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How to Make Onigiri – Video Recipe

Onigiri stands out as one of Japan’s beloved snacks, favored for its portability and quick consumption, making it an ideal alternative to sandwiches. These Japanese rice balls come in a variety of types, each filled with unique ingredients.

What is an onigiri?

Onigiri consists of cooked rice shaped into a triangle, often accompanied by nori seaweed.

What filling do onigiri fill with?

Today, we’ll explore how to make three different types of onigiri:

  1. Plain rice onigiri
  2. Onigiri with furikake seasoning
  3. Onigiri stuffed with tuna and Kewpie mayonnaise

However, the possibilities are endless, ranging from traditional fillings like salted and grilled salmon (Shiozake onigiri) to pickled Japanese plums (Umeboshi onigiri) and bonito flakes with soy sauce (Okaka Onigiri). Contemporary variations include teriyaki chicken, karaage, or those made with Takikomi Gohan (rice cooked in dashi with soy and vegetables).

Onigiri Recipe

Onigiri in Japanese Culture:

Onigiri has deep roots in Japanese culture, mentioned in historical accounts dating back to the 11th century. Samurai warriors in the 17th century were known to consume rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves during times of war.

Today, onigiris are easily accessible in Japan. For those fortunate enough to have visited the country, the prevalence of onigiris in convenience supermarkets like FamilyMart and 7/11 is unmistakable. These stores consistently offer a diverse assortment of onigiris featuring various flavors and fillings. This accessibility underscores the widespread popularity and cultural significance of onigiris in Japan.

How to make the shape of the onigiri?

Creating onigiri is a simple process. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Freshly cooked rice.

You can use the leftovers to prepare them. However, it is much easier and they are much better if they are prepared with freshly cooked rice. You just need to let the rice cool enough so you don’t burn your hands when shaping it.

2. We wet our hands.

Indeed, wetting your hands is a crucial step in the onigiri-making process. Without this step, the rice would stick, making it nearly impossible to shape the onigiri properly. To facilitate the shaping process, it’s advisable to have a bowl or cup with a small amount of water within reach. If, at any point, you find the rice sticking to your hands, a gentle wetting with water is sufficient—however, it’s essential not to overdo it to maintain the ideal consistency of the rice. This technique ensures smooth and hassle-free onigiri preparation.

3. Salt

In their origins, onigiris were designed as portable rice balls meant to be consumed outside the home. It’s no wonder that these rice balls were lightly salted, as salt not only imparts flavor but also helps preserve the onigiri, ensuring freshness for an extended period. A helpful trick to evenly distribute the salt is to add a small amount to wet hands and rub them together. This way, when shaping the onigiri, the salt is transferred uniformly, enhancing both the taste and preservation of the rice ball.

Shapping the onigiri

While a video captures the essence better, let me guide you on shaping onigiri. Here’s a step-by-step explanation:

  1. Form the lower part of the onigiri using the left hand’s palm, and shape the upper part with the right hand, creating an inverted V.
  2. Press the onigiri into the palm of your left hand, rotating it to ensure well-triangulated corners. Firmly press, but avoid overdoing it to prevent disassembly. You can shape it as a triangle, ball, or cylinder based on your preference.
  3. If you’re adding a filling, check out the video for a demonstration.
  4. For onigiri seaweed, add nori seaweed at the last minute to avoid moisture from making it soggy.
  5. If your first attempt isn’t perfect, don’t worry; practice makes perfect. Try making a couple more, and soon you’ll become an onigiri expert.

In conclusion, crafting onigiris is a delightful and versatile culinary adventure that, with a bit of practice, allows you to create delicious rice balls tailored to your taste preferences.

receta onigiri bolas de arroz japonés como hacer onigiri
How To Make Onigiri
Print recipe
4.50 from 4 votes
Discover how to make 6 different types of onigiri, Japan's favourite snack.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Accompaniment, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Alga, Rice, Bento, Easy | Easy
Cooking method: Olla, Sartén
Servings: 6 onigiri
Calories: 200kcal
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Recipe Equipment

  • Arrocera
  • Cuchillo
  • Bol
  • Sartén


  • 1 cup rice for every 3 onigiri
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • nori seaweed

Furikake Onigiri

  • 1 tsp furikake

Okaka Onigiri

  • 1 handful katsuobushi
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Tuna Mayo Onigiri

  • tuna
  • mayonnaise Kewpie

Yaki Onigiri

Spicy Chicken Onigiri

  • 75 gr chicken cut into slices
  • 1 piece ginger cut into think slices
  • 1 piece carrot cut into think slices
  • 1 piece spring onion cut into think slices
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1/2 clove ajo
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • gochujang sauce optional


  • Wash the rice and prepare it in a pot or in a rice cooker.

Clasic Onigiri

  • Start by dipping the hands with water and adding a little salt.
  • To shape the lower part of the onigiri, use the left hand and for the upper part, use the right hand.
  • Then press the triangle in the palm of your hand and rotate the onigiri so that all the corners are well triangulated.
  • Optionally, add nori.

Furikake Onigiri

  • Add 1 teaspoon of furikake to the rice before shaping.
  • Proceed in the same way as with the clasic onigiri: water in your hands, a little salt and start shaping.
  • Optionally, add nori.

Tuna Mayo Onigiri

  • Mix the tuna with the mayonnaise.
  • Wet the hands, add a little salt, and take the rice.
  • This time it is a little different. Shape the rice into a bowl and add the tuna in the centre, then cover it with the rice and we can start shaping it into onigiri.
  • Optionally, add nori.

Yaki Onigiri

  • Prepare the unagi sauce.
  • Add the sugar and sake to a saucepan. Bring to the boil.
  • Then add the mirin and soy sauce. Bring to the boil and remove.
  • Prepare a clasic onigiri.
  • Heat a frying or cast iron pan over medium heat.
  • When hot, add the onigiri in and let it cook until it starts to brown, turn it over and toast it on the other side.
  • When it starts to brown, spread a little unagi sauce on top with a brush.
  • Turn it over and cook carefully as it burns quickly. Repeat with the other side and it's ready!

Spicy Chiken

  • In a bowl, add the chicken, soy sauce, sake and grated garlic. Mix and leave to marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the mayonnaise and gochujang sauce in a small bowl.
  • In a frying pan over medium heat, add a little oil and sauté the ginger, carrot and spring onion.
  • Then cook the chicken until it is cooked through.
  • Finally, prepare an onigiri following the instructions for the basic onigiri.
  • When the onigiri is ready, make a vertical slit in the centre of the onigiri with your finger and place some of the spicy mayonnaise, the sautéed vegetables and the chicken.
  • Finally use a piece of nori seaweed to wrap the onigiri so that it holds the chicken and vegetables so that they don't fall off.

Onigiri Okaka

  • Mix the katsuobushi with the soy sauce.
  • Wet your hands, add a little salt, and take the rice.
  • Shape the rice into a bowl and add the Okaka filling in the centre. Then cover it with the rice and you can start shaping it into onigiri.
  • Optionally, add nori.



Porción: 1onigiri | Calorias: 200kcal
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