Onigiri – Japanese Rice Balls (おにぎり)

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Four simple and delicious recipes for Japanese rice balls (onigiri).



Ingredients Overview

  • 3 cups cooked Japanese short grain rice
  • kosher salt
  • Okaka (recipe below)
  • Salted Salmon (recipe below)
  • Mushroom + Scallion (recipe below)
  • Japanese Rice Seasoning (furikake packet)


  • 1/2 cup dried bonito flakes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salted Salmon

  • 1 small piece salmon
  • kosher salt

Mushrooms and Scallions

  • 1/4 cup canned straw mushrooms (diced)
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 scallion (minced)




  1. In a small bowl, add dried bonito flakes and soy sauce. Stir until the bonito flakes absorb all the soy sauce. Set aside.

Salted Salmon

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the salmon filet and transfer to a cooking tray covered with parchment paper.
  3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Flake the cooked salmon with chopsticks or a fork and set aside.

Mushrooms and Scallions

  1. In a small pan over medium heat, add mushrooms, soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Cook until the mushrooms have absorbed the liquid (about 1-2 minutes).
  2. Turn the heat off and transfer to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature and mix in scallions. Set aside.

How to Shape Onigiri

  1. Grab a sheet of nori and cut it into thirds. Set aside.
  2. Place a small bowl of water in your prep area. Wet your hands with water. This is to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.
  3. Scoop between 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice into the palm of your wet hand.
  4. Create a small indentation in the center of the rice by pressing with your thumb.
  5. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of filling to the center indentation and press gently.
  6. Shape the rice between your palms into round or triangular shapes by gently pressing. Don’t press too hard (but hard enough that the rice can hold a shape).
  7. Sprinkle a little kosher salt around the exterior of the onigiri.
  8. Grab a piece of nori and wrap it around the onigiri, like you’d wrap yourself in a blanket.
  9. If making multiple flavors, top each onigiri with a little filling to indicate the flavor.
  10. Set it on a plate and repeat the same steps until all the rice is used. Serve.

Furikake Onigiri

  1. Sprinkle desired amount of furikake seasoning on the cooked rice and mix well. Shape rice into triangles or balls and serve.


Keywords: recipe, Japanese rice, healthy, side

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