Salmon Poke Bowls

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Make your own Salmon Poke Bowls at home with raw or cooked salmon and all your favorite toppings. These poke bowls are easy to make, taste amazing, and are much more affordable than restaurant build-your-own poke bowls.

438 CAL 27g CARBS 25g FAT 28g PROTEIN
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After living in Hawaii for three years, I love nothing more than a delicious poke bowl. While most people think of ahi tuna poke when they think of poke bowls, they are also delicious with homemade salmon poke. Today, I will teach you how to make the most amazing island-style Salmon Poke Bowls.

If you haven’t tried making poke bowls at home, they’re actually super easy. And there is nothing to be scared of! We’ll help you understand how to find sushi-grade salmon. If you can’t find it, these are delicious with cooked salmon. Just marinate it in the poke sauce before cooking.

Then, it’s time to build your own delicious salmon poke bowls. Pile on the toppings. Our favorites are seaweed salad, avocado, cucumbers, and a healthy drizzle of spicy mayo.

Why You Should Make Homemade Salmon Poke Bowls

  • Quick and Easy: Deconstructed poke is much simpler to prepare than traditional sushi rolls, but there's no sacrifice in flavor!
  • Customizable: Since it's a "build your own" poke bowl, you can use whatever you have available. Switch up the proteins, vegetables, sauces, and toppings to suit your taste and pantry.
  • Healthy and more affordable: Restaurant poke bowls can cost anywhere from $15-$25 per bowl! Make them at home for so much less. Poke bowls are protein-rich, packed with veggies, and full of healthy fats and carbs.

What is Poke?

Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with raw fish, usually ahi tuna, but many varieties exist. In Hawaiian, the word “poke” means to cut crosswise or slice. Traditionally, poke is served as an appetizer or over rice as a poke bowl.

To make poke, the fish is marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, Hawaiian sea salt, and various other ingredients, depending on the style. These could include chili peppers, ginger, garlic, wasabi, limu (a type of seaweed), onions, nuts, and sesame seeds.

Ingredients for salmon poke bowls including raw salmon, rice, soy sauce, edamame, green onions, carrots, cucumbers, and more.

Ingredients and Swaps

Here is everything you need to make these tasty salmon poke bowls.

  • Sushi-grade salmon: If you plan on making raw salmon poke, it is extremely important to buy sushi or sashimi-grade salmon (more on that below). Regular salmon should not be used for poke bowls due to safety concerns. Sushi-grade salmon must be marked as such and safe to consume raw. If you can’t find sushi-grade salmon, you can make this with cooked salmon or swap in any sushi-grade fish, including ahi tuna (sushi-grade), yellowtail, shrimp (or cooked shrimp), cooked octopus, or tofu.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce or shoyu is essential in all poke. You can swap tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option, but you may need to add extra since the flavor isn’t as strong.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Sesame oil adds nuttiness to the salmon. Toasted sesame oil has more flavor than regular sesame oil, but both can be used.
  • Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar balances the flavors and adds brightness. In a pinch, you could skip the vinegar or use a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice.
  • Onions: In Hawaii, it’s hard to find any poke without onions. Typically, green onions and sweet Maui onions are used. If you can’t find Maui onions, you could swap in Vidalia or red onions. Consider soaking them first to remove some of the bite.
  • Sesame seeds: Traditionally, poke gets some crunch from sesame seeds, roasted kukui nuts, or macadamia nuts.
  • Rice: Poke bowls are almost always served over steamed white rice or sushi rice. Short-grain white rice is usually used, but you could also use brown rice, cauliflower rice, mixed greens, or quinoa.
  • Seaweed: There are a few types of seaweed you will find in poke bowls. Seaweed salad is my favorite and can be found in the seafood section at many grocery stores. You can also use limu (a type of seaweed common in Hawaii) or tear up Nori sheets or roasted seaweed snacks.
  • Toppings: I always add avocado and Persian cucumbers to my salmon poke bowls. Other delicious toppings include edamame, shredded carrots, diced mango, cabbage, furikake, spicy mayo, and Sriracha.

Salmon poke in a bowl with green onions, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

How to Make Salmon Poke Bowls

Salmon poke bowls are easy to make. The hardest part is cutting the fish.

1. How to prep and cut the salmon for poke

One of the most important things when making poke is slicing the fish correctly. Always start by rinsing the fish and drying it thoroughly with a paper towel. If your salmon has skin, lay it skin side down. Use a sharp knife to cut between the flesh and skin at an angle, then carefully slide the knife to remove the skin.

Then cut the salmon into 2-inch wide pieces. Lay each piece flat and then slice into ½ - ¾ inch thick strips. Then slice the strips into ½ - ¾ inch thick cubes. Try to cut against the grain whenever possible for the most tender fish.

2. Make and refrigerate the salmon poke

In a large bowl, start by combining the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, green onions, and sweet onions. If you are adding any chili sauce, ginger, garlic, or other ingredients, add them now. Then add the salmon and gently toss to combine,

Refrigerate the poke for at least one hour so the poke sauce can season the fish.

3. Prep the rice and toppings

While the poke marinates, prep the rice and any other toppings you will use.

For traditional Hawaiian steamed white rice for poke bowls, rinse 2 cups of short-grain white rice. Add the rinsed rice to a pot with 2.25 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it is boiling, turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat without opening the cover, and let it steam for 10 minutes.

If desired, combine 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of kosher or Hawaiian salt. Microwave for 30-60 seconds until the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle this mixture over the rice and gently fold to combine.

4. Assemble your poke bowls and toppings

Now comes the fun part, building your own salmon poke bowls. Start by adding the rice to the bowl. Top with the salmon poke. Then add all your favorite toppings and any extra sauce you like.

Best Poke Bowl Toppings

If you have ever been to a poke bowl restaurant, you know there are so many ways to top your poke bowls. Here are some of our favorite toppings for salmon poke bowls.

  • Avocado
  • Cucumber or Japanese cucumber salad
  • Shredded carrots
  • Shelled edamame
  • Shredded purple cabbage
  • Diced mango or pineapple
  • Furikake
  • Seaweed salad or nori
  • Pickled ginger
  • Crab meat or imitation crab meat
  • Masago
  • Jalapeno
  • Crispy garlic or crispy onions
  • Spicy mayo (recipe below), Sriracha, Sweet chili sauce, Ponzu sauce, or extra shoyu (soy sauce)

Poke bowls with raw salmon, white rice, edamame, avocado, edamame, seaweed, and veggies.

Get Creative! More Ways to Prepare Salmon Poke Bowls

There are many ways to customize these salmon bowls and make them your own.

  • Cooked salmon: If you aren’t a fan of raw fish or can’t find sushi-grade salmon, make these poke bowls with cooked salmon. Marinate the salmon in the same poke mixture and then cook it in the oven, air fryer, grill, or skillet.
  • Spicy salmon poke: For a spicy salmon poke bowl, add Asian chili oil, Sriracha, or sambal olek to the poke sauce. Or finish the bowls with some freshly sliced jalapenos, Hawaiian chili water, or a drizzle of Sriracha or spicy mayo.
  • Creamy spicy salmon poke: Most creamy poke is made with spicy mayo. After marinating the fish in the soy-sesame mixture, toss it with spicy mayo. To make spicy mayo, combine ¼ cup of mayo of your choice with 2 tsp Sriracha and 1 tsp rice vinegar. Some people also add a splash of soy sauce.
  • Low carb option: To make this low carb, serve the salmon poke over cauliflower rice, mixed greens, or wrapped in seaweed.

Guide to Sushi Grade Salmon

One of the biggest questions people have about making these salmon poke bowls is how to make sure the salmon is safe to eat raw. Here is everything you need to know. 

1. What is sushi/sashimi grade salmon?

"Sushi-grade" or "sashimi-grade" is not an official standard but refers to fish that is safe to eat raw. It’s handled according to specific guidelines to minimize contamination.

All sushi-grade salmon should be frozen at -20°C (-4°F) for at least 7 days or flash-frozen at -35°C (-31°F) for at least 15 hours to kill any parasites.

2. What are the differences between sushi grade salmon and regular salmon?

Sushi grade is often sourced from farms or regions known for strict standards and is handled carefully to avoid contamination. Additionally, regular salmon may adhere to different handling and freezing protocols. Sushi-grade salmon typically has a more vibrant color and a clean, fresh aroma.

3. Where to buy sushi or sashimi grade salmon?

No matter where you buy your salmon, make sure to ask if it is safe to consume raw. Some good places to find sushi-grade salmon and fish are:

  • Specialty Stores: Japanese or Asian supermarkets (e.g., H Mart, Mitsuwa Marketplace), Specialty seafood markets, Higher-end retailers like Whole Foods, and restaurant supply stores like Restaurant Depot.
  • Online Retailers: Catalina Offshore Products, Honolulu Fish Company, and Vital Choice Seafood.
  • Local Fishmongers: Make sure to ask if the fish is safe to eat raw.

4. How to store and defrost sushi or sashimi grade salmon?

  • Storage:
    • Keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
    • Use within 1-2 days after defrosting. This includes leftover poke.
  • Refrigerator Method:
    • Place salmon in a sealed plastic bag.
    • Let it defrost in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
  • Cold Water Method:
    • Place the sealed salmon bag in cold water.
    • Change water every 30 minutes until fully thawed.
  • Avoid Room Temperature Defrosting: Increases the risk of bacterial growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making these salmon poke bowls?

Poke is always best eaten the day it is prepared. The length of time you can store leftovers depends on the freshness of the fish. Once the sushi-grade fish has been defrosted, it is only good for 24-48 when stored in the coldest part of the fridge. 

If you prefer cooked salmon for your poke bowls, start by cutting the salmon into cubes and marinating it in the poke sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar). Then, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (or your air fryer). Drizzle oil in the pan, and then cook the salmon cubes for 1-2 minutes per side until they easily release from the pan and have a nice sear. Gently flip and cook to your desired doneness. For the airy fryer, cook for 6-8 minutes until cooked to your liking at 380 degrees.  Season with extra poke sauce if needed. 

Hawaiian salmon poke bowls with edamame, onions, cucumbers, cabbage, mango, and seaweed served over rice.
The Recipe
Salmon poke bowls with raw salmon, white rice, avocado, green onions, cucumber, seaweed, edamame, and cabbage.

Salmon Poke Bowls

438 CAL 27g CARBS 25g FAT 28g PROTEIN
COOK TIME: 1 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 1 lb salmon, cut into cubes (sashimi grade)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste, Hawaiian is best)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup seaweed salad (or greens)

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Combine the salmon, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, green onions, sweet onions, sesame seeds, and sea salt in a bowl. Gently stir to combine.

Raw salmon cubes with onion, green onions, sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a bowl.

Refrigerate for at least one hour for the flavors to combine. Taste and season with salt or soy sauce as needed. While the salmon marinates, prep the rice and other toppings.

Bowl of salmon marinating in poke sauce.

Assemble the bowls with warm white rice, avocado, cucumbers, seaweed salad (or greens), and any other toppings you like.

Poke salmon bowl with avocado, mango, cucumber, carrots, seaweed, and edamame.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
Calories 438
Calories from Fat 221
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g
Saturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 62mg
Sodium 1582mg
Total Carbohydrate 27g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 2g
Protein 28g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


If you prefer cooked salmon for your poke bowls, cut the salmon into cubes and marinate it in the poke sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar). Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (or your air fryer). Drizzle oil in the pan, and then cook the salmon cubes for 1-2 minutes per side until they quickly release from the pan and have a nice sear. Gently flip and cook to your desired doneness. Season with sauce if needed. For the airy fryer, cook for 6-8 minutes until cooked to your liking at 380 degrees.
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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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