Grilled Rice Balls (Yaki Onigiri)

Grilled Rice Balls (Yaki Onigiri)
Chef Brainy
What Started it all:
Grilled rice balls

Grilled rice balls, or Yaki Onigiri, are a delicious and easy-to-make Japanese snack. They have a crispy, savory exterior and a soft, warm interior. Perfect for a light meal or a tasty treat!


  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for grilling
  • Optional fillings: pickled plum (umeboshi), grilled salmon, or tuna mayo


  1. Rinse the sushi rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Combine the rice and water in a rice cooker or pot. If using a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
  3. Let the rice sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  4. Wet your hands with water and sprinkle them with salt to prevent the rice from sticking.
  5. Take a handful of rice and shape it into a ball or triangle. If using fillings, make a small indentation in the center, add the filling, and cover it with more rice.
  6. Repeat until you have 8 rice balls.
  7. Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat and lightly oil it.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce and mirin (if using).
  9. Place the rice balls on the grill pan and cook until they develop a crispy, golden-brown crust, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  10. Brush the soy sauce mixture onto each side of the rice balls and continue grilling for another 1-2 minutes, until the sauce caramelizes and forms a glaze.
  11. Remove the rice balls from the grill pan and let them cool slightly.
  12. Serve warm, optionally garnished with sesame seeds or chopped green onions.

Grilled rice balls are a versatile and satisfying dish that can be enjoyed as a snack or part of a meal. Feel free to experiment with different fillings and seasonings to make them your own. Enjoy!

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