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Basic salted onigiri rice ball

Simple Japanese Salt Onigiri Rice Ball (塩おにぎり)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 5-6 1x


How to make the most standard Japanese Salt Onigiri Rice Ball (塩おにぎり).



  • 660g Cooked short grain Japanese white rice (hot) (300g before cooking)
  • 2g Salt
  • 2 Nori seaweed (Optional)
  • A bowl of iced or cold water


  1. First, cook your rice. Use short grain white rice, preferably Japanese sushi rice or something similar. You need the rice to be sticky so that it holds it shape. We recommend using a rice cooker or see how to cook Japanese rice on the stove here.
  2. Have your set up ready. You should have your cooked rice, a bowl of water and ice and a small bowl of salt. Nori is optional too.
  3. Wash your hands well and then submerge them into the bowl of icy cold water for about 15-20 seconds. This stops the rice sticking to your hands.
  4. Rub 1-2 pinches of salt over the palms your hands. This not only adds the flavour to the rice ball, but also acts as a preservative whilst it’s in your lunchbox.
  5. Take a handful of warm cooked rice and start to press it together, pressing the edges to form a triangle shape. If you press and turn, press and turn, press and turn, you should make a good firm triangle shape.
  6. Don’t handle the rice for too long, quicker is better. Once you’re happy with the shape, wrap it with nori.
  7. Put your hands back in the icy water and repeat. This recipe makes 5-6 rice balls (depending on size).
  8. Eat straight away or put in your lunch box with an ice pack. They’re best eaten the same day.
  9. Enjoy!


If you don’t like the idea of handling the rice too much with your bare hands, you can also put the rice into plastic wrap and shape it like that, just don’t forget to salt the outside of the rice ball before or after shaping.

If you want to make them for tomorrow’s lunch you can wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in the fridge. To stop the rice from getting too hard over night, wrap the plastic wrapped rice ball once more in a towel or kitchen paper.

Practice makes perfect but if you’re having trouble, watch our youtube video or feel free to comment below!

  • Category: Rice
  • Method: Shaping
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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