homemade sushi stack
Main Dish

Homemade Sushi Stack

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Sushi is one of my favorite foods. This includes sushi rolls, maki rolls, chef rolls, and nigiri. Occasionally I want a small, quick sushi fix I can make at home. Simply put, I want to make homemade sushi but I don’t aspire to be a sushi chef, acquire the necessary tools, or source fresh, raw ingredients. Instead, I found a recipe I thought I could handle to satisfy the craving at home. I have adapted it over the years.

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Getting Started

First, start the rice according to its package instructions. I like to use freshly made rice that ideally, after the rice vinegar is added, has time to cool a bit before I make the stacks. You can spread the rice out on a baking sheet to help it cool.

While the rice cooks, I prep the rest of the ingredients. Dice the shrimp. Wash the produce. Trim off the ends of the cucumber and dice. The avocado I usually leave alone until assembly time so it doesn’t turn brown while it sits. For anyone who may need it, here is a great video on how to cut an avocado. Once upon a time, I was too intimidated to work with avocados. But that is another post.

Gather the rest of the ingredients so that when your rice is ready, you can assemble your stacks.

Homemade Sushi Stack Ingredient Recommendations


Store-brand jasmine rice works well. I cook it according to the package instructions. Sometimes, I rinse it beforehand, especially if the package advises it. Usually, though, I don’t rinse rice.

You can also use short-grain brown rice or sushi rice.


I typically pick up fresh, cooked cocktail shrimp from my local meat and seafood market. What’s great is that it’s already deveined, peeled and cooked. All I have to do is pull or cut off the tail and I am good to go.

You can also use frozen, cooked cocktail shrimp. Follow the package instructions to thaw.

Raw shrimp is another option if you are comfortable with preparing raw shrimp. If I cook with raw shrimp, whether it starts fresh or frozen, I prefer it to come peeled and deveined without the tail. And then cook according to package instructions.

Here is one final shrimp option I recently discovered. I enjoy Shrimp Tempura rolls. I came across frozen shrimp tempura at Trader Joe’s recently. I’m pretty sure it is meant to be an appetizer but I just heat up however many pieces I need and use in this recipe. When I use tempura battered shrimp, I omit the Panko bread crumbs.


If you’re not familiar with this savory Japanese seasoning blend, it typically contains dried seaweed flakes, white and black sesame seeds, sugar, and salt. Sushi rolls are usually wrapped in seaweed and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Furikake is a great way to quickly achieve some of the seaweed taste and texture without having to roll ingredients up in a seaweed wrap with a sushi mat. This is the furikake I use most often. 

Spicy Mayonnaise

Most stores have a spicy mayo option in their Asian food section. I usually still have to tamp down the spice of store-bought spicy mayo by adding more mayo to it at home.

Usually, I just make homemade spicy mayo using mayo and sriracha. I use both store-brand mayo and sriracha and just mix them in a squeeze bottle until the color looks right to me.

Panko Bread Crumbs

Since I like shrimp tempura, when I use plain shrimp like the recipe calls for, I like to top the stack with a sprinkle of panko bread crumbs. It adds a nice little extra crunch. It’s a bit of a deconstructed shrimp tempura roll if you will.

Homemade Sushi Stack Ingredient Alternatives


In addition to the number of shrimp options shared above, I have two more meat alternatives to suggest. The first is chicken. Dice up some cooked chicken breast, cutlets, or tenders and use them in place of the shrimp. I recommend adding the panko bread crumbs on top. Or bonus points if you find a pre-made chicken tempura option!

The other meat alternative is meatless chicken. Check out the vegetarian notes below for more info.


To make this dish vegetarian, start by omitting the shrimp or substitute it for meatless chicken. I use Quorn’s Meatless Diced Chicken Pieces. It comes frozen so I just pop however much I’d like into a small skillet and heat to temp. Toss it a few times and it’s ready in minutes.

Also, be aware that some furikake mixes contain fish. The kind I use does not list fish in the ingredients. If you’d prefer, at a minimum I would substitute furikake with sesame seeds. If you’re feeling creative and want to experiment, maybe you could try combining sesame seeds, crumbled seaweed sheets, sugar, and salt for a type of homemade furikake.


There are three ingredients to look out for. First and foremost, omit the panko bread crumbs to make this recipe gluten-free. Then, watch out for the furikake and soy sauce.

Next, check if your furikake is gluten-free. While all of the ingredients in the furikake brand I use are generally considered gluten-free, the product is not labeled gluten-free. You can at least substitute sesame seeds and maybe some crumbled seaweed sheets for the furikake. If you’re feeling creative and want to experiment, maybe you could try combining sesame seeds, crumbled gluten-free seaweed sheets, sugar, and salt for a type of homemade furikake.

Finally, make sure your soy sauce is gluten-free. Most are not, but Kikkoman does make a gluten-free soy sauce.

Homemade Sushi Stack Finishing Touches

To assemble the stack, I use my 6-ounce ramekins. Layer the ingredients just like the recipe says, and then turn them out on a plate. Or better yet, turn out on a sushi dish set along with chopsticks.

Homemade Sushi Stack Pairings

These stacks are really filling so I don’t pair them with much else. I do enjoy sushi with some sake. More specifically, unfiltered sake in a sake cup.

If I add anything else to the meal, it might be a small salad with shaved carrot, radish, and Quick Carrot-Ginger Dressing.

Homemade Sushi Stack Leftovers

Usually, this recipe doesn’t have any leftovers. If anything, we may end up with spare parts, so to say. We might have extra rice and diced cucumber. If that’s the case, I will store them separately in the fridge. Then, maybe for lunch the following day, I’ll warm up the rice and top it with the cucumber, and then some furikake, soy sauce, and spicy mayo.

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stack

Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Japanese
Servings: 4


  • 1 1/3 c cooked jasmine rice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 8 oz cooked shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • Furikake
  • reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • spicy mayonnaise
  • panko bread crumbs, optional


  • Add rice vinegar to cooked rice and stir.
  • Cut shrimp into 1" cubes.
  • Using 6 oz ramekins or a 1 cup dry measuring cup, layer cucumber, avocado, shrimp and rice. Carefully turn the cup upside down to turn the stack out onto a plate. Sprinkle with Furikake, to taste. Drizzle with soy sauce and spicy mayo, taste. Top with panko bread crumbs, if using. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

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