Easy Japanese Recipes

Yaki Onigiri | Grilled Rice Ball 焼きおにぎり

Yaki Onigiri | Grilled Rice Ball Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I had a really busy yet fun weekend with my family.  We went cherry & peach picking on Saturday with our friends (8 families!), followed by amazing BBQ party at a friend’s house.  Our children are all same/similar ages (13 of them) so they had a blast playing with water, jumpers, and running around while adults enjoyed catching up with one another under gorgeous weather.  On Sunday I spent half day for my photo shoot for an upcoming recipe and then we went to a local park with water feature so that our kids can run around while the warm weather lasts.  How was your weekend?

Today I’m going to share Yaki Onigiri (焼きおにぎり) recipe.  Yaki means “grilled” in Japanese (you probably heard enough from my blog – Teriyaki, Yakisoba, Yakiniku, Yakitori, etc), and onigiri means “rice ball.”  Onigiri (recipe here) is made of white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes.  Onigiri is filled with pickled plum called umeboshi, salted salmon, katsuobushi (or okaka), kombu, or tarako in it and is often wrapped in nori (seaweed).  But today’s onigiri is grilled, typically on a frying pan or over a barbecue grill.  Rather than grilling over charcoal, I used a cast iron pan to create similar crispiness to how it would taste if cooked over BBQ grill.

Although most yaki onigiri is commonly glazed with soy sauce or miso, I actually love using leftover homemade Unagi Sauce for yaki onigiri.  The unagi sauce is a sweet caramelized soy sauce and the savory aroma of the sauce blends perfectly with white rice!  It’s a wonderful snack for children and adults.

If you live near a Japanese supermarket, you can probably find conveniently packaged pre-made yaki onigiri in the freezer section.  But, really, it’s so easy to make from scratch I hope you will give it a try!  Especially it’s barbecue season now and this can be an unique addition to your Asian-style barbecue menus.  Enjoy!

Yaki Onigiri | Grilled Rice Ball | JustOneCookbook.com

Yaki Onigiri Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Makes 4-6 onigiri
  • Cooked Japanese rice (Used 2 rice cooker cups (360ml) of uncooked premium short grain rice)*
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Soy sauce (I use homemade Unagi Sauce.)
Things you need
  • Wet towel to wipe your hands
  • Brush
  1. Let the cooked rice cool a little bit until you can hold rice without burning your hands. Do not let the rice completely cool down.
  2. Make Onigiri into triangle shapes. First wet both of your hands with water so rice won't stick.
  3. Then put some salt in your hands and rub to spread all around.
  4. Scoop about a half cup of rice onto your palm.
  5. Cover the rice with the other hand and gently form the rice into a triangle.
  6. Make sure covering hand (my right hand) should be forming a triangle shape. When forming the onigiri shape, your hands should be just firm enough so the onigiri doesn't fall apart. You don't want to squeeze the rice too tight.
  7. I use three fingers (thumb, index finger, middle finger) to cover the area to make a nice triangle shape. Then rotate onigiri to make a perfect triangle.
  8. While you squeeze onigiri firmly with both hands, one of your hand (my left hand) has to press onigiri to keep a nice form. Left photo is before squeezing and right photo is after.
  9. Gently squeeze the center of triangle on both sides so there is a slight indentation (for grilling onigiri). Now onigiri is ready! You can tell I’m not a good onigiri maker – no matter how many years I have been practicing.
  10. Lightly oil a cast iron skillet and put it on medium heat.
  11. Grill onigiri until all sides are crispy and lightly browned. Don't turn it around. Just work on one side at a time and avoid turning over frequently.
  12. Lower heat to medium low and brush all sides with soy sauce (unagi sauce). Rotate to make sure all sides become crispy. Be careful not to burn onigiri after you brush it with the sauce.
Prep + Cook Time depends on how many onigiri you make.

*1 rice cooker measuring cup (180ml) of uncooked rice will make 2 to 3 onigiri.


Yaki Onigiri | Grilled Rice Ball | JustOneCookbook.com

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3 + = nine

  • Raymund June 25, 2012, 1:09 am

    I never had something like this, usually its the normal one filled with tuna. I am already thinking what to pair this with, lots of options.

  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef June 25, 2012, 1:09 am

    I love how you meticulously shaped these. They look delicious!

  • donna mikasa June 25, 2012, 1:32 am

    Oh, these would be great just by themselves with a cup of tea! And definitely brushed with unagi sauce! Have a great week, Nami!

  • Choc Chip Uru June 25, 2012, 1:40 am

    This looks insanely delicious – pour a little curry over it and I would be in heaven :D
    Delicious my friend!


  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok June 25, 2012, 1:45 am

    Fabulous Nami, this is my kinda snack. Don’t think I could shape them as perfectly as you though.

  • Adora's Box June 25, 2012, 2:12 am

    This would be so good to serve with barbecues. Less mess and already portioned. I thought there would be a mould because they are all the same and perfectly shaped. Glad you enjoyed your weekend, Nami.

  • faithy June 25, 2012, 2:22 am

    This looks so good!! My mouth is watering right now as i am typing this! I’m so hungry..and it’s almost dinner time.

  • ila(MyWayToCook) June 25, 2012, 2:51 am

    Simple and mouth watering recipe ..:) I am going to try this really soon…Thank you so much sharing with us.

  • Adrian (What the Heck is Filipino Food) June 25, 2012, 2:59 am

    oooh, I love crispy rice – they’re the best bits in claypots :)

    What a simple yet perfect snack. In fact, this would make a great appetiser for house parties.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella June 25, 2012, 3:20 am

    You know my favourite part of when my mother cooked fried rice, was eating the crunchy bits at the bottom. That’s why I like yaki onigiri-because it has to best bits! :D

  • Emily @ Life on Food June 25, 2012, 3:23 am

    This looks so interesting. I bet the grill leaves the rice with a different taste and texture. I cannot wait till the peaches are ready here. Another month probably before we can go peach picking!

  • Maja June 25, 2012, 3:23 am

    Oh my God! Until now, I thought I tried rice in every way, but this is so easy and beautiful!

  • Sandra June 25, 2012, 3:52 am

    I don’t know if I could get a perfect triangle, but I would sure try. Lately we don’t eat much rice and this recipe would be a great re-introduction. Looking forward to finding out about that long photo shoot.

  • chinmayie @ love food eat June 25, 2012, 4:13 am

    This is incredible! It looks so fancy considering how simple it actually is. I am thinking it can be made much smaller and served as an appetizer? Interesting.

  • Medeja June 25, 2012, 4:26 am

    They look beautiful :) But how long it would take me to shape them I can’t even imagine :D lovely recipe

  • Belinda @zomppa June 25, 2012, 4:37 am

    Sounds like a fun weekend! Love the idea of grilling these and making BBQs more unique!

  • Coffee and Crumpets June 25, 2012, 5:18 am

    These look wonderful! Everyone’s favourite is crispy rice. I can already think of a million ways to utilise them. Beautiful photos as always.

    Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend.


  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover June 25, 2012, 5:36 am

    Look like you had a wonderful weekend too, so did I. When i see the pictures on how you mould rice, it remind me of the chicken rice balls that I took in the recent Melaka trip, hehehe.. I have never try Grilled onigiri before but I know my kids will love to see this in their bento lunch box.

  • Ashley June 25, 2012, 5:42 am

    This recipe looks like a lot of fun, Nami!! I love anything involving rice – so it’s perfect for me.

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce June 25, 2012, 6:31 am

    I never saw this before, and looks not to difficult to make. In Peru we eat everything with rice, so this is a good idea to change rice presentation, and flavor.

  • Kimmi June 25, 2012, 6:36 am

    These look amazing, as always! =) What an easy and fun variation to regular onigiri — and the photos detailing the steps to shaping onigiri are much, much appreciated by a beginner like me.

    It also sounds like your family had a lovely weekend! All that delectable summer fruit!

  • Mandy - The Complete Cook Book June 25, 2012, 7:19 am

    I love your step by step photos Nami – always so helpful.
    :-) Mandy

  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen June 25, 2012, 7:27 am

    These rice balls are terrific! I’ve had this before, but it was so long ago. I must make them. Thanks for the step by step process. And thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me some blog-love, Nami! I appreciate your kindness & support! All the best to you!

  • Laura @ Family Spice June 25, 2012, 7:35 am

    When we make rice, the Persian way, we like the bottom to crisp up to make a crunchy crust. It’s always gone in a flash, so these crunchy rice balls remind me of our rice crust. I’m sure it would be a great hit with the family!

  • Tanvi@SinfullySpicy June 25, 2012, 7:52 am

    What a fun weekend you had! Water park & BBQ sound amazing way ti be outdoors.
    What do you eat it with? Looks slightly similar to thai gluitinous rice.I think this will pIr up well with sweet & sour fish I make.

  • A_Boleyn June 25, 2012, 8:01 am

    I’ve been waiting for this post for a while. :) Your pictures make forming the triangles so easy but I’ve tried and tried and mine are still misshapen. At least my unfilled triangles stay in one piece unlike my tuna salad or bbq pork with hoisin sauce ones which fall apart as I’m grilling/basting.

    I forgot to look for pork belly on this weekend’s trip to the city market but I’ll try to look next time to recreate your honey dish.

  • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles June 25, 2012, 8:23 am

    Cheery & peach picking? How fun! I’ve not done either of those… sounds like you had a great weekend. I’m completely excited to try this recipe – I’ve never grilled rice balls before but it looks straight forward and I think my kids would really enjoy these! I love how you brush them with soy sauce… so yummy looking ~

  • kitchenriffs June 25, 2012, 8:24 am

    You’re such a great cook! I always learn so much when I read your posts. Great, instructive pictures. This dish is so simple, but it sounds simply wonderful. Really excellent post – thanks.

  • Jeno @ Week Nite Meals June 25, 2012, 8:35 am

    Hi Nami!!! I am finally catching up with commenting on blogs, still so tired from the long family vacation, plus I puppy sat for a friend whose husband decided to take her for a romantic Saturday night out, she’s a good puppy, but still needs much more attention than Booger, so I am having a hard time keeping my eyes open today, Ugh!

    Anyway, I’ve never had one of those rice rolls, they look wonderful! Growing up I remembering seeing them in Japanese comics, when people go on road trip they would carry a few of those with them in a cloth sack, do you ever put stuffing in the center? I can imagine these as wonderful sweet or savory snacks!

  • Ashley Bee June 25, 2012, 8:38 am

    That’s great your kids are all the same age–when I was little my parents had kids young, so there was never anyone for us to play with since their friends had kids much later. This is a fun take on the rice balls, I think the sauce and the grilling would give it great flavor!

  • Cassie June 25, 2012, 8:45 am

    Love the shape of these. Fun recipe, Nami!

  • Rhonda (@diningalone) June 25, 2012, 8:58 am

    I will definitely have to look for these the next time I head to the Asian markets, they look so tasty!

  • love2dine June 25, 2012, 9:17 am

    What a great recipe

  • DB-The Foodie Stuntman June 25, 2012, 9:44 am

    I’ve been meaning to prepare an Italian version of rice balls called arancini. My wife eats rice a lot and I tire of it easy so I might prepare this as a change of pace.

  • starmonkey3 June 25, 2012, 9:51 am

    Mmmm…and so easy! My mom use to make rice balls when I was little. She use to put a pickled plum in the middle. It was like eating your way to get to the prize in the middle! :)

    • Nami June 25, 2012, 10:07 am

      That’s true!  Hmmm come to think of it, I don’t know why we don’t put anything in Yaki Onigiri.  Maybe because it can be easily broken into pieces if something in it and grilled?  I like umeboshi (picked plum) and okaka (bonito flake + soy sauce) inside. :-) 

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious June 25, 2012, 10:13 am

    Wow, my ultimately weakness = carbs! I could seriously have 100 of these drizzled with that amazing unagi sauce!

  • Jen @ Savory Simple June 25, 2012, 10:23 am

    I cannot wait to try these!

  • Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) June 25, 2012, 11:38 am

    sounds like such a fun weekend! and those rice balls sound so delicious! i’ve gotta try them!

  • Candice June 25, 2012, 11:39 am

    I love Yaki Onigiri. =) I’ve bought the frozen ones from Trader Joes, but thanks to your recipe, I can easily make this at home.

    I’m glad you had a good weekend.

  • Ramona June 25, 2012, 12:08 pm

    If I could only pick one starch to live on for the rest of my life.. it would be rice. I love how elegant these grilled rice balls look. I am also so jealous you got to go cherry picking. I am crazy about cherries…I can eat a whole bag in one sitting. :)

  • Cucina49 June 25, 2012, 1:25 pm

    Oh, I really want some of that unagi sauce–and these little balls look like a perfect appetizer. The texture looks amazing!

  • Denise June 25, 2012, 1:29 pm

    We make onigiri but I have never tried it grilled. I think we would all love it with the sauce! Yum!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) June 25, 2012, 1:45 pm

    What a fun weekend, I hope your kids enjoyed the cherry and peach picking! I’ve never tried Yaki Onigiri but it sounds amazing – I love the crispiness! :)

  • Sook June 25, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Nami, thanks for posting this recipe. I love rice balls. I used to make them all the time and now I’m craving some. I am glad you got to enjoy a fun weekend with friends and family!

  • Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet June 25, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Seems like you had a fun weekend, Nami! I love fruit picking too! And this grilled rice look incredible great :) As always I love your step by step pics. I’m saving your lovely recipe right now!

    Hugs <3

  • Suzi June 25, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Oh Nami you know this is perfect for me. I can’t wait to make these and so easy. I will let you know how mine turn ou. Thanks my friend, I know how tasty these will be with the brushed soy sauce.

  • Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers June 25, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I absolutely love this Nami! I can’t wait to try this one. Thanks for sharing!

  • tigerfish June 25, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Hope you are enjoying a great good time with your family, Nami. We also had a mini BBQ at a friend’s place yesterday and gosh I am already so tired today :O …..

    Love that smoky char on the yaki-onigiri

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen June 25, 2012, 4:00 pm

    I love these, I had to pin them. Thank you for the detailed step by step instructions, very helpful!

  • Bam's Kitchen June 25, 2012, 4:31 pm

    My boys love grilled onigiri but I have never tried unagi sauce, Great idea! (sometimes I put in a small sauce pan soy, sugar and some dashi to brush on the onigiri) I can tell your kids are either on or nearing summer holiday and I am looking forward to seeing some more yummy kid friend dishes from Nami-san’s kitchen. Ja Mata, BAM

  • Eha June 25, 2012, 5:29 pm

    These look delightful, Nami! So easy to make and so appetizing to look at. Yes, am certain I would very happily eat them on their own too, made with the unagi sauce of course :) !

  • Ben June 25, 2012, 5:59 pm

    My weekend was amazing! We went camping to this gorgeous natural resort where I saw so much that I’m still sore. Those rice balls look amazing!

  • CC June 25, 2012, 6:18 pm

    Yummy grilled onigiri! You say you are not skilled in shaping onigiri, Nami but I think they look gorgeous. I’m not good at shaping onigiri, and mine seriously do not look like that. haha. In the end, I roll them in a ball =P

  • Balvinder June 25, 2012, 6:20 pm

    I never had these rice balls but it will be a unique addition to one of my summer get together with friends.

  • Karin June 25, 2012, 6:26 pm

    Thank you Nami for your quick and easy recipes. I usually go to your blog for help when I need to make obentos for my sons. Previously, I tried making yaki onigiri for my sons with left over rice. When I grill it on the pan, the rice ball breaks apart and I usually end up with fried rice. So, I thought the trick was to freeze it before I grill it but that was obviously not the solution. Do I have to make the yaki ongiri using fresh cooked rice and with Japanese rice? What about with Korean rice?

    • Nami June 25, 2012, 6:41 pm

      Hi Karin! Thank you for following my blog and trying my recipes. :-) Actually a lot of people including myself use leftover rice for yaki onigiri. You can freeze the rice when you cook it and on the day you use it, you just need to microwave it.

      I specifically said Japanese rice for this recipe because I think other kinds of rice are not sticky enough. Korean rice seems to be more similar to Japanese rice than Jasmine rice, so I thought it would work (but I assume you were using Korean rice?). If it doesn’t work, then I only recommend Japanese rice as I know breaking into pieces won’t happen (in fact, it’s hard to let go once you stick to your hands etc).

      Also, make sure to firmly squeeze onigiri (but not too tight like rock – rice can’t be mushed). Hope this helps. :-)

  • hellene June 25, 2012, 6:30 pm

    I was just thinking what to do for dinner tonite and your pictures kind of help me decide that it will be onigiri. Hope mine will turn up just as good looking as yours.

  • Reem | Simply Reem June 25, 2012, 6:41 pm

    This is Fantastic!!
    You know although very different but most of the time when I cook rice I add some butter to let the crust get crispy it is known as Tahdeeg, my kids fight over it..lOL
    This will make them so happy!!!

  • Kitchen Belleicious June 25, 2012, 6:45 pm

    i just love it! I do Nami! I mean i love everything you make but these rice balls look amazing and i love the fact they are grilled. It just screams absolutely sinfully delicious

  • yummychunklet June 25, 2012, 7:32 pm

    I just love this idea, especially since I love rice!

  • mjskit June 25, 2012, 7:42 pm

    Sounds like you had a great weekend! I’m envious of the cherry and especially the peach picking! I need to find a peach tree nearby. A neighbor has an apricot tree which is loaded this year, so I’ve been picking a few apricots here and there as they ripened. Nothing better than fresh picked fruit! These rice balls look SO good and relatively easy to make. Love the simplicity of them and definitely something I’ll be trying. Because I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, and love sweet rice, could a little mirin be added to the soy sauce or would it caramelize it too much?

  • Katherine Martinelli June 25, 2012, 7:58 pm

    These look so delicious and even sound like something I could manage! I love anything I can cook in my cast iron pan. Your weekend sounds like so much fun, especially cherry and peach picking!

  • Daksha June 25, 2012, 8:02 pm

    Hi Nami, like this triangle shape rice patties….this Japanese dish i will must try!!

  • Kristy June 25, 2012, 8:39 pm

    I’ve never seen anything like these. They look so good too. And with unagi sauce…mmmmm.

  • Alyssa June 25, 2012, 9:39 pm

    I love this! I think the kids would have a good time shaping these. This might even be the way to get my son to eat rice (he HATES it, crazy, I know!) I’m loving all of your grilling recipes lately! If you did this on an outdoor grill, would you use a grill plate or just put it straight on the grill? Hope you are having a great week!

    • Nami June 26, 2012, 12:49 am

      Either way is fine. Just make sure not to burn. :-)

  • The Squishy Monster June 25, 2012, 9:58 pm

    HOW FUN! I can’t wait to try this with my brothers =D

  • Blackswan June 25, 2012, 11:48 pm

    My family is a huge fan of おにぎり. Just one question. Always wonder if I can put these onto the BBQ grill directly. If it’s possible, it’s just great for outdoor BBQ party.

    • Nami June 26, 2012, 12:48 am

      Yes, directly is fine. Just make sure not to burn. :-)

  • Rosa June 26, 2012, 12:13 am

    Those are fabulous and look really scrumptious! Lovely clicks too.



  • Sonia June 26, 2012, 12:30 am

    Will definitely try this. This is perfect to go with simple Asian meals. Thanks 8);

  • Charles June 26, 2012, 1:19 am

    Those look just adorable – when I was in Japan I had something like this but with tuna inside and a little piece of nori around the outside (actually, sometimes it was completely covered in nori)… is it the same thing?

    I would worry a lot about the whole thing falling to pieces when frying? Are they very easy to fry or to you have to be quite delicate when handling them in the pan?

    • Nami June 26, 2012, 1:44 am

      You always have good questions to ask!

      1) What you had is simple “Onigiri”. Usually there is something in it and wrapped with Nori. This one is grilled, and usually nothing in it. Just grilled and glazed with soy sauce.

      2) It’s easy to fry but you shouldn’t be flipping around. You need to work on each side one at a time. It takes some time to make all sides crispy. Once it’s crispy, it’s like hard shell and it won’t break into pieces. :-)

  • Joanne June 26, 2012, 4:52 am

    I love anything involving sticky rice! These sound delicious!

  • Janine June 26, 2012, 5:16 am

    i’ve actually never had this but i’m definitely trying this out ASAP because I LOVE the charred brown bits of rice, especially when eating from stone bowls/claypots and this is awesome!

  • Shu Han June 26, 2012, 5:42 am

    Oh this looks so simple but I love it! I think pan frying adds a nice caramelised flavour dimension to the usual onigri! great tips on shaping it too, I can never get that right!

  • Nillawan June 26, 2012, 6:02 am

    Oh my goodness, I know what these are. I eat it all the time at this little hidden away Japanese restaurant here in Adelaide. It looks like it will be ordinary because its just rice but it isn’t ordinary at all. It is so mega delicious!! I love it so much. Sometimes I order mine with cheese on top (ha ha that option on the menu might be for Australian customers?). I’m so glad you put this recipe up because I have no idea what the chef does to make rice taste that good. All this time just think the chef is a wizard.

  • Dara June 26, 2012, 6:06 am

    Fabulous! I appreciate the step by step photos. Grilled rice is brilliant for cookouts!

  • Nancy/SpicieFoodie June 26, 2012, 6:20 am

    Hi Nami,

    Glad to hear you are enjoying summer:) I wish I could have tagged along to the cherry picking. Yaki onigiri is new to me, sort of. I’ve had rice cakes prepared similarly but never exactly like these. I have to try them and it couldn’t been easier. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sissi June 26, 2012, 8:01 am

    Nami, your onigiri make me feel so ashamed… I love onigiri and never dare posting them because they are so ugly! I never manage such beautiful triangles. Your detailed step-by-step photos will help me I hope! (Otherwise I have a special plastic tool to cheat ;-) but I wanted to be able to make just like you do!).
    I must say I have been planning to grill onigiri for such a long time… I’m sure I will love it! Thank you for reminding me (and making me onigiri hungry!)

  • Hannah June 26, 2012, 9:25 am

    These look delicious, Nami! I appreciate you sharing your technique. I don’t think I can shape them as beautifully as you, though!

  • sophia June 26, 2012, 9:29 am

    I went cherry-picking once and I remember how wonderful it was. I’m glad you’re having such a wonderful and delicious summer, Nami! I wish I could pack some of these yaki onigiri out for a picnic right now.

  • Patty June 26, 2012, 12:57 pm

    I love your recipes Nami! My husband would go nuts for these rice balls and I’m thinking of one of your posts on grilled chicken or beef to go with;-) Japanese food may not just be eaten only at restaurants anymore, thanks for for recipes and inspiration Nami;-)

  • gloria June 26, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Look really nice and yumm!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts June 26, 2012, 3:22 pm

    13 kids?! Sounds like a wild and crazy day! Glad you had a good weekend. These little rice balls look wonderful. I love the idea of grilling them.

  • Juliana June 26, 2012, 3:47 pm

    I never had rice this way…they sure look cute :)
    Love the pictures Nami…hope you are enjoying your week!

  • Lola Lobato June 26, 2012, 3:57 pm

    They look lovely, I have to try making them. Yummy…

  • kankana June 26, 2012, 4:00 pm

    WOW 13 kids .. that must have been fun :)
    You always share such interesting recipes. Never knew rice could be grilled!

  • Tania @ A Perfect Pantry June 26, 2012, 4:02 pm

    These look so yummy and fun.

  • Susie June 26, 2012, 4:48 pm

    These look yummy!!! I have never had a grilled rice ball… but I want one now! Recipe seems totally manageable I will have to try making them myself.

  • Carolyn Jung June 26, 2012, 6:04 pm

    These are some of my fave things in the world. So simple, yet so satisfying. I’ve yet to make them, myself. But you’ve convinced me how easy it is to do at home. ;)

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. June 26, 2012, 8:42 pm

    These are great, Nami! And your step-by-step photos are really helpful!

  • Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings June 26, 2012, 8:51 pm

    Wow! 8 families at the party! That must have been really fun!

    My kids love rice balls…they always steal mine when I order sushi at the restaurant! Argh! So…if I made these at home for them…hopefully, no more stealing and I can enjoy my sushi at last!

  • Lisa H June 26, 2012, 10:13 pm

    wow fantastic weekend you had, Nami :) … I love outings to fruit orchard… didnt get to do much out here :(, cherry farm is hundreds of kilometers away… and peaches orchard… dont think its open to public…
    … just had chicken sandwich for lunch and my tummy is growling looking at your yaki onigiri

  • Baker Street June 27, 2012, 1:04 am

    I love how you shaped the rice balls! Never tried it but it certainly sounds delicious.

  • FiSh June 27, 2012, 2:44 am

    i usually have raw onigiri :) didn’t know that yaki method does good too!

    Latest: Arabic For You!

  • Alana June 27, 2012, 5:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this process! I love yaki onigiri but have never known how to make it. Love your photos too!

  • Michael Beyer June 27, 2012, 5:57 am

    Hi Nami–I’m always in awe of your photography and today is no different. How you are able to transform a simple onigiri into a work of art is a testament to your skills.
    - Michael

  • Lori Lynn June 27, 2012, 6:37 am

    Ha! I love to make yaki onigiri, but I use a plastic mold (don’t be mad).
    Yours look so fabulous, I need to make some soon, I was thinking of trying them with quinoa…

  • Nina June 27, 2012, 7:25 am

    I have never heard something like this…i love the shape. I am sure it tasted great Nami:)

  • ChopinandMysaucepan June 27, 2012, 8:08 am

    Dear Nami,

    A Japanese friend made this for one once and I was suprised at how easy it was when I saw her shaping the rice exactly like how you did with your hands. I love it with the sweet unagi sauce too.

  • Malou | Skip to Malou June 27, 2012, 9:16 am

    your step by step photos and procedure are so helpful. Who takes your pictures when you do all these? Is it your husband? Well if he is then I admire his support for you!
    This looks so simple yet i’ve never done anything like it. Will really try this. But I have jasmine rice for now. I’ll try it still and let you know.
    Tonight’s menu is Japanese inspred then… sukiyaki, terriyaki and this Yaki Onigiri.. thanks for tonight’s dinner inspiration.

    • Nami June 27, 2012, 12:20 pm

      Let me know if Jasmine rice works. I know steamed Jasmine rice is more loose when it’s cooked. Japanese rice is always stick to each other (but different from sticky rice).

  • Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) June 27, 2012, 9:36 am

    Wow. This is something new for me again, and I simply love it! My mouth is watering. I’m also imagining this with a little sugar in it… to make it a sweet grilled rice ball…. oh my.

  • melissa@the hungry artist June 27, 2012, 9:42 am

    Oh my gosh, yum! I miss eating this! Never thought to just make ‘em myself! Yours look so delectable. I could easily eat two at a time!

  • Eva Taylor June 27, 2012, 10:04 am

    These look very pretty. I wonder if you could put something inside, kind of like a surprise when you bite into it? They remind me of the Italian Arancine, except that they are deep fried instead of grilled.

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz June 27, 2012, 10:32 am

    What an awesome weekend you had! Drinks and dinners with friends for me. This is a lovely recipe to keep on list. I lie the grilled aspect of it. Funny in the first pics they look small…until we see them in your hands. How did the apple tea turn out?

  • Geni June 27, 2012, 11:22 am

    Your step-by-step photos make it easy for anyone to make this and are really appreciated. The dish looks so delicious and it would certainly expand my family’s weekday meal repertoire! Thank you for stopping by my blog after my guest post at Raymund’s (Ang Sarap). Please have a wonderful rest of the week.

  • beti June 27, 2012, 8:27 pm

    THANK YOU I can’t find them in here and I’ve always wanted to make them :)

  • Hotly Spiced June 27, 2012, 8:30 pm

    What an unusual shape. Westerners would just turn them into little round balls. These are much more interesting. I love the golden colour of them xx

  • Priscilla @ShesCookin June 27, 2012, 8:36 pm

    Chloe and I love onigiri – we even had some while we were in Paris! But we’ve never tried to make it at home – with your step-by-step directions we will have to try it. I love the idea of a crispy shell and sweet, caramelized unagi sauce.

  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) June 27, 2012, 9:11 pm

    I love your step-by-step pictures–leaves no room for mistakes! Will have to try this sometime; and yes, I keep Japanese rice in stock! :)

  • Jenny June 27, 2012, 10:14 pm

    Hi Nami, those really do look very tasty. it really impresses me that Japanese food is so often a very simple idea which looks good and tasty. Perfect food, really. I wonder if your kids got to make any – looks like fun to make!. I spent my weekend clearing out my son’s room, ready for refurbishment. Think I would have preferred picking peaches, really, sounds like such fun. Glad you’re all enjoying the sunshine. Here we are having typical English weather – warm one day, cool and rainy the next. Good for the garden, though!

  • Sammie June 28, 2012, 1:28 am

    Thanks for sharing this Nami!! Do you usually fill the Onigiri with anything inside? hehe.. Also what kind of rice do you use? Is Japanese rice similar to glutinous rice?? yummmyyyy

  • Katerina June 28, 2012, 3:09 am

    Your instructions and photos are very helpful Nami! I have an oriental grocery store. I will try to find this rice and try it because it looks very easy and tasty!

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) June 28, 2012, 11:27 am

    I know the traditional tringular-shaped onigiri, but I’ve never seen them grilled. Looks very good! :D

  • Javelin Warrior June 28, 2012, 9:51 pm

    Another intriguing and beautiful post, Nami – I’m featuring this in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I always love dropping by to see what you’ve created and I always leave hungry and inspired…

  • Nic@diningwithastud June 28, 2012, 10:04 pm

    What a perfect char :) they look so great

  • Jen at The Three Little Piglets June 29, 2012, 11:35 am

    Those sound delicious Nami! And so simple even better! Hope you have been well and enjoying your summer.

  • Sylvia@Peaches and Donuts June 29, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Your step by steps photos makes it so much easier for us to understand how it’s done! Your rice ball is beautifully grilled!

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet June 30, 2012, 2:47 am

    I’d love to go on a picnic with you Nami :) It’ll be filled with wonderful food and hehe it’ll be like one of those scenes from those Anime dramas I always watch growing up hehe

    You’re too talented! I’ve never been able to make a Onigiri hehe I even went to the extreme to buy one of those moulds to make it :D

  • Sonia June 30, 2012, 8:40 am

    Hi Nami! Just to say I made these last night. Unagi sauce is not available in our local Asian store, so I used Kecap Manis instead. It was so easy to make and we all enjoyed it. I was rushing because we were out the whole day so I was not able to take photos because we were all so hungry. Grilling the rice gives it a different depth than the usual. But I will make it again very soon. Thanks again for sharing. 8);

    • Nami June 30, 2012, 11:54 am

      Hi Sonia! I’m glad you enjoyed yaki onigiri! I have Kecap Manis at home too. Crispy rice with Kecap Manis..hmm sounds so good! I should give it a try! :-)

  • kita July 1, 2012, 6:40 pm

    Onigiri is one of those things that I have always wanted to nibble on, but have never had the chance to try. Once you add some kicked up grill flavor to it’s now something I am going to be hunting down at every one of my local Asain markets and menus when we go to restaurants! (annd someday hope to make myself).

  • Reese@SeasonwithSpice July 1, 2012, 6:55 pm

    Grilled rice with unagi sauce?! Absolutely perfect for an Asian-theme BBQ, Nami. We finally went to the city to check out the largest Asian grocery in the Mid West. Oh boy, I was like a 3-year-old in a candy store when I saw the selection of Japanese products at the store. Once I have my own kitchen, I will sure be digging through your recipes for some Japanese food fest! This one is a must try! I’d love to stuff it with some fresh salmon too:)

  • Food Jaunts July 1, 2012, 7:09 pm

    I love grilled rice, especially the slightly crispy outside. That unagi sauce seems like the perfect match.

  • nipponnin July 1, 2012, 10:41 pm


  • Debra Kapellakis July 2, 2012, 1:33 pm

    This is such a new thing to me. Thank you for sharing.

  • Magic of Spice July 7, 2012, 1:49 pm

    I have not been cherry picking in such a long time, how fun :)
    And I love these grilled rice ball, will have to try these :)

  • A Little Yumminess July 9, 2012, 8:15 pm

    We recently made onigiri. But didn’ grill them…must try!

  • Jill July 10, 2012, 1:45 am

    I love japanese rice balls but have never made them myself. When I was at school I had a friend who was japanese and would sometimes bring these for her lunch and she always swapped some for my boring sandwiches!

  • amelia from z tasty life July 10, 2012, 10:50 pm

    oh my! My son, who is a fan of rice and soy sauce, would absolutely adore these!!! BTW, they vaguely remind me of our Italian arancini (stuffed risotto balls), which are fried. I love the idea that these are grilled.

  • Bertha August 18, 2012, 4:08 pm

    Hi Nami,
    I just discovered Yaki Onigiri today at a Mitsuwa festival and loved it. I never new about this type of Onigiri. Thank you for posting the recipe. I’m definitely going to try making it.
    What brand of Japanese rice do you typically use? There were so many to choose from at Mitsuwa, I don’t know which one to pick. Can you recommend a brand please.

    • Nami August 18, 2012, 7:41 pm

      Hi Bertha! Thank you for the link back to this yaki onigiri tutorial from your blog. :-)

      I usually pick Koshihikari (http://justonecookbook.com/pantry/japanese-premium-short-grain-rice/) as I have been eating this brand from when I was young. I’ve tried several different brands around the same price range before, but I usually come back to Koshihikari. Hope this helps!

  • Laura Hahn August 28, 2012, 8:41 pm

    I am always looking for new gluten free fun recipes! This one is amazing. I think it will be great stuffed with mung bean.

  • Joshua Bennett September 9, 2012, 4:32 pm

    I am doing this for dinner! tonight!

  • Bruna October 14, 2012, 9:30 am

    Looks great! though, if you add some rice vinegar to the water it keeps the flavor in better (and doesn’t make ‘em too salty) also, an ice cube in the water (and proper dipping) will keep all grains from sticking to your hands.

    • Nami October 14, 2012, 10:32 am

      Hi Bruna! I’ve never used rice vinegar for making onigiri and the ice cube technique is new to me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Bruna! :)

  • Joy December 30, 2012, 12:46 am

    This is my husbands and mines favorite dish at our local yakitori restaurant (we live in Japan right now) and I am looking forward to making this tonight for dinner!

    • Nami December 31, 2012, 12:07 am

      Hi Joy! Thank you for stopping by my blog! I hope you and your husband liked this Yaki Onigiri recipe. I’m so jealous you are in Japan especially in New Year celebration time. I miss home… :)

  • maha January 15, 2013, 6:52 pm

    wow….very creative n spicy rice balls…….

  • Paw April 24, 2013, 1:22 am

    Mine turns out scrambled all over around… :(
    but still tasty! thanks! haha… very happy to found this recipe, now I can eat rice creatively ^^

    • Nami April 24, 2013, 9:12 am

      Hi Paw! Japanese rice is stickier than other rice, and when you make “onigiri” tightly enough, it will keep the shape even after cooking on the skillet. I’m glad you still enjoy it though. Thank you so much for your feedback! :)

  • milkteaxx May 26, 2013, 9:35 pm

    this looks delicious! i have had many onirgiris before but not yaki onigri, i shall try replicate at home!

  • romeo September 2, 2013, 9:14 pm

    white ice? third paragraph second sentence. food looks good.

    • Nami September 2, 2013, 10:47 pm

      Thanks for noticing the typo Romeo! :)

  • Alessandra December 6, 2013, 11:53 am

    I love yaki onigiri, one of the few vegetarian things I could get in Izakaya pubs in Japan (although I hope they used soy sauce). I should make it at home sometimes, thank you for the reminder!! :-)


  • Cara Dailey January 21, 2014, 5:38 pm

    This was perfect for a snack while waiting for supper (I’d just made rice for tomorrow). Thanks for making everything seem easy! Mine weren’t pretty, but they were tasty and exactly what I needed.

    • Nami January 29, 2014, 10:36 pm

      Hi Cara! So sorry for my late response. I’m so happy you like my recipes and think they look easy enough to give it a shot. :) Thank you for trying this recipe and I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)

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