Rating: Unrated
  • 5 star values: 0
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

These cute Japanese-inspired rice balls (onigiri) were a hit at a Halloween-themed potluck. Using turmeric and gochujang gives them a natural orange color with no food coloring. You can also decorate them in a different way for different holidays!


Recipe Summary test

30 mins
15 mins
40 mins
1 hr 25 mins
30 onigiri


Original recipe yields 30 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Pour rice into a large colander. Rinse under cold running water, stirring with your fingers, until water runs clear, about 5 minutes.

  • Set colander over a large bowl. Leave rice to drain, about 20 minutes.

  • Cut sides away from each cucumber round; discard seeded center. Cut sides into thin strips for the pumpkin 'stems'. Place cucumber strips in a bowl.

  • Cut 1/2 the nori strips into triangles to make the 'eyes.' Cut remaining nori strips into jagged 'mouths.' Place eyes and mouths in separate bowls.

  • Combine rice, 3 1/2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat but keep pot on the burner. Let rice stand, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.

  • Remove rice from heat; stir in gochujang and turmeric until rice is uniformly orange. Cool rice until easily handled, about 10 minutes.

  • Stir 1 cup warm water and salt together in a shallow bowl. Line a platter with plastic wrap.

  • Scoop warm rice with a 1 1/2-tablespoon cookie scoop and drop onto the plastic wrap. Dip your hands in the warm salted water and roll rice into balls. Stick on 2 eyes and 1 mouth. Press 1 cucumber strip into the top. Transfer finished onigiri to another serving platter.

Cook's Note:

For a more substantial snack, fill rice balls with a cube of salmon, tuna, cucumber, or avocado if desired.

Nutrition Facts

74 calories; protein 1.3g; carbohydrates 16.3g; fat 0.1g; sodium 238.3mg. Full Nutrition