How much rice per onigiri? It depends on how you like to make it

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 7, 2022

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Onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, are one of the popular foods in various konbini and bento boxes. It is simple to make, affordable, and very tasty.

You can make and customize your onigiri flavor, that’s why it’s a fun dish to do. Based on your hunger meter, you can even adjust the serving size of your rice balls in your favorite recipes.

How much rice per onigiri? It depends on how you like to make it

The serving size is up to the cook, whether it’s an onigiri for a snack or in a bento. You can make your onigiri bigger or smaller, whichever your preference is. In most cases, people cook four cups of Japanese rice and make eight portions out of it (half-cup rice for each serving.) Japan Centre recommends 65g of cooked rice per serving.

How to make your own onigiri?

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Homemade onigiri is the best when it comes to value and taste. You can use your own fillings, shape your own rice ball, add toppings based on your preference, grill your onigiri to make yaki onigiri, or even make your onigiri sweet.

The preparation is quite straightforward as well, even the inexperienced cooks can do a serving under an hour.

Making the filling can require other recipes. This recipe assumes that you already have your own premade fillings ready.

Here are the following ingredients that you need to make onigiri (eight servings):

  • Four cups of cooked Japanese rice (short grain rice is best, like this one from Ubara)
  • Nori or dried seaweed
  • Onigiri fillings

Also read: zongzi vs onigiri and how you tell the difference

Once you have your ingredients ready, proceed as follows:

  1. Cook the Japanese rice based on the instructions.
  2. Japanese rice has a shorter grain and sticker than other rice varieties. Hence, there is a specific way to cook it properly. Refer to the instruction from your rice packaging.
  3. Once cooked, let it cool down.
  4. Wet your hands with water and rub some salt in it. The water will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.
  5. Next, portion your rice into eight equal pieces (if you used four cups). You can change this based on your preference.
  6. Push your hand in the center of the rice to create a small well. This is where you will put your premade fillings. Cover your fillings completely with rice and roll your onigiri to make sure that it has a good shape.
  7. Take your nori sheet and wrap it under your onigiri. This seaweed is to help you pick up and eat your rice balls even without utensils and when you’re on the go.

It’s up to you if you want to sprinkle other seasonings like furikake, salt, or sesame seeds. Enjoy your onigiri!

Don’t feel like making your own onigiri? Find out where to buy onigiri online

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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.