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Poke Bowl

February 11, 2022

From buying high-quality fish to making the best ever poke bowl sauce, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to make a poke bowl at home!


homemade poke bowl recipe with tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber and rice topped with crab, avocado and seaweed in a bowl

A Homemade Poke Bowl Recipe for When the Person You Want to Impress Is Yourself!

Because yeah, making a colorful, fresh, gorgeous salmon and ahi poke bowl at home is pretty darn impressive! It’s also not too hard to do. You’ll need a bit of time—like any bowl recipe, there are lots of little components and sauces—but none of the steps require much in the way of special knowledge or technique. You’ll also need access to really great, high-quality raw fish—ahi tuna and salmon is the poke bowl combo we love most—but you don’t have to live close to a fancy store for that. If you can access the internet, you’ve got access to sushi-grade fish and, well, you’re here, so we know you’ve got the internet!

ingredients for a homemade poke bowl in bowls on the counter including tuna, salmon, rice, cucumbers, and green onions

What Is a Poke Bowl?

True Hawaiian poke can be traced back to a simple dish of raw fish massaged with seaweed, sea salt and sometimes kukui nuts enjoyed by ancient Hawaiians, and in fact, the word “poke” means “to slice” in the Hawaiian language. The arrival of immigrants from China and Japan brought ingredients like sesame oil and soy sauce to poke, and slowly the simple, seasoned dish of raw fish evolved into what we know as poke today. Always enjoyed on the islands, poke’s popularity really skyrocketed in the 1970s and ahi shoyu poke is probably the most popular of all. Serving poke over a bed of rice—the simplest form of a poke bowl—was a no-brainer way to make the seasoned raw fish into a much more filling dish. Thus, the poke bowl! These days—particularly here on the mainland—people top their poke bowls with all kinds of wild things, but there’s almost always a mound of white rice, fresh seasoned raw fish, and usually some greens—avocado at least, and often another veggie or two. Seaweed or a dusting of furikake is also a common additional touch, as is a sprinkling of sesame seeds. However, like all bowl recipes, poke bowls are pretty adaptable—it’s OK to play around a bit and see what poke bowl toppings you like best!

green onions, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger in a bowl for poke marinade
sushi grade tuna and salmon in a bowl with green onions, sesame oil, rice vinegar and ginger

Are Poke Bowls Healthy?

Yeah! Poke bowls are pretty healthy! They include lots of healthy fats from the fish, and are usually topped with other good-for-you things like veggies, avocado and seaweed meaning that a poke bowl is a pretty darn healthy choice. Poke bowl dressings are usually relatively light, too. Even the mayo-based poke bowl sauces—like the one we call for in our poke bowl recipe—are used in moderation to just finish the dish, so the meal stays well within the arena of relatively healthy food. We love that poke bowls are really filling, too. And if you’d really like to up the health ante, swap the white rice for brown for a major nutritional upgrade.

a bowl of wasabi citrus sauce for the best homemade poke bowl recipe
cucumbers marinated in rice vinegar, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and sesame oil in a bowl for poke

Poke Bowl Ingredients

What comes in a poke bowl? Well, poke bowls are having a majorly trendy moment, which means that people are going bonkers with their poke bowl toppings. Many of them are delicious, but they do represent a complete departure from true, authentic Hawaiian poke bowls. We’ve allowed ourselves a little wiggle room, but mostly our poke bowl ingredients keep things pretty traditional. We’ve included a list of optional toppings, though, and if you’d like to really load up your bowl, we say go for it! Here are the essential components of a really delicious poke bowl:

  • Poke! We’ve kept things classic with a poke made of raw salmon and ahi seasoned with soy sauce, scallions and sesame oil. But if you prefer all ahi poke or all salmon poke, feel free to make it that way!

  • Seasoned white rice! While you could use plain steamed rice, it’s so easy to add a bit of rice vinegar and sesame oil to the cooking water, and give it a little extra oomph.

  • Various other toppings of your choice: pickled ginger, cucumber salad, avocado, mango, furikake, seaweed salad are all excellent add-ons!

A Creamy Wasabi-Citrus Poke Bowl Sauce to Tie It All Together

Don’t be scared off by the wasabi here. Even if you’re not a big fan of spicy food, the mayo and lemon juice counteract the sharp heat of the wasabi paste and it makes for a lovely, balanced condiment for finishing the poke bowl. You can also use just a little to start with, and add more if you’d like to. Here’s what’s in our delicious poke bowl sauce:

  • Mayonnaise

  • Wasabi paste

  • Lemon juice

  • Sesame oil

  • Sugar

homemade poke bowl recipe with tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber and rice topped with crab, avocado and seaweed in a bowl

How to Make Poke Bowl

Yes, this looks like a lot of steps. Yes, the ingredient list looks long. BUT! If you look closely, we’re using the same ingredients over and over again—helloooo sesame oil! Helloooooo soy sauce! Howdy, rice vinegar!—and every step is really quite simple. Plus, poke bowls are a special meal any way you slice it because the kind of high-quality salmon and tuna that you’ll need to buy to make these bowls does not come cheap (if you see cheap “sushi-grade” fish, walk away!). Poke bowls are kind of a treat, so just take your time and make it special! We also highly recommend serving these to friends! They’ve got a major wow factor, and who doesn’t want to be reminded of a Hawaiian vacation? Here’s how to make a poke bowl at home:

  1. Make white rice: Rinse the rice and simmer it, covered, for 18 minutes in water seasoned with rice vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Fluff the rice a bit, then let it sit, covered for another 2-3 minutes until it’s fluffy and all the liquid has been absorbed.

  2. Make the salmon and ahi poke! Gently stir together the cubed, raw ahi tuna and salmon with soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, rice vinegar and ginger juice. Set it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.

  3. Make the cucumber salad. Stir sliced cucumber with a simple dressing of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil.

  4. Make the wasabi citrus sauce! Just mix the mayo, wasabi, lemon juice, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl until you’ve got a uniform sauce.

  5. To assemble, divide the rice between 4 bowls, top with poke, cucumber salad and any of the desired toppings. Drizzle the bowls with the wasabi citrus sauce.

homemade poke bowl recipe with tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber and rice topped with crab, avocado and seaweed in a bowl

Tips for Buying “Sushi-Grade” Fish for Poke Bowls

Even after you buy really great fish, some of the raw fish safety will depend on you. Keep the fish very cold, and use a super, super clean cutting board and knife. Other than that, here’s a few tips for making sure your fish is safe to consume raw:

  1. Good to know! Labels like “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade” are not regulated. Some totally reputable fish companies will use them to indicate quality, just because those labels have become familiar to consumers, but you cannot trust the label alone. So, how can you be sure that the fish you buy is fresh and safe to enjoy raw? Well....

  2. Prepare to drop a little $$. Good fish that you can eat raw is not cheap. It really can’t be. It has to be caught responsibly, frozen on the spot, and kept at very exacting temperatures in order to ensure safety. That’s a lot of work! And that means it’s going to cost. Both salmon and tuna have sustainability issues, too, so high-quality salmon and tuna is just going to be pricey. But that’s OK! It’s a splurge. Poke bowls are a big treat, and that’s great. Treat yourself!

  3. Buy from a fishmonger you really trust. Find the very best fish shop in your area—maybe it’s the fish counter at a gourmet grocery shop, or maybe it’s a small specialty store—and tell them what you need.

  4. OR, order fish online! Yep, you can buy fish meant for preparations like this easily online. Try the Honolulu Fish Company, Seattle Fish Company or Catalina Offshore Products.

homemade poke bowl recipe with tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber and rice topped with crab, avocado and seaweed in a bowl

Tools You’ll Need

More Rice Bowl Recipes to Try

homemade poke bowl recipe with tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber and rice topped with crab, avocado and seaweed in a bowl

Homemade Poke Bowls? We’ll Be Right Over!

Who would say no to an invitation to a poke bowl dinner party? Exactly no one, that’s who. We hope that you adore this poke bowl recipe, and that anyone you serve it too loves it, too. When you try it, let us know! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Poke Bowl

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  18 min
  • Calories: 663


Salmon and Tuna Poke

  • 3/4 lb sushi grade ahi tuna, sliced into bite-sized cubes
  • 3/4 lb sushi grade salmon, sliced into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, seasoned or unseasoned
  • 2 Tbsp ginger juice from a jar of pickled ginger

Seasoned Rice (Sub with 3 cups cooked white rice if desired)

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, seasoned or unseasoned
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Cucumber Salad

  • 3/4 English cucumber, 1/2 inch diced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar, seasoned or unseasoned
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Wasabi Citrus Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp wasabi paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of sugar



  1. Make the seasoned rice: Using a fine mesh sieve/strainer, rinse the rice. ** Pour the water, vinegar, sesame oil and salt into a small saucepan (with a fitted lid) set over medium-high heat. Stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add the rinsed rice, stir to combine evenly with the liquid and return to a boil before securing it with a tight fitting lid and reducing the heat to low. Simmer the rice for 18 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff up the rice to make sure all the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit on the hot stove for 2-3 minutes longer after fluffing it again. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a rice cooker and cook.
  2. Make the Poke: Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, green onions, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, rice vinegar and ginger juice from jar of pickled ginger. Add the tuna and salmon, toss to coat. Set aside.
  3. Make the cucumber salad: In a small bowl, toss everything together.
  4. When the rice is done cooking, fluff it up and let it cool for 20 minutes.
  5. Make the wasabi citrus sauce by mixing everything together in a small bowl.
  6. To assemble, divide the rice between 4 bowls, top with the salmon and tuna poke, cucumber salad and any of the desired toppings. Drizzle the bowls with the wasabi citrus sauce.

**Don’t skip this quick, easy step—rinsing the rice before you cook it washes away some of the starch that’s on the surface of the rice, which is a good thing in this case. It’ll help ensure that your rice is nice and fluffy, instead of mushy or gummy.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories663
  • Protein45 g
  • Carbohydrates69 g
  • Total Fat20 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol68 mg
  • sodium1160 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Poke Bowl

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Egale

    I liked 👌

  • Chris

    This recipe is an inspiration for experimentation. I have made this yummy dish many times, modifying as ingredients are available. The sauces are also useable on other dishes. Always yummy.

    Thanks Chris, so happy you love it and are having fun with it in new ways!

  • Bea

    This was so good! Beautifully balanced, delicious and filling.

    Thanks Bea!

  • Christy

    All around, really lovely! It also lends itself to adding whatever other veg, etc that you have on hand. (Clean out the “rotting bin!😂) Also added tobiko and it was gorgeous as well as delicious. Well done!

    Thank you Christy, we are so glad you loved it! Clean out the "rotting bin" nights are the best!!

  • Michèle

    I haven’t made the recipe yet, but I am about to. I like all the details and ingredients that you put in each part of the Poki bowl. Very well organized and easy to follow recipe. I wasn’t looking for the easiest recipe, but the best tasting one.

    Thanks Michèle we are glad you find it easy to follow, it's also delicious so you're in luck! Hope you enjoy!

  • Jenn

    Incredible, my husband couldn't stop raving! I had never made anything like this before it was fun to do something new!

    We are so happy you both loved it, thanks for trying it, Jenn!