The Yaki Onigiri with cheese is a crunchy outside, gooey inside that will make your taste buds happy. Wondering how to make the perfect Yaki onigiri? Let's dive in!
The yaki onigiri or grilled rice balls is a Japanese popular dish that's great for lunch or portable snacks!
Mix soy sauce with rice, add cheese, form a triangle shape and cook until browned.
The aroma of freshly baked rice and melting cheese will appeal to your appetite for sure!!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love onigiri (rice balls).
- You are looking for how to make yaki onigiri
- You are looking for an easy yaki onigiri recipe.
By the way, I have another onigiri recipe: Onigiri without nori, if you are an onigiri lover, please check it out as well!!
Let me walk you through the ingredients and instructions. If you want to check the recipe, please use the link below. Let's get started!
About this recipe
- Simple grilled Onigiri recipe
- Japanese rice balls
- Stuffed with cheese
- Ready in under 10 minutes
what is yaki onigiri?
Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball that is filled with something and wrapped in nori sheets or without.
And Yaki onigiri is a grilled version and they are usually mixed or brushed with savory soy sauce and cooked in a frying pan.
The savory soy sauce turns onigiri into a golden brown color and adds an extra layer of flavor. Grilling also creates a nice crunchy exterior.
You can have a totally different texture from regular onigiri.
I add cheese inside in this recipe, but you can make yaki onigiri without any filling or add your favorite ingredients to it.
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Cooked Japanese rice: We use short-grain rice in Japnaese cooking. See below for more info.
- Soy sauce: Regular soy sauce to season and add flavor.
- Cheese: I use Japanese 6P cheese (disk-shaped processed cheese) but you can use any salty semi-hard cheese.
- Oil: I use sesame oil but any oil is ok.
- Katuobushi (bonito flakes): It's optional. Katsuobushi adds a nice flavor.
What type of rice should I use?
Japanese rice or Japonica rice is the answer, which is:
- Short-grain rice
- Sticky texture
- More starch than long-grain rice
- Easy to stick together
If you use long-grain rice like Jasmine rice, your onigiri will definitely fall apart so I don't recommend using it.
We use plain white rice for onigiri but you can also use brown rice.
You can find Japanese short-grain rice at a Japanese supermarket or Asian grocery stores or online stores.
How to cook Japanese rice
If you are not familiar with cooking Japanese rice, please see: how to cook Japanese short-grain rice.
You can find useful tips, equipment to use, and step-by-step instructions.
Can I use "Sushi rice" for yaki onigiri?
Let me clear about Sushi Rice because there are two usages:
- A: Sushi rice - It's vinegar rice, which is seasoned cooked white short-grain rice with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. This rice is for making sushi.
- B: Sushi Rice - It's Japanese rice labeled like this by seller. This rice is not only for sushi but for any rice dishes.
We usually don't use A: Sushi rice for regular onigiri or yaki onigiri, it's for sushi but you can use it for your preference.
If you mean B: Sushi Rice, and yes, it's regular uncooked Japanese rice so you can use it.
Let me show you how to make Yaki onigiri! You can also watch this recipe video.
- Combine rice add soy sauce in a large bowl
- Put the rice in a small bowl and add cheese in the center
- Wet your hands and place the rice on your hand
- Form a triangle shape
- Add a little oil, place onigiri and cook until browned on medium heat
- Flip them over and cook until browned
There you go! The outside is golden brown and crunchy, while the inside has a gooey cheesy texture that will make you want to take another bite!
Shaping rice might require a little practice so if you have a hard time making a triangular shape, you can use onigiri mold! It's easy to shape onigiri!
Triangle shape is the most common but you can also form different shapes like round and cylinder.
You can cook it in an oven or grill instead of a frying pan.
Wrap each one with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge or freezer.
A couple of days in the fridge, and one month in the freezer.
But if you keep it in the fridge, the rice will be dried out and get hard. So I recommend heating it up in a microwave oven to have a more fluffy texture before you eat it.
Same for the freezer, heat up right before you eat it (not throw at room temperature as it will get dry).
If you are a vegan, feel free to omit the cheese and make your vegan onigiri!
What to serve with
Why don't you make a quick and easy lunch by making Yaki onigiri? Add a soup and some veggies and you'll have a nice healthy lunch!
- Yaki onigiri
- Edamame, cherry tomatoes, and takuwan (pickled daikon)
- Kabocha miso soup
More ways to Enjoy yaki onigiri
This yaki onigiri is such a simple recipe, so the possibilities are endless for what you could do with them! Here are some examples:
- Miso yaki onigiri: Spread miso paste on onigiri and bake in an oven. It smells so good!
- Change filling: You can add umeboshi (pickled plum), salmon flakes, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), or anything that goes well with rice instead of cheese.
- Add to a soup: Put it in a soup like miso soup, tomato soup, and egg soup to make it Zosui (Japanese rice soup)
- Make Ochazuke: Add a little dashi stock, pour hot water, and add some toppings like chopped green onion, shredded nori, sesame seeds, to make Ochazuke.
- Rice Okonomiyaki: It's no longer an onigiri but this recipe is for fun! Spread the rice mixed with soy sauce on a frying pan, cook both sides, top it with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and katsuobushi (bonito flakes).
Frozen Yaki onigiri
A frozen yaki onigiri is a great option when you don't feel like cooking or want something quick and easy.
You can make a batch or you can buy it to save time! I buy it like the picture above some time at a store and they are great time savers for busy weeknights!
If you can find it at your local Asian grocery store, just grab it and enjoy!
Thanks For Stopping By
With a few simple ingredients, you can create an amazing lunch!
I hope you like the recipe:)
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.
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Yaki OnigiriPrint Pin Rate
- 13 oz Cooked Japanese rice, 360g, 4 small bowls of rice
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1.5 oz Cheese, 40g, 2 Japanese 6P cheese (Cut into small pieces)
- Oil for cooking
- Katsuobushi, optional
- Combine: Put cooked rice in a large bowl, add soy sauce, and combine.
- Add cheese: Put the rice in a small bowl and cheese in the center.
- Form onigiri: Wet both hands with water, place the rice on your hand and form a triangle shape (or round shape) by pressing gently with your palms and fingers while rolling it several times.
- Cook in a frying pan: Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add a little oil, place the onigiri and cook for about 3 minutes until browned.
- Cook the other side: Flip them over and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Equipment: Frying pan (26cm/10 inch), Small bowl (This oxo tot small bawl is perfect for small onigiri)
- Substitute: I use Japanese 6P cheese (disk-shaped processed cheese) but you can use any cheese of your choice or you can omit it.
- 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.
- You can cook them in an oven instead of using a frying pan.
- Japanese short-grain rice (starchy and sticky) is ideal for making onigiri. If you are new to the rice, see "How to cook Japanese stove on the stove"