How to make a california roll

How to make a california roll

California Rolls are a type of maki sushi (巻き寿司 – rolled sushi) made by rolling ingredients such as crab and avocado in nori and seasoned rice. Although rolled sushi originates in Japan, California Rolls are not from Japan.

There’s some debate over who invented the California, which several chefs in Los Angeles California claiming to be the inventor including Ichiro Mashita, and Ken Seusa. More recently, Hidekazu Tojo who ran a restaurant in Vancouver, Canada, has laid claim to the dish. While it’s unclear who invented it, it does appear to have been created in the late 1970s.

Most versions of California Roll include crab and avocado. Although I prefer using real crab meat, if you don’t have access to fresh seafood, imitation crab (a.k.a. surimi) will do in a pinch. I also like to add cucumbers. Any thin-skinned, seedless variety such as Japanese, Lebanese, and Persian will work. You can also use other varieties if you peel them first and remove the seeds. Some people also like to spread some tobiko (flying fish roe) on the rice, which gives the exterior of the roll a vibrant orange hue due to the food coloring that’s often added to it. Instead of tobiko, I like using toasted sesame seeds, which gives the roll more flavor than tobiko.

How to make a california roll

The phrase “sushi rice” can be a bit confusing because uncooked Japanese short-grain rice is often labeled as “sushi rice.” For the purposes of making sushi, the phrase “sushi rice” refers to cooked short-grain rice that has been seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Check out my tutorial on how to make sushi rice.

In Japan, most maki sushi (巻き寿司 – rolled sushi) is made with rice and filling rolled up in a sheet of nori. Uramaki (裏巻き) literally means “inside out roll” and it’s a style of rolling the sushi with the rice on the outside with the nori on the inside. Although there are examples of this style of sushi in Japan, it is not common, and it’s thought to have become popular outside of Japan as a way of hiding the nori from people who may be turned off by the thought of eating seaweed.

You’re probably not too surprised by the fact that California Rolls weren’t created in Japan, but did you know that rolls in general aren’t especially popular in Japan. Known as makisushi (rolled sushi), most sushi restaurants in Japan only serve a handful of simple rolls, such as kappa maki (cucumber), tekka maki (tuna), or takuan maki(yellow pickle). For many, they’re considered an inexpensive filler reserved for the end of a meal when you start to worry about the escalating bill.

How to make a california roll

Nori should be jet black with a slightly green hue. Brown or reddish-black nori is either old or made with the wrong type of seaweed. The nori should also be the same thickness throughout, with no holes or thick areas; otherwise, it can be tough. Finally, the nori should be crisp enough to break in half by folding it.

Generally speaking, the more oblong an avocado, the smaller the seed is. The more egg-shaped ones tend to have a larger seed. You also want to look for avocado with relatively smooth satiny looking skin that’s relatively even in color without any wrinkles. Avocados start out green, but they darken as they get ripe, so a dark color is one good indicator that it is ready to eat. The problem with relying on the color of the skin alone is that overripe avocados are also dark. The most reliable method I’ve found for telling when an avocado is just right is to remove the stem and look at the color of the navel. If the stem is difficult to remove and the exposed area is green, this means the avocado is not ripe. If the stem is not present, or the navel is brown, the avocado is most likely overripe. If the stem is easy to remove and the navel is a yellowish color, it should be perfect!

The California roll is the “gateway roll” for many into a world of sushi. And it’s easy to see why:

  • The ingredients are simple: Crab, cucumber, avocado, rice, and seaweed.
  • There is no raw seafood, making the California roll ideal for those who are hesitant to eat or make raw seafood sushi.
  • No raw fish needed also eliminates the need to track down sushi grade fish – something inaccessible to many.
  • California rolls are typically one of the cheapest sushi rolls on menus and in the grocery store.
  • California rolls are simple and delicious.

How to make a california roll

How Much Are California Rolls?

Prices vary widely depending on where you live, where you shop, the season, and the availability of ingredients. But here are the current prices for California rolls in St. Paul, Minnesota:

  • High-end sushi restaurant: $9.95
  • High-end grocery store: $8.95
  • Regular grocery store: $6.99

California rolls are typically not the most expensive sushi rolls on the menu. But they’re still not cheap.

Which is why you should learn to make your own California rolls at home – on a budget, of course!

Making Your Own California Rolls At Home: The Cost

How to make a california roll

  • Avocado: $1.25
  • Cucumber: $.99
  • Imitation crab (1/ 2 package from ALDI): $1.32
  • Seaweed: $2.00 or 5 sheets
  • Sushi rice (1/2 package from Target): $1.69
  • Rice vinegar: $.25

Total cost for 5 rolls: $7.50
Cost per roll: $1.50

Note: I did not include the cost of sesame seeds (optional) and accompaniments (soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi). If you choose to use these, the price will be higher – albeit not too much.

Making Sushi At Home: The Process

How to make a california roll

Scroll down for detailed recipe instructions. But here’s the process, in a nutshell:

1: Gather ingredients
2: Make rice, and allow to cool
3: Julienne cucumbers
4: Wrap sushi mat in plastic wrap (so rice won’t stick to the sushi mat)
5: Cut off top 1/3 of the seaweed sheet. Place on sushi mat.
6: Using damp hands, gently pat rice on top of seaweed sheet

How to make a california roll

7: Flip the seaweed over and add fillings (cucumbers, crab, and avocado) toward the bottom of the sheet.
8: Using the sushi mat, start rolling up, tucking the sushi roll in to ensure a tight roll.
9: Tighten roll and set aside (or refrigerate) until ready to cut.
10: Cut ends off, if desired. Cut each roll into 8 pieces.

How to make a california roll

Do I Need Any Special Equipment?

Yes. You’ll need a sushi mat to make homemade sushi at home: Here’s a cheap mat that will do the trick.

Otherwise, you’ll need seaweed sheets, which is quite easy to find in most larger grocery stores as well as Super Target, Walmart, and Asian grocery stores.

How to make a california roll

Filled with creamy avocado, sweet crab meat and crunchy cucumber, California roll is by far the most popular sushi roll in the US. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make the delicious sushi roll at home. I also include a video that demonstrates how you can perfect the sushi rolling technique below.

How to make a california roll

What was the first sushi roll that you tried at a Japanese restaurant? For many of you, it might be California Roll (カリフォルニアロール) as it is probably by far the most popular style of sushi in the U.S. Today I’ll show you how easy you can make California Roll at home.

What is California Roll?

How to make a california roll

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about what exactly is California Roll. California Roll is a kind of sushi roll (we call makizushi in Japanese) containing crab meat (real or imitation), avocado, and cucumber. Usually it is an “inside-out” roll (we call uramaki), which means that sushi rice is shown on the outside of the roll, and nori (seaweed sheet) is on the inside. The roll is sprinkled with toasted white sesame seeds for nice crunchy texture, but sometimes they are garnished with tobiko or masago fish roes for a more elegant presentation.

Quick History on California Roll

Did you know California Roll or many creative-name sushi rolls are not from Japan? When Japanese people (from Japan) say “sushi”, it usually implies nigiri sushi (a slice of sashimi-grade raw fish on top of rice pillow). In fact, when it comes to for sushi roll (makizushi), we only have a few choices such as Futomaki and Hosomaki. It’s quite different from sushi roll menus in the United States!

So who invented California Roll? Apparently, it was the creation of an ingenious sushi chef named Hidekazu Tojo who moved from Japan to Canada in the 70s. In Vancouver, he learned that most Western people didn’t eat raw fish and didn’t like seaweed as well. Therefore, he substituted avocado for toro (fatty tuna) as it has the similar creamy texture and hid nori seaweed by using uramaki technique, so nori is not visible from the outside. That’s the how California Roll turned into a popular menu item!

In the recent years, fast food style sushi restaurants even started serving California Roll on their menu. That tells the story of a successful adaptation and re-imagination of food.

How to make a california roll

5 Key Ingredients for California Roll

Unlike nigiri sushi or other kinds of sushi rolls, California Roll does not include any raw fish. Therefore, you can make this sushi roll fairly easily at home. All you need is perfectly ripen avocados, cucumber, and crab meat. Crab Meat: I’m unfortunately allergic to crab, so I use imitation crab. Avocado: Find those perfectly ripen avocados! Japanese Cucumbers: For sushi making, we use thin and long Japanese cucumbers. They have little and less seeds in the center compared to regular cucumber. If you can’t find Japanese cucumbers locally, you can use Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers (but remove the seeds in the middle). Japanese Mayonnaise: I always season the crab meat with Japanese mayonnaise first. Japanese mayonnaise is the key for this roll, so please try your best to find it (you can easily purchase it on Amazon ). If you want to know more about Japanese mayonnaise and make it yourself at home with American mayonnaise, read the post here. Sesame Seeds: If you have a few extra minutes, toast the sesame seeds in a non-greased frying pan until one or two sesame seeds pop. It adds wonderful nutty flavors and aroma. For me personally, I like to add toasted white sesame seeds in the crab meat mixture, since I use fish eggs (tobiko/masago) for decorating the sushi rice.

How To Roll Sushi Roll

Many people are intimidated by the sushi rolling part. Relax and take it one step at a time by following my recipe and tips. The key is not to overstuff the sushi and tug the roll compact enough for assembling. It’s not difficult and you should be able to make decent sushi rolls with some practice. Maybe your first roll may not look pretty, but practice will make it easier! You can also watch the video below which demonstrates the technique on how to assemble a sushi roll.

Watch How To Make Dragon Roll ドラゴンロールの作り方(レシピ)

Learn how to assemble a sushi roll

I hope you enjoy making this California Roll recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

Wish to learn more about Japanese cooking? Sign up for our free newsletter to receive cooking tips & recipe updates! And stay in touch with me on Facebook , Pinterest , YouTube , and Instagram .

How to make a california roll

This recipe makes 3 rolls, about 24 pieces. You will need a “makisu”, which is a sushi rolling mat.


  • 1+1/2 American cups (400 cc or 340 g) California Rose Rice (short grain)
  • 1 + 2/3 American cups (395 g) water
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. (35 cc) rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. (20 g) granular sugar
  • 1 + 4/5 tsp. (10 g) salt
  • 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) Dashi Konbu (dried seaweed for broth)
  • 8 oz. (224 g) imitation crab meat
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 sheets of nori (dried seaweed sheets)
  • 1 and a half avocado
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Making Sushi Rice

  1. Wash the rice until the water rinses clear.
    • 1+1/2 American cups (400 cc or 340 g)California Rose Rice (short grain) or measure 2 cups with the rice cooker measuring cup (1 cup = 200 cc)
  2. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 20 minutes.

  • 1 + 2/3 American cups (395 g) water
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. (35 cc) rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. (20 g) granular sugar
  • 1 + 4/5 tsp. (10 g) salt
    How to make a california roll
  • 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) Dashi Konbu (dried seaweed for broth)
    How to make a california roll

Making California Rolls

  1. Chop finely:
    • 8 oz. (224 g) imitation crab meat
  2. Add the seasoning to the above and mix well:
    • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  3. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds from the cucumber. Cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips. Sprinkle a dash of salt and set aside.
    • 1 cucumber
  4. Peel, remove seeds and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips:
    • 1 and a half avocado
  5. Place a sushi rolling mat (makisu) on your working surface. Cover the mat with a sheet of plastic wrap.

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

I’ll admit it, I love California rolls–tasty crab-infused kani, crunchy cucumbers, and fatty avocado wrapped in a rice and seaweed roll. Even though I mostly eat traditional nigiri these days, I loved eating California rolls as a kid, and it’s where my love of sushi started. This recipe has some tips and tricks to get you started on your sushi obsession!

How to make a california roll

Where did California rolls originate?

Just like spicy tuna rolls and temaki (hand rolls), the origin of California rolls is somewhat messy, but recently the Japanese government has honored Hidekazu Tojo from Toronto, as a cultural ambassador for his creation of the popular roll.

Tojo states that he created the California roll to appease his Western customers and introduce them to a more accessible sushi. He added ingredients that weren’t raw (cooked crab, cucumbers, and avocado) and inverted the seaweed and sushi rice in order to prevent customers from peeling the seaweed.

How to make a california roll

Tojo had many visitors from outside of Toronto visit, specifically from Los Angeles, who loved the roll so he named it the California Roll. These days California roll is available at many restaurants and grocery stores, and comes with variations.

Crab vs. kanikama

Often times when I order California rolls at various sushi restaurants, they include kanikama, or “kani” for short, an imitation of crab meat instead of real crab. Kani is made up of white fish (typically Alaskan pollock), crab flavoring, egg whites, and cornstarch to bind them into crab-like sticks. I like to get mine from local Japanese supermarkets but you can also get imitation crab meat sticks at Catalina Offshore Products.

It can’t be crab season all the time, but kani really makes up for it when you’re having cravings! For my California roll recipe, I like to cut the kani into small pieces and mix in Kewpie to add more flavor. Be careful with how much Kewpie you add because this can make your kani too saucy and ruin your roll.

Sushi rolling tips

How to make a california roll

One of the most important parts of this roll is not the insides, but the sushi rice. My sushi rice recipe uses a balanced flavor of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt to amplify the other ingredients. There’s nothing worse than eating sushi with rice that’s too mushy, too sweet, or unflavorful.

To help spread the rice onto the seaweed, use your hands and dip them into a bowl of water to prevent them from sticking. I also like to add sesame seeds onto the rice just to have a bit more crunch. You can also add tobiko for extra saltiness.

How to make a california roll

The most daunting part of this recipe is rolling, but I more or less used the same rolling technique as my spicy tuna roll post. One big tip that I have seen at restaurants is that they use cling wrap as a final outer layer to tighten the California roll. This also helps with making clean cuts of sushi afterwards, as well as a very sharp knife too.

How to make a california roll


I like to eat California rolls with wasabi and ginger on the side. Pink ginger has kind of become a standard at many restaurants and even though this can occur naturally when you pickle young ginger, many companies use dye or beets to color more mature ginger–either way, I try to veer towards naturally colored ginger.

Along with California rolls, there’s also a lot of different types of sushi rolls and hand rolls. To learn more about sushi rolls vs. hand rolls, you can also visit this informative post.

How to make a california rollScott Phillips (top photo); Ben Fink (instruction photos)

Yield: Yields 5 rolls (or 30 pieces)

The California roll is an example of an “inside-out” sushi roll, where the rice is on the outside.


For the rolls:

  • 1/2 recipe Sushi Rice, slightly warm
  • 3 sheets toasted nori (dried seaweed)
  • Sesame seeds or flying fish roe for garnish (optional)
  • 3 Tbs. wasabi powder, mixed with 2 to 2-1/2 Tbs. cold water to make a paste
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into fine julienne
  • 6 oz. cooked crabmeat or diced cooked shrimp, picked over for shells

For serving:

  • 10-oz. jar pickled ginger
  • Good-quality soy sauce for dipping

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per piece
  • Calories (kcal) : 70
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 10
  • Fat (g): 1
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 5
  • Sodium (mg): 60
  • Carbohydrates (g): 13
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 2


Prepare the fillings for the rolls”

  • Cut slender wedges of avocado. Try this trick: without peeling, trim the top and bottom of the avocado and cut it in segments lengthwise to the pit. Pull away the peel and then gently grasp one segment at a time and pull it off. Set the avocado aside as you prepare the cucumber and crabmeat; set them aside as well.
    How to make a california roll

Coat the nori with rice and start the California roll

  • Stack the sheets of toasted nori and cut them in half, parallel to the lines on the seaweed (as if you were folding the longest side in half). Or crease them along the fold and then tear them apart.
    How to make a california roll

Add the fillings and use the mat to make a neat roll

  • Using your fingers, spread a pinch of wasabi across the middle of the nori. A little goes a long way, so spread lightly. You can always put more in your dipping sauce if you like more heat.
    How to make a california roll

How to make a california roll

Cut and serve the roll

  • Lift the mat away and transfer the roll to a cutting surface. Dip a sharp knife into a bowl of water and let a bead of water roll down the knife’s blade. Cut the roll in half and then bring one half around and cut both into thirds. Stand the pieces up on a cut side.
    How to make a california roll

How to make a california roll

California Rolls are one of my favorite snacks ever, but they are so expensive to buy! It is much cheaper to make your own PLUS you can make a LOT more than what they give you at the store. I know that sushi can seem daunting to make, but I promise it is easier than it seems! Follow along with our step-by-step pictures and video to become a sushi rolling pro!

How to make a california roll

What Supplies Do I Need to Make California Rolls?

  • Bamboo Sushi Mats – You can find these for about $1 at the Asian Market. You won’t be able to get a super tight roll with this California Roll recipe if you don’t use a bamboo mat.
  • Plastic Wrap – Plastic wrap helps the sushi not to stick to the bamboo mat while you are rolling.
  • A Sharp Knife – When you are cutting the sushi rice, you need a really sharp knife to make the clean cuts.
  • Chopsticks and Small Bowls for Serving

Ingredients in California Rolls

You may have to break off from your typical grocery store and head to your local Asian Market to grab some of these supplies. I promise it will be worth it! There are so many fun things to see and try at the Asian Market.

  • Sushi Rice – The key to successfully making this recipe is using a good sticky sushi rice. Lucky for you, we have a fantastic recipe that will guide you through every step of how to make sushi rice. Find it HERE. See below for more information about Sushi Rice.
  • Nori – Nori is dry, roasted seaweed made into sheet specifically for sushi.
  • Crab Meat or Imitation Crab Meat – I use imitation crab simply because it is more cost efficient. However, if you want to use real crab, more power to you!
  • Avocado – You want your avocado to be ripe, but still firm enough to slice and stay together in the roll.
  • Cucumber – Make sure you peel the cucumbers and remove the seeds.
  • Sesame Seeds – Sesame seeds get sprinkled on top of the rice in this California Rolls recipe.
  • Soy Sauce, Wasabi, and Pickled Ginger Pieces for Serving

What kind of rice is used for Sushi Rice?

The best rice to make sushi rice is a rice called “sushi rice.” It is a short-grain white Japanese rice or medium-grain California rice. It should say “sushi rice” right on the bag. If you can’t find either of those, Calrose rice works well in a pinch. Be aware that not all rice is created equal. Do not use basmati rice or jasmine rice. Neither of these rices are sticky enough for sushi. I can usually find it at the grocery store, but if you can’t find it there, check your local Asian market.

How to make a california roll

Ingredients for Sushi Rice

  • Uncooked Rice – as explained above.
  • Japanese Rice Vinegar – Rice vinegar adds a rich, savory flavor that complements the fish. If you’re in a pinch, substituting apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar is a tasty alternative.
  • Sugar – Just basic granulated sugar.
  • Salt – Again, just basic iodized salt.

Steps for Making Sushi Rice

  1. Rinse your rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Then, let the rice drain in the colander for 1 hour. This step is crucial to the texture of the rice, so don’t skip it!
  2. Add rice and water to a rice cooker or a large pot. Cover with a lid and cook. See recipe card below for rice cooker and stovetop cooking times.
  3. While the rice is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, but DO NOT let it boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. When the rice is finished, spread the cooked rice out onto a baking sheet using a wooden spoon or rice paddle. Pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and mix until all the rice is coated.
  5. Let the rice cool on the baking sheet, flipping every once in a while.
  6. When the rice is completely cooled, it is ready to be made into all kinds of sushi!

No Raw Fish in this Sushi

This California Rolls recipe doesn’t contain any raw seafood so I am not afraid to make them at home. I will only eat raw fish if I am at a trusted restaurant, and I am pretty picky about my raw seafood. I don’t dare to prepare it myself unless I know that I am getting it from ocean to my kitchen in less than 12 hours, so as you can probably guess with me living in BOISE, that doesn’t happen too often.

How to Make California Rolls

  1. Lay down the bamboo mat and place a piece of plastic wrap over the mat.
  2. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down on top of the plastic wrap. Spread a thin layer of rice onto the nori. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the rice.
  3. Flip the sushi over so the nori is on top. Place the fillings onto the nori.
  4. Roll the bamboo mat forward, pressing the ingredients inside the cylinder-shaped sushi. Press the bamboo mat firmly with hands, then remove the rolled sushi.
  5. Cut the sushi roll with a very sharp knife. You can get even rolls by cutting the roll in half and then cutting each piece in half again until your rolls are the right thickness.
  6. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Enjoy Even More

You can enjoy several other Asian dishes along with your sushi. For example, this Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fry Noodles). It features bacon and veggies and is so yummy! The balance between bacon and noodles and loads of fresh veggies make this a well-rounded dish. Or you can try these tasty Asian Glazed Pork Kabobs that can be easily thrown on the grill any time of year.

How to make a california roll

Sushi is one of those dishes that can look particularly challenging to make if you’ve never tried to make it. The rice, the pretty little pieces of internal “goodies,” and the seaweed wrapper look deceivingly hard to wrap up. Getting it right can feel a little intimidating, but in reality, it’s actually quite easy to make. In fact, the easy prep of this dish is the main reason that recipe developer Jaime Shelbert of Wholly Nourished loves to make it. If you’ve got prepared sushi rice on hand (and there are brands of pre-cooked sushi rice you don’t even have to prepare), the entire meal takes just 30 minutes to make with absolutely no cooking time involved. Just make sure you’re actually using sushi rice, rather than other types. “Sushi rice is much stickier than regular white rice which makes it easier to make a sushi roll,” explains Shelbert. “The sticky texture is achieved by steaming the rice and using less water to prepare.”

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need a bamboo sushi mat and plastic wrap to make this recipe most effectively. So if you’re looking for a tasty dish to switch up your regular dinner rotation, especially when you don’t want to cook over a hot stove, add the ingredients for these California sushi rolls to your next shopping list.

Gather your ingredients for California rolls

How to make a california roll

You don’t need too many ingredients to make California rolls, but unless you cook international dishes on a regular basis, you’ll likely need to pick up at least a few of the ingredients from the store. Also, while most large grocery chains carry common international ingredients like nori sheets, you may also want to shop at a local Japanese or Asian grocery if there’s one near you. For this recipe, you’ll need nori sheets (AKA dried seaweed), 4 cups of prepared sushi rice, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, one thinly sliced avocado, one thinly sliced Persian cucumber, and 4 ounces of imitation crab sticks.

Lay out the nori wrap and add sticky rice

How to make a california roll

Preparing to wrap your rolls is almost more work than actually making the dish. Start by placing a bamboo sushi mat on your counter, then wrap it with plastic wrap. This will help keep the sushi rice from sticking to the mat or other surface. You’ll want to keep your fingers wet as you work with the rice, so place a bowl of water next to your working space for easy access. Put a nori sheet on top of the plastic wrap with the rough side facing up. Add a cup of the prepared sushi rice on top of the nori sheet. Wet your fingers and spread the rice over the nori sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle the rice with 1 ½ teaspoons of sesame seeds.

Flip and add the classic California roll fillings

How to make a california roll

The rice layer will actually end up on the outside of your sushi roll, so to have the other fillings on the inside, you need to flip the entire nori sheet over so the rice side is facing down. Once you’ve flipped it over, add three to four slices of avocado (remember, these should be very thinly sliced), five to six slices of cucumber, and one imitation crab stick (sliced in half, lengthwise) to the center of the nori sheet. Try to make the fillings as evenly distributed across the nori sheet as possible.

Roll and slice your sushi

How to make a california roll

Grab the bottom edge of the bamboo mat and start rolling the sushi into a tight log. You’ll use the sushi mat to “pack the ingredients tightly” and keep everything together as you roll. When you’ve rolled everything up, pull the bamboo mat away from the roll. If the plastic wrap comes off as you pull the bamboo away, rewrap the roll in the plastic wrap, as this will help with cutting. Then, wet a very sharp knife and cut the log into six to eight separate pieces. This makes a single serving.

Repeat the process and serve

How to make a california roll

Once you’ve cut the first sushi log into individual pieces, set them aside and remove the plastic wrap from each slice. You’ll repeat this process with the remaining ingredients, creating four servings of sushi, perfect for a summertime dinner. Shelbert suggests serving with soy sauce, as it’s the most traditional dipping sauce, but there are other options. “Spicy mayo is an option as well. It can easily be made by mixing sriracha with mayo,” she explains. And as far as turning it into a more hearty meal, Shelbert offers a few easy suggestions. “Miso soup, edamame, and seaweed salad are three great options to serve along sushi.”

How to make a california roll

The California roll is a delicious alternative to traditional sushi rolls that can be found in just about any Japanese restaurant in the United States. Because it is often prepared with cooked imitation crab, it is regarded as a starter roll for people new to sushi who are not ready for raw fish.

From Humble Beginnings

You can’t walk into a sushi restaurant without finding the California roll on the menu. Despite their prevalence in sushi culture, the history of the roll is enigmatic. The most commonly accepted creator of this roll is Ichiro Mashita.

Mashita was a Los Angeles sushi chef in little Tokyo. His early version of the California roll dates back to the early 1960s. At the time, he implemented the standard wrap with nori seaweed on the exterior of the roll, but Americans would often remove it thinking it was inedible. As a result, the reverse roll with rice on the outside was born. At the time he created the roll, imitation crab was not available, so he used real crab. Sesame seeds, cucumber, and mayonnaise were also absent from the original recipe.

Competing Histories

Other contenders for the coveted title of inventing the California roll include:

    Ken Seusa is another chef from Los Angeles who asserts ownership of the innovation. He has the earliest documented claim for the California roll, and per food writer, Andrew F. Smith, the claim stood uncontested for more than 20 years.

The Legacy Rolls On

Due to its incredible innovation and simple design, the California roll went on to become a popular dish in Southern California. By the 1980s, it was widely known across the entire country.

The California Roll is a great option for anyone interested in trying sushi without consuming raw seafood. If you’re looking to enjoy a delectable California Roll or other sushi plates in the Orlando area, Sakura Sushi should be your first choice. We pride ourselves on offering fresh, quality sushi, and a traditional Japanese experience. Book your table today at 407-352-1607.

How to make a california roll

Whether sitting down to a fancy dinner in a Japanese restaurant, or just grabbing a quick bite on our lunch-break, chances are we’ll order up at least one order of these yummy Western influenced sushi rolls.

Fun fact : A sushi roll in Japanese is called maki .

Now, if you’ve ever wondered how to make sushi rolls at home, please feel free to use the video on this page as a general blueprint. And, if you’ve ever wondered how to make California rolls at home, follow the steps to the letter. You’ll be so happy you did!


Ingredients for sushi rice

  • 3 cups cooked Japanese rice
  • 40 ml rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for rolls

  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ¼ English cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ pound imitation crab
  • 3 nori (dried seaweed) sheets
  • Sesame seeds

*Use gluten free imitation crab or real crab and gluten free soy sauce for a complete gluten free recipe.


  1. Place cooked rice in a container and add rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  2. Wrap bamboo mat with plastic wrap and have a bowl of water mixed with a little rice vinegar on the side.
  3. Lay a nori sheet with the shiny side facing down on the bamboo mat. Add 1 cup of rice to the center of the nori sheet and wet your fingers with vinegar water.
  4. Spread the rice using your fingers, evenly across the nori sheet.
  5. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds onto the rice evenly across.
  6. Turn the nori sheet over so the rice is facing down. Move the nori sheet close to the edge of the bottom of the bamboo mat.
  7. Add a little mayonnaise across the nori sheet (from left to right) and top with cucumber, avocado and imitation crab. Each ingredients should form a line across (don’t overcrowd the roll).
  8. Grab the bottom edges of the mat with your thumbs and hold on to the toppings with your other fingers.
  9. Roll into a tight cylinder and lift the edges of the bamboo mat to prevent it from rolling into the roll together with the filling. The mat should look like the letter C from the side as you roll forward. Keep rolling forward using a little pressure and let go when the roll is done.
  10. Cut the roll in half and then into thirds.
  11. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.


There’s just something about the combination of creamy avocado, crab (imitation or real) and cucumber that is greater than the sum of its parts.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the thin seaweed sheets (or nori ).

But, the secret weapon in this California roll recipe can sometimes seem like a bit of an unsung hero: sushi rice!


To make perfect sushi rice, make sure you are using short grain Japanese rice. Rinse well before cooking! As for cooking times and water measurements, your Tiger multi cooker has cooking presets that will take care of the heavy lifting here.

Once your sushi rice is cooked, make sure to cool and mix in the appropriate amounts of rice vinegar, sugar and salt (all measurements can be found in the video and under the ingredients tab).

Now, you’re ready to roll!

Another delicious option when making sushi rolls at home is to make a SPICY California roll. It’s just as easy – and packs a zesty punch.

To add a little fire, simply mix 1 tablespoon sriracha with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and drizzle on top of your finished California rolls. YUM! ?