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Simple Onigiri Rice Ball Snack - This FUN snack is great to make in the morning and take to work for lunch or afternoon snack. Eat by itself or dip it in some soy sauce. Vegetarian. | wandercooks.com

Onigiri Recipe - The Simple Japanese Rice Ball Snack

This EASY onigiri recipe is flavoured with delicious Japanese seasonings and wrapped in nori, perfect for a quick snack or delicious lunches on the go!
Course Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 onigiri
Calories 143kcal
Cost $5-$10


  • 3 cups cooked Japanese sticky rice
  • 50 grams packet rice seasoning aka ‘furikake’ in Japanese
  • water
  • salt


  • Pop your cooked rice into a nice mixing bowl. Add the furikake or rice flavouring and mix through evenly. Or if you feel like hiding something tasty inside, you can skip this step.
  • Separate the rice into equal portions, big enough to be a large handful each.
  • Wet your hands with water and rub together with a pinch or two of salt. This'll stop the rice sticking to your hands.
  • Pick up one handful/portion of rice. If you are putting something inside, here is where you make an indent, place the ingredients inside and fold the rice over, then lightly compress into a ball.
  • Using mainly your fingertips while resting the rice on your palm, start to press and squeeze the rice into a triangular shape, rotating as you go so it’s even. According to our Japanese friends, you ideally want to end up with one face of the onigiri having a small indentation from your fingers.
  • Place a slice of nori on the bottom of the onigiri (the rough side should face the rice) and fold it up towards to the middle of the onigiri.
  • Repeat for the remaining rice portions.




  • What type of rice for for onigiri? We recommend using koshihikari sushi rice which is stickier and will hold its shape better. Medium grain rice or short grain rice work best for onigiri as the grains tend to stick to each other better than long grain rice (such as jasmine rice).
  • How to keep onigiri fresh overnight? Onigiri are best enjoyed fresh if possible, but if you need to store them for a few hours, we recommend wrapping in plastic wrap or popping in a small airtight container before storing them in the refrigerator. Doing this will help retain moisture in the rice and stop the surface from drying out. If you plan to eat them with a nori seaweed sheet, we recommend keeping it separate until you're ready to eat.
  • What to do with dried out onigiri? If your onigiri have dried out a bit but are still good on the inside inside, you can bring them back to life as yaki-onigiri - aka grilled onigiri. Try frying them in a pan with a little sesame oil and basting in soy sauce. The heat will crisp up the outside leaving the inside tender and moist. Yum!


Onigiri Recipe Tips

  • For best results, make your onigiri while the rice is still warm. This will help the rice stick together better and make it easier to form the traditional triangle shape.
  • To make your fresh onigiri look more authentic, add a slice of nori around the base. It looks great and tastes great too!
  • If you're making onigiri ahead of time, it's a good idea to store the nori separately from the rice until you're ready to eat, otherwise it will go soggy.

Variations & Substitutes

  • For simple onigiri fillings, simply use your favourite ingredients or make use of leftovers. How about fried chicken, canned tuna or pickled vegetables?
  • Instead of triangles, try making them into circles, squares, or even animals! If you're feeling creative, use thin slices of nori to create faces or patterns. 


Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 140IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 4.4mg