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Onigiri with umeboshi and mentaiko

Onigiri Recipe (Japanese Rice Balls)

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 onigiri 1x
  • Category: Snacks
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegan


One of Japan’s favorite snacks, onigiri are easy to make and can be seasoned with various fillings. This is a basic recipe for pickled plum rice balls.


Units Scale
  • 4 cups cooked Japanese rice, preferably short grain Japanese rice (it’s stickier than medium grain)
  • 8 pickled plums (umeboshi), pitted
  • Nori sheets
  • Salt



  1. If your rice is freshly made and warm, skip this step. If you are using refrigerated cooked rice, place it in a microwave proof bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1 minute. The rice should be soft and warm. You may need to microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Season the rice with a little salt while gently folding it over (do not over mix it otherwise the rice will get mushy).
  3. Wet your hands with warm water – I like to keep a small bowl of water next to the rice – and scoop about 1/3 of a cup of rice.  Firmly shape it into a triangle or a ball (otherwise it may fall apart easily), and make a dent in the middle.
  4. Place 1 umeboshi in the dented area, press it in, and wrap a sheet of nori big enough to hold the entire rice ball. Repeat the same for the remaining onigiris.


Onigiri is best when eaten fresh. If you wish to save the onigiri for later, save them without any nori wrapping, as it will wilt. Wrap each onigiri in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Before eating, microwave for 30 seconds.


  • Serving Size: 1 onigiri
  • Calories: 129
  • Sugar: 1.6g
  • Sodium: 1.2mg
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.6g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Protein: 2.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: onigiri

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