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A closeup shot of a finished onigiri rice ball.

Easy Onigiri - Japanese Rice Balls

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



  • Pop your cooked sushi rice into a large mixing bowl. Add the furikake rice seasoning and mix through evenly. Note: if you feel like hiding something tasty inside instead, you can skip this step.
    3 cups sushi rice, 50 grams rice seasoning
  • Separate the rice into equal portions, approximately one large handful for each onigiri.
  • Wet your hands with water and rub together with a pinch or two of salt. This stops the rice sticking to your hands and helps keep it fresher for longer.
    water, salt
  • Pick up one handful/portion of rice. If you are hiding some fillings inside, here is where you make an indent, place the ingredients inside and fold the rice over, then lightly press 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 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, rough side in towards the rice. Then fold it up towards to the middle of the onigiri.
    nori sheets
  • Repeat for the remaining rice portions.



Tips to get this recipe just right:
  • Rice - We recommend koshihikari rice for the best texture. Cook it in a rice cooker, a multi-cooker, or on the stove using the absorption method. Here's our full guide on how to cook Japanese sushi rice. Make sure the rice is warm while making your onigiri. This will help the rice stick together better and make it easier to form the traditional triangle shape.
  • Furikake - This is a type of Japanese seasoning usually sprinkled over cooked rice. It's made from a blend of ingredients like dried fish, sesame seeds, seaweed, egg, salt, sugar and various spices. There are so many furikake flavours out there, so look for packets of assorted furikake flavours and experiment to find your favourite! You can get them from your nearby Asian grocer or online, or even make your own. We've also included some optional ideas below to customise your onigiri with different seasonings and fillings.
  • Nori - This is the flat seaweed wrapper also used to wrap sushi. You can find it online, at Asian grocers or even from well stocked supermarkets either in full size squares or in mini pre-cut strips. It's not essential, but does make for a great little hand hold for your homemade onigiri.
  • To Store - Wrap them in plastic wrap or popping in a small airtight container before storing in the refrigerator. Doing this will help retain moisture in the rice and stop the surface from drying out. You can also wrap them in an extra layer (such as paper towel or a regular towel) to stop the rice getting too cold and hard. Keep the nori separately from the rice until you're ready to eat, otherwise it will go soggy.


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