Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls) Recipe

Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls)

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer


  • 2 cups uncooked Calrose rice (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 1 Tbsp miso
  • 2 tsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 tsp sake
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp neutral, high-heat oil (such as canola)
  • Garnishes:
  • Furikake (dried seaweed flakes), sesame seeds, pickled ginger, umeboshi puree (pickled plum)


  1. In a sieve, rinse rice until water runs clear. In a large pot (that has a lid), add rice and 2 cups water. The water should rise 1 inch above the rice. Boil uncovered until water line decreases to the top of the rice. Cover, remove from heat, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix miso, mirin, sake, sesame oil, sugar, and rice vinegar.
  3. Fluff rice and allow to cool slightly (see Cook’s Tips). Using wet, oiled, or gloved hands, press 1/4-cup portions of rice into tight triangles (onigiri), using pressure so the shape holds. Cover the onigiri with plastic wrap to keep them moist.
  4. Heat a small, heavy-bottomed pan. While the pan heats, brush both sides of rice triangles with miso mixture.
  5. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to pan and tilt to coat. Working in batches, lay a few onigiri in pan, keeping space around each one. Cook until browned and crisp. Carefully flip and brown the other side. Continue until you brown all the pieces.
  6. To serve, sprinkle with furikake or sesame seeds. Serve with pickled ginger and umeboshi, as desired.
  7. Cook’s Tips:
  8. Do not use jasmine or another long-grain variety of rice.
  9. Stiff, plastic utensils work best for fluffing the rice as they stick less.


Amount Per Serving (based on 6 servings)
Calories: 250
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: .5 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 105 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 1 g
Total Sugar: 2 g
Added Sugars: 1 g
Protein: 4 g
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