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Onigiri Japanese Rice Balls

This recipe calls for freshly cooked rice. You can cook your rice in your rice cooker or pressure cooker. This is the most basic way to make Onigiri. You can also add egg, spam, tuna and/or your own flavorings and seasonings. Here's a video to show you how I made mine.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Snack or Light Meal
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese rice balls, onigiri
Servings: 6


  • 3 cups cooked rice freshly cooked and cooled just slightly*
  • 2 tablespoons furikake + more if desired
  • water just to wet your hands
  • kosher salt to sprinkle on your hands
  • 2 sheets roasted nori cut into small strips
  • sesame seeds


  • Place the cooked rice into a mixing bowl and sprinkle on the furikake. You can use as little or as much as you'd like. Mix together.
  • To Make the Onigiri: wet your hands in the water; this is just to keep the rice from sticking to your hands. Next, sprinkle on some kosher (or sea salt) salt onto your hands. The salt helps to flavor the onigiri. Start with just a little salt, make one and adjust as needed.
  • Scoop about a 1/2 cup of the cooked, warm rice (1/3 cup if you want to make them smaller) and, using both hands, form and shape the onigiri into a triangle. Don't use too much pressure but just enough to form and shape the rice. It doesn't have to be perfect. I also like to have a cutting board, or flat surface near by and will gently press the onigiri on the sides to help make a more distinct triangle shape. You can also buy Onigiri molds online.
  • Place one piece of the nori on the bottom (as shown in the photos) and sprinkle on some sesame seeds if desired. Continue until all of the rice balls are complete. Enjoy immediately or wrap each one individually with plastic wrap. These can be made in the morning and eaten later in the day. They are best eaten day of! Enjoy!


*you are using freshly cooked rice for this recipe but let it cool slightly since you are using your hands to shape the rice. You don't want to rice to be too hot. 
I also like using Nishiki Medium Grain Rice but others will recommend Japanese short grain rice. Both will work; jasmine, long grain or other rice will not work in this recipe.