant scene is either weighing too heavy on your wallet or is just a little too far from home to bother.

Making sushi at home is different from ordering it at a restaurant. At a restaurant, it's a good idea to try the sashimi before ordering sushi rolls to get a sense of the quality. Since you're buying the groceries yourself, this step shouldn't be necessary. So, gather up all the essential ingredients you'll need for making sushi at home and throw on a cozy kimono. It's roll time.

Spicy Crab Salad Sushi

This recipe developed by Molly Madigan Pisula of Vanilla Bean Cuisine is great for beginners looking to practice their rolling technique since there aren't too many ingredients stuffed inside but still plenty of flavor thanks to the spicy mayo dressing you use to cover the crab meat. This recipe uses surimi, which is the imitation crab meat often used at restaurants, but you can substitute real crab meat if you prefer. The directions also include a good guide on how to build a sushi roll like the pros which is helpful for anyone just starting out.

Recipe: Spicy Crab Salad Sushi

California Roll

The California roll is a great example of how sushi has changed as it's been mixed with Western dining culture. Originally created by Canadian sushi chefs looking for innovative ways to broaden their appeal, the California roll is borderline Asian fusion. This recipe developed by Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert of Wholly Nourished is pretty similar to the previous one since they both spotlight imitation crab meat as their main ingredient, but the California roll ditches the spicy mayo and adds avocado for a light but creamy texture. Sushi purists sometimes frown at the California roll, but you can't argue with how successful it's been.

Recipe: California Roll

Salmon Sushi Bake

This innovative dish takes everything we love about sushi and flips the script on its head. For anyone squeamish about eating raw fish, this is a great way to experience all the delicious seafood flavors sushi offers without the risk. Surprisingly easy to put together, this recipe has a bottom layer of sushi rice topped with salmon, sauce, and seasonings which then gets baked in the oven. If you've never tried a sushi bake before, you don't know what you've been missing. It doesn't get more beginner-friendly than this but it still breaks the mold for adepts as well.

Recipe: Salmon Sushi Bake

California Roll Bowl

This dish is like a California roll only it's even easier to make. Sushi is delicious, but rolls aren't always as filling as they could be for how much effort goes into making them. By imitating a poke bowl, we get all the flavor of sushi while also being time-efficient – something that is especially helpful when you're feeding a crowd. This recipe is enough to serve four, but it's much easier to double this recipe than it would be to double the number of rolls you're putting together. We even add the spicy mayo back in for a creamy kick.

Recipe: California Roll Bowl

Sushi Crab Salad

If the idea of a sushi bowl sounds appealing but the California roll just isn't cutting it for you, this sushi crab salad may be the delicious twist you're looking for. This recipe, created by Jason Goldstein of Chop Happy, substitutes imitation crab with real crab meat while retaining the avocado and cucumber that complement the crab's flavor so well. The seasoning on this one should not be underestimated. It's fresh and citric, but the apple cider vinegar gives it a tangy kick that goes great with the umami you get from the seaweed.

Recipe: Sushi Crab Salad

Ginger Sushi Burrito

If you've ever made sushi and wished the portions were just a little bit bigger, this ginger sushi burrito is here to grant your wish. This recipe developed by Kit Hondrum of Kit's Kitchen isn't turning the dial up to an 11 (trust us, that's a good thing), but merely taking it from a four to a six. Perfect for when one normal-sized roll isn't going to cut it but you don't have enough room in your lunchbox to fit two, this dish uses a combination of salmon and ahi tuna as its centerpiece while adding in avocado, cucumber, and carrot for some texture and flavor.

Recipe: Ginger Sushi Burrito

Vegetarian Sushi Rolls

Dietary restrictions shouldn't keep you from enjoying the foods you love, and nothing transitions to meatless quite like sushi can. The important thing to keep in mind for vegetarian sushi is that the texture of the fish adds a lot. If you don't want to end up with a dry mouthfeel, you need to be thinking of ways you can substitute in a comparable ingredient. This recipe uses avocado, which is a staple in the sushi world for good reason. There are also some great sushi dipping sauces that can help a lot.

Recipe: Vegetarian Sushi Rolls

Veggie Kimbap (Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls)

Although kimbap isn't actually a type of sushi, visually and structurally they work along similar lines. Kimbap will often include cooked meats and other proteins instead of raw fish, but this veggie version closes the gap between the two styles enough that you likely won't notice the difference. This recipe uses marinated tofu and a splash of maple syrup for an interesting twist on the classic sushi motif. Kimbap is also a great candidate for meal prep because they come together quickly and travel well.

Recipe: Veggie Kimbap (Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls)

Charred Avocado Hand Rolls

Hand rolls are criminally underrated given how fun and delicious they can be. This charred avocado hand roll recipe created by Taylor Murray provides the subtle smokiness we crave while also being incredibly healthy. Another great candidate for vegetarians and vegans, these hand rolls come together fast, which means they're good as a snack or a light meal. The rolling method is a little different from a classic sushi roll, but you don't need a culinary degree to figure it out. The main thing is knowing where to put the rice and how much to use, but this recipe does a good job of explaining what to do.

Recipe: Charred Avocado Hand Rolls