Learn how to make a popular Japanese rice ball, Salmon onigiri! With only four ingredients, you can have them ready in under ten minutes! They're perfect for a quick lunch or a portable snack!
Onigiri is our comfort food, and salmon onigiri is one of the popular fillings! The salty salmon pairs beautifully with Japanese sticky rice. I'll guide you through making delicious salmon onigiri at home and offer various customization options.
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love onigiri (rice balls).
- You want to make salmon onigiri.
- You are looking for salmon onigiri variations.
Let's get started!
Why This Recipe Works
- This incredibly simple recipe calls for just four basic ingredients, making it perfect for a quick, homemade meal or snack.
- Using traditional Japanese ingredients captures the authentic taste of salmon onigiri, providing a genuine Japanese culinary experience.
- The recipe offers a range of filling variations, allowing you to personalize your onigiri to suit your tastes.
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Japanese short-grain rice
- Nori seaweed
Let's go over each ingredient in the following section.
Japanese Short-Grain Rice
What kind of rice is best for Onigiri? The answer is Japanese short-grain rice. It can hold the shape of an onigiri as It's pretty sticky.
You can prepare Japanese rice using a regular pot if you don't own a rice cooker. Learn the straightforward method in my guide on How to Cook Japanese Rice on The Stove.
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.
Choose fresh, raw salmon, and grill it. If you prefer an easier option, you can buy pre-made salmon flakes from a Japanese grocery store. It's a convenient kitchen staple.
Where to Buy Japanese Ingredients
If you live in the US, you can find Japanese ingredients in the list below.
- Japanese market: Mitsuwa Marketplace, Marukai
- Asian market
- Whole Foods Market
- Health food stores
- Online stores: Instacart, Walmart, Amazon
Now, let's move on to the instructions. For a more detailed demonstration, watch the video in the recipe card below.
- Grill a salmon fillet until it's cooked through. Once cooled, break the salmon into flakes.
2. Divide a Nori sheet into three equal pieces.
3. Gather cooked Japanese rice, the nori sheets, the salmon, a bowl of water, and salt. I use a small bowl to measure the rice.
4. Fill a small bowl halfway with rice, create a small dent in the center, and add the salmon flakes.
5. Fill the rest of the bowl with more rice.
6. Wet both hands and add a little salt to your palm.
7. 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.
8. Wrap the triangular rice with nori.
Here you go! Eat right away if you like crispy nori seaweed. Or wait a few minutes for the softer texture, like the picture!
Learn additional step-by-step instructions for shaping onigiri on Onigiri Recipe with 6 Different Fillings.
Now, let's have a look inside! You'll find it filled with delicious salmon!
A Different Way to Wrap Nori
Here's another method for wrapping the nori around the rice:
- 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!
Looking for variations? The possibilities are endless when it comes to making onigiris! Here are five ways to customize your salmon onigiri:
- 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).
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
When it comes to storing onigiri for later enjoyment, remember these tips:
- Wrap each onigiri tightly in plastic wrap to preserve their moisture.
- You can keep them at room temperature for up to half a day.
- In the fridge, they'll stay fresh for a couple of days.
- For longer-term storage, freeze them for up to one month. When freezing, refrain from wrapping the nori sheet. Reheat them in a microwave before consuming them to maintain their delicious texture. Avoid thawing at room temperature to prevent dryness.
Onigiri Filling eBook
If you love Onigiri and are constantly looking for what to put in it, check out my eBook: 36 Fun and Flavorful Onigiri. Discover a world of Onigiri fillings, from classics like tuna mayo, umeboshi, and tarako to creative options. This eBook has it all!
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
Salmon Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)Print Pin Save Saved!
- 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.
- 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.