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Yaki Onigiri Grilled Rice Balls

Yaki Onigiri Grilled Rice Balls

  • serves 1
  • 25 minutes

Yaki onigiri, or grilled rice balls, are simply a variety of onigiri rice balls grilled until the rice is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This recipe will explain how to simply prepare your own yaki onigiri rice balls easily at home.


65g japanese rice per onigiri
3-4 tbsp soy sauce – three to four tbsps
sesame seeds (optional)
onigiri rice mould (optional)

How To Prepare

  1. Let’s first prepare the rice following our online recipe for sticky rice if using a saucepan, or by using a rice cooker if you have one. Once the rice is ready, preheat your oven to 190°C. Grab some hot rice and mould it into a triangular or round shape with your hands, making sure to compact the rice as much as possible to stop the onigiri from falling apart when you grill it. If you cooked your rice the night before and it has become cold, just warm it up a few minutes in the microwave. Keep at least one side flat so you can grill it easily. If you don’t trust your hands, you can use an onigiri mould.

  2. Adding a filling to your yaki onigiri is optional, but if you do, simply create a small dent in the centre of the rice and add your chosen ingredient before covering with rice. Be careful though, putting too much filling inside may make your onigiri break apart too easily. Try using cooked tuna or salmon chunks, umeboshi pickled plum even sundried tomatoes.

  3. Grease an oven pan with a little cooking oil and place the onigiri on the pan before putting in the oven. Grill the onigiri for 10 minutes, turning once half way so that both sides are evenly cooked. Be careful when you turn the onigiri over so it doesn’t break apart.

  4. Don’t turn off the oven yet. After grilling for 10 minutes, take the onigiri out and use a cooking brush to cover both sides with soy sauce. Once you have done that, put the onigiri back in the grill for an additional three to four minutes (turn it over halfway for the best result). Now simply sprinkle some sesame seeds over your onigiri and enjoy.

Tips and Information

- Use a paper towel to grease your oven pan with cooking oil.
- Try wetting your hands when moulding the onigiri to help the rice not stick to your hands.
- Try using utensils such as cookie cutters to create unique onigiri shapes.
- If you don’t have a cooking brush, add some soy sauce to a plate then just dip each side of the onigiri in the soy sauce slightly.
- To try a miso flavour instead of soy sauce with one and a half teaspoons of miso, one teaspoon of mirin and one teaspoon of soy sauce. As miso has a stronger taste, just brushing it on one side of the onigiri should be enough.
- You can use a frying pan if it is easier than grilling.