Spicy Crab Roll is a popular Japanese sushi roll – creamy, satisfying, and fiery spicy. The kani crab stick is shredded and then seasoned with sriracha spicy mayo, then wrapped in nori seaweed sheets and seasoned rice. These simple kani maki rolls take about 15 minutes to make once the sushi rice is ready. I’ll share with you the secrets on how to roll perfect sushi with step-by-step photos.
I make Japanese sushi rolls at least once a week. My favorites include California Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, and this easy spicy crab sushi roll.
Skip the Japanese restaurant and make your own crab sushi rolls! You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make them at home.
What is a Spicy Crab Roll?
Also called Spicy Kani Roll, the spicy crab roll is often made inside-out, where nori seaweed sheet wraps around the filling inside, and the sushi rice is on the outside. It’s a type of maki sushi (rolled sushi) made by rolling spicy kani salad in nori seaweed sheet and seasoned rice. The filling consists of imitation crab or real cooked crab, which is mixed with spicy mayo sauce.
Spicy crab roll sushi tastes creamy, spicy, and slightly sweet. It’s completely addictive!
Ingredients & Substitutes
- Kani crab meat: Also called kanikama or imitation crab, this ingredient is also often used in California rolls. You can sub canned crab meat.
- Sriracha Sauce: Made with chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, and salt, Sriracha adds heat to the sushi. Reduce the amount of this hot sauce if you prefer a mild taste and add more for extra spicy flavors. Huy Fong is my favorite brand. You can use chili sauce as a replacement.
- Mayonnaise: Adds the creaminess to the sushi. Try to get real mayo instead of mayo alternatives. You can substitute plain Greek yogurt for a healthier option.
- Nori (Seaweed Sheets): The fresh nori sheet is crispy enough to easily break into half by folding it.
- Sushi Rice: Use high-quality Japanese short-grain sushi rice.
- Sushi vinegar: For seasoning the rice. If you don’t have sushi vinegar, you can mix together rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.
- Sesame Seeds: I used a combination of white and black sesame seeds. Simply toast them in a frying pan for 5 minutes for the best nutty flavors.
You’ll also need a sushi rolling bamboo mat for easy rolling.
How to Make Spicy Crab Roll (Kani Sushi)
Step 1: Cook Sushi rice
Use less water when cooking sushi rice for the sushi rolls. The best water to rice ratio is 1:1.
Once cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and let it cool down slightly. When it’s still warm, stir in the sushi vinegar (or the mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt). Mix well.
Step 2: Make Spicy Crab Salad (Kani Salad)
Simply shred the imitation crab (kanikama), and add it to a mixing bowl. Season with sriracha sauce and mayo. Mix well.
Step 3: Make the Spicy Crab Roll
1. Cut the nori sheet into two halves with kitchen scissors. Place half of a nori sheet on top of the bamboo mat shiny side facing down.
2. Spread seasoned sushi rice (about 3/4 cup) over nori evenly.
3. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the rice.
4. Flip the sheet and add the spicy kani crab salad to the middle of the nori sheet.
5. Place the thumbs underneath the bamboo mat and lift the edge up and over the filling. Roll the bamboo mat away from you and press the rice and filling together. Keep rolling until the ends meet.
6. Cut each roll into 8 pieces. Drizzle more spicy mayo sauce on top of the roll for some extra heat.
Tips for the Best Spicy Crab Roll Recipe
- Before handling the sushi rice, you can dip your hands into Tezu water, which will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. It’s a hand dipping liquid made with 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons rice vinegar.
- When rolling the sushi, you’ll need to squeeze the roll gently but firmly. Once you finish, you can place the mat over the roll and gently squeeze it again. This will prevent the sushi roll from falling apart.
- The heat of spicy crab roll comes from Sriracha sauce. You can adjust proportions to make your rolls more or less spicy. You can also use mayo only for a non-spicy version.
- If you use canned crab meat, make sure to squeeze out the water thoroughly so your crab salad filling is not too wet.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Spicy Crab Roll Cooked Sushi or Raw?
Yes, there’s no raw seafood in this recipe. Kani crab meat or canned real crab meat is used in this recipe and they are completely cooked.
How Many Calories Does Each Spicy Crab Roll Roll Have?
There are about 312 calories in each roll, and 39 calories in each piece of sushi.
- You can use tempura crab instead of kani crab in this recipe for the spicy and crunchy tempura crab roll.
- Use the whole kani stick and add avocado to the filling for a spicy California roll.
- Add other veggies such as cucumber, Oshinko, or Yamagobo to the filling.
More Sushi Roll Recipes
I hope you like this recipe. If you try it, please comment below and let me know how your Spicy Crab Roll turns out!
Spicy Crab Roll Recipe
For Sushi Rice
- 1 cup sushi rice short-grain sushi rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ tablespoons sushi vinegar (or mix 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
- 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 1 ½ teaspoons sriracha sauce
For the Spicy Kani Roll
- 4 oz kani crab meat (imitation crab or canned crab meat)
- 2 sheets nori seaweed
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (white or black, or the combination. I recommend toasting them in a frying pan for about 5 minutes for more flavors.)
Make Sushi Rice
- Rinse the rice and add to the rice cooker. Then add water and cook according to the instructions.
- Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl and let it cool. When it’s still very warm, mix in the sushi vinegar (or the mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt).
Make Spicy Sriracha Mayo
- In a clear bowl, mix together Sriracha sauce and mayonnaise. Taste and add more Sriracha if you prefer a spicier flavor.
Make Spicy Crab Salad
- Shred the imitation crab meat using your hands or two forks.
- Add Sriracha mayo and mix well.
Make the Spicy Crab Roll
- Cut the nori sheet into two halves with kitchen scissors.
- Place half of a nori sheet on top of the bamboo mat shiny side facing down.
- Spread seasoned sushi rice (about 3/4 cup) over nori evenly. Press the rice gently with your hands. (Tips: You can dip your hands in Tezu water to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands).
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the rice.
- Flip the sheet and let the rice side facing down.
- Add the spicy Kani crab salad to the middle of the nori sheet.
- Place the thumbs underneath the bamboo mat and lift the edge up and over the filling.
- Roll the bamboo mat away from you and press the rice and filling together. Keep rolling until the ends meet.
- More the roll to a cutting board and cut it into 8 pieces.
- Drizzle more spicy mayo sauce on top of the roll for some extra heat.
- To make Tezu water: Simply mix together 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoon rice vinegar.
- Why does my sushi roll fall apart? This could be caused by the wrong types of rice or you didn’t squeeze the rolls tightly. You need to tuck in and pull the bamboo mat tightly while rolling.
I didn’t realize how easy sushi was to make at home! This was so delicious. Will be making it regularly.
Hi Sam, glad you like this recipe. Thanks!
Kelly Stilwell says
I’ve always wanted to try to make sushi. I’m so glad I found your easy directions! Delicious!
Nona Anthony says
This was amazing! I would love to see you make the Sweet Carolina Roll! It’s a favorite in our household!
Hi Nona, thanks for letting me know. The sweet Carolina roll is on my list now!
Simple, easy, delicious. My family and I loved it.