Sushi Bake is a popular Hawaii dish. Imagine the elements of a California Roll (rice, imitation crab, and avocado), layered in a pan and baked till hot and golden! Scoop on a plate and make sushi rolls/bites.
Sushi Bake, ready to scoop, fold, and eat ^_^
Meet Sushi Bake!
Sushi Bake in Hawaii
Sushi Bake is a super popular Hawaii dish we often eat at potlucks and family gatherings. It is hot and it is delicious. It is very fun to eat and great for groups and families.
My mainland friends describe Sushi Bake as a "sushi casserole." That is sort of accurate. Sushi Bake is a layered sushi. It has all the elements of sushi (rice, avocado, crab) carefully layered into a pan (typically a 9x13-inch foil pan), and then baked. It's baked till everything is hot and the top is golden.
To eat: first take a big *scoop from the Sushi Bake and put in on your plate. Then get a few pieces of nori / roasted seaweed sheets. Use the nori to make and eat little sushi roll/bites. Everyone loves Sushi Bake.
Sushi Bake is such a hit in Hawaii because large families and gatherings (always with lots of good food) are very common. Hawaii is family oriented, and when you're cooking for groups/families all the time, you're drawn to dishes that are both easy to make and crowd pleasing ^_^
*Depending on the size of the pan, you either take a "scoop" or a "square" of the Sushi Bake. Sometimes the Sushi Bake is pre-cut/scored before it's brought to the potluck. The Sushi Bake cools a little between the time it leaves the oven and arrives to the potluck destination, so it is easier to slide a "square" of Sushi Bake onto your plate.
All the pieces and parts for Sushi Bake
Sushi Bake Versus Pan Sushi
Did you see the Pan Sushi post?
Sushi Bake and Pan Sushi are very similar. They are both layered sushi dishes meant for sharing. Some people use the names interchangeably.
But the general rule of thumb is:
- Sushi Bake - must be baked
- Pan Sushi - can be baked or not baked
For more information about the history of this local dish, head to our Pan Sushi post.
A single bite of Sushi Bake, ready to eat.
Nori / Seaweed Sheets
Wrapping each bite of Sushi Bake in nori/seaweed is one of the most important parts of Sushi Bake. It is perhaps the most important part! Otherwise you'd just be eating rice with avocado and crab (which is not a bad thing, but not what we are going after).
There are two types of nori/seaweed sheets we use for Sushi Bake:
- Seasoned and pre-cut nori / seaweed - We get this from a local Japanese or Korean market (they come in three-packs). In Hawaii you can even find them at Costco (best value!), 7-Eleven Hawaii, and Longs Drugs.
- Not-seasoned, larger nori / seaweed sheets - These are the more "traditional" sheets you see when ordering handrolls at a restaurant. We usually cut them into smaller rectangles (cut one sheet into six rectangles) for the purpose of this dish.
Adding on the crab-mayonnaise layer (I mixed some furikake with this layer).
What Goes In Sushi Bake
The traditional/classic Sushi Bake is modeled after the California Roll. It's simple and straightforward:
- Imitation (or real) crab mixed with mayonnaise
We round it out with:
That's all you need to make Sushi Bake! This of this as the "base" recipe. From there you can do a million different variations...
First layer is rice. Second layer is furikake. Third layer is avocado. Fourth layer is crab-mayonnaise. Then you bake!
Sushi Bake Variations and Substitutions
One of the best parts about Sushi Bake is that there are endless ways to tailor the dish. Here are a few we like:
- Add tobiko or ikura - add this to the top of the imitation crab after baking (you don't want to bake tobiko or ikura). This makes the dish extra pretty, and it's how we often make Pan Sushi.
- Use real crab instead of imitation crab. Or do half/half.
- Use Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise instead of "regular" mayonnaise.
- Instead of using only mayonnaise, use half mayonnaise and half sour cream.
- Add chopped shiitake mushrooms (fresh or just rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms) to the crab and mayonnaise mixture.
- Add chopped green onions to the crab and mayonnaise mixture.
Right after it comes out of the oven. Next, add soy sauce and sprinkle furikake all over the top.
What Size Pan To Use?
The default pan you'll find at Hawaii potluck parties is a 9x13-inch foil pan. When you're serving Sushi Bake for a potluck, you're serving many people so you want to make the Sushi Bake shorter and wider. This makes it easier for everyone to get some.
When we make Sushi Bake at home (it's usually just the two of us), we make it in a smaller pan. We make the recipe below in a 6-inch round container, but feel free to change up the size. Put it in a bigger pan if you want more of the crab-mayonnaise mixture to get all golden and brown.
There is no real right or wrong way to do Sushi Bake. It's more of a concept. Run with it and make your version!
Make small bites, so good!
Sushi Bake Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- Find an oven-safe pan/container to layer the sushi bake (I used a 6-inch round container, but if you're sharing with a group, then I recommend using a larger pan. This will make for a "shorter" sushi bake, but one that is easier to scoop and share). Wash and set aside.
- Mix the imitation crab and mayonnaise in a bowl. Set aside.
- Put the cooked rice on the bottom layer of the pan. Use your hand (or a spatula) to press the rice down.
- Sprinkle on a layer of furikake. Layer the avocado slices on top of the furikake and rice.
- Layer the imitation crab/mayonnaise on top. Pat down.
- Bake in the oven at 375F for 15-20 minutes, until the Sushi Bake is warmed through and the top layer of imitation crab is nice and golden.
- Remove from oven. Drizzle the soy sauce over the top and finish with a sprinkle/layer of furikake.
- Place the hot Sushi Bake in the middle of the table. Have everyone take a big scoop of the Sushi Bake and put it on their plate. Make small rolls/bites with sheets of nori. Enjoy ^_^