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25 Yummy Onigiri Fillings Ideas

Quick Answer

Onigiri is a traditional Japanese food made of short grain white rice. It previously had the standard triangle shape, but today it is made of many shaped balls referred to as rice balls.

It can be mixed with various ingredients, typically placed in the middle. Alternatively, it also can be mixed thoroughly where the ingredients can be seen on the outermost layer.

The ingredients that are incorporated in the rice balls are what make them versatile. Onigiri can be eaten as part of a meal, packed in lunch boxes, or taken as a snack.

Onigiri is a standard food product in Japanese convenience stores and supermarkets made by both companies and small businesses.

The rice balls are perfect as they are very filling and easy to handle. Easy to pack in a bento box, there are numerous flavors to choose from, made with different ingredients. 

When looking for the perfect Onigiri filling ideas, you will come across popular Onigiri filling styles. However, choosing a different flavor and style every time will make it easier to narrow down the favorite choices to get a style that you love. 

Traditional Japanese food has its cultural values in it; depending on age and shape, it can be named differently. Apart from the Onigiri name, these treats can also be referred to as nigirimeshi or Omusubi.

The traditional method of making Onigiri includes the use of simple ingredients and needs plain white sticky rice, sesame seeds for the flavor, and salts to taste.

For a more impactful meal, add Onigiri fillings of different ingredients, which can be placed at the center, throughout the rice, or on top.

Onigiri is a simple food that any age group can enjoy. With numerous fillings available, it’s easy to make regular meals; all that is needed is swapping the fillings. 

It’s also perfect for portion control which is helpful for the elderly, kids, and those seeking to lose weight. Vegetarians also love Onigiri, as vegan options are just as tasty.

Here are 25 Onigiri-filling ideas to try

Yummy Onigiri Fillings Ideas: Quick Table

Recipe CaloriesPreparation Time
Tuna-mayo19030 minutes
Spicy Tuna Onigiri18250 minutes
Okaka17915 minutes
Takana17140 minutes
Sekihan2211 hour 30 minutes
Tempus11730 minutes
Bakudan2901 hour
Nikumaki25020 minutes
Spa, Onigirazu24330 minutes
Chicken Katsu Onigirazu30015 minutes 
Umeboshi (pickled plum)18015 minutes
Tarako34925 minutes
Mentaiko4506 hours or 20 minutes
Katsuobushi27715 minutes
Tenmusu18055 minutes
Ebi Mayo2841 hour 25 minutes
Cheese Onigiri13545 minutes
Tukanazuke20120 minutes
Negi Miso20020, minutes
Chicken Soboro Onigiri24020 minutes
Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri22015 minutes or 1 hour 
Sweet potato and avocado Yaki Onigiri20040 minutes
Gochujang glazed Onigiri with Teriyaki Spam23020 minutes
Macha Prosciutto Cupcake rice balls21030 minutes
Beef Broccoli Stuffed Rice Triangles22050 minutes

1. Tuna-Mayo

Tuna-mayo or tuna with mayonnaise is the most popular type of filling idea found. Tuna mayo is free from grease and is particularly loved by women and anyone who does not want or cannot wash up afterward.

The meal’s tenderness and flavor make it perfect for the elderly and kids alike.

Calories: 190

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

2. Spicy Tuna Onigiri

The spicy tuna onigiri is an improved version of the tuna mayo. Before placing the filling in the rice, the rice must be well-seasoned with sesame seeds, soy sauce, and mayonnaise to give it its trademark flavor.

Adding spices (to make the tuna spicy) gives it a kick that goes well with alcoholic beverages.

Calories: 182

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

3. Okaka

Okaka is a very versatile and safe Onigiri filling. Made of chopped Katsuibushi, soy sauce, and dried bonito as the main ingredients, make the friendly triangle meal delicious.

Since it is dry, it is perfect for a picnic and long travels as it lasts longer, reducing the chances of food poisoning. 

Calories: 179

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

4. Takana

Takana, in simple terms, is Onigiri with pickled leaf as the main ingredient. Due to the fact that Takana is a long leaf, it can be wrapped outside the Onigiri as a covering, just like seaweed.

It can also be finely chopped before being thoroughly mixed with the rice, giving it its standard shape. Due to its unique flavor, it’s perfect in cold weather as a stimulant and goes well with spicy cod roe.

Calories: 171

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

5. Sekihan

Sekihan is Onigiri that has been incorporated with red beans. However, to make it, glutinous rice is necessary to ensure that it becomes stickier than usual(mochi rice is perfect for the task).

Due to its unique nature, Sekihan packaging needs seaweed wrapping, but it’s all worth it, considering the sweetness of the red beans.

Calories: 221

Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

6. Tenmusu

Tenmusu is a tempura Onigiri filling that people from all groups love to enjoy. Previously enjoyed for special occasions, it is common in convenience stores. Taking it together with a hot main meal will make it truly enjoyable.

Calories: 117

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

7. Bakudan

Bakudan is a unique style of onigiri which means bomb. Wrapped tightly in a seaweed wrap, every type of filling can be included in the filling, as no rules apply when making it.

However, the most common fillings are Japanese fried Chicken ( karaage) boiled egg soy sauce flavored. It’s a favorite for many since it’s a mystery before biting into it, making it an exciting experience.

Calories: 290

Preparation Time: 1 hour

8. Nikumaki

Nikumaki is considered a reverse onigiri as the rice acts as the filling instead of having the meat inside as the filling. Gaining popularity in the 2000s, the meats are a perfect substitute for seaweed.

The best part is the meats are tasty and inviting as the crunchy tops give way to flavor-filled rice filling perfectly as meal accompaniments.

Calories: 250

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

9. Spam Onigirazu – The New Style Of Onigiri

Spam Onigirazu is one of the newest ways of making Onigiri. With spam being a favorite for many, adding spam as a filling together with some vegetables, soy sauce, and sesame make for a new recipe that is fun to enjoy.

The fact that it is healthier, Onigiri has tuna (replacing the salmon), making it a colorful option ideal to share with loved ones.

Calories: 243

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

10. Chicken Katsu Onigirazu

Chicken Katsu Onigirazu follows the new trend of having an onigiri filling idea that does not follow one type of shape. Ideally, the goal is to have the chicken Katsu stacked or layered as would a sandwich.

The secret to having a tart flavor is marinating it as would salmon and mixing it up with mayonnaise and soy sauce. Teriyaki sauce is then used to complement the surrounding flavor.

Calories: 300

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

11. Umeboshi (Pickled Plum)

Umeboshi (Pickled Plum) is an Onigiri with both sour and salty flavor that is perfect for fluffy steamed sticky rice. However, it’s an acquired taste as the process of making it is idealistically different.

It’s ideal for the body, especially in the summer, ensuring it remains cool.

Calories: 180 

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

12. Tarako (Salted Cod Roe)

Tarako is an onigiri cod roe marinated with soy sauce, salt, and other herbs/spices to give it its salty taste. 

To get the umami taste infused, it’s important to smoke it with caviar flavor to get a robust taste. Given its mild taste, it is perfect for those seeking a milder taste.

Calories: 349

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

RELATED: 12 Japanese Inspired Sides To Serve With Sushi

13. Mentaiko (Spicy Cod Roe)

Mentaiko is a spicier version of tarako and is made with its main ingredient, cod roe. However, the preparation sets it apart as it also has mayonnaise and spicy seasoning to set it apart.

Checking on the distribution of the filling throughout the rice will make the spiciness finish and make it melt when it touches the tongue.

Calories: 450

Preparation Time: 6 hours

14. Katsuobushi/ Okaka (Bonito Flakes)

Bonito flakes are an integral part of Japanese cuisine and the key ingredient in making Katsuobushi. However, to make the dish, the fish filets must be fermented and smoked to infuse perfectly with the umami.

Proper marination will make the smell mesmerizing and the taste magical with soy sauce, among other spices and herbs.

Calories: 277

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

15. Tenmusu (Shrimp Tempura)

Shrimp tempura is sweet when tsuyu sauce is included. With its two parts, tempura and musubi, it is easy to enjoy crispy and savory dishes as the tempura shrimp is battered and goes well with the rice balls.

It’s ideal to have the shrimp rice ball as a snack and dish; it’s addictive and impossible to stop at one.

Calories: 180

Preparation Time: 55 minutes

16. Ebi Mayo (Shrimp Mayonnaise)

The secret to having the Ebi mayo Onigiri is ensuring that the shrimp origin filling has some chicken nuggets incorporated to make superior rice balls

Seasoning with sesame seeds, mayo, and pepper will give it just the right touch to use as a snack or an accompaniment for main dishes. 

Calories: 284

Preparation Time: 1 h 25 m

17. Cheese Onigiri

Cheese is something that tastes better with almost everything. When limited on time and want some comfort food, cheese onigiri is the perfect pick as it offers a mixture of grainy and cheesy.

Picking the right cheese is essential as it brings out a cheesy flavor that works wonders for the taste buds.

Calories: 135

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

18. Takanazuke (Pickled Mustard)

Takanazuke is what is referred to as a social origin dish as it’s crispy, salty, and spicy. When mixed with mustard pickled and soy sauce, it’s the perfect dish for vegetarians seeking something different while sticking to their preferred kind of dish.

For a little more traditional cuisine, Kombu (seaweed) gives it that crunchy feeling making it a delightful meal option.

Calories: 201

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

19. Negi Miso (Leek And Miso Sauce)

Negi Miso comprises mainly Japanese green onions mixed with miso-based sauce to give it a sweet and savory taste. The marination step is vital as the dipping vegetables have meat additions perfect for enjoying with steaming sticky rice

It is excellent for social events as it must be lightly grilled over glowing coals, open flame, or even in a frying pan until golden brown to give it a smokey flavor.

Calories: 200

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

20. Chicken Soboro Onigiri (Japanese Ground Chicken Rice Ball)

Chicken soboro for making onigiri needs to use ground chicken thoroughly cooked with other meaty dishes to give it a delicious meaty twist.

The secret is having Japanese-style sauce in the mixture before adding it to the sticky white rice. The classical dish is perfect for picnics or meat festivals.

Calories: 240

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

21. Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri 

Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri are some of the few onigiri fillings that are considered fast food options due to their savory flavor. However, the dish is exceptionally healthy and perfect for lunch as it’s tasty and can last longer without the taste changing.

Calories: 220

Preparation Time: 15 minutes or 1 hour

22. Sweet Potato And Avocado Yaki Onigiri

Sweet Potato and Avocado Yaki Onigiri are an added twist to the yaki onigiri, which usually has seaweed, sesame, and salt as the main flavoring options.

Add sweet potatoes and avocado to the mixture for filling options with yaki already crunchy and working as a party finger food.

Teriyaki, soy, and red paste sauces are added for a truly unique taste, especially after it is fried till golden brown on both sides.

Calories: 200

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

23. Gochujang-Glazed Onigiri With Teriyaki Spam – Poke The Dough

Glazed onigiri is yaki onigiri that has been grilled to have its stands crispy, with a crunchy crust. Spicy mayo, canned tuna, and other meats add spam to the mixture, and spicy mayo makes for an outstanding dish.

However, glazing both sides to a crisp of your licking is vital to enjoying the meal truly.

Calories: 230 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

24. Matcha Prosciutto Cupcake Rice Balls

The Cupcake looking Rice Balls flavored with Matcha is different from the other onigiri as they have the filling on top of the rice.

The matcha flavor is best served in tiny cupcakes as they are usually small in size and served as appetizers. The glutinous rice filling usually has groundnut, lard, matcha, and sugar to give it a sweet taste.

Calories: 210

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

RELATED: 25 Delicious Cooked Sushi Recipes To Try

25. Beef Broccoli-Stuffed Rice Triangles

Onigiri is used as snacks and savory meals, and most do not incorporate vegetables as the main ingredients unless it’s for vegetarians.

With the meat cooked all the way and broccoli cooked until slightly tender, it will make for a crunchy meal, especially when cornstarch is added to the mix. Adding sesame seeds, salt, pepper, and other spices makes the perfect hangover dish.

Calories: 220

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Rice Is Used For Onigiri?

Onigiri uses a particular type of rice that is sticky, known as Japanese short grain white rice.  It’s essential as it helps the rice maintain its original shape without crumbling when held.

Can Onigiri Be Premade?

Onigiri can be pre-made to be eaten later but only has a small fresh window. When packing for a picnic or lunch, it’s essential to keep it in the fridge or, better yet, on ice packs.

For longer storage than 12 hours, use a plastic wrap, freeze it, and only remove it and microwave the onigiri when ready to eat. Refrigerating the Onigiri for an extended period dries out the rice.

Why Does Onigiri Have A Seaweed Sheet? 

The seaweed sheet placed on top of Onigiri fillings is a traditional way of packaging the rice balls to ensure they don’t fall apart if sticky rice is not used.

Today, it’s used to give a satisfying crunch when biting into them; discovering the Onigiri with Onigiri fillings becomes more enthralling.

25 Yummy Onigiri Fillings Ideas

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When looking for the perfect Onigiri filling ideas, you will come across popular Onigiri filling styles.

Directions

  • Pick a recipe from the list above
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  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
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Recipe Video

Jess Smith