Furikake is a savory and sweet rice seasoning made with sesame seeds, katsuobushi, green seaweed flakes, and nori seaweed. While this quintessential Japanese condiment is fabulous on steamed rice, it’s also delicious as a sprinkle on onigiri, udon noodles, soup, salad, popcorn, and more! Bonus: My homemade recipe is a great way to repurpose leftover bonito flakes and kombu from making dashi.
Furikake (ふりかけ) is a nutty, crunchy, umami-packed Japanese blend used to season rice. Although it’s referred to as a rice seasoning, furikake is literally the salt and pepper of the Japanese kitchen. It is so versatile that you can use the seasoning to instantly perk up any bland dishes.
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What is Furikake?
Furikake (literally “sprinkle”) is a flaky or powered Japanese seasoning consisting of sesame seeds, seaweed, and dried seafood, meat, or vegetable. You may be familiar with the commercial variety in bottles or individual packets for kids and adults. Even Trader Joe’s has their own version of Nori Komi Furikake Seasoning!
It goes back to the 12th century when there are records of making a salty powdered condiment consisting of dried sea bream, salmon, and shark. The current iteration was invented in the early 20th century as a nutritional supplement. It contained ground fish bones and poppy seeds to address the calcium and nutrient deficiency among the population.
How to Make Homemade Furikake
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) – You can buy it from Japanese/Asian grocery stores or online. This store carries good-quality Hana Katsuo here (ships internationally).
- Aonori (dried green seaweed) – You can buy it online here.
- Roasted sesame seeds – White and black sesame seeds taste differently, so use both!
- Nori (dried seaweed)
- Seasonings: soy sauce, mirin, sugar, salt, and sesame oil
Overview: Cooking Steps
This homemade furikake is really easy to make!
- Cook all the ingredients and seasonings in a frying pan until they are dry and separated.
- Let cool completely.
- Add nori seaweed and transfer to an airtight container.
Repurposing Spent Katsuobushi and Kombu
The best way to repurpose these spent ingredients is to make homemade furikake.
Another bonus is that you don’t have to use them right away. You can reserve spent kombu and katsuobushi in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for up to a month, until you’re ready to make furikake.
Take out the portion you need and cut them into small pieces and cook in the pan with the rest of ingredients.
Why do we need to cook the ingredients? Can we just mix everything?
There are two reasons why we cook all the ingredients and season them in a frying pan.
- Dry ingredients absorb all the delicious wet seasonings (soy sauce and mirin), and then become dry. So the ingredients will be flavored.
- If you don’t cook the mixture, loose dry seasonings such as sugar and salt will sink at the bottom of the container and you will end up with a flavorless furikake.
How long does it last?
If you include a Food Safe Silica Gel Desiccant Packet in your airtight container, you can keep the homemade furikake for 1-2 months at room temperature!
Without it, the nori and katsuobushi will start to get stale, so consume the homemade furikake within 2 weeks.
Creative Ways to Enjoy Furikake
Rich in calcium, iodine, and iron, this homemade furikake is a healthy way to season your Japanese dishes!
Furikake is absolutely wonderful on just a simple bowl of rice, porridge, or udon noodles. It’s also perfect for seasoning onigiri (Japanese rice balls), soba noodle salad, grilled salmon, or rice crackers. But don’t stop there, furikake is so versatile that I love to get creative and sprinkle it on these as well:
- Avocado – this is my favorite. Keep it simple and halve the avocado and season it with furikake as an afternoon snack. For a savory breakfast, smear your toasted bread with mashed avocado before you give it a good sprinkle of furikake. It’s a Japanese-twist on avocado toast.
- Egg – you can totally replace salt and pepper with furikake on a fried egg or soft-boiled egg when you want something more punchy.
- Popcorn – planning on binge-watching Japanese shows on Netflix or a Japanese movie night? Flavor your homemade popcorn with furikake to keep to the theme.
- Pasta – oh yes, you can top furikake on Mentaiko Pasta, cacio e pepe pasta, or any simple creamy pasta.
- Furikake Chex Mix – This is one of our family’s holiday edible treats!
A Great Holiday Gift
If you make a big batch, you can even freeze the seasoning for a month. Furikake makes a great holiday gift. Just pack the Japanese seasoning in a cute little glass jar to surprise your foodie friends and family!
Make sure to add a Food Safe Silica Gel Desiccant Packet for each jar, so your friends and family can enjoy it for 1-2 months!
Furikake (Japanese Rice Seasoning)
- ⅓ oz katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) (I used five 2-g packets for this recipe; alternatively, you can repurpose ½ oz or 15 g reserved katsuobushi from making dashi or mentsuyu noodle soup base; skip for vegan)
- ½ oz reserved kombu (optional; you can repurpose reserved kombu from making dashi or mentsuyu noodle soup base)
- 1 Tbsp aonori (dried green laver seaweed)
- 3 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds (add halfway through cooking)
- 1 Tbsp toasted black sesame seeds (add halfway through cooking)
For the Seasonings
Before We Start…
- We cook the ingredients and seasonings together in a frying pan so the ingredients absorb all the seasonings and the furikake is more flavorful. If you don't cook it, the sugar and salt simply will sink to the bottom of the furikake jar and the flavors won't incorporate well into the furikake.
- In this recipe, you can repurpose the spent katsuobushi and kombu you reserved from making dashi or mentsuyu noodle soup base. Follow the suggested measurements in the ingredient list. To save the spent kombu and katsuobushi until you're ready to make furikake later, you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Spent Katsuobushi and Kombu (if using)
- Make sure the spent katsuobushi is well drained. Cut it into small pieces with a knife.
- Slice the spent kombu (optional) into thin strips, and then cut the strips into small pieces.
To Cook the Furikake
- In an ungreased frying pan, add the katsuobushi (or spent katsuobushi), aonori, and spent kombu (optional). Don't add the sesame seeds yet! Then, add all the seasonings and mix it all together.
- Turn on the stove's heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly, until the katsuobushi becomes dry and flaky.
- Now, lower the heat and add the white and black sesame seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, on low heat until the sesame seeds are nicely roasted and fragrant.
- Transfer the furikake to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread it out and let it cool completely.
- Once it’s cooled, cut the nori sheet into thin strips, and then small pieces ⅛ inch (3 mm) square.
- Add the nori pieces to the cooled furikake and mix everything together.
- Taste the furikake and adjust the seasonings by adding more salt or sugar at this step. I decided to add additional aonori for enhanced color and taste (optional).
- In an airtight glass jar, add one Food Safe Silica Gel Desiccant Packet on the bottom, add the furikake, and close the lid tightly.
- Enjoy sprinkling it over steamed rice and popcorn!
- You can refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks and freeze it for up to a month without a desiccant packet. With the packet, you can keep it at room temperature for 1-2 months.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2013. It has been republished on November 27, 2022, with the revised recipe, new images, and updated content with more information.