Tuna Mayo Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

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

two tuna mayo onigiri on a plate.

This Tuna Mayo onigiri is the perfect lunchbox addition or a convenient snack for your on-the-go cravings! While you may come across it at your local Japanese store, nothing compares to homemade onigiri!

Learn how to make these simple onigiri with tuna and enjoy the authentic taste. This recipe also includes five delicious variations to enjoy more!

    This recipe is for you if:
  • You love onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
  • You want to make creamy tuna mayo onigiri.
  • You are searching for a tuna onigiri recipe.

Let me show you how to make it. If you want to check the recipe immediately, please visit the link below. Let’s get started!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy-to-follow steps and minimal ingredients make this recipe beginner-friendly.
  • Multiple flavor variations allow for customization to suit personal taste preferences.
  • Guidance for storing onigiri offers convenience for meal prep and quick snacks.

📋 Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for Tuna mayo onigiri (amounts are in the recipe card below).

ingredients for tuna mayo onigiri.

Let’s go over each ingredient in the following section.

Japanese Short-grain Rice (Sushi Rice)

Cooked Japanese rice in a pot

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.

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.

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 Seaweed

nori sheet.

Nori is a type of seaweed that’s dried, crispy, and sold in sheets like the picture above. Get this full-size sheet of nori (8.3″ x 7.5″ or 21 x 19 cm) at local Asian grocery stores. However, this size is too large for onigiri (perfect for a sushi roll), so we will divide it into three.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna.

You can use either canned tuna in water or oil; both work perfectly. Before mixing with mayo, make sure to drain any excess liquid.

Mayonnaise

mayonnaise

You can use regular mayonnaise, but If you are looking for authentic flavor, choose Japanese mayonnaise. Kewpie mayonnaise or Ajinomoto are famous brands.

Where to Buy Japanese Ingredients

If you live in the US, you can find Japanese ingredients in the list below.

  • Japanese market: Mitsuwa MarketplaceMarukai
  • Asian market
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Health food stores
  • Online stores: Instacart, Walmart, Amazon

🔪Instructions

Now, let’s move on to the instructions. For a more detailed demonstration, watch the video in the recipe card below.

Tuna mayo filling.
  1. Open the canned tuna, drain it, and combine it with mayonnaise.
Nori sheets.

2. Divide a Nori sheet into three equal pieces.

Instructions on tuna mayo onigiri.

3. Gather cooked Japanese rice, the nori sheets, tuna mayo, a bowl of water, and salt. I use a small bowl to measure the rice.

Instructions on tuna mayo onigiri.

4. Fill a small bowl halfway with rice, create a small dent in the center, and add the tuna mayo.

Instructions on tuna mayo onigiri.

5. Fill the rest of the bowl with more rice.

Instructions on tuna mayo onigiri.

6. Wet both hands and add a little salt to your palm.

Instructions on tuna mayo onigiri.

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.

Instructions on tuna mayo onigiri.

8. Wrap the triangular rice with nori.

tuna mayo onigiri on a white plate.

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

Learn additional step-by-step instructions for shaping onigiri on Onigiri Recipe with 6 Different Fillings.

tuna mayo onigiri on a plate.

Now, let’s have a look inside! You’ll find it filled with delicious tuna mayo!

Helpful Tips

  • Short-grain rice works best for onigiri as it is sticky and holds its shape well.
  • Use plastic wrap or onigiri molds to shape onigiri neatly, especially when the rice is too hot to handle.
  • When using nori seaweed, take a close look at the nori sheet. You’ll notice that one side is shiny, and the other side is slightly rough. Make sure to place the shiny side facing outward when wrapping the rice. This adds a visually appealing touch to your onigiri.

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:

  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.

With this technique, the rice is wrapped from both sides, so you don’t have to worry about the rice falling apart when eating.

two tuna mayo onigiri on a plate.

I recommend placing the ingredients on top of Onigiri, like in the picture above. It’s easy to see what’s inside, but it also looks so cute!

Variations of Tuna Onigiri

5 ways to make tuna mayo onigiri.

More variations for onigiri with tuna? I’ve got some suggestions for you! You can mix in ingredients like salty and spicy for a savory flavor!

  1. Tuna Mayo and Wasabi: Add spicy Japanese horseradish, called wasabi, to the tuna mayo mixture for a spicy kick.
  2. Tuna Mayo and Soy Sauce: Drizzle soy sauce over the tuna mayo filling for an extra savory flavor.
  3. Tuna Mayo and Shio Kombu: Mix in seasoned kombu seaweed, known as shio kombu, to your rice for a tasty twist. (This is my favorite!)
  4. Tuna Mayo and Kimchi: Mix in some spicy kimchi to add a Korean-inspired twist to your rice. If you’re looking for spicy tuna onigiri recipes, try this variation.
  5. Tuna Mayo and Curry: Mix in some curry powder with your rice for a flavorful and aromatic onigiri.
five tuna mayo onigiri on a round plate.

There are endless combinations of onigiri with tuna! I hope you will enjoy exploring all the different flavors and find your favorite ones!

You can explore more filling ideas in this recipe: 17 Easy Onigiri Recipes Without Nori Seaweed or 16 Best Onigiri Fillings.

What To Serve With

Tuna mayo onigiri pairs well with various Japanese dishes! Here’s an example of a light lunch with a delightful side dish.

Storage

7 onigiri wrapped in plastic wrap.

When it comes to storing onigiri for later enjoyment, remember these tips:

  • Wrap each onigiri in plastic wrap to keep their moisture.
  • At room temperature, they remain fresh for up to half a day.
  • In the refrigerator, they can be stored for a couple of days.
  • For extended storage, freeze them for up to one month. When freezing, avoid wrapping the nori sheet. Reheat them in a microwave before eating to preserve their delightful texture. Avoid thawing at room temperature to prevent dryness.

Onigiri Filling eBook

6 popular onigiri, each one is on each plate side by side.

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!

five tuna mayo onigiri on a plate.

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 to modern Japanese recipes with step-by-step instructions.

More Onigiri Recipes You Might Like

FAQ

What are good fillings for onigiri?

There are many delicious fillings you can use for onigiri. Some popular options include tuna, salmon, umeboshi (pickled plum), tarako (cod roe), katsuobushi (bonito flakes), and kombu seaweed.

Can you eat tuna onigiri cold?

Yes, you can eat tuna onigiri cold. In fact, onigiri is a portable snack or lunch on the go, so commonly enjoyed at room temperature or chilled.

How long can tuna onigiri sit out?

Tuna onigiri can generally be left out at room temperature for about 2 hours during the summer, while in the winter time, it can last for up to half a day. However, if you plan to store it for a more extended period, storing it in the fridge or freezer is recommended to maintain its freshness and ensure food safety.

Is Onigiri eaten hot or cold?

Onigiri can be enjoyed both hot and cold, depending on personal preference. It is typically eaten at room temperature or chilled, but some people enjoy it warm or freshly made.

Can I pack onigiri for lunch?

Absolutely! Onigiri is a great option to pack for lunch. The compact shape and portable nature make it an ideal choice for a meal on the go. You can wrap each onigiri individually in plastic wrap or place them in a bento box or airtight container to keep them fresh and secure.

two tuna mayo onigiri on a plate.

Tuna Mayo Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

5 from 5 votes
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Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 onigiri
Author: JURI
Learn how to make a popular Japanese rice ball, Tuna Mayo Onigiri! With only five simple ingredients, you can have them ready in under ten minutes! Tuna onigiri is perfect for a lunch box or a portable snack on the go!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Prepare tuna mayo: Open the canned tuna, drain it, and combine it with mayonnaise.
  • Nori sheet: Divide a Nori sheet into three equal pieces
  • Collect ingredients: Gather cooked Japanese rice, the nori sheets, tuna mayo, a bowl of water, and salt
  • Rice and tuna mayo: Fill a small bowl halfway with rice, create a small dent in the center, and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tuna mayo. 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 onigiri: 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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 tuna mayo 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 134mg | Sugar: 0.01g
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: onigiri, tuna
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