What Sushi Is Gluten-Free?

Sometimes unwinding can come in the form of going to a classy restaurant and ordering a bowl of gluten-free sushi; talk about some yummy rice and enticing vegetables. That’s a good way to spoil yourself after a tedious week.

However, this can quickly turn into a sour experience if you eat gluten sushi when you are supposed to be gluten-free! See, gluten can hide in different places in your diet, and you won’t even know how you came in contact with it.

As weird as this may sound; even packaged foods labeled “gluten-free” may also suffer from gluten cross-contamination. So, you can go from feeling high after a great time to dealing with allergies, especially if you are on a gluten-free diet. Thus, knowing how to get a gluten-free diet can save you some stress.

Let’s start with knowing how to order gluten-free sushi.

How to order gluten-free sushi

The only way to steer clear of gluten is to make your sushi at home or get them from a restaurant that makes gluten-free sushi. 

Once you have your mind made up on the particular sushi restaurant, then you should let them know that you are on a gluten-free diet. You will find out that sticking to one or two restaurants that you can trust rather than visiting several restaurants will play a great role in your journey towards avoiding gluten-free sushi.

Be careful with these types of Sushi, they may contain gluten

So, you, my sushi-loving friend, are probably making plans for a sushi night out with friends, avoiding these types of sushi may help you come out of your sushi night out unscratched by the culprit: Gluten.

California Rolls


California rolls are great but if you are getting them from the supermarket or fast food, then you need to watch your back. If you ask me, I will say ditch it!

Oftentimes, they contain surimi or fake crab instead of real crab. Sadly, the ingredients and starch used to make surimi contains wheat. So there you go! That’s a red alert and this places California rolls and other sushi rolls that include surimi on the danger list if you are trying to avoid Gluten.

 However, not all California rolls contain gluten ingredients but if you aren’t sure and you have even the smallest iota of doubt on getting to a restaurant, pick up your bag, get back into your car, turn on the music and drive off. You can have your California rolls next time when you find a reliable restaurant.

Marinated sushi

Your sushi will definitely look great with the colorful, oily marinated fish sitting majestically on your sushi rice, garnished with irresistible greeneries but before you get all loved up with this meal, here is a spoiler alert:

Most soy or sauce used in marinating the fish (especially Unagi) contains wheat, which is a source of gluten.

You should also watch out for any fish including Tuna and salmon that’s listed as marinated but if you still want to get a  marinated sushi then be sure that they were prepared with a gluten-free soy sauce. Now, you see why getting a credible restaurant you can trust is important.


This one has a big placard with the words “Danger” bold written on it if you are on a gluten-free diet.  

Tempura is made with fish and vegetables that have been battered and deep-fried with most stages of the process screaming gluten: run!

3 Tips To Help You Find Gluten-Free Sushi

Whether you want to make your sushi or you are getting it from a restaurant, these tips will help you stay gluten-free.


The ingredients that go into your beloved sushi play a great role in whether they are gluten-free or not. 

Firstly, pay attention to the rice. Rice is usually gluten-free but just so they can give us a lasting impression, chefs sometimes used vinegar to make the rice sticky. Vinegar is made from rice but if barley or wheat is used, then it’s no longer gluten-free.

So always order plain rice! No sugar, no vinegar, just pure plain rice. If you want vinegar, quickly ask if they used rice-derived vinegar.

Oh, the crabs! You want to pay attention to these too. Sometimes the crabs used in your favorite sushi meal are not real crabs.  Some chefs may remove the fish parts and add flavors and colorings which may include gluten. However, most restaurants will tell you they are using a fake crab, so make sure to request a real crab.


Sauces can take your sushi straight from an economy class to a business class but you have to be sure that they are gluten-free. The following sauces may contain wheat:

  • Teriyaki sauce:
  • Soy sauce
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Eel sauce


Oops, this one is hard and here I am mustering all my courage to say this at the count of 3…. 1, 2, 3: Say no to salmon! 

Salmon looks great on your sushi rice but it could contain gluten. Most chefs use vinegar for curing salmon. Most vinegar is made from rye, barley, and wheat.

Another thing you could do is to ask about the vinegar used in the preparation or simply replace salmon with a spicy tuna roll and you are good to go.

3 gluten-free Sushi you could try

These types of sushi are mostly prepared without gluten but unless you are making them by yourself, then you should always ask if they are gluten-free.

Rainbow roll

Rainbow roll is an inside-out sushi containing a selection of raw fish toppings such as tuna, halibut, yellowtail, and salmon. Ask the chef to substitute the imitation crab stick with real crab meat or avocado.

King crab roll

King Crab roll is another safe and delicious gluten-free option. The ingredients include King crab, cucumber, and avocado. Tell your server to skip the mayonnaise and sauce, unless they use gluten-free sauce.


This tuna roll will send you on a one-way trip to flavor town, or an express flight to yumminess, or well, you get the idea.

Vegetable rolls

Most vegetable rolls are also gluten-free.

Gluten-free ingredients to include in your Sushi


If you want to make your sushi at home, especially California rolls, you need seaweed. This is also known as sushi nori. Luckily, you can get this seaweed at a very good price. 

You get about 50 packs that last a long time. Happy?

Sushi rice

You need sushi rice! This kind of rice is short and sticky with high starch content. You will find this organic California sushi rice very helpful.  Basically, heaven on earth, I am serious. You will love it.

Rice wine vinegar

If you must add vinegar to your sushi, then it has to be purely made from rice. Nothing beats sushi with rice wine vinegar. You can use this one and thank me later 🤪.


Sauces can take your sushi from zero to hero. You can make use of a tamari travel packet to give your sushi the lift it demands. It is gluten-free! 

You can also add wasabi to your soy sauce to give your sushi a taste to remember.

Recommended ingredients

Mary Rose
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