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onigiri - Japanese rice balls

Make the most iconic of Japanese snacks at home. Whether you call them onigiri, musubi – or just rice balls – this is one of the easiest rice cooker recipes of all time!

Ingredients

Ingredients for Onigiri

  • 2 cup White rice (supplied measuring cup)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Nori (dried seaweed) sheets

Filling Options

  • Bonito flakes and soy sauce
  • Kombu
  • Mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
  • Salmon flakes
  • Umeboshi (pickled plum)
  • Tuna and mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Once complete, take approximately ½ cup of cooked rice while warm and mold with both hands to your desired shape.
  3. Insert the desired filling and sprinkle a pinch of salt.
  4. Wrap the onigiri with the nori sheet. 2 cups of rice makes about 4-6 onigiris, depending on the size of each onigiri.

WHAT IS ONIGIRI?

Onigiri おにぎり are Japanese rice balls that feature short grain rice stuffed with various fillings, usually wrapped in a thin sheet of dried seaweed (nori). Also called musubi interchangeably, these are a ubiquitous Japanese snack available across Japan in konbini (convenience stores) and made in homes with love.

They make the perfect meal on the go… A self contained packet of deliciousness you can take anywhere!

Now, while onigiri features humble ingredients and are simple to make, there’s nothing simple about the taste. You see those fillings we mentioned are typically packed with assertive flavors that impart their essence into each bite.

Some of the most common (and delicious!) fillings in Japanese rice balls are:

  • Bonito flakes and soy sauce (okaka)
  • Pickled plum (umeboshi)
  • Spicy cod roe (mentaiko)
  • Simmered kelp (kombu)
  • Tuna with mayonnaise
  • Salmon flakes (shake)

But aside from the usual suspects, you can use whatever you think would work well tucked into perfectly cooked Japanese rice. We’re huge fans of SPAM musubi when we visit Hawaii. And check out this ginger chicken onigiri with spicy mayo. It’s mega yummy!

 

HOW TO MAKE RICE BALLS

First things first: make your Japanese rice. 

Add your rinsed short grain rice and water to the inner pot of your Tiger rice cooker and select the Plain setting. Then it’s time to get to work! 

Now, on this page, we have instructions in the directions tab on forming rice balls – but if you’re visual learners (like us), have a look at the video on our teriyaki chicken onigiri page. It should help you with the basics of shaping your rice balls.

Pro tip: before handling the rice, dip your hands in a bowl of water. This will help keep the grains from sticking to your hands as you work.

We hope you try making onigiri at home. You’re going to love it!

Itadakimasu! 🍙😋

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