Yaki Onigiri

Yaki Onigiri (Japanese Grilled Rice Balls)

Onigiri is unquestionably Japan's most basic and traditional dish. Simply grilling rice balls with soy sauce transforms them into yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls). They have a nice smokey scent, a crispy outside, and a soft inside. This provides the proper balance, making yaki onigiri the ideal portable savory snack or replacement for a simple bowl of white rice for supper or lunch. The first crunchy crisp bite, followed by the warm and fluffy rice, makes yaki onigiri enticing and equally delicious. Grilled corn is also a relatively simple recipe. You can savor the combination of maize sweetness and soy sauce saltiness. It has a crispy crust and this onigiri rice balls can be added to your bento box.

Furthermore, grilled corn is a simple recipe. You can enjoy the mix of the maize's sweetness and the soy sauce's salty flavor. With a crispy crust on the exterior and soft, sticky rice on the interior, these rice balls are delightful and simple to make at home!

What is Yaki Onigiri?

Yaki onigiri is a tasty Japanese grilled rice ball made from sticky short or medium-grain rice molded into a triangular shape. They are then grilled until a crispy crust forms and seasoned with soy sauce or miso. It's available in convenience stores, grocery stores, Japanese supermarket and department stores throughout Japan. Grilled rice balls are a popular snack, lunch, or picnic meal usually found in bento boxes.

Traditionally, yaki onigiri is a popular Japanese snack and it is cooked over a charcoal grill to give it a delightful smokey flavor that's excellent for the winter, but it can also be 'grilled' in a pan or even roasted in the oven for modern convenience. What is important is that the surface becomes crispy and golden brown before adding any sauce. Although it can be flavored with salmon or tuna, it is most commonly provided with plain rice.

Japanese Short Grain Rice - Yaki Onigiri Rice Balls

What does yaki onigiri mean?

Onigiri is the Japanese word for rice ball, meaning "pressed rice," while yaki means grilling or frying.

Savory sauce for yaki onigiri

Regardless of whether miso or soy sauce is commonly used for glazing Yaki Onigiri. The savory flavor of the unagi sauce, a sweet caramelized soy sauce, complements white rice perfectly. Unagi sauce is also available in Japanese and Asian supermarket stores. When the onigiri have crisped up with a delectable toasted crust and the rice in the center is still delicate and sticky, you realize it's time to relish these wonderful sweets. As a snack, both children and adults enjoy them.

What are the common ingredients of Yaki Onigiri?

  • Cooked Rice - For easy molding, use sticky short or medium-grain rice. For this recipe, you can use leftover or frozen rice, but ensure it's warm before constructing yaki onigiri because cold rice doesn't adhere well together. Long-grain rice, such as Jasmine rice, is not suggested since it lacks the necessary stickiness.

  • Furikake - Furikake is optional, but it enhances the flavor of these rice balls. It's a Japanese seaweed flavor with shredded nori, sesame seeds, salt, and sugar. Furikake is available in various flavors, including egg, bonito flakes, and spices, which are all delicious.

  • Soy Sauce - After forming a crispy, golden-brown crust, soy sauce is sprinkled on top. It imparts a delightful salty, umami flavor to plain rice. Miso or teriyaki sauce can be substituted.

  • Oil - You can use any neutral vegetable oil. Oil is required to crisp the exterior of the grilled rice ball, giving it a crispy texture.

Yaki Onigiri (Japanese Grilled Rice Balls) - Japanese Rice Recipes

How To Make Regular Onigiri?

Here's the step-by-step procedure on making yaki onigiri at home this is a Japanese style cooking you can do at home:

  1. Take all of the necessary ingredients. Use a rice cooker, a saucepan on the stove, an instant pot, or a donation for cooking the rice. Allow the cooked rice to cool slightly so you can handle it without burning your hands. Don't let the rice cool entirely.

  2. Make rice balls, there are two ways on how to shape onigiri or your rice balls into triangle shape:
    SHAPE USING HAND : Take about a half cup of heated rice in your hands, wet them with water, and gently but firmly shape the rice into a triangle.
    SHAPE USING A MOLDER : Fill the mold with the necessary amount of rice and press down to form a triangular shape.

  3. Add fillings inside the rice balls, if you want. Before shaping, make an indentation in the rice and add roughly 1 spoonful of the filling. Wrap the filling in rice and shape it with your hands or a mold.

  4. Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan or cast iron pan over medium heat. Grill the onigiri on each side until the outside produces a crispy crust and the color is golden-brown. To keep the form intact, avoid flipping too frequently.

  5. Reduce the heat to low and brush one side of the rice ball with soy sauce or your preferred sauce. Flip the rice ball quickly and caramelize the other side in medium heat for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep an eye on it for burning, as the sauce can easily burn. Apply sauce to the opposite side and flip over to caramelize.

  6. Reduce the heat to low and brush one side of the rice ball with soy sauce or your preferred sauce. Flip the rice ball quickly and caramelize the other side for 15 to 30 seconds until it become lightly browned. Keep an eye on it for burning, as the sauce can easily burn. Apply sauce to the opposite side and flip over to caramelize.


    Onigiri Rice Balls - Japanese Cooking (Onigiri Grilled Rice Balls)

How do you keep yaki onigiri from falling apart?

Make sure to firmly compress the rice balls. Instead of grilling, pan-frying rice produces a crisp, uniformly browned layer. A thin layer of potato starch binds the rice on the onigiri's surface together, so it doesn't crumble when it comes into touch with oil, contributing to the crispiness of the onigiri. If you mix the rice with the grain, it will remain stuck together. Additionally, use short grain rice for the better outcome.

Japanese Cooking (焼きおにぎり- Grilled Rice Balls)

Yaki Onigiri Sauce Ideas

Actually the yaki onigiri is brushed with soy sauce or miso sauce. Try to enjoy yaki onigiri with both applied sauce. Here's what to combine:

  • Savory Soy Sauce

  • Sweet Miso Sauce or Miso Paste

  • Sesame Oil

  • Mirin

  • Garlic Paste

  • Unagi Sauce

Japanese Short Grain Rice (Onigiri RIce Balls) - Yaki Onigiri Grilled Rice

Yaki Onigiri Flavour Variations

The most popular flavor of yaki onigiri is soy sauce. However, there are many extra sauces and fillings to choose from to create delectable flavor combinations. One of my favorite flavors is miso butter. Because miso and butter complement each other nicely, simple white rice is an excellent accompaniment. Other foods that pair well with fluffy, basic Japanese rice include:

  • Traditionally, onigiri is stuffed or paired with grilled salted salmon, canned tuna, chicken, sesame seeds, and kanikama.

  • Grill the onigiri made from takikomi gohan.

  • Instead of soy or miso, top the onigiri with a spicy gochujang paste.

  • Shiso or seaweed should be used to wrap the yaki onigiri.

  • Build yaki onigiri ochazuke (rice in hot tea or water)

Yaki Onigiri or Grilled

Storing Yaki Onigiri or Grilled Rice Balls 焼き おにぎり

Here's how to store yaki onigiri. If you have any leftovers, you may freeze them for up to a month after wrapping them in plastic wrap. Before eating, microwave the plastic wrapped onigiri in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.

Onigiri Mold - Japanese Supermarkets

What to serve with Yaki Onigiri or Grilled Rice Balls?

Here's the list on what's the best to pair with yaki onigiri:

  • Japanese Cleared Soup or Miso Soup

  • Egg Drop Soup

  • Hojicha

  • Tamagoyaki

What are the top 3 most popular onigiri?

Take a look at these fantastic Onigiri versions! You can prepare many more than just tuna or salmon. The options for onigiri fillings are limitless!

Yaki Onigiri - Make these grilled rice balls with leftover rice. It only requires three ingredients and five minutes to prepare. All you need for a crispy crust is short or medium-grain rice, oil, and soy sauce (or other seasonings).

Tuna Mayo Onigiri - The classic combination of tuna and mayonnaise is great. After draining the tuna, mix in the mayonnaise. If you desire a more authentic flavor, use Japanese mayonnaise. (Water-packed or oil-packed tuna is allowed.)

Shio Onigiri - Rice balls can be made without a filling. These shio onigiri and musubi have no filler. Only a simple salty flavor will be imparted by shaping the ball. When finished, it is recommended to put some salt and pickled plum on top for the garnish!

Experiences by Japan Crate : Onigiri Experience Set

Onigiri, Japanese rice balls, are popular for their flavor, convenience, and low cost. People eat or munch on these delectable rice balls almost everywhere in Japan. You can make the best onigiri with the Onigiri Experience Set. Please remember that this onigiri set is designed for beginners because it is simple. You won't have to worry about preparing it correctly and carefully.

Onigiri Experience Set


If creating fantastic onigiri from homemade is faster and easier than buying it, go ahead and do it. You may make your own onigiri with our Japan Crate Experiences: Onigiri Experience Set. This Onigiri Experience Set set includes a bowl of instant rice, a rice mold, a filling, furikake seasoning, and a seaweed wrap. Visit our website right now to place your order. You do not have to be a subscriber to order our stuff. Japan Crate Experiences offers discounts and free international shipping. Place your order immediately if you want to make your own onigiri for your family!



Boba Tea

Boba Tea