How many onigiri do you need for lunch? Make it a complete meal like this

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  September 12, 2021

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The best way to describe onigiri in its simplest form is pocket lunch. Due to its convenience and portability, onigiri is a popular choice for a quick snack, or as a meal during picnics or hiking trips.

A lot of people add onigiri to their bento boxes along with other food items. But if you’re only eating onigiri for lunch, how many servings do you need?

How many onigiri do you need for lunch? Make it a complete meal like this

It really depends on the person’s preferences and caloric requirements. One serving of onigiri usually has 100 calories for the rice and an additional 100 or more for the fillings. Since a good lunch caloric intake is at 600 – 800 calories, a single person might need three to four servings of standard-sized onigiri for a whole lunch.

How many calories does an onigiri have?

A standard onigiri usually has 203 calories per serving. Half of it is from the rice, while the other one is on the fillings.

Naturally, fat and salt-rich fillings like tuna mayo and salted salmon would have more calories. It will also depend on whether you will be making your own fillings or using traditional ones.

Onigiri is convenient comfort food: it is rarely eaten without other food.

The price per serving is quite cheap, so you can mix and match other items from the convenience store (like soba, karaage, instant noodles, and other stuff.)

If this is the case, then a single serving would be enough for a whole meal (unless you’re really hungry.)

Also read: how much does onigiri cost in Japan? Let’s find out

What is the average onigiri size per serving?

What makes onigiri a comfort food in Japan is its versatility.

You can use any rice type that you want (as long as it is short-grained and sticky), form a bigger or smaller rice ball or triangle, add your own choice of fillings, and even make onigiri sweet.

On average, there is a half-cup of rice to a convenient-store onigiri.

Of course, you can make your portions bigger or smaller based on your preference. But remember that bigger servings mean bigger caloric intake.

It all depends on your diet and nutrition requirements. One serving would suffice for a quick and easy snack.

Bento lunches with onigiri

Onigiri is a popular addition to bento or lunchboxes in Japan. These rice balls are quite popular for a school or picnic bento.

For a complete lunch bento, the onigiri is often partnered with a soup or a salad, along with other common dishes like sushi.

Also read my Ultimate guide to the Japanese Onigirazu sushi sandwich | recipe & more

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.