How to Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

rice ball

"yomi955" some rights reserved. flickr


As you can see in the title, “onigiri” means Japanese rice balls. It may sound too simple, but it’ not. We of course have very simple onigiri made only with rice and some salt. However, we have a wider variety of onigiri, too!

I found a great how-to video for making onigiri, with English guidance. A Japanese woman and a dog show you how to make various kinds of onigiri on this video. Check it out!



[Ingredients for Onigiri / 7 pieces]

360cc Rice for 7 Onigiri (1.52 u.s. cup)
**Molding rice when it is still warm makes it easy to form onigiri into the desired shape.
Japanese rice:

2 sheets of Toasted Nori

1 piece of Lightly-Salted Salmon

50g Sliced Beef Short Ribs (1.76 oz)
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
Grated Ginger

1 leaf of Pickled Hiroshimana
Boiled and Dried Baby Sardines
Toasted White Sesame Seeds

Umeboshi – Pickled Plum
Okaka – Dried Bonito Flakes Moistened with Soy Sauce

Canned Tuna

Long Green Onion
Sake or Water

Soy Sauce

Salt Water
50ml Water (0.21 u.s. cup)
5g Salt (0.18 oz)

– Toppings –
Shiso Leaf
Kinome – Young Leaves of Sansho Pepper

Source of recipe: Cooking With Dog


I’m quite sure that some of the ingredients may be difficult to get outside of Japan. So, let me tell you the substitutes^^.

*Pickled Hiroshimana >> Any other pickled vegetables by salt or soy sauce (not vinegar) are fine. And Korean kimchee may be good as well!

*Wasabi >> Regular white or black pepper is fine.

*Shiso Leaf and Kinome >> These are used as toppings, so not necessary.


Onigiri is home cooking, and you don’t have to follow every single line of the recipe. Try it out with your favorite ingredients (^^)/




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