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Onigiri (Filled Rice Balls)

Salty, savory, and oh-so-cute, this traditional Japanese dish makes a great appetizer or snack.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Assembly time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 12 onigiri



  • 3 cups sushi-grade white rice uncooked
  • 3 cups water

Tuna mayo filling

  • 1 7 oz. can solid albacore tuna packed in water
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 package nori (roasted seaweed) - sushi grade

  • Furikake optional, to taste


  • Prepare rice using your preferred method (stovetop, rice cooker, or Instant Pot) and briefly allow to cool.
  • While the rice is cooking, combine mayonnaise, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Add furikake to taste, if desired. Stir until fish has flaked and ingredients are completely combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • While rice is still warm (but not hot), dampen one clean hand and cover it with salt.
    A Caucasian hand on a white background, slightly damp and covered in salt, ready to shape some onigiri.
  • Place roughly 1/4 cup of rice in your hand.
  • Place approximately 2 teaspoons of tuna mayo filling at the center of the rice.
  • Wrap rice around the filling to form a ball.
  • Use other hand (or a mold) to shape the onigiri into your preferred shape.
  • If not eating them immediately, wrap onigiri in plastic (or in a damp dishcloth) and place in the refrigerator. Do not eat if stored for longer than 48 hours.
  • Immediately prior to serving, wrap shaped onigiri with nori and garnish with furikake, if desired.


  • If you have access to an Asian grocery store, you can substitute the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, and sesame oil with traditional Japanese or Kewpie brand mayonnaise.
  • The number of servings may vary greatly, depending on the size of your hands or mold used to shape the onigiri into its final form.
Keyword onigiri, rice