Crispy Rice Sushi Bites: the Copycat Recipe for a Japanese-Inspired Appetizers with Spicy Salmon

Total time: 30 min prep/ 1 hr cool/ 15min cook
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 2-4
By Cookist

Looking for a creative way to use up leftover sushi rice? Look no further than these irresistible Spicy Crispy Rice Sushi Bites with Salmon! These tasty bites are more than just fried rice. They're crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and bursting with savory flavor… perfect as a fun appetizer or a light lunch! These rice nuggets are a breeze to prepare and not nearly as fiddly as traditional sushi. A simple sauce made with egg yolks, rice vinegar, and a touch of sriracha adds a burst of tangy creaminess, while chunks of salmon nestled on top make it satisfying. It’s the perfect choice for busy weeknights or casual get-togethers.

What Are Crispy Rice Sushi Bites?

Spicy Rice Sushi Bites with Salmon is a Japanese-inspired appetizer (or light meal) made from sushi rice, an egg yolk sauce, and salmon pieces. The ingredients are transformed into crispy, bite-sized nuggets.  The idea likely came from Japanese rice cakes (mochi) and the popular global trend of using leftover ingredients in creative ways. While sushi rice itself has a long history, crispy sushi rice nuggets are a relatively modern invention. The dish gained significant popularity in recent years thanks to social media, with variations and creative presentations going viral on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.


  • To save time, use leftover cooked sushi rice.
  • You can adjust the amount of sriracha to your desired spice level.
  • You can also use leftover sushi rice, specifically short-grain varieties like koshihikari or akitakomachi. These varieties are naturally sticky and hold their shape well when fried.
  • The key to crispy nuggets is well-chilled rice. After shaping the rice, refrigerate it for at least an hour (or even overnight) to firm up and prevent crumbling during frying.
  • Use a wet knife to cut the chilled rice into clean, even squares or desired shapes.
  • Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil. Heat it to medium heat (around 350°F) for consistent frying without burning. Fry the rice nuggets in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. This ensures even browning and prevents them from sticking together.

Can I Use Leftover Rice That's Not Sushi Rice?

While sushi rice is ideal for its stickiness, you can use leftover regular rice in a pinch. The nuggets might be slightly less sticky and crispy, but still tasty. For best results, cook the rice with a little less water than usual to create a firmer texture.

What Can I Use Instead Of Salmon?

You can substitute cooked chicken, canned tuna, shrimp, tofu, or even crumbled tempeh for a vegetarian option.

Do I Have To Use Sriracha?

No, sriracha is optional for those who prefer a milder dish. You can omit it entirely or use another hot sauce to your liking.

How do I Reheat Leftover Bites?

Leftovers can be reheated in a pan with a little oil until crispy or warmed in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for a few minutes.

How to Store Rice Nuggets

Leftover nuggets can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


sushi rice
450g (2 1/2 cups)
490g (2 cups)
salmon fillet
Egg yolks
15g (1 tbsp)
Rice vinegar
15g (1 tbsp)
15g (1 tbsp)
Oil for frying
black sesame seeds
lime (zest)

How To Make Crispy Sushi Rice Nuggets with Salmon

Rinse the sushi rice in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Add the rice to a pot and pour in enough water to cover it by about an inch.

Bring to a boil, then cover, and boil for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Spread the cooked rice evenly on the sheet and press down firmly with a spatula to form a compact layer.

Cover with another layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled and firm.

In the meantime, cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces.

Whisk together the egg yolks, mustard, rice vinegar, salt, and sriracha in a bowl.

Add the salmon pieces and stir to coat.

Cut the chilled rice into bite-sized squares or desired shapes.

Heat enough oil in a pan or skillet over medium heat. Fry the rice pieces in batches until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Top each warm sushi rice nugget with a spoonful of the salmon sauce.

Garnish with black sesame seeds and lime zest and serve immediately.

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