Lazy Sushi Recipe: an easy meal that looks messy and tastes great!

Lazy sushi is a meal that requires almost no cooking and little prep time. There is no mixing vinegar, fanning rice or fiddling with rolling mats. The result tastes the same as some types of sushi but with a quarter of the effort. The focus is not on presentation but on eating delicious food now.

lazy sushi in a bowl

lazy sushi – Hilary’s version with peas and avocado!

Ingredients for the HH Basic Version of Lazy Sushi

There are endless variations for lazy sushi so customizing is always possible. There are also no rules in our house so go wild with the ingredients. If you have access to sushi grade fish, go for it! Otherwise, this recipe is all about shortcuts. See the Tips on Ingredients below for help and ideas. The amounts below comfortably feed two adults.

  • 2 rice cooker cups cooked rice, white or brown Japanese
  • seasoned rice vinegar
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 can low/no sodium tuna in water, drained
  • 1 can low/no sodium salmon in water, drained and bones removed
  • Mayonnaise
  • soy sauce > regular or low salt but make sure it’s Japanese-style
  • wasabi paste
  • dried sheets of unflavored seaweed or nori > 1-2 sheets per adult
seasoned rice vinegar bottle

seasoned rice vinegar from our local chain grocery store


  1. Cook the rice as per your cooker instructions. If you have questions about this, post a comment!
  2. Layer rice on the bottom of a shallow bowl or rice bowl.
  3. Sprinkle seasoned vinegar on rice followed by sesame seeds.
  4. Spoon desired amount of canned fish on to the rice.
  5. Dollop as much mayo as you like on top.
  6. Drizzle soy sauce over ingredients.
  7. Squeeze a small blob of wasabi on top.
  8. Mix ingredients. Or not… Hitoshi likes them more organized whereas I mash everything together.
  9. Fold one square sheet of nori into four smaller squares and tear nori apart.
  10. Spoon filling into squares, fold over and enjoy with your fingers! If you are adept at using hashi (chopsticks), try Hitoshi’s way where he folds nori over filling and eats it with hashi.
lazy sushi taco

Hitoshi holding his lazy sushi on hashi or chopsticks. Delicious!

Other Topping Ideas

  • cooked corn, peas, grated carrot, water chestnuts
  • cucumber, especially in the summer
  • avocado > combined with soy sauce, if you close your eyes, it tastes like tuna sashimi!
  • chopped green onions or negi
  • rice sprinkles or furikake > wasabi flavored is the best followed by sour plum or umeboshi. One option is to mix the canned fish with mayo and furikake to taste. Combined only with rice and wrapped in nori is easy and delicious.
Japanese cooked rice topping

wasabi furikake or rice sprinkles from Japan – the one on the left is official furikake while the one on the right can also be used with leftover rice and hot water to make a soup

Tips on Ingredients

Rice – usually short but medium grain is fine. We bought an 8kg bag of medium-grain by accident. Even though it looked and smelled a little different from the short grain we usually buy, it was sticky enough to work fine.

Seasoned rice vinegar – We buy the local chain grocery store brand. Ingredients should include rice vinegar, sugar and salt. If you can’t find seasoned, plain works, especially if you are using salted fish. If you want seasoned, pour a small amount of rice vinegar into a bowl and slowly dissolve tiny quantities of sugar and salt until you get the balance you like.

Sesame Seeds – Choose the type you like but I would avoid the black and white mixed version as it usually contains salt. This much salt throws off the balance.

Tuna or Salmon – if you can’t find low or no sodium, I would use unseasoned rice vinegar.

Mayonnaise – low-fat, half or full fat doesn’t matter. If you want to try Japanese-style, made-in-Japan mayo (e.g. Kewpie) adds a different flavor.

Wasabi – good wasabi should not be all power and no flavor. Try to find a higher quality, made-in-Japan version. We have been disappointed with cheap versions that look and taste like highly processed chemical-green horseradish. That said, the majority of wasabi is dyed horseradish. Real wasabi is difficult to grow, hard to keep, rare to find, and harsh on the wallet. If you can try the real thing, do it!

Nori – try to find made-In-Japan. We’ve been disappointed with cheaper grades that are tasteless. Nori should be crisp and not go soggy and overly chewy seconds after touching the filling. Nori should taste slightly fishy and salty.

lazy sushi in a bowl with nori

Hitoshi’s version of lazy sushi, artfully composed! He likes chopped green onions and shichimi made by his dad on top. Shichimi is a peppery mix of seven spices.

Tips for Bento or Lunchbox Style

The lunchbox version has everything but the mayonnaise and needs to be stored in the fridge. I use a square container with a snap-on lid to layer the ingredients. The last step is usually laying nori on top but it then softens before I eat it. If you like your nori crisp, keep it separate.

Have you tried making lazy sushi? What ingredients do you like to use?

16 thoughts on “Lazy Sushi Recipe: an easy meal that looks messy and tastes great!

  1. My parents (Japanese) made fantastic avocado sushi last year in Canada! Japanese people usually don’t use avocado for sushi, but they enjoyed it!

  2. Lazy sushi, like the name! I sometimes make similar dishes but call them deconstructed sushi…

    Ingredient wise I tend to stick to salmon or crab sticks, cucumber, tamago etc. And never ever mayonnaise, to be honest I never understood why they use it for sushi!

    Re keeping the nori separate for bento, I use often the little seaweed snack packs, not sure what they are called exactly but a great size/quantity for lunch and it keeps nice and crisp.

    • Oh! Deconstructed sushi. That’s a great way of describing it. More accurate, too, eh? 😀 I asked Hitoshi if he could remember when we started using lazy sushi to mean what we mean and we can’t remember. My American co-worker at my first job in Japan 8 years ago told me that her favorite snack was loosely rolling rice in nori and she might have said “lazy sushi”???

      Ha ha ha! I can see that mayo is not for everyone. In Japan, the only time I see it is with canned tuna on rice and then an outside wrap of nori. That’s at kaiten sushi places.

      Good idea! I’ve seen those snack packs a lot and generally devour them instantly. They are usually Korean nori, super thin and flavored. I’ve never seen them unflavored. Have you??

        • Okay! Of the Korean nori we usually buy, I like the salted version with olive oil best. Wasabi is such a great flavor! I love wasabi flavored furikake and ochazuke. Do you eat them much?

          • The korean supermarket where I mostly shop doesn’t have much furikake so sometimes I just make an own mix from flavoured nori, sesame seeds and salt. Or Just Bento has a great recipe for salted salmon furikake.

            I do like the wasabi furikake as well, have to remember to buy that one next time when I’m at the Japan centre

            Tend to forget about ochazuke, mainly because I don’t really drink green tea. But thanks for the reminder, I do like it. I used to make it with canned tuna mainly. Do you know if I could use a different kind of tea? I guess it needs to be quite light and fragrant? Hmm perhaps Jasmine would work, I drink that a lot and that often mixed with green tea as well.

            • I love shopping, especially for food and I would love to visit the stores in your neck of the woods to see what’s similar and different. We’ve got access to pretty descent stores for Asian products. Of course, the imports are 2-3 times or more expensive than what you pay in Japan but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I finally remembered that it’s either me getting on a plane or Hitoshi’s family sending it to us so paying extra to have something special is okay once in a while. 😀

              As for ochazuke, I only use water. I’m not crazy about green tea. The packages of ochazuke we have from Japan even say to use plain boiling water. I suppose you could try jasmine but I can’t imagine the flavors meshing too well with wasabi or salmon. That said, who knows?! Try it and let me know! Do you use a mix for ochazuke or make your own??

              About sesame seeds… do you roast your own and what type do you like?

              • London has lots of Asian shops so it’s pretty easy to find ingredients and the prices are quite reasonable. But it cam be challenging to find kawai food stuff like furikake shaped like tiny fish or flowers.
                It’s funny you remonded me about ochazuke as another blogger (Just one cookbook) also just wrote a post on it
                I have already been thinking how to turn it into a bento and which box to use.

                I have never used a ready mix, I just combine my ochazuke depending on what I have.

                • I would imagine that London is an easy catch for good stores! I found the same in Toronto only visiting. If I lived there, I’d likely be in grocery shopping heaven! 🙂
                  Oh yes… the Y100 stores in Japan are great for cute things! I love all the cookie cutters and other adorable things for bento boxes.
                  The contents for premade ochazuke look pretty much like furikake but you get a nice soup flavoring with the other floaty bits.
                  I agree with roasting! It can be a pain and it’s hard not to burn them. We bought some imported Asian-style sesame seeds when we first moved to Canada but then found them far cheaper in the refrigerated section of the local chain grocery store.
                  I’ve been trying to click on the other header links in your blog from my tablet but no luck. I just tried in FF and IE on my laptop and the same thing. Have you heard anyone else having this trouble? I want to read your About page! 🙂

                  • Hi, sorry to hear that you are still have problems navigating around my blog. I haven’t heard from anybody else that they have these issues, and the header links work when I try it myself on a tablet.
                    Not sure what the issue can be, am afraid I’m not very technical so no clue how to solve it 😦

                    • Me too! I’m not sure what’s wrong on my end but I’ll keep trying in different browsers. My Twitter feed is finally showing up on my blog after weeks of nothing so who knows?!

                      Ha ha ha! Love the word “blunch”. That’s fantastic.

                  • My About page just explains why I’m using the name Dosirakbento. Dosirak is the Korean equivalent of Bento. It also introduces the term Blunch, something I came up with when I need to describe a lunch that didn’t contain any Japanese or Korean food.

  3. This is such an amazing idea!!!! i have never thought to do this! thank you for showing me… I am goign to eat this for lunch every day now haha

    • 😀 We eat it at least once a week. It’s so easy and fun to make! We keep joking that we need a list of the basics though because we always forget something. Let me know when you try it out! I would love to hear what you think. By the way, I took a quick look at your site today but will stroll around longer in the next few days. I’m looking forward to it!

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