Warm tuna rice bowl

Warm tuna rice bowl

I’m the queen of girl dinners. I love something easy and tasty. My warm tuna rice bowl recipe is the perfect dish to dress up or dress down, depending on the time crunch you’re under. It’s easy to make, super filling, and healthy. My secret to elevating this dish is sautéing the tuna in some olive oil before adding it to my tuna bowl. If you want something tasty and comforting, I highly recommend making this dish. 

About the ingredients

Tuna: Since tuna is the star of the show, I like to use a premium yellowfin tuna. Since we’re cooking the tuna in the pan, you want a tuna that is pretty firm and won’t disintegrate in the pan. I prefer to use tuna that was canned in olive oil to avoid splatter when pan frying. 

Rice: I recommend using white rice for this dish. You can go with sushi rice, basmati, or jasmine rice. I like to use day-old rice because this dish is very forgiving and it’s a good way to use old rice. Just make sure to hydrate the rice before reheating and while it hot, season the rice with a little bit of rice vinegar and sesame oil. Warm rice is better at absorbing flavors. 

Fresh vegetables: I shudder when I see people eating tuna and salmon bowls without vegetables. I’m a believer in adding fiber to every dish. I like adding fresh, shredded cabbage and carrots to this recipe. Adding other vegetables like cucumbers and radishes would also be nice in this tuna bowl. 

Pickled vegetables: For some added zing, I like to include pickled jalapeños and pickled bamboo shoots (a popular Chinese snack) on the side. But you can also add other Asian pickled vegetables based on your tastebuds. For example, kimchi would work well in this bowl.

Condiments: This dish sings with the addition of sriracha and kewpie mayo drizzled on top. I also add sesame seeds and bonito flakes for added flavor. Furikake would also elevate this recipe with additional flavor and texture. 

Nori sheets: I like to scoop up the rice, tuna, and vegetables and add them to quartered nori sheets before eating. It's basically like forming hand rolls.  

Are there any benefits to cooking your canned tuna?

Cooking canned tuna can improve the flavor and texture of the fish. Some people prefer the cooked flavor of tuna, finding it less metallic or fishy. Browning tuna in a pan with spices can add depth of flavor. Pan-frying tuna can create a nice crust while poaching or baking can keep it moist and tender. If you don’t have time to cook your tuna, don’t worry. Tuna is already cooked and you can have a great tuna bowl even with cold tuna fish. 

Recipe: Warm tuna rice bowl

Warm tuna rice bowl

  • Serves: 1 person 
  • Cook time: 15 minutes


  • Premium quality yellowfin tuna in olive oil (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (for pan frying)
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced red onions
  • ½ cup of shredded cabbage 
  • ¼ cup of shredded carrot 
  • Pickled jalapeños (garnish) 
  • Pickled bamboo shoots (garnish) 
  • Kewpie mayo 
  • Sriracha sauce 
  • Bonito flakes for garnish (optional) 
  • Nori seaweed sheets (if using full sheets, cut into quarters) 
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional) 
  • 1 cup of cooked sushi or white rice (use day-old rice or fresh rice)
  • 1 tablespoon of water (if using day-old rice)
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar 
  • ½ teaspoon of sesame oil 
  • Pinch of salt (to taste)
  • Pinch of sugar (to taste) 
  • Pinch of dried cilantro (you can also use fresh)
  • Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper 


Step 1 

Prep your fresh vegetables for your tuna bowl. Shred your cabbage, chop your carrots, slice your red onions, and chop up whatever other vegetables you want to add to your bowl and set aside. Cucumbers and radishes would also go well in this dish. 

Step 2

If using day-old rice, portion out 1 cup of rice and add 1 tablespoon of water to the rice. Then, heat in the microwave for 2 minutes or until the rice is warmed thoroughly. Season your cooked rice with rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Mix well. 

Seasoned white rice

Step 3 

Heat pan to medium heat and add olive oil. Sauté red onions until they have some color on them. Drain a can of tuna and add the fish to the pan, frying it in the onion. Season with freshly cracked black pepper, dried cilantro, and salt. Cook tuna for 10 minutes in a pan until it has a light golden color and some crispiness. 

Cooked canned tuna in olive oil

Step 4 

Assemble your bowl by creating a bed of white rice for the base. Add your fresh and pickled vegetables around the rice. Add your cooked tuna on top of your rice. Drizzle your kewpie mayo and sriracha over your rice, tuna, and vegetables. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bonito flakes. Enjoy immediately. 

Hand roll with cooked tuna and white rice

Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you think by adding your comments below!

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