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Spicy Krab Roll (Kani Rolls)

Spicy Krab Roll (Kani Rolls)

Make a delicious Spicy Krab Roll in the comfort of your own home! This spicy kani roll is filled with Kani Salad and seasoned Sushi Rice. It includes many of the same ingredients as our beloved Sushi Bake.

Kani in sushi is inexpensive and includes no raw fish; perfect for those who avoid ingesting uncooked seafood. Here are 20+ more Imitation Crab Recipes.

What is Kani Sushi

Kani, also called Kanikama, is imitation crab meat made from surimi, which is minced white fish processed to taste and look like crab meat. Anything named Kanikama Sushi, Kani Roll, or Krab Rolls is made with imitation crab vs real crab meat.

For more info, check out our What is Kani guide.

Photo with labels calling out the ingredients to make a kani roll.

Sushi Ingredients

To make the sushi rice you need short grain sushi rice, unseasoned rice vinegar, sugar and salt. 

To make the spicy krab roll recipe you need imitation crab, mayo, Sriracha, and nori sheets. Sesame seeds are an optional garnish.

How To Make Kani Rolls

Making homemade sushi roll recipes is easy once you get some practice. If you’re already a sushi making pro, skip the visuals and head to the next section.

Make The Sushi Rice

You can make the sushi rice on the stovetop or make a batch of our sushi rice instant pot.

Plate of sushi rice with chop sticks.

Make the Filling

While the rice cooks, prepare the kani filling. Shredded kani in a clear bowl next to rice and sesame seeds.

Build The Roll

Add the nori sheet to the bamboo mat followed by 1/2 cup of sushi rice, sesame seeds and the kani salad filling.

Kani salad on top of nori sheets and a bamboo mat.

Roll The Roll

Roll the nori sheet tightly around the fillings using two hands. You want it firm enough that the roll doesn’t fall apart, but not too hard as the fillings will squish out the sides.

Sushi roll on a bamboo map.

Cut The Roll

Using a very sharp knife, cut the roll into 1″ sushi pieces.  Run the knife under cold water (without drying) between cuts. 

cut sushi roll on a white cutting board with a long sharp knife.


This spicy krab roll recipe can stand on its own, no extra sauce needed. However, if you’re looking for an extra layer of flavor, drizzle it with a sushi sauce recipe

Eel sauce in a white bowl with a silver spoon.


Crab Roll

Use fresh crab meat instead of imitation crab meat to turn this into a crab roll. The texture will change as real crab meat and imitation crab sticks don’t have the same shape or firmness. Baked Crab Legs would be excellent here.

Rice Paper Sushi

Don’t like nori? Replace the nori sheets with rice paper or soy paper. 

Spicy Krab Roll

Like things uber spicy? Double or triple the Sriracha. It adds heat without changing the overall flavor of the dish.


All garnishes are optional, and depend on your taste: sesame seeds, slices of avocado, togarashi, or Tobiko or Masago.

Imitation crab on a cutting board next to a sharp knife.

How to Shred The Krab

There are a few different ways you can prepare the Kani:

  • Unroll the krab and use a knife to slice into equal pieces (pictured above).
  • Use your fingers to peel like sting cheese.
  • Use two forks to “shred” the pieces apart (our least favorite option).

Recipe Tips

  • Use Japanese mayo (Kewpie) for a fuller flavor. It will create a creamier dressing than using standard mayo. 
  • Don’t like spicy sushi? Omit the Sriracha all together.
  • Wipe and wet the knife in between cuts to keep the roll from sticking and breaking apart. Here’s the sushi knife we use and recommend.
  • Serve immediately after plating, for the best freshness, texture and flavor.
Cut rolls on a white plate with chopsticks.


There are a few sushi supplies that make life MUCH easier when rolling sushi. Here are our favorite gadgets:

Bamboo Mat – If you opt not to purchase a sushi mat, just use plastic wrap by itself to help with the rolling process.

Sharp and Wet Knife – Make sure to wipe and wet the sharp knife, in between cuts, to help cut down on the rice sticking to the knife.

Serving Ideas

Spicy cucumber saladpickled cucumbersdaikon radish, would pair well with this dish, as well as, edamame.

Spicy Tuna Sushi on a speckled plate with soy sauce.

View More Sushi Recipes

Spicy Tuna Rolls 
Tuna Roll
Avocado Roll
Tuna Sashimi

Not sure about the differences between sushi and sashimi? Read our Sushi vs. Sashimi guide!

Drink Pairings

Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Champagne, Citrus IPA or Sake

See our Best Wine With Sushi guide for more sushi and wine pairing tips.

sushi platter with text "best wine with sushi".
Spicy Krab Roll on a white plate.

Spicy Krab Roll (Kani Roll)

Make a delicious Spicy Krab Roll at home in under 30 minutes! This spicy kani roll is filled with Kani Salad and seasoned sushi rice. It includes many of the same ingredients as our beloved Sushi Bake. You'll love making sushi roll recipes at home!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Sushi Rice: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Kani Recipes, Sushi Recipe, Sushi Roll Recipes
Servings: 2 Rolls
Calories: 459kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $5



Sushi Rice:

  • 1 cup sushi rice (*Note 1)
  • cup water
  • 2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ Tbsp kosher salt

Spicy Krab Roll:

  • 3 sticks Kani (Imitation Crab), shredded (*Note 2)
  • 1 Tbsp mayo (*Note 3)
  • 1-3 tsp Sriracha (*Note 4)
  • 1 dried nori sheet, cut in half
  • t tsp sesame seeds, optional garnish


Sushi Rice (Stovetop or Instant Pot):

  • Instant Pot: View the full instructions to make sushi rice in the instant pot.
    Stovetop: Place the rice in a mesh sieve and place under cold running water until the water runs clear (approx. 2-3 minutes). Add the rice and water to a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 20 min. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 min. Fluff with a fork and gently fold in the vinegar, sugar and salt.

Spicy Krab Roll:

  • While the rice is cooking, make the kani salad. Add the shredded kani, mayo and Sriracha to a medium size bowl and gently mix to combine.
  • If you have a sushi mat, wrap it in plastic before rolling or place in a large Ziploc bag. If you don’t have a mat, no problem– just use plastic wrap. 
  • Place a sheet of nori, rough side up, on the sushi mat. Wet your hands with cold water (it will help prevent the rice from sticking to your hands) and spread 1/2 cup sushi rice from edge to edge. Make sure not to compact the rice too much or it will become mushy. 
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds over the rice.
  • For a rice-outside roll, flip the nori over so the rice is facing down. For a rice-inside roll, leave the rice facing up. Rice-inside rolls are recommended for beginners as they are easier to roll and seal. 
  • Place 1/2 the kani salad in a straight line on the side closest to you.
  • Starting at the side closest to you, roll the nori around the fillings with a firm grip. Gently unroll the bamboo mat and set aside.
  • Use a very sharp knife to cut 1” pieces of sushi. Running the knife under cold water between cuts (without drying it) can help prevent the rice from sticking to it. 
  • Repeat steps 2-9 to make the second roll. Sushi is best served immediately.


Note 1 – Short grain sushi rice is the key to great sushi! You cannot substitute long grain rice or another short grain rice. You can find sushi rice in the international aisle of most grocery stores. 
Note 2 – Shred the Kani
You need to shred the kani before building the roll. Here are a few different ways to accomplish this, in order of our favorite methods:
  • Unroll the krab and use a knife to slice into equal pieces .
  • Use your fingers to peel like sting cheese.
  • Use two forks to “shred”.
Note 3 – Kewpie mayo is recommended, but not mandatory. 
Note 4 – Start with 1 tsp and continue to add extra, until your desired spice level is reached.


Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 2109mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg
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