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Tuna Mayo Onigiri

Japanese short grain rice balls filled with seasoned tuna and topped with sweet and salty seaweed flakes. The simplest, tastiest snack. So filling, so yummy, and so easy to make! This recipe will make about 12 small onigiri in under 30 minutes.

I bought my first onigiri from the Kyoto Shinkansen station. It was a small, black triangle wrapped tightly in crinkly plastic with a label that said Tuna Mayo. When I carefully unwrapped it, I realized it was folded in such a way to keep the nori (seaweed) from touching the rice, keeping the nori crisp. Ingenious! I bought onigiri many times after on my trip, trying a new flavor each time.

Now I make onigiri at home very often. It's great for a quick lunch or to put out at small gatherings as finger food.


  1. 2 cups uncooked Japanese short grain rice*

  2. 2 5oz cans chunk light tuna in water, drained

  3. 3 tablespoons kewpie mayo, plus more to taste (regular mayo ok, too)

  4. 1 teaspoon sriracha, plus more to taste

  5. Salt, to taste

  6. 2 sheets dried nori

  7. Furikake, to taste

*You can sub this for Calrose or Arborio rice. Texture and shape matter for this recipe. Do NOT use Jasmine, Basmati, or any other long grain rice. I've tried. And failed.


  1. Make the rice according to package instructions. If you're new to cooking rice and don't have a rice cooker, here's what I do for 2 cups: Rinse and wash the rice three times in a medium pot, add three cups of water to the pot, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  2. While the rice is cooking, cut the nori. There's no right way or shape to cut the nori. I cut mine into about 2 inch by 4 inch pieces.

  3. When the rice is done cooking, fluff the rice and allow it to cool. It should be warm but not hot when you put the onigiri together.

  4. Make the filling while the rice cools. Mix the tuna, mayo, and sriracha together in a medium bowl. Taste and add more mayo, sriracha, and salt to your taste. Set aside.

  5. Assemble your onigiri. I use an onigiri mold I got from Daiso. You can also get one from Amazon. (But they're still super easy without one!) If don't have a mold, wet your hands thoroughly to prevent the rice from sticking to them. Grab a small amount of rice in your palm, about the size of a large kiwi. Spread it across your palm in a round shape, making a small indent in the middle. Place a tablespoon amount of the tuna mixture in the indent. Cover with an equal amount of rice and gently shape it into a triangular shape. Place the small nori sheet at the bottom center of the onigiri. Re-wet your hands each time you make a new one.

  6. Once all your onigiris are assembled, sprinkle each with your desired amount of furikake. Top with a tiny dollop of tuna. Serve!

Feeling naughty but rice.

- Arielle

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