Onigiri are Japanese rice balls. They're fun to make and are a staple of Japanese lunchboxes (bento). You can put almost anything in an onigiri; try substituting grilled salmon, pickled plums, beef, pork, turkey, or tuna with mayonnaise.

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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Wash the rice in a mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Combine washed rice and 4 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer rice until the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rice rest, for 15 minutes to allow the rice to continue to steam and become tender. Allow cooked rice to cool.

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  • Combine 1 cup water with the salt in a small bowl. Use this water to dampen hands before handling the rice. Divide the cooked rice into 8 equal portions. Use one portion of rice for each onigiri.

  • Divide one portion of rice in two. Create a dimple in the rice and fill with a heaping teaspoon of bonito flakes. Cover with the remaining portion of rice and press lightly to enclose filling inside rice ball. Gently press the rice to shape into a triangle. Wrap shaped onigiri with a strip of nori. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat to make a total of 8 onigiri.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

744.4 calories; 14.4 g protein; 159.4 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 160.4 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (35)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
04/12/2010
very simple, i love making these either to snack on or for a dinner. my only change is i make a solution of white vinegar, about a cup, and 2 table spoons of sugar, and mix this with the rice before i begin. It adds just the right amount of flavor to the rice, so its not so over whelming. after adding the vinegar, just wet you hands and shape like always :D Read More
(158)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
09/20/2012
Thought everyone might want to know. When we make this (learned from my japanese mom), we put the bonito in the middle also. But, my mom puts soy sauce on the flakes first. It kind of melts down, but makes it easier to put in the middle and gives a nice salty kick. I can't imagine eating just plain flakes with out the soy on it. I've never seen it anywhere without the soy and bonito inside. Try some flaked salmon with soy also. That is how I've always seen it or bought in Japan. Also, most of the time she puts msg (or accent) on the outside or gives it a quick shake into the batch when shaping them. Actually, every one on my japanese side does it. I don't think that they has much of a problem with msg as they do here. Read More
(43)
53 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 32
  • 4 star values: 13
  • 3 star values: 7
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
04/12/2010
very simple, i love making these either to snack on or for a dinner. my only change is i make a solution of white vinegar, about a cup, and 2 table spoons of sugar, and mix this with the rice before i begin. It adds just the right amount of flavor to the rice, so its not so over whelming. after adding the vinegar, just wet you hands and shape like always :D Read More
(158)
Rating: 4 stars
04/12/2010
very simple, i love making these either to snack on or for a dinner. my only change is i make a solution of white vinegar, about a cup, and 2 table spoons of sugar, and mix this with the rice before i begin. It adds just the right amount of flavor to the rice, so its not so over whelming. after adding the vinegar, just wet you hands and shape like always :D Read More
(158)
Rating: 5 stars
03/04/2010
I made this recipe for rice balls for my daughters international night. They turned out great! I made the mini balls and put canned salmon bits and spiced ginger in the center. I rolled them in black and white seseme seeds and put dried seaweed on others. The teens at the school loved them. I found great directions in the internet for rolling and twisting them in wet salted plastic wrap which took all the air out and made them nice and firm. (then take them out of the plastic wrap)The key is to always handle them with wet hands. Read More
(106)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/20/2010
A good friend of mine that I met through anime conventions years ago was having a graduation party, and I knew a bunch of the anime crew would be there, so I thought I would make something fun as a snack! I came across this recipe after watching Fruits Basket with a friend and we decided it would be perfect. Made the first few rice balls using the recipe as-is, though we couldn't find bonito flakes, so we used some tuna salad, chicken salad and avocado instead. After making some of the plain rice ones, we elyssa's advice and added some rice vinegar, sugar and salt to the rice. The smell kind of scared us at first, but after tasting them, we were glad we did it! Both versions of the recipe get five stars from everyone at the party! Read More
(99)
Rating: 3 stars
09/20/2012
Thought everyone might want to know. When we make this (learned from my japanese mom), we put the bonito in the middle also. But, my mom puts soy sauce on the flakes first. It kind of melts down, but makes it easier to put in the middle and gives a nice salty kick. I can't imagine eating just plain flakes with out the soy on it. I've never seen it anywhere without the soy and bonito inside. Try some flaked salmon with soy also. That is how I've always seen it or bought in Japan. Also, most of the time she puts msg (or accent) on the outside or gives it a quick shake into the batch when shaping them. Actually, every one on my japanese side does it. I don't think that they has much of a problem with msg as they do here. Read More
(43)
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2009
I am not a fan of bonito flakes but this is a great picnic food and you can put anything inside. In Japan they used tuna salad salmon or pickled plum like they do in Japan Yum! Read More
(31)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2010
I have been making these for a while now ever since working with a Japanese fellow who's wife made these for his lunch. I became intrigued and asked him what they were and he explained and I had to try them so I went home and searched online for instructions. The only thing I do differently is use a different filling. I prefer Avocado or tuna salad in mine most of the time. Salmon is good as mentioned though as well. These are very cheap lunches and are the Japanese equivalent of a Sandwich culturally from what I understand. Very tasty! I always have a few in my fridge for a quick snack also. Read More
(23)
Rating: 4 stars
12/27/2009
I made this a few days ago while looking around the site. I finally decided I had to join so I can keep hold of this recipe. I don't care for bonito so I used a spoonful of home made chicken salad. It was fantastic. And by following your recipe the rice turned out perfect which is a new thing for me! Thank you so much!! Read More
(17)
Rating: 4 stars
08/09/2010
really great recipe..i used smoked salmon instead of bonito flakes in the center and it worked perfectly!! only problem was that this recipe calls for A LOT of rice and i made more than 8 and they were a lot bigger than the one in the picture i'd recommend halving the amount of rice. Read More
(17)
Rating: 5 stars
09/15/2010
This was amasing! I added my picture of how they turned out! It was delicious! All my friends were jealous at how well they turned out! As my first Onigiri I give this recipes 5 Stars!:D Read More
(16)