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Yaki onigiri or grilled rice balls seasoned with soy sauce and grilled until crispy.
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5 from 66 votes

Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls) 焼きおにぎり

Yaki onigiri (焼きおにぎり) or Japanese grilled rice balls are an easy and popular snack or lunch in Japan. They're grilled, pan-fried, or roasted until the outside crust has a crispy texture while the rice inside is soft and fluffy. Yaki onigiri can be flavored with various seasonings including soy sauce, miso butter, or teriyaki sauce!
Prep Time2 mins
3 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2
Calories: 211kcal



  • 2 cups cooked rice short or medium-grain; warm
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • soy sauce


Shape Rice Ball

  • Shape by hand: Wet your hands with water and take about ⅓ to ½ cup of warm rice in your hands. Using both hands, firmly press the rice into a triangular shape.
    Shape with mold: Fill the mold with the appropriate amount of rice and firmly press to create your shape.
    2 cups cooked rice
    Triangular onigiri mold filled with rice.


  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add the oil. Grill each side of the rice ball until a crispy, golden-brown crust forms. Avoid flipping often to keep the shape intact.
    1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
    Grilled rice balls in a pan and seasoned with soy sauce until crispy.

Season with sauce

  • Lower to low heat and brush one side with soy sauce and flip to caramelize the sauce slightly. Check after 15 to 30 seconds as it can easily burn. Brush the other side with soy sauce and flip to caramelize that side. Serve and optionally sprinkle with furikake while still hot. Enjoy!
    soy sauce
    Yaki onigiri with a golden-brown, crispy crust covered with furikake.


Makes 4 to 6 yaki onigiri. 
More Sauce ideas :
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Miso butter - Mix 1 tablespoon of miso and butter together with a pinch of sugar. Thin with water until a smooth paste forms. 
Make-ahead and storage: Store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, or toast in the oven.


  • Short or medium-grain rice is required as its sticky nature helps shape the yaki onigiri without falling apart. Long-grain rice such as Jasmine rice isn't sticky enough.
  • Using warm rice helps it hold its shape as cold rice isn't very sticky.
  • Wet your hands with water to prevent sticking.
  • If adding any filling, create an indentation and then cover completely with rice.
  • Use fillings that are low in moisture to prevent the rice from getting soggy.


Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 504mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg