Japanese Onigiri : 3 Recipes

Hello everybody!

Today I’m sharing with you a very popular Japanese recipe that you may have seen countless times in mangas and anime: onigiri. This rice ball is easy to make, filling and make a great quick lunch or snack. There are many ways to make onigiris and I decided to share 3 different recipes with you. The most common onigiri is the one with a filling and I chose tuna mayo as it is the most popular filling and one that is most likely to please everyone. The 2nd onigiri I made is probably the easiest and the laziest way as well as I used Furikake. Furikake is a rice seasoning that you will find at Asian grocery stores and comes in various flavors. All you have to do is mix it with you rice and make your onigiri. And the last recipe is yaki onigiri, a grilled onigiri with soy sauce that will give a great flavor and crunch to your rice ball.

japanese onigiri recipe

















When making onigiri, the most difficult part is the rice as it is the main ingredient. Japanese rice is very fluffy and there is a certain way to prepare it to get this result. I have been making onigiri for quite a while now and I really love them!

Let’s cook!

Ingredients (for 8 onigiri):

  • 2 cups of sushi rice (short grain rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • Roasted nori sheets
  • Your favorite seasoning or filling (tuna, furikake, soy sauce, etc.)


1- The rice: The most important part of the onigiri is the rice so it has to be cooked perfectly. In a bowl, add your cups of rice and wash the rice 3 to 4 times. The water will get a milky color, so wash gently and strain the rice every time. Then add water to the bowl and let the rice soak for 30 min. Strain and place in a pot. Add the cups of water, cover with a lid and cook on medium-high heat. When the water starts to boil, put on low heat and cook for 10 min. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and let it rest for 10 min. Then fluff the rice gently so you don’t break the grains. While cooking the rice, it is always important to keep the lid on the whole time. I’m adding a video that really helped me to make my rice perfect, so you can see all the steps:

2- Shape onigiri with your hands: Once your rice has cooled down, you can start making your onigiri. First, put some water on your hands, then dab one hand on some salt and rub your hands. Take about 1/2 cup of rice in your hand and start making a ball by pressing gently. If you have a filling, press your thumb in the middle, add the filling of your choice and press down the filling so the rice on the side start covering it. Form a bowl again by pressing gently. Then start shaping the ball into your 2 hands. One hand should press the base to make it flat and the other will be placed on top and press to make a triangle shape. Continue shaping each side of the triangle. When it’s done, cut the nori sheet in half or smaller and wrap the onigiri. You can watch this video below to see the proper moves:

3- Shape onigiri with a bowl: Shaping onigiri with your hands can be a bit difficult at first so an easier way to shape onigiri is to use surround wrap and a small bowl. Place the surround wrap inside the bowl and add the rice. If you want to add a filling, add only half of the portion of rice, add the filling and then cover with the rest of the rice.

japanese onigiri recipe










Then, close the surround wrap and start pressing the rice into a ball. Twist the surround wrap and start giving it a triangle shape.

japanese onigiri recipe










4- 3 kinds of onigiri: Now as you see I made 3 kinds of onigiri. The first one has a tuna mayo filling and I showed you how to make it above. For the filling, simply mix canned tuna and the amount of mayonnaise of your choice. The 2nd one is made with a rice seasoning called furikake, all you have to do is to add it to your rice, mix well and form your onigiri. The last one is a yaki onigiri so form your onigiri first and brush some soy sauce on one side. Heat up some oil in a pan and place the side with soy sauce in the pan. Brush the other side with soy sauce and flip the onigiri so each side is grilled. Also, I brush the onigiri 3 times while in the pan, to make sure that the soy sauce soaks in the onigiri.

japanese onigiri recipe









I hope this will help you make perfect onigiri! They are really delicious and perfect for a quick lunch. My favorite way to eat them is to add the nori sheet around only when I’m about to eat it so the nori is still crispy.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe! Let me know in the comment what you think about this recipe and if you liked it.

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