I love making fruit sushi as a fun dessert for my family and guests. My guests rave about it and it adds so much fun when I’m entertaining friends. This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by Sprouts. Please see my disclosures.
I can just imagine myself in Rio de Janeiro right now, sipping on some pina coladas and laying on the beach (and even eating some of the gluten-free tropical fruit sushi I share below).
When Sprouts asked me to share a recipe my readers could make for their summer Olympic viewing parties, I jumped at the chance to channel the tropics in this fruit sushi adventure celebrating the 2016 host country of Brazil.
Sprouts Farmers Markets provided me with all the ingredients I needed to create this delicious fruit sushi recipe.
Creating fruit sushi takes a bit of time – so I’m going to try to explain things step-by-step. Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged.
Once you get the hang of it, you’re going to love making this naturally gluten-free and oh-so-delicious dessert at your Olympic viewing party or for any occasion. Your guests are going to go crazy for it, and they will admire your mad sushi rolling skills too.
(Before you get started, I recommend you purchase a bamboo sushi mat. It’ll make your life easier. They are less than $5 on Amazon.)
How to Make Fruit Sushi
Here’s a step by step process of how to make fruit sushi.
Make the Sushi Rice
The first step to making fruit sushi is figuring out how to make the perfect sushi rice. You’ll need short grain rice labeled “sushi rice.”
It’s very important to use sushi rice as it has a high starch content and is sticky or “glutinous” (not to be confused with gluten – rice is naturally gluten-free). When making your sticky rice, make sure you rinse the uncooked rice well with cold water about 5-6 times until the water runs clear.
In my recipe, I use 2 cups of sushi rice + 3 cups of water + 3 tbsp sugar + a pinch of salt. I add all the ingredients to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, I give it a quick stir, reduce the heat to low/simmer, and cover for about 20 minutes.
Once the rice is finished cooking, remove it from heat and take off the lid. Mix the rice a few times to allow it to begin the cooling process. The rice will cool in about 20 minutes. You can speed up this process by laying out the rice on a baking sheet or piece of parchment paper.
Once cooled, you’ll want to add 1 cup of organic coconut milk + 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Mix everything well and set aside.
Create the Fruit Sushi and Toppings
The next thing you want to do is cut up the fruits into the desired shapes. Here are my suggested fruits and shapes – the sky’s the limit so do not feel like you have to use my suggestions. Any fruit you like will work.
- Peel off skin of mango (discard), and then peel about 5-6 strips of mango (using your peeler) and set aside.
- Cut strawberries into long sticks.
- Cut kiwi two ways, one half into slices and one half into strips.
- Peel and then cut papaya and pineapple into long strips.
- Cut blackberries in half lengthwise.
You’ll want to crush some toasted shredded coconut by rolling a rolling pin over the bag.
You’ll also want to prep the fruit tape (I used Annie’s Really Peely Fruit Tape) into desired length (about 3-4 inches long) so each segment is long enough to wrap around the sushi roll. You’ll need 8 pieces to cover a full-length sushi roll.
Design Your Fruit Sushi
Place your bamboo mat on a clean and dry countertop. Cover the mat with cling wrap. The cling wrap is essential to keeping the sticky rice in place (otherwise it’ll stick in the bamboo mat and won’t hold together well).
Next, you’ll want to place a large scoop of the sushi rice on the mat, and then shape it into a rectangle that takes up two-thirds of the sushi mat. Once a thin layer of the rice is in place, gently press it down so it sticks together and stays in place.
Now the fun part!
Line up strips of papaya, pineapple, kiwi and strawberries on the lower third of the rice. Using your bamboo mat as your guide, gently roll up the bottom of the rice rectangle over the top of the fruit, and gently but firmly continue to roll your sushi.
Once rolled, you have a few options for the wrap:
Mango Rolls: Coat the sushi roll with the peeled mango strips. Then cut into 8 sushi bites.
Coconut Rolls: Roll the sushi roll in crushed coconut (or GF graham crackers) until well coated. Cut into 8 sushi bites.
Fruit Tape Rolls: First cut the sushi into 8 bites, then cover each individual roll with a piece of the fruit tape.
Cut the Sushi
When cutting the sushi roll, use a wet, serrated knife. You will want to wet the knife every 1-3 cuts to ensure clean cuts. Be gentle.
The leftover rice makes fantastic sushi bites. To create fabulous sushi bites, simply grab a small handful of rice (using wet hands) and shape into small, rectangle bite-sized pieces.
Top each rice ball with fun designs, such as a slice of kiwi topped with a half blackberry (looks like fish eggs). You can get creative and have fun with your designs!
Create the Perfect Fruit Sushi Dip
No sushi is complete without its own dipping sauce. I make a sweet and colorful raspberry dipping sauce from scratch. It’s so good. I could seriously drink this stuff.
To make a raspberry dipping sauce (from scratch), add two pints/containers of raspberries + 3 tablespoons sugar + 1 cup water to a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower heat to medium to allow raspberries to continue to gently boil for about 7-8 minutes. Once the raspberries are broken down, remove mixture from heat.
Next, you’ll want to strain the seeds from the sauce by pouring the mixture through a colander and into a large bowl.
Once the seeds are removed, add the raspberry sauce back to the pot. Bring mixture to a gentle boil and then add a cornstarch slurry (1 Tbsp. cornstarch, 3 Tbsp. water).
Whisk mixture for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened, then remove from heat and set aside until sushi is assembled and ready to go.
And You’re Done!
OK, I know that was a lot… whew! That said, this dessert is so worth the effort! It’s loaded with fresh, sweet fruits, and your friends will be oohing and aahing all night long. Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it for a job well done. How did I do?
Love sushi? Make my gluten-free California sushi rolls.
Gluten-Free Fruit Sushi
- Bamboo sushi rolling mat
- 2 cups sushi rice
- 3 cups water
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- Pinch Kosher salt
- 1 cup organic coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Raspberry Dipping Sauce
- 2 pints raspberries
- 1 cup water
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch diluted in 3 tablespoons water (cornstarch slurry)
- 1 pineapple
- 1 papaya
- 1 kiwi
- 4-5 strawberries
- 1 mango
- 3-4 blackberries
- 1 cup toasted coconut
- 1-2 Annie’s Really Peely Fruit Tape
To prepare sushi rice:
- Rinse 2 cups of sushi rice in cold water until water runs clear (about 5-6 rinses). Add rice to medium stockpot along with 3 cups of water, 3 tbsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
- Once water boils, cover rice and set heat to low. Simmer rice for about 20 minutes until cooked through. Allow rice to cool for about 20 minutes uncovered.
- Once cooled, add 1 cup of organic coconut milk + 1 tbsp vanilla. Mix rice and milk mixture well. Set aside.
To prepare fruits and toppings:
- Cut all fruits into desired shapes. See blog post for more instructions.-Peel off skin of mango (discard it), and then peel about 5-6 strips of mango and set aside.-Cut strawberries into long sticks.-Cut kiwi two ways, one half into slices and one half into strips.-Peel and then cut papaya and pineapple into long strips.-Cut blackberries in half lengthwise.-Crush toasted shredded coconut by rolling a rolling pin over bag. Set aside.-Cut fruit tape into desired length (about 3-4 inches long) so each segment wraps around the sushi and set aside. You’ll need 8 pieces to cover a full-length sushi roll.
To prepare sushi rolls:
- Lay bamboo sushi mat on countertop. Cover mat fully with cling wrap.
- Add single layer of sushi rice to cling wrap. Rice should cover about 2/3 of the sushi mat. Shape a thin layer of rice into a neat rectangle, pressing down on the rice to allow it to set and hold together.
- At the bottom third of the rice rectangle, add strips of pineapple, papaya, kiwi and strawberry.
- Carefully bring the bottom of the rice rectangle over the fruit layer and begin rolling, gently but firmly, using your sushi mat to guide you.
- Once rolled, either wrap with flat mango strips or roll in crushed coconut. (If you want to wrap the sushi with fruit tape, you’ll want to first cut the sushi and then cover individual pieces with tape.)
- Using a wet serrated knife, gently cut sushi into bite-sized pieces. Each roll makes about 8 slices.
- Use leftover rice to create fruit sushi bites. To do this, using wet hands, grab a large chuck of rice. Shape the rice into a small log. Top sushi bites with kiwi chips, halved blackberries, and other leftover fruits and toppings.
To prepare raspberry dipping sauce:
- In a small pot, add two pints of raspberries + 3 Tbsp. sugar + 1 cup water. Bring to boil and then lower heat to medium to allow raspberries to continue to gently boil for about 7-8 minutes.
- Once raspberries are broken down, remove mixture from heat. Strain seeds from the sauce by pouring mixture through colander and into a large bowl.
- Once seeds are removed, add raspberry sauce back to the pot. Bring to a gentle boil and then add cornstarch slurry. Whisk mixture for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside until sushi is assembled and ready to go.