Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon recipe is the perfect two-bite appetizer or main course. Pan-fried sushi rice cakes topped with smashed avocado and spicy salmon, so easy and so delicious!

stacked crispy rice spicy salmon with jalapeno on top

Do you prefer crispy rice spicy salmon or crispy rice spicy tuna?!

For me, it’s hands down, salmon over tuna! And if you’re wondering what these little appetizers are; they’re all the things you love about a poke bowl or a sushi bowl in two bites! We’re talking about a delicious crispy rice cake that we’ll lightly pan fry, so they’re golden on the outside and chewy in the middle. I like to top it with wasabi smashed avocado, and finally, that spicy salmon flavored with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, sriracha, and mayo. I eat them just like sushi with a heaping pile of sushi ginger on the side.

I’ve taken the liberty of testing these spicy salmon crispy rice cakes with both smoked salmon and sushi-grade salmon because I know it’s not easy to find sushi salmon everywhere! Smoked salmon that’s sold in packages at the deli counter works here too. And if you’re averse to raw fish, you could try these with cooked shrimp or even faux crab meat!

spicy salmon on crispy rice cakes topped with jalapeno

Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon Ingredients

  • Cooked sushi rice: I find sushi rice works best for this recipe. Start by washing the rice in a sieve under cold running water for several minutes. You want the water to run compeltely clear before adding the rice to your rice cooker, sauce pan, or instant pot.
  • Seasonings: Salt and sugar provide flavor for the rice cakes along with rice vinegar. We’ll mold the rice in a baking sheet before we shallow fry the rice cakes in oil.
  • Rice Vinegar: helps flavor the rice cakes along with the salt and sugar before frying.
  • Sushi-grade Salmon: If you can’t find sushi-grade salmon, smoked salmon works well too. 
  • Mayonnaise: I prefer to use Kewpie Mayo here. It’s a Japanese mayo and it’s a little more expensive than local brands but it gives the salmon mixture the best flavor. However, regular mayo also works just fine!
  • Sauces: To flavor the salmon mixture, you’ll need sriracha, lime juice, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce. I also use a squeeze of wasabi paste to help flavor the smashed avocados. This is entirely optional but I love the taste of it with that heat!
  • Scallions + Jalapenos: I use chopped green onions or scallions in the salmon mixture and I top my crispy rice spicy salmon bites with a thin slice of jalapeno as a garnish to give them a little heat – totally optional!
  • Ripe Avocado: This is entirely optional and my twist of spicy salmon cakes! I love adding a layer of smashed avocados for both color and a bit more flavor.
wasabi avocado and spicy salmon mixture in separate bowls
rice packed into baking dish

How to Make Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon:

  1. Make Rice and then season it. You can prepare the sushi rice in your rice cooker, instant pot, or boil it on the stove. Once the rice is done, we’ll season it with kosher salt, sugar, and rice vinegar. When it’s cool enough to handle, grab a plastic wrap and line your 9×5 baking dish with this. Place the rice in the dish and flatten it into a large rice cake. You can also use a rice mold if you have one, but the 9×5 baking dish and a knife to cut pieces also works just fine! Cover the rice cake and let it refrigerate until set.
  2. Make the salmon mixture. Grab the sushi-grade salmon filet and place it on a clean cutting board. Dice the salmon into small pieces, and combine the mayo, lime juice, sriracha, sesame oil, soy sauce, and scallions. Place the salmon mixture in the fridge while you fry the rice cakes in a skillet.
  3. Make crispy rice. Heat a couple of tablespoons of high-heat oil in a skillet. I like to use avocado oil or canola oil here. Then fry rice cakes on medium-high heat in the skillet until golden and crispy. Remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel so that it can absorb any excess oil and let them cool.
  4. Smash the avocado and assemble. Combine the avocado and the wasabi paste with a small pinch of salt in a bowl and smash it down using a potato masher or a fork. Dollop the avocado on the rice cake, top with the prepared salmon, and place a jalapeno slice on top. You can also sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if you like.
fried crispy rice cakes in skillet

FAQs about Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon

  1. Can I use tuna instead of salmon? You can also use sush-grade ahi tuna for this recipe if you prefer that over salmon.
  2. Will Jasmine rice work for this recipe? I’ve only tested this recipe with sushi rice so unfortunately, I’m not sure.
  3. How do you make sushi rice in the instant pot? I add 1¼ cup of short grain rice that’s been thoroughly rinsed to my liner with 1¼ cups of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure, and then allow a 10 minutes natural pressure release.
  4. Can I crisp the rice cakes in an air fryer? You can but unfortunately, the rice cakes don’t get as crispy as they do when fried in a pan. You can spray them with cooking spray and cook for 8-10 minutes on 375ºF.

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crispy rice with wasabi avocado, spicy salmon, and jalapeno on plate
Yield: 15 pieces

Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon recipe is the perfect two-bite appetizer or main course. Pan-fried sushi rice cakes topped with smashed avocado and spicy salmon, so easy and so delicious!

Crispy Rice Spicy Salmon


Crispy Rice Cakes:

  • 2½ cups cooked sushi rice (start with 1 ¼ cup dry)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Oil, for frying

Spicy Salmon:

  • 8 ounces sushi-grade salmon (or ahi tuna)
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: mayonnaise AND sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, AND wasabi paste
  • 1 large avocados, mashed in a bowl
  • sliced jalapeños + sushi ginger + toasted sesame seeds , for serving


    1. RICE: Add the cooked rice to a glass bowl. Combine the salt, rice vinegar, and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and zap until hot. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the rice vinegar over the rice and combine it with a rice paddle until absorbed. Line a 9x5 baking pan with plastic wrap. Add the rice to the baking dish and spray a rice paddle with cooking spray. Press the rice paddle down on the rice to create an even layer. Cover and allow the rice to cool for at least one hour in the fridge or ideally, overnight.
    2. SALMON: Chop the salmon on a cutting board with a sharp knife into small pieces. Add it to a medium bowl along with mayonnaise, lime juice, 1 tablespoon sriracha, toasted sesame oil, and scallions. Taste and adjust with additional sriracha if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
    3. FRY RICE: Cut the rice into 15 equal pieces. Wet the knife to help with cuts. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Add as many rectangles that fit in the frying pan without overcrowding and fry for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden. Remove rice to a plate lined with a paper towel.
    4. ASSEMBLE: In a bowl, mash together the avocado, wasabi paste, and a pinch of salt. Add a dollop of mashed avocado to each rice cake. Top with a heaping tablespoon of salmon. Lay on a sliced jalapeño or sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with sushi ginger.


  • Instant pot sushi rice: add 1¼ cups rinsed rice and 1¼ cups water to the instant pot insert. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.

Have you made this recipe?

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