Learn how to make a popular Japanese rice ball, Salmon onigiri! With only four ingredients (including rice), you can have them ready in under ten minutes! They're perfect for quick lunch or a portable snack!
When I think about comfort food, onigiri comes to mind. It's our staple food that we can enjoy at home, on the go, or while traveling.
One of the most popular fillings is this recipe, salmon. The salty salmon pairs beautifully with Japanese sticky rice.
I will provide a straightforward guide for how to make salmon onigiri at home, along with many customizing ideas to explore more!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love onigiri (rice balls).
- You want to make salmon onigiri.
- You are looking for onigiri recipe with great details
- You want to know salmon onigiri variations.
Let me walk you through the ingredients and the instructions. If you just want to check the recipe, jump to the recipe. Let's get started!
About this recipe
- How to Make Salmon Onigiri
- Include Popular Onigiri Fillings
- Japanese Ingredients Explained
- How to Wrap Onigiri in Nori Seaweed
- Salmon Onigiri Variations
Salmon Onigiri: A quick introduction
Onigiri, or rice balls, is traditional Japanese food with ingredients like salmon in Japanese rice wrapped in nori seaweed.
Onigiri is the perfect food for on-the-go. It's easy to hold and eat, making it great for lunch box (obento) at school or picnic at a park.
The salmon onigiri is one of the most popular rice balls, and you can't go wrong with this choice!
Popular onigiri fillings in Japan
What are the most popular onigiri fillings?
Japan's favorite Onigiri fillings are tuna, salmon, and umeboshi. Tarako, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), and kombu seaweed are other top choices!
Wondering what other fillings to put in onigiri? This post, 14 Best Onigiri Fillings, will give you all the answers!
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Cooked rice (short-grain rice)
- Nori seaweed
- Salmon flakes
Let's go over each ingredient in the following section.
Japanese short-grain rice (Sushi rice)
What kind of rice should I use for Onigiri? The answer is Japanese short-grain rice.
Japanese short-grain or sticky rice is the best for making rice balls. It can hold the shape of onigiri as It's pretty sticky.
Long-grain rice like Jasmine and Basmati would fall apart as they don't have the right stickiness to hold the rice together, so I recommend picking Koshihikari or sushi rice.
If you are unsure how to cook Japanese rice, check here; how to cook Japanese rice on the stove, where I teach the simple method.
Nori is a type of seaweed that's dried, crispy, and sold in sheets like the picture above.
Get this full-size nori sheet (8.3”x 7.5” or 21 x 19 cm in general) at a grocery store. This size is too large for onigiri (perfect for a sushi roll, though), so we are going to divide it into 3.
Use a salmon fillet. Grill it and break it into small flakey pieces. You can also buy salmon flakes from a grocery store if you don't feel like doing any cooking. I usually keep some stocks in my kitchen.
Now, let's move on to the instructions. I'm going to show you how to make Onigiri. You can also watch this recipe video.
- Cut Nori sheet into three equal pieces.
- Put aside salt, a bowl of water, cooked rice, a nori sheet, and salmon flakes.
- Put rice in a small bowl and salmon flakes in the center of the rice.
- Wet your hands, put some salt on your palm, and form a triangular shape.
- Form like this by pressing gently with your both palms.
- Wrap it with a nori sheet.
Here you go!
Eat right away if you like crispy nori seaweed. Or wait a few minutes for the softer texture like the picture!
Let's take a peek inside! It's filled with salmon!
how to wrap onigiri in nori
In this section, we will look at 2 different ways to wrap your rice in a nori sheet.
1. Standard way
The first one is the most standard way to wrap nori.
- Place the triangular-shaped rice in the center of the nori sheet.
- Fold the nori sheet to the other side.
That's it! A quick and easy method.
2. Advanced way
The second method is a little more advanced compared to the first one.
- Place the triangular-shaped rice in the center of the nori.
- Fold the nori on both sides diagonally.
- Fold the lower part of the nori toward the bottom of the rice.
With this technique, the rice is wrapped from both sides, so you don't have to worry about the rice falling apart when eating.
I recommend placing the ingredients on top of an Onigiri like the picture above. It's not only easy for you to see what's inside, but it also looks so cute!
Which nori size do you like?
Your onigiri will have a different flavor and appearance depending on the size of nori seaweed. Here are 4 different nori sizes that you can try when making onigiri!
Nori seaweed size for Onigiri:
- ⅓ size
- ⅕ size
- ⅙ size
The most common size is ⅓; I usually go with this too.
Japanese convenience stores sell rice balls using half-size nori sheets. Rice is fully covered, and you can taste the flavor of nori.
Which one do you want to try? Let me know in the comment section below!
Looking for variations? The possibilities are endless when it comes to making onigiris! You can mix rice and filling ingredients to create a new tasting experience.
Here are five ways to customize your salmon onigiri if you're looking for more creative ideas!
- Salmon, sesame seeds, and nori seaweed
- Salmon, sesame oil, and scallions
- Salmon, cheese
- Salmon, shio kombu, nori seaweed
- Salmon and soy sauce (mix them with rice and grill in a pan)
(I use store-bought salmon flakes for these variations)
You can also make your salmon onigiri more interesting by adding mayonnaise, curry powder, and chili sauce (if you love spicy).
You can explore more ideas in this recipe: 17 Easy Onigiri Recipes 🍙 (Rice Balls) Without Nori Seaweed.
What to serve with
Onigiri pairs well with pretty much anything, such as grilled fish, tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet), stir-fried vegetables, and simmered dishes.
Here is a sample light lunch menu for you!
- Salmon onigiri
- Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet)
- Takuan (pickled daikon radish)
- Tofu seaweed salad
- Miso soup
If you don't eat onigiri immediately, please wrap each one with plastic like the picture above before they dry.
You can store them for a couple of days in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
When freezing, do not wrap the nori sheet.
And heat it in a microwave oven right before you eat it (do not thaw it at room temperature as it will get dry).
Thanks For Stopping By
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you’ve tried this recipe(or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Onigiri Recipes You Might Like
- 14 best Onigiri filling ideas
- 17 Easy Onigiri Recipes Without Nori Seaweed
- How to make onigiri step by step
- Yaki onigiri
- How to cook fluffy Japanese rice on the stove
Salmon Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)Print Pin SAVE SAVED!
- 14 oz Cooked Japanese short-grain rice, 4 small bowls of rice, 400g
- 2 Nori sheets
- pinch of Salt
- 1 Salmon fillet
- Nori sheet: Cut it into 3 equal pieces.
- Prepare salmon: Grill and break it into flakes.
- Collect ingredients: Put aside salt, a bowl of water, cooked rice, nori sheets, and the salmon.
- Add salmon: Put rice In a small bowl, and make a small dent in the center, then add 1 or 2 teaspoons of salmon.
- Water and salt on your hands: Wet both hands with water, put some salt (2 fingertips of salt) on your palm and rub between your hands.
- Shape rice: Place the rice on your hand, hold with both hands, form a triangle shape (or round shape) by pressing gently with your both palms and fingers while rolling it several times.
- Wrap: Wrap it with nori sheet.
- Equipment: Small bowl (This oxo tot small bowl is perfect for small onigiri)
- Storage: Wrap each one with plastic wrap, put it in a container, and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days and one month in the freezer.
- Variations: See the "Variations" section for more salmon onigiri ideas.
- Japanese short-grain rice (starchy and sticky) is ideal for making onigiri. If you are new to cooking rice, see "How to cook Japanese stove on the stove."
- The filling amount is up to you, so feel free to tweak it for your preference.
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