Are you ready to enjoy restaurant-quality crispy rice sushi in your own home? From how to prep and cook the sushi rice to crunchy nutty perfection to whipping up a deliciously spicy salmon and avocado topping, this simple recipe will show you how to make the best crispy rice in your own kitchen. With texture and flavour in every bite, you'll be surprised how easy it is to rustle up a tray of these tasty treats.
Whether you've spotted these tasty rice treats trending on TikTok or are looking to recreate Nobu crispy rice, once you've discovered how easy it is to make crispy rice sushi at home this is a recipe you'll be sure to make again and again.
Have you tried Squid Ink Pasta? It's another restaurant favourite that's surprisingly easy to make at home and like my Teriyaki Salmon Noodle Stir Fry it would be a great main dish to serve alongside crispy rice.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
✅ 6 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- Crispy on the outside soft and chewy on the inside
- Topped with succulent spicy salmon and creamy dreamy avocado
- Quick and easy
- The perfect snack, appetizer or light lunch
- Cheaper than ordering in a restaurant
- Recipe includes US and European measurements + pan frying, air fryer and oven-baking instructions.
🛒 Ingredients and variations:
This recipe requires less than 10 ingredients plus sugar, salt and a little oil for frying.
The best rice to use
Sushi rice is best thanks to its soft, chewy and sticky texture that enables it to be formed into neat little rectangles without falling apart. You should be able to purchase sushi rice in your local store. Otherwise, you'll need to visit an Asian grocery store or order it online.
Wondering if you can use another type of rice? I'd advise against it. Most other types of rice aren't as sticky and are likely to fall apart when you try to form and cook them.
A mixture of rice vinegar, salt and sugar is added to the cooked rice to enhance its flavour. You can use apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar because it has a similar flavour profile.
A lot of crispy rice recipes suggest mixing sriracha with kewpie mayo, which can be tricky to come by unless you visit an Asian grocery store, so I mix a little sugar and rice vinegar with regular mayo to achieve the same effect. Of course, you can use kewpie instead if you have some.
You use sashimi or cooked salmon. Salmon sashimi is next-level delicious, but it can be hard to come by, depending on where you are in the world. That's why I've tested and photographed the recipe with cooked salmon to demonstrate that delicious crispy rice is still attainable if you don't have easy access to fresh sashimi.
Each piece of crispy rice is assembled with a couple of thin slices of avocado, one or two teaspoons of spicy salmon, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and chopped scallions/spring onions or chives.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
1. Cook the rice
Soak the sushi rice in water for 10 minutes and rinse until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to boil and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Then simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the rice water is absorbed.
Meanwhile mix the rice vinegar, salt and sugar in a small jug or bowl. Stir this into the cooked rice using a rice paddle or large spoon.
2. Chill the rice
Line a baking dish or tin with plastic wrap or parchment paper, add the seasoned rice and press down into an even layer around 1.5cm/half an inch deep. As soon as the rice is cool, refrigerate for at least two hours until chilled.
Top tip: to ensure the rice is flat and nicely compacted, place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on top of the rice and press down with a flat-bottom glass across the top.
3. Fry the rice
Remove the rice from the fridge and cut into rectangles. Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add oil. When the oil is hot place a few of the rice pieces into the pan ensuring there is space between them to prevent them from sticking together. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden. Then remove them from the pan and place them onto a wire rack or kitchen paper.
Cooking the rice in the oven or air fryer
To cook in the air fryer brush or spray the air fryer basket and tops of the rice pieces with oil. Place the rice pieces in the basket and cook on 200°C or 400°F for 15 minutes turning halfway. Note, that the time it takes to cook them can vary depending on the model, so ensure you check on them regularly to prevent them from burning.
You can also bake the rice in the oven. Brush both sides of each piece of rice with oil, place them on a metal tray and bake at 200°C or 400°F for 30-40 minutes turning halfway.
4. Make the spicy salmon and assemble
Make the sriracha mayo and stir in the salmon. Place a couple of pieces of avocado onto each piece of rice, followed by 1-2 teaspoons of spicy salmon and top with sesame seeds and minced scallions (spring onions) or chives.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
You can enjoy crispy rice on its own as a snack, light lunch or appetizer or serve it alongside a selection of other Japanese-inspired dishes like these Crunchy Sushi rolls, Japanese Miso Eggplant, Easy & Crispy Japanese Chicken Tempura or Easy Chicken Miso Ramen.
🥘 Other crispy rice toppings
Crispy rice is super versatile. There are lots of other options if you're not a fan of spicy salmon or are just looking for ways to change it up.
- Spicy tuna sashimi
- Crab spicy mayo
- Sliced miso eggplant/aubergine
- Japanese Omelette (Tamagoyaki) or egg salad
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Furikake salmon
- Use chickpea spicy mayo for a vegan option
👍 Expert tips
- Make what you'll eat - the rice will still be edible the next day, but it will lose its crispiness in the fridge.
- Line the baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap to make it easy to remove the chilled rice.
- Flatten the rice using a glass - to get an evenly spread tray of compact rice, cover the rice with a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use a glass to flatten it firmly.
- Get the oil hot before you fry - add the rice to the pan too soon and it will absorb the oil, become greasy and won't crisp up as well.
- Cool the cooked rice on a wire rack, so it stays crispy
🙋 Recipe FAQs
There are several reasons why crispy rice pieces might fall apart. These include substituting sushi rice for another type of rice that is not as sticky, not pressing the rice into the baking dish firmly enough before chilling or attempting to cook the rice before the oil is hot.
There are a few things you can do to prevent rice from sticking to the pan when cooking. First, rinse the rice until the water runs clear to remove excess starch that can increase stickiness. Additionally, using a non-stick pan and adding sufficient oil before frying can help prevent sticking, as can adding more oil as needed. Finally, it's important to wait until the oil is hot before adding the rice to the pan to prevent it from absorbing the oil and sticking.
You can make crispy rice using leftover sushi rice. Simply add it to a lined baking dish, firmly press it into an even layer and chill before shallow frying on the stove, cooking in the air fryer or baking in the oven.
Like most foods, crispy rice can be considered a healthy option when eaten in moderation. The salmon and avocado provide healthy fats and protein. However, because crispy rice is often fried in oil it is fattier than other sushi options. Try cooking the rice in the air fryer or oven instead of frying it for a lower-fat option.
Sushi rice does not contain gluten. When it comes to the other ingredients used, this depends on the recipe and the specific brands you are using. Certain ingredients might be produced at a facility that processes wheat-based products. Always check the labels first.
You can store the crispy rice in the fridge for up to 24 hours. However, although it will still be edible it will have lost all its tasty crispy texture.
Delicious crispy rice is freshly fried crispy rice, so it's best to only make what you know you can eat.
😋 Check out my other quick and easy Japanese-inspired recipes
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
Don't forget to tag #knifeandsoulrecipes on Instagram or @knifeandsoul on Pinterest!
Crispy Rice Sushi With Spicy Salmon and Avocado
- 1 saucepan
- 1 baking tray or baking dish
- 150 g (⅔ cups) sushi rice (Note 1)
- 175 ml (¾ cup) water
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (Note 2)
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise (Note 3)
- 1 tsp sriracha
- ⅛ tsp (a pinch) sugar
- ¼ tsp rice vinegar
- Neutral oil for frying or air frying
- 80 g (3 oz) salmon (Note 4)
- ½ avocado halved horizontally and thinly sliced
- Sesame seeds
- Scallions/spring onion or chives thinly sliced
- Place the rice in a large bowl cover it with water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Then rinse the rice until the water is clear.
- Place the rice in a saucepan and cover with water. (See note 5 for rice cooker alternative)
- With the lid on boil on a high heat for 5 minutes then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
- Leave the rice with the lid on and mix the rice vinegar, salt and sugar in a small jug or bowl.
- Pour on the rice vinegar mixture and fold in gently with a large spoon until evenly distributed.
- Line a baking dish or tray with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Add the rice, spread until even and press it down to flatten and compress. The best way to do this is to place another piece of parchment paper on top to prevent sticking and press down on it with a flat-bottomed glass. (Note 6)
- Place the rice in the fridge as soon as it is completely cool for a minimum of 2 hours (ideally overnight). You can also place it in the freezer to chill quickly. Just make sure you keep an eye on it and remove it before it freezes.
- Once chilled, remove the rice from the dish, place on a chopping board and cut it into even-sized pieces.
Pan frying instructions (See Note 7 for air fryer and oven baking instructions)
- Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil.
- Add the rice pieces when the oil is hot, ensuring there is plenty of space between them, so they don't stick together. You might need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan.
- Fry for a few minutes until the bottom is golden then flip and cook the other side.
- Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack or on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- Mix the sriracha mayo ingredients in a small bowl and stir in the salmon.
- Top each piece of crispy rice with a few slices of avocado then spoon on a little spicy salmon.
- Finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and minced spring onions/scallions or chives.
- Sushi rice: is great for making crispy rice because it is sticky. Most other types of rice will not be suitable and are likely to result in rice pieces that fall apart.
- Rice vinegar: can be substituted for the same amount of apple cider vinegar.
- Mayonnaise: you can use kewpie mayo instead of regular. If you do, you won't need to add any sugar or rice vinegar.
- Salmon: can be raw sashimi grade or cooked.
- Rice cooker instructions: Place the rinsed rice into the rice cooker pan, fill to the correct level and set the rice cooker to sushi mode. You can also cook sushi rice in your Instant Pot.
- Baking dish size: I have tested the recipe in a 10 inch x 7 inch (25cm x 19cm) dish.
- Oven and air fryer instructions: Brush or spray the air fryer basket and tops of the rice pieces with oil. Place the rice pieces in the basket and cook on 200°C or 400°F for 15 minutes turning halfway. Note, that the time it takes to cook them can vary depending on the model, so ensure you check on them regularly to prevent them from burning. You can also bake the rice in the oven. Brush both sides of each piece of rice with oil, place them on a metal tray and bake at 200°C or 400°F for 30-40 minutes turning halfway.