California Roll: Easy Recipe & Ingredients!

Although the California roll is fun and delicious, check out our other easy sushi recipes for beginners here or visit our entire library of sushi rolls sorted alphabetically!

What you need to know before ordering a California Roll…

California Roll 3
California Roll

California rolls are made of imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado. A California roll typically has spicy mayo sauce on top to give it an extra kick and is frequently paired with soy sauce. This roll is fully cooked and extremely popular popular for its price point at restaurants and simplicity! Below you will find FAQ, ingredients lists, and an easy at home recipe!

Main Ingredients

  • Shredded Imitation Crab

SAUCES & Toppings

  • Spicy Mayo Sauce (Optional)

VEGGIES & FILLING

  • Creamy Avocado
  • Crunchy Cucumber

Dipping Sauces





This is the sushi roll everyone needs to think of when wondering what their first sushi roll they ever make should be. Of all the sushi recipes we have on this website (and there’s a lot), the California roll’s ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores, there’s no raw fish so you do not have to be worried if this first date is going to go sideways because you decided to filet a tuna in your kitchen. Best of all, you can bust out 4 of these and be eating within 20 minutes! In all honesty, the hardest part is making the rice (which is super easy anyways). Just don’t forget to wet your hands!

Enjoy!

California Roll 2 1

Click here to visit our sushi roll library!

What is a California Roll?

A California Roll is an inside-out sushi roll (meaning the rice is on the outside) that typically is made with imitation crab as the protein and is a great sushi roll for someone that has never had sushi before or is intimidated by it. California roll ingredients also include avocado, cucumber, and spicy mayo sauce to give it in extra kick.

California Roll
Shredded Imitation Crab
Shredded Imitation Crab

What is the best way to serve and eat sushi?

When Serving Sushi:

Sushi is one of those fun meals that you will frequently see pop up on friends snapchat or instagram stories or whatever social media companies sharing application. Whether it is at a restaurant or in your own kitchen, sushi is extremely instagrammable. Sushi is very trendy and typically served at higher end restaurants, therefore there is a high likelihood that the group is either on a date night or out on the town and dressed accordingly! Lots of pictures are flying around on these kind of nights therefore the presentation of the sushi tends to get some notice!

Typically sushi is plated in a very eye catching and palatable pattern on plates that have good visual appeal, frequently made of melamine in traditional japanese fashion. Restaurants tend to make a big deal of the presentation. Some ways sushi is presented can be on a small wooden boat brought out to the table or even lit on fire!

Sushi Boat
Sushi Boat
When Eating Sushi:

Experienced sushi eaters know that sauces can make or break your eating experience. There are two ways that sauces can be eaten with sushi:

Sauces on or in the sushi roll

This tends to be sauces that are either mixed in with other ingredients or added as a topping. Examples of this are spicy mayo sauce which is frequently mixed in with shredded imitation crab or drizzled on top of the sushi roll in patterns that are visually appealing. Some other sauces that are put on top or in the sushi roll are unagi eel sauce and teriyaki sauce.

Sauces that the sushi roll can be dipped in

The first sauce and most popular that probably comes to mind is soy sauce. (I have linked my favorite soy sauce to the right or below on mobile). Soy sauce is cheap and can be found at any grocery store or restaurant. Soy sauce is also an ingredient in numerous other recipes, not just sushi or even japanese based recipes.

Soy sauce can be given a little extra heat by mixing wasabi into the soy sauce.

California Roll FAQ and Tips

Is a California roll raw?

The California roll’s main meat or fish is imitation crab making it a completely cooked sushi roll which is one reason it is so popular.

What fish is in a California roll?

A California roll’s fish or meat that it contains is imitation crab. Imitation crab is cheap and readily available at any grocery store which is why the California roll is so cheap at restaurants.

How many calories are in a California roll?

The California roll typically has less than 250 calories making it a healthy sushi option! If spicy mayo sauce is added, the California roll will have closer to 300 calories.

Is a California roll spicy?

Typically, no. However we highly recommend adding spicy mayo sauce as a topping or mixed in with the imitation crab to give it an extra kick!

What other sushi rolls are like a California roll?

The California roll is the perfect roll for those wanting to try sushi for the first time. The California roll is completely cooked, and only contains a few ingredients. Additionally, the California roll is a great choice for those that are budget conscious. Other rolls that also fit this criteria would be the Philadelphia roll, Boston roll, and the spicy tuna roll, although these aren’t all fully cooked!

What is a California Roll made of?

Sushi Rice: It is very important to use sushi rice instead of traditional long grain white rice when making sushi. Sushi rice and normal white rice differ in the fact that sushi rice is short grain and has more starch and protiens than long grain rices which is the traditional kind. The increased levels of starch and protein makes the sushi rice sticky which allows you to shape it into a roll. Click here to read our post about why you should use sushi rice instead of white rice!

Imitation Crab: Did you know that the vast majority of crab used in sushi is actually imitation crab? Made from starches and finely diced white fish, imitation crab is shaped to imitate the look of real crab meat from a crab leg. Actual crab meat can be used as well, however it is not as easily found and is expensive and messy to extract from the claws and legs. Imitation crab can easily be found at any grocery store. Check out these other sushi rolls that contain crab!

Shredded Imitation Crab
Shredded Imitation Crab

Nori Sheets (Seaweed): Sheets of dried seaweed, otherwise called nori, are what are used to align the guts of the sushi roll. Nori is very healthy for you, and has relatively little flavor. Sheets of nori can be found at most grocery stores like Walmart, Kroger, or HEB or can even be ordered off of Amazon.

Avocado: Avocado is found in most sushi rolls, not just the California roll, not to mention the fact that avocado is just down right delicious! To pick an avocado, look for dark skin colors and place them in the palm of your hand. If it is to firm, it is not ripe yet. If it is to squishy, it is overripe. You should be looking for a dark skinned avocado that you can give a slight squeeze!

Spicy Mayo Sauce: Most people come to the California roll for flavor at an affordable price. Do yourself a favor and add spicy mayo sauce. This delicious topping can add a kick to liven up numerous dishes, not just sushi! Spicy mayo sauce is just a combination of sriracha and mayonnaise. You can make the sauce spicier by adding more sriracha and mellower by adding more mayo. Check out our recipe here.

Ripe Avocado
Avocado
Spiucy Mayo Sauce
Spiucy Mayo Sauce

California Roll Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Cooked Sushi Rice (Click link for easy sushi rice instructions)
  • 1/4 Cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • Half Sheets Nori (Click link for folding instructions)
  • 4 Sticks Imitation Crab Sliced into 1/2 inch pieces to make 8 total sticks
  • 1 Small Avocado (Sliced into matchsticks)
  • 1 Small Cucumber (Sliced into matchsticks)
  • 1/2 Cup Spicy Mayo Sauce (This is optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds (Optional)

Cooking Equipment

  • Bamboo rolling mat inside a gallon bag
  • cutting board and a sharp knife

Cooking Instructions

Preparation
  1. Add the seasoned rice vinegar to the cooked sushi rice and mix together.
  2. Shred the 4 sticks of imitation crab and mix with the half cup of spicy mayo sauce.
  3. Place your bamboo rolling mat inside a plastic gallon bag (trust us, this makes clean up much easier, all you have to do is throw out the bag!)
  4. Place one half sheet of nori on the rolling mat (remember we tore the full sheet in half hamburger style) with the rough side facing up.
Making the Roll
  1. ONLY ONCE THE RICE HAS COOLED, wet your hands (trust us on this one), grab a handful of rice and cover the rough side of the nori leaving a 1 inch gap at the top without any rice. If using sesame seeds, sprinkle them over the rice. Grab the nori by the top, and flip it over so the rice is against the bamboo rolling mat and the 1 inch gap is now on the bottom.
  2. Starting 1/3 of the way up from the bottom begin to align the “guts” of the sushi roll in a horizontal line beginning with the shredded crab meat. The horizontal row of shredded crab meat should be about half an inch thick all the way across the nori.
  3. After the shredded crab meat, add a row of cucumber and another row above that of avocado.
  4. Grab both the sushi mat and the nori and roll the mat over from the bottom until the empty space we left at the bottom is touching the other side, squeezing down on the roll to make it nice and tight and allowing to hold its shape.
  5. Place the roll on a cutting board and get a knife and damp paper towel. Cut the toll into 8 equal sizes (easiest if you start by cutting the roll in half). Before you make each cut DAMPEN THE KNIFE WITH THE PAPER TOWEL or else the roll will fall apart when you slice through it.
  6. Serve with soy sauce, take some pictures for your friends, and enjoy!
If you enjoyed this recipe or have feedback, please scroll down and leave a rating, comment, or critique!
See our printer friendly recipe version below!

Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind while making sushi

  • Check out our easy rice recipe here!
  • Always wet your hands before handling rice. Rice is extremely sticky!
  • While on the topic of rice.. please wait for it to cool. Getting excited and touching hot rice is no fun.
  • Use a wet paper towel and wipe down your knife between cuts while slicing your rolls! If you do not, the roll will fall apart!
Perfect Sushi Rice Recipe
Quick and easy sushi rice recipe!
Check out this recipe
Sushi Rice Image
Shaggy Dog Roll: Flavorful Recipe & Ingredients
Extremely popular and tasty crab and shrimp sushi roll!
Check out this recipe
Shaggy Dog Roll
California Roll

California Roll: Easy Recipe & Ingredients!

Ultimate beginner sushi roll recipe! All ingredients easy to find. Quick, easy, and delicious!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese, Japanese
Servings 4 Rolls
Calories 225 kcal

Equipment

  • Bamboo rolling mat inside a gallon bag
  • cutting board and a sharp knife

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Cups Cooked Sushi Rice (See below link in notes for easy sushi rice instructions)
  • 1/4 Cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 4 Half Sheets Nori (See below link in notes for folding instructions)
  • 4 Sticks Imitation Crab Sliced into 1/2 inch pieces to make 8 total sticks
  • 1 Small Avocado (Sliced into matchsticks)
  • 1 Small Cucumber (Sliced into matchsticks)
  • 1/2 Cup Spicy Mayo Sauce (This is optional but highly recommended, see below link in notes for easy instructions!)
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • Add the seasoned rice vinegar to the cooked sushi rice and mix together.
  • Shred the 4 sticks of imitation crab and mix with the half cup of spicy mayo sauce.
  • Place your bamboo rolling mat inside a plastic gallon bag (trust us, this makes clean up much easier, all you have to do is throw out the bag!)
  • Place one half sheet of nori on the rolling mat (remember we tore the full sheet in half hamburger style) with the rough side facing up.
  • ONLY ONCE THE RICE HAS COOLED, wet your hands (trust us on this one), grab a handful of rice and cover the rough side of the nori leaving a 1 inch gap at the top without any rice. If using sesame seeds, sprinkle them over the rice. Grab the nori by the top, and flip it over so the rice is against the bamboo rolling mat and the 1 inch gap is now on the bottom.
  • Starting 1/3 of the way up from the bottom begin to align the "guts" of the sushi roll in a horizontal line beginning with the shredded crab meat. The horizontal row of shredded crab meat should be about half an inch thick all the way across the nori.
  • After the shredded crab meat, add a row of cucumber and another row above that of avocado.
  • Grab both the sushi mat and the nori and roll the mat over from the bottom until the empty space we left at the bottom is touching the other side, squeezing down on the roll to make it nice and tight and allowing to hold its shape.
  • Place the roll on a cutting board and get a knife and damp paper towel. Cut the toll into 8 equal sizes (easiest if you start by cutting the roll in half). Before you make each cut DAMPEN THE KNIFE WITH THE PAPER TOWEL or else the roll will fall apart when you slice through it.
  • Serve with soy sauce, take some pictures for your friends, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

-Folding nori hamburger style
-Popular spicy mayo recipe
-Quick & easy sushi rice
Keyword beginner sushi, beginner sushi roll, california roll, sushi, sushi roll

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




%d bloggers like this: