Salmon Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

Learn how to make a popular Japanese rice ball, Salmon Onigiri! With only four ingredients, you can have them ready in under ten minutes!

Looking for more onigiri recipes? Try my Tuna Mayo Onigiri, Umeboshi Onigiri, Egg Onigiri!

two salmon onigiri rice balls on a white plate.

I’ll walk you through the ingredients and step-by-step instructions. I hope you enjoy it!

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • The salty salmon pairs beautifully with Japanese sticky rice.
  • Salmon onigiri is perfect for a quick lunch or a portable snack!
  • This recipe also includes five delicious salmon filling variations to enjoy more!

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

Onigiri is a Japanese food made of steamed rice filled with ingredients, formed into a triangle shape, and wrapped in seaweed. It’s perfect for a quick meal or snack, and the best part is you can easily customize it by choosing your favorite onigiri fillings.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Salmon Onigiri:

Salmon onigiri ingredients.
  • We use Japanese short-grain rice for making onigiri as it’s sticky and can hold the shape of triangular shape.
  • Nori seaweed 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.
  • Salmon: Choose fresh, raw salmon, and grill it. You can buy pre-made salmon flakes from a Japanese grocery store if you prefer an easier option. It’s a convenient kitchen staple.

How To Make Salmon Onigiri: STEP BY STEP 

Here are some quick visual instructions! For the video and all the detailed ingredients and instructions, go to the printable recipe card below.

Grilled salmon for onigiri.

Step 1

Grill a salmon fillet and break it into flakes.

How to make salmon onigiri.

Step 2

Put the rice in a small bowl and add the salmon in the center.

How to make onigiri.

Step 3

Form a triangle shape by pressing gently with both your hands.

How to make onigiri.

Step 4

Wrap the triangular rice with nori.

salmon onigiri rice balls on a white plate.

Here you go! Eat right away if you like crispy nori seaweed. Or wait a few minutes for the softer texture, like the picture!

A Different Way to Wrap Nori

How to wrap onigiri in nori seaweed step by step.

Here’s another method for wrapping the nori around 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.

  1. Place the triangular-shaped rice in the center of the nori.
  2. Fold the nori on both sides diagonally.
  3. Fold the lower part of the nori toward the bottom of the rice.
2 salmon onigiri on a white plate.

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!


5 salmon onigiri variations.

Looking for variations? The possibilities are endless when it comes to making onigiris! Here are five ways to customize your salmon onigiri. (I use store-bought salmon flakes for these variations.)

  1. Salmon, sesame seeds, and nori seaweed
  2. Salmon, sesame oil, and scallions
  3. Salmon, cheese
  4. Salmon, shio kombu, nori seaweed
  5. Salmon and soy sauce (mix them with rice and grill in a pan)
5 salmon onigiri on a white plate.

You can also make your salmon onigiri more interesting by adding mayonnaise, curry powder, and chili sauce (if you love spicy).


Onigiri is best when freshly made, but if you need to store them for later, follow these guidelines:

  • Wrap each onigiri tightly in plastic wrap to maintain their moisture.
  • At room temperature, onigiri can be stored for up to half a day.
  • In the fridge, they can be kept for a couple of days.
  • If you plan for longer storage, freeze them for up to one month. When freezing, avoid wrapping the nori sheet. Reheat in a microwave just before eating to prevent dryness; do not thaw at room temperature.

What To Serve With

Onigiri pairs well with many different dishes! I suggest serving it with tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet), pickled daikon radish, tofu seaweed salad, and miso soup.

Grab Your Onigiri Filling eBook!

Looking for more onigiri filling ideas? Check out our Onigiri eBook! From classics to creative options, all compiled conveniently in one place!

Onigiri filling ebook cover.

36 Fun and Flavorful Onigiri

5 salmon onigiri variations on a plate

More Onigiri Recipes You Might Like

Leave a Rating!

I hope you enjoy this Salmon Onigiri! If you try it, don’t forget to leave a rating to share your thoughts—I love hearing from you!

2 salmon onigiri rice balls on a white plate.

Salmon Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

5 from 17 votes
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Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 onigiri
Author: Juri Austin
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 a quick lunch or a portable snack!


  • Small Bowl (This oxo tot small bowl is perfect for small onigiri)



  • Prepare salmon: Grill a salmon fillet until it's cooked through. Once cooled, break the salmon into flakes.
  • Nori sheet: Divide a Nori sheet into three equal pieces.
  • Collect ingredients: Gather cooked Japanese rice, the nori sheets, the salmon, a bowl of water, and salt.
  • Rice and salmon: Fill a small bowl halfway with rice, create a small dent in the center, and add the salmon flakes. Fill the rest of the bowl with more rice.
  • 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 and hold it with both hands. Form a triangle shape by pressing gently with both your palms and fingers while rolling it several times. 
  • Wrap: Wrap the triangular rice with nori.



  • 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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 8.8g
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: onigiri, salmon
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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