California Rolls

Let’s have some fun with California Rolls! These delicious inside-out rolls are a creative riff on traditional sushi maki. Tasty crab salad and fresh avocado slices are a staple of this fun and creative California dish. True to the Golden State’s spirit of food fusion, the blend of traditional and modern flavors is not only inspiring — it’s delicious!


4-6 servings

Hands-on time:

45 minutes

Start-to-eat time:

1 hour 5 minutes


  • 4-6 sheets of nori (seaweed sushi sheets), or soy paper
  • Rice:
  • 2 cups sushi rice (or short-grain white rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Other fillings:
  • 2 cups imitation crab meat
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha (optional)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded & cut into thin strips
  • 1-2 avocados, thinly sliced
  • optional topping: sesame seeds, pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi

Kids kitchen skills:

  • making crab salad
  • cooking rice
  • rolling maki


  • measuring cups & spoons
  • knife & cutting board
  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • medium pot
  • medium microwave-safe bowl
  • large glass bowl
  • small bowl
  • bamboo mat or parchment paper
  • kitchen towel


Grown-up steps
  1. Mix the imitation crab, mayo, and sriracha (if using) in a bowl, shredding the crab into small pieces with a fork, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl add the rice and fill with enough cold water to cover slightly. Swirl the rice and water with your hand until the water turns milky white. Then carefully pour the water out or pour the rice into a strainer. Repeat washing the rice until the water is clear, about 3-4 times.
  3. Bring the rinsed rice and 2 cups water to a boil uncovered over high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in a medium microwave-safe bowl add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave on high 1-3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Transfer the rice to a large glass bowl and season with the sugar-vinegar mix. Fold the seasoning into the rice to mix well. Bring the rice to room temperature before assembling the rolls.
  6. Arrange your ingredients to assemble the sushi, and add water to a small bowl to wet your hands.
  7. Place a scoop of the seasoned rice onto a sheet of nori. Wet your hands with the water and spread the sticky rice evenly over the entire sheet, almost to the edges. Flip the sheet over onto the mat or parchment paper with the nori side facing up.
  8. Scoop the crab salad onto the bottom third of the nori, spreading it lengthwise, add 2-3 slices of avocado and cucumber slices on top.
  9. Roll up the nori into a tight log, using the bamboo mat or parchment paper for leverage. Press lightly while shaping the roll.
  10. Sprinkle the rolls with sesame seeds, if you like, then wet a knife and carefully cut the roll into 6 equal parts. Clean the knife with a damp towel between cuts for best results. Dip in soy sauce, and dig in!

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