Citrus Salmon

Citrus Salmon for Sushi

Citrus Salmon
Citrus Salmon

If you’re new to making sushi, please see the Sushi Beginner’s Guide before getting started! This includes guides to all the basics, FAQ, and how to source ingredients. This site focuses on Americanized/Westernized sushi, which is distinct from traditional sushi found in Japan. Check out the Types of Sushi page to learn more!

Why let spicy tuna have all the fun? This recipe is minced, flavored sushi fish just like spicy tuna, but focused on a citrusy flavor that is the perfect compliment to salmon. Salmon combined with lemon is one of my favorite sushi flavors!

This recipe can be applied to pretty much any sushi fish! I don’t think this is a good compliment for maguro (bluefin) tuna, but other more delicately flavored fish such as hamachi (yellowtail) and red snapper are great options!

Serving Size

The amount of filling used in a sushi roll is completely up to your personal preference. If you plan to fill the roll with only this mix this will be enough for one roll. I prefer to add cucumber and/or avocado to my rolls, making 1 batch stretch to fill 2 rolls. One batch can also be used as a topping for two specialty rolls, or for about 12 bite sized pieces such as crispy rice or gunkan.

One batch is enough for:

  • 1 very loaded sushi roll
  • 2 sushi rolls with other fillings (such as cucumber and/or avocado)
  • 2 toppings for sushi rolls (top 2 rolls)
  • 12 bite sized pieces (such as crispy rice or gunkan)

Ingredients & Substitutions

Don’t forget to check out the guides on Sourcing Fish and Sourcing Other Ingredients if you’re not sure where to find what you need! I include online product links for reference, but it’s typically much cheaper to purchase these items locally, so check out your local options!


  • Make sure you’re using fish that is safe to eat raw (more info)
  • Salmon is my favorite fish to use for this recipe, but hamachi (yellowtail) or red snapper are other options to try!

Soy Sauce

  • Any soy sauce you have on hand will do just fine for this recipe, I typically use Kikkoman brand (regular link) (low sodium link) (gluten free link). This should be easy to find at any major grocery store.
  • If you’re cooking with soy sauce often, consider stocking up with a large jug (regular link) (low sodium link) (gluten free link) I typically purchase the 64 oz jug.
  • There’s a wide variety of interesting soy sauce options out there, however their uniqueness will likely be lost in this recipe. I recommend saving those for your dipping soy sauce and using a staple soy sauce such as Kikkoman for this.
  • I do NOT recommend substituting ponzu sauce for most recipes. The citrus in ponzu sauce can cook raw seafood (think ceviche) so any prolonged contact/marinating is not recommended.

Lemon Olive Oil

  • This is one of the best kept secrets to amazing salmon sushi! You get the lemon flavor that compliments salmon so well, but without the acid in lemon juice cooking the fish and ruining the texture.
  • To apply it to the fish I pour a small amount into a little bowl, then brush it onto the salmon using a basting brush (like this one). You only need about a teaspoon of oil, a little goes a long way!
  • My favorite is from a small olive oil producer from central California. It’s pricey, but one bottle lasts forever if you’re just using it for sushi (link)
  • Here’s another easily available and cheaper option to try (link)
  • You can substitute other citrus flavored olive oils such as lime or orange (this will affect the taste)

Lemon Zest

  • I use a zester like this one to zest my lemons
  • If you’re using lemons for other purposes you can zest them and save the zest in the freezer so you have it on hand for later!
  • Resist the urge to add lemon juice to this recipe, the citrus can cook raw seafood (think ceviche) so any prolonged contact/marinating is not recommended.
  • You can substitute other citrus fruit zest such as lime or orange (this will effect the taste)

White Sugar

  • A pinch of sugar helps to balance out the other flavors in the sauce.
  • This is regular old sugar (white refined sugar).

What to Make

Below are rolls that call for the citrus salmon mix, more will be coming soon!

Sunshine Roll
Simple sushi roll – citrus salmon, avocado, and tobiko. Great for beginners!
Check out this recipe
Sunshine Roll
Lemon Drop Roll
Specialty sushi roll – a California roll (imitation crab stick, cucumber, and avocado) plated face-up and topped with citrus salmon and green onion.
Check out this recipe
Lemon Drop Roll
Bloodlust Roll
Specialty sushi roll – citrus salmon, and avocado on the inside, topped with a blood orange slice!
Check out this recipe
Blood Lust Roll
Citrus Salmon

Citrus Salmon for Sushi

Delicious citrus flavored salmon to be used in sushi!
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Sushi
Cuisine Sushi
Servings 1 batch



  • Mince the salmon to your desired consistency. (click for guide)
  • In a small bowl combine the minced salmon, soy sauce, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon flavored olive oil. Mix until fully combined.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Can prepare a day or two in advance of making sushi if desired.


If this is your first time making sushi be sure to check out the Sushi Beginner’s Guide before getting started! 
Keyword Citrus Salmon, Lemon Olive Oil, Lemon zest, Salmon, Soy sauce, Sushi Ingredients
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