14 In Appetizer/ Rice/ Side Dish/ Video

Onigiri (Rice Ball) Recipe

Rice balls don’t really need a recipe to make.  Anybody, including someone who has never cooked before, can start making it right away if you have cooked rice.  It’s just like making a mud ball when you were a kid.  You press rice firmly in your hands and make it into a ball or some other kind of shape.  The difference is, you actually can eat Onigiri.

You can fill the center of Onigiri rice balls with many different things.  Basic fillings are pickled plum(Umeboshi), dried bonito flakes with soy sauce (Okaka), or salted salmon.  But you can put in anything you want, really.  I have seen fried chicken in there.  Onigiri is usually covered with a sheet of roasted seaweed (Nori). The seaweed functions as a wrapper so your hand doesn’t get messy, as well as for flavor.  A rice ball with filling is like a complete meal that can be eaten in one hand.  Therefore, Onigiri rice ball is perfect portable food for lunch and picnics.

If you have never made an Onigiri rice ball before and would like to make a triangle one, please watch our video and practice once or twice.  If you don’t care about shapes,  just start making a ball in your hands.  They will taste the same 🙂

Rice Ball (Onigiri) Recipe

Rice Ball (Onigiri) Recipe



  1. Put some rice in a rice bowl.
  2. Wet hands with water and add salt. Place rice in one hand, press and form into a triangle shape.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the rice ball and put in Katsuobushi mixture. Close the well.
  4. Reshape and wrap with a sheet of roasted seaweed.

Rice Ball (Onigiri)

You Might Also Like

  • victor santana
    July 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    You girls are amazing and beautiful to boot. Keep up the good work and keep you culture alive! My wife and I are going to have a go at the rice balls today. Which I will include some grilled chicken and splash of low sodium soy sauce. I really am glad that you take the time to help people, While teaching them about your culture and culinary feats, and would like to thank you personally. Thanks again!

    Victor Santana
    Miami, FL

    • Noriko
      August 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks for your comment! We’re going to keep making traditional and not so traditional Japanese dishes, so please come back soon!

  • Mari
    September 30, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I bought a small onigiri press at the local Asian market and I just love making rice balls! I usually use shrimp as my filling, but I’ve even used Starburst candies before! (≧∇≦) I’ve never heard of bonito flakes, but it looks like I’ll just have to make another trip to the market! (^_−)−☆

    • Noriko
      October 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      wow,Starburst candies in Onigiri! That’s an experiment! But try our Onigiri recipe too!

  • Onca
    January 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Wanted to say thank you for the website. I’m making my first rice balls today to mix with the tamagoyaki recipe you provided already, to make lunch for work. Thank you, and I plan on using this site for more recipes in the future

  • Wilrose Gorumba
    February 11, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Hi! Is it alright if I insert this link to my blog post? I am writing an article about Asian rice dishes and I would love to provide instructions for my readers on how to make Onigiri and other Asian dishes. If it is alright to ask too, you can read my blog post and share it with your readers. Thank you!

    • Noriko
      March 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you for asking (many people don’t…). We’re happy if you use a link to our Onigiri page or the video so long as you provide clear attribution to Japanese Cooking 101. Please do not use copies of the pictures or text directly though.

  • kira
    April 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    omg thank you, ur the best. looking around for a good rice ball recipe and found it. simple and easy. cant wait to make other sweets!!!


  • Nikkie
    August 23, 2016 at 9:39 am

    What can a vegetarian use to put inside the onigiri?

  • Erin O'Leary
    August 26, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Can you also dip your hands in seasoned rice vinegar to flavor the rice as you roll it? Should it be diluted ?

  • Julie G
    August 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I love onigiri…especially the ones from convenience stores in Japan! If I make them at home, how far in advance can I make them? If I want to make them for my child’s lunch, can I make them the night before? If so, do I refrigerate them or leave them out (covered). I wouldn’t put the seaweed on until right before eating tho.

  • Rice Ball (Onigiri) Recipe – beautifulyou583
    October 31, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    […] Onigiri (Rice Ball) Recipe […]

  • michal
    November 29, 2016 at 3:40 am

    love your blog!

    what is the best way to store the onigiri so the rice won’t get hard and dry if i want to make them in advanced?


  • Eva
    January 7, 2017 at 5:32 am

    It’s been a while since i started following your page for Japanese Recipes and I LOVE THEM!

    Many thanks for the great work!