Unwrapping Onigiri: The Ultimate Guide to Japan's Rice Ball Delight

Unwrapping Onigiri: The Ultimate Guide to Japan's Rice Ball Delight

Onigiri, often referred to as the Japanese rice ball, is a staple snack and lunch option in Japan. With its origins dating back centuries, this modest rice delight has captured hearts beyond its homeland. Let's dive deep into the world of onigiri and answer some burning questions.

two onigiri rice ball on a planet next to a tea bowl

1. The Essence of Onigiri:

Choosing the Right Rice When it comes to crafting the perfect onigiri, rice is pivotal.

  • What kind of rice is used for onigiri?

The preferred choice is short-grain rice. This type of rice, when cooked, has a slightly sticky texture, making it perfect for molding using an onigiri mold or rice ball mold.

  • Can you make onigiri with normal rice?

While the traditional method employs short-grain rice, adventurous souls have tried using normal rice. However, the consistency might differ.

  • Is sushi rice ok for onigiri?

Sushi rice, which is seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt, can indeed be used. However, it offers a slightly different flavor profile.

 2. Filling Your Onigiri: The Tasty Center

  • What can I put inside onigiri?

From the savory salmon onigiri to the creamy tuna mayo onigiri, options abound. For a grilled delight, yaki onigiri stands out. Traditionalists might opt for umeboshi (pickled plum), but don't limit yourself; the fillings are only restricted by your imagination.

3. Crafting the Perfect Onigiri

  • How is onigiri made?

Once your rice is cooked and slightly cooled, you can shape it using your hands or an onigiri mold. Some swear by the best onigiri molds for that impeccable shape. Add your filling, shape your rice around it, and you've got yourself a delightful Japanese rice ball.

4. Best onigiri mold.

Crafted from beautiful and durable Hinoki wood, the Japanese wooden rice ball mold Onigiri is not only a functional kitchen tool but also a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

Unlike most onigiri molds made from plastic or non-natural materials, our mold is made of natural hinoki wood, a beautiful, fragrant, and sustainably sourced Japanese cypress.


a wooden mold with three molds in front of a grey wall


  • How to use a wooden rice ball mold?
  1. Rinse mold with water (prevents rice from sticking).
  2. Pack Japanese short grain rice into the openings.
  3. Make a shallow indentation in the center of the rice and add a bit of filling of your choice such as salmon, umeboshi, canned tuna with mayonnaise and soy sauce.
  4. Cover with more rice and press down firmly.
  5. Carefully remove the onigiri from the mold 
  6. Let's enjoy your delicious onigiri.
  7. You can also mix rice with furikake before placing in the mold for quick and easy seasoned rice onigiri.

5. Keeping Onigiri Fresh and Tasty

  • How does onigiri rice stay soft?

The secret lies in how the rice is cooked and stored. When stored properly, it retains its softness.

  • Can onigiri be refrigerated?

Yes, but to enjoy its authentic texture, it's advised to let it come to room temperature or reheat it slightly before eating.

6. Nutritional Aspects of Onigiri

  • Is onigiri healthy or unhealthy?

Like any dish, it boils down to its ingredients. Using fresh fillings and watching the seasoning ensures a healthier rice ball.

  • Is it healthy to eat onigiri every day?

In moderation and with varied fillings, onigiri can be a part of a balanced diet.

Choosing the right rice, using the best onigiri mold, and picking your favorite fillings are the keys to a perfect Japanese rice ball experience. From the classic salmon onigiri to the mouthwatering tuna mayo onigiri, there's an onigiri for everyone.

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