Eco How To: Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) Recipe

Tutorial submitted by Herban Life Style

While shopping at Hana Market in DC, I picked up some supplies to make onigiri, with the idea that I would try my hand at making these simple, delicious rice balls. This included short-grain brown sushi rice, large flat sheets of nori (dried seaweed), furikake (in this case, a dried mixture of sesame seeds, shredded nori and salmon), as well as a set of onigiri molds.

I started by cooking the rice according to the package directions. It came out perfectly, with enough stickiness that the rice would hold together, without being too gummy.

I then pressed enough rice into a wet heart-shaped mold to fill it half-way deep. It’s important to wet the mold each time to keep the rice from sticking to it.

I placed an umeboshi in the center.

Then added more rice to fill up to the top of the mold.

Then I placed the top of the mold over the rice, and pressed down to compact it.

I then took off the top of the mold, flipped it over, and pressed on the bottom to release the onigiri.

heart-shaped onigiri

Et voilà!

finished onigiri with nori decoration

I then decorated it with a band of nori for visual interest!

It was so easy, and so fun, I tried some different variations. This one has a small amount of cooked salmon.

rice with furikake mixed in. And I also mixed some furikake into the remaining rice to make it look more festive. This also adds some interesting flavor and texture to the plain rice.

finished onigiri

Doesn’t this look delicious? And healthy too. Thanks Mary!

Check out her great shop Herban Life Style.

*Editor’s note: you can use heart shaped or any other simple design cookie cutters as molds instead of these special molds. Or, you can literally, roll the rice in your palms and make rice balls, like meatballs. Check your local supermarket in the “Ethnic Foods” section for these ingredients or check your local Asian market.*

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  1. Thanks so much for the how-to!!! My girls are going to love this.

  2. Christine Vi says:

    That looks very simple! I think I'm going to try that!

  3. herbanlifestyle says:

    thanks so much for posting my tutorial. and thank you also for pointing out that you don't need fancy rice ball molds to make yummy onigiri — hands are just fine!

  4. (blushing from Karen's lovely comments)

    Ok – I want to go make rice balls now (and I JUST ate lunch)!

  5. Here is one great bento shop on Etsy.

  6. sheila at shecological says:

    this is so cool. I think there are lots of sellers on etsy too that sell supplies for onigiri and other cute bento box foods!

  7. Being that my kids are on wheat-free diet these days, rice and beans have become staple carbs in our house. This recipe inspired me to try something new with rice!

    Thanks so much for this recipe!

  8. Celeste Jean says:

    thank you for sharing! my hubs loves japanese rice balls, but i never knew what type of rice to use.