Onigiri Japanese rice balls

Last updated: 15 December 2020
Preparation: 35 minutes
Dietary: Vegetarian


2 cups leftover sushi rice
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp black/white sesame seeds (toasted)
Japanese mayonnaise (for filling)
1–2 seaweed sheets
Japanese soy sauce (for dipping)

Common fillings

roast chicken/beef (finely chopped and mix well with Japanese mayonnaise)
canned tuna (mix well with Japanese mayonnaise)
sha-ke (salted cooked salmon)
umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum)
okaka (bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce)
kombu (simmered kombu seaweed)
tarako (salted cod roe)


  1. Cook rice in accordance to instructions.
  2. Combine rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pour into rice with sesame seeds and mix well.
  3. Cut the seaweed sheet into six strips. You may further cut the seaweed into any shape to decorate the onigiri.
  4. Place ⅓ cup of rice over the centre of the cling wrap. Gather the ends of the cling wrap and squeeze to form a ball. To add filling, press an indent into the rice, add filling and mould the rice into a triangular shape or a ball.
  5. Remove the cling wrap and cover the bottom of the onigiri with a seaweed strip.
  6. Serve with Japanese soy sauce.

Chef's Tip from The Food Affectionist: To avoid rice sticking to your hands, rub a small amount of mayonnaise to hands before you start forming a rice ball.

Recipe with thanks to The Food Affectionist and Asian Inspirations.