Do you love sushi but find it difficult to make at home? Why not try making rice balls instead? Rice balls, also known as onigiri, are a popular snack in Japan and can be made with various fillings such as fish, vegetables, or pickles. Making rice balls is easy and requires only a few ingredients. In this article, we will show you how to make tasty rice balls in a few simple steps.

To start, you will need some short-grain rice, which is the type commonly used for sushi. Rinse the rice well and cook it according to the package instructions. Once the rice is cooked, let it cool down until it is warm to the touch. Take a small amount of rice in your hand and form it into a ball. Make a small indentation in the center of the ball and add your desired filling. Cover the filling with a bit more rice and shape the ball to your desired size. Repeat the process until you have as many rice balls as you like. Serve them as a snack or as a side dish with your favorite Japanese meal.

Step by Step Guide on How to Make Rice Balls

Rice balls, also known as onigiri in Japan, are delicious and easy to make. They are perfect for a snack, a meal, or for packed lunches. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make rice balls.


There are only a few ingredients that you need to make rice balls. You will need cooked Japanese rice, salt, and your desired filling. The filling can be anything from salmon, tuna, pickled vegetables, plum sauce, or even cheese.


Before you start making your rice balls, it is important to prepare the rice. You can make the rice in a rice cooker, using a stove, or even in a microwave. Make sure to cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. Once the rice is cooked, let it cool down for a few minutes.

Seasoning the Rice

To make the rice balls flavorful, you can season the rice with a little salt. Mix about ¼ teaspoon of salt with the rice and stir gently. You can also add a little bit of vinegar to the rice to give it a bit of tanginess.

Divide the Rice

Divide the rice into equal portions, depending on how big you want your rice balls to be. Wet your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers. Take one portion of rice and shape it into a flat oval shape.

Add the Filling

Place a small amount of your desired filling in the center of the rice. Do not add too much filling as it will make it difficult to shape the rice ball. You can use different fillings for each rice ball or use the same filling for all of them.

Shape the Rice Ball

Gently shape the rice into a triangle or ball shape using your hands. Make sure the filling is enclosed inside the rice. You can use a plastic wrap to shape the rice ball as well if you are having difficulty shaping it with your hands.

Wrap the Rice Ball

Wrap the rice ball tightly with a strip of nori or seaweed. If you do not have nori, it is okay to skip this step.


Repeat the process until you have made as many rice balls as desired. You can also experiment with different shapes and sizes.

Store the Rice Balls

Place the rice balls in a container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Store them in the fridge for up to five days. You can also freeze the rice balls for up to a month.


Now you can enjoy your delicious homemade rice balls. Rice balls are a perfect snack or meal on the go. You can also serve them as appetizers or side dishes at parties. Experiment with different fillings and shapes and have fun making these tasty treats!

Ingredients Needed for Making Rice Balls

If you are new to making rice balls, you will find that the ingredients you use will have a significant impact on how your rice balls turn out. So, let’s dive into the ingredients you will need for making the perfect rice balls:

1. Sushi Rice

The most crucial ingredient in making rice balls is sushi rice. Do not use regular rice for making rice balls as it won’t stick and hold the shape properly. Sushi rice is a special type of short-grain rice, which has a sticky texture that helps hold the rice balls together. You can find sushi rice in most grocery stores.

2. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is another essential ingredient to make rice balls. It adds great flavor to sushi rice and helps balance out the sweetness in the rice. You can find rice vinegar in most grocery stores.

3. Salt

Adding a pinch of salt to your sushi rice will help enhance the flavors of your rice balls. Be mindful of the amount you add, as you don’t want to overpower the flavors of the other ingredients.

4. Sugar

Sugar is another essential ingredient in making rice balls. It helps balance out the flavors in rice vinegar and gives your rice balls the perfect sweetness. Adding a small amount of sugar will not make your rice balls too sweet.

5. Water

You will need water to cook your sushi rice. Follow the instructions on your sushi rice package to measure the appropriate amount of water needed.

6. Nori Sheets

Nori sheets are dried seaweed sheets that are used for wrapping rice balls. You can find them in most grocery stores or online.

7. Fillings

Fillings are optional, but they can add an extra layer of flavor to your rice balls. Some popular fillings include salmon, tuna, avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and more. You can also get creative and try new fillings!

8. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a great condiment to dip your rice balls in for extra flavor. You can find soy sauce in most grocery stores.

9. Wasabi

Wasabi is a Japanese condiment that adds a spicy kick to your rice balls. Be careful not to add too much as it can overpower the flavors of the other ingredients. You can find wasabi in most grocery stores.

10. Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger is a refreshing condiment that adds a tangy taste to your rice balls. It also helps cleanse your palate between bites. You can find pickled ginger in most grocery stores or online.

In conclusion, having the right ingredients is essential in making the perfect rice balls. Make sure to get all these ingredients before starting to make your rice balls to ensure the best taste.

Ingredients needed to make rice balls

Making rice balls is one of the easiest and most satisfying snacks to prepare. Before you start making the rice balls, you need to gather all the necessary ingredients. Here are the ingredients you will need:

Short-grain rice2 cups
Water2.5 cups
Rice vinegar2 tablespoons
Sugar1 tablespoon
Salt1 teaspoon
Filling (optional)Varies

Short-grain rice

It’s essential to use short-grain rice for making rice balls as it’s stickier than other varieties of rice. Short-grain rice has a higher starch content, which helps the rice bind together to form the ball or onigiri. You can find short-grain rice in most grocery stores, but it’s best to look for Japanese or sushi rice.


Water is an important ingredient for making rice balls. The amount of water needed to cook the rice will depend on the type of short-grain rice you use. It’s best to follow the instructions on the rice packaging for the correct water-to-rice ratio.

Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is used to make the rice sticky and give it a tangy flavor. You can find rice vinegar in most grocery stores or in Asian markets. If you can’t find rice vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar, but it will have a different flavor.

Sugar and Salt

Sugar and salt are used to season the rice and give it a good taste. Adding sugar and salt to the vinegar mixture will help the rice absorb the flavors better. You can adjust the amount of sugar and salt depending on your preference.

Filling (Optional)

Filling is optional when making rice balls. You can choose to make plain rice balls or add your favorite filling. Traditional Japanese fillings include salmon, tuna, umeboshi (pickled plum), and grilled salted salmon. You can also use leftover meat, vegetables, or anything you like as filling.

Thanks for Stopping By!

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make rice balls with me. Whether you’re planning on making these tasty treats for your family, friends, or just for yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy every bite. Remember to take your time, have fun, and experiment with different fillings and ingredients. And if you’re ever in need of a quick and easy meal, don’t forget about rice balls! Thanks again for reading, and be sure to check back soon for more delicious recipes and cooking tips. Happy cooking!