Salmon Rice Ball Recipe

Salmon Rice Ball

If you’ve ever seen Japanese TV shows or movies, you’ve probably seen rice balls. Now you can make these super convenient and easy-to-make rice balls at home with this Salmon Rice Ball recipe.

What is a Rice Ball?

Rice balls are a Japanese food made by forming rice into triangular or circular shapes, adding filling to them and then wrapped in a sheet of seaweed. They’re also known as onigiri in Japanese and have a long history in Japanese cuisine. They started as quick lunchtime meals for samurai during the war and eventually made their way to the rest of the population.

The traditional fillings include salted or preserved foods like pickled Japanese plums or salted salmon. Over the centuries, people experimented with different types of fillings and created new varieties of rice balls.

Salmon rice balls are perfect for picnics or snacks for long car rides since they’re easy to pack and a mess-free meal. Consider them to be the sandwiches of Japan!

Why Are They So Popular?

You don’t have to wait for picnics or special meals to enjoy onigiri. In Japan, you can buy them virtually anywhere. You can even get them at convenience stores for 100 to 200 yen (about $1-$2 Canadian)! Here in North America, they’re mostly found in the snack sections or ready-made food areas of Asian supermarkets.

Just like how you serve side dishes with plain steamed rice, you can pretty much put anything you want inside a rice ball. Anything you can stuff into rice is pretty much fair game for rice ball fillings. You can read more about common rice ball fillings here. It is recommended to use less wet fillings though. They’re easier to put in and it won’t make your rice as soggy!

Salmon-filled rice balls are definitely one of the top 5 fillings. This Salmon rice ball recipe shows you exactly how to make your own. Making them is a very easy process, you can even get the kids in on it to make their own. If you have trouble shaping them into their traditional triangular shape, you can always just mix the salmon into the rice and roll them into balls.

Now you’re ready to start making Salmon Rice Balls! Whether you’re making them for a picnic, bento box or just for a quick snack, you’ll definitely enjoy making and eating them.

Salmon Rice Ball Recipe

If you’ve ever seen Japanese TV shows or movies, you’ve probably seen rice balls or onigiri. Now you can make these super convenient and easy-to-make Salmon Rice Balls at home.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese, onigiri, rice ball, salmon
Servings: 12


Rice Ball:

  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain rice
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½-inch knob ginger
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 6 sheets nori (seaweed), (optional)
  • Toasted sesame seeds, (optional)


  • 2 fillets salmon
  • sea salt
  • 1 stalk green onion


Rice & Filling:

  • Start the recipe by cooking your rice in your rice cooker first. If you do not have a rice cooker, put the uncooked rice and water into a medium pot and cook it over medium-high heat. Once the liquid boils, turn down the heat to low, cover and cook the rice for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the rice in case it bubbles over.
  • While your rice is cooking, you can prepare your salmon. Preheat your oven to 425ºF (218ºC) and then sprinkle salt on both sides of the salmon fillets.
  • Once your oven is ready, bake the oven for 10 to 20 minutes. The salmon should be slightly dry and flaky at the end.
  • After the salmon is cooked, put the fillets into a bowl and use a form to break them into flakes.
  • Then slice your green onion and mix it into the salmon.
  • When your rice is cooked, remove it from the rice cooker or pot and transfer it to a large bowl.
  • Now it’s time to prep the seasoning for the rice. Peel and grate your ginger into a bowl. Then add the sake, sugar and soy sauce. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Forming the Rice Ball:

  • Pour the rice seasoning mixture into your bowl of rice and mix everything together.
  • If you want to wrap your rice balls in seaweed, cut your nori into thirds or halves depending on how you want to wrap it. Set aside.
  • Prep a bowl of warm water. You will need to wet your hands every so often to prevent the rice from sticking while you form the balls.
  • We both hands and make the rice balls while the rice is still warm.

Beginner Method:

  • Mix together the seasoned rice, green onion, and flaked salmon.
  • Scoop a handful of warm rice (about ⅓ cup) into your hand and squeeze into a triangular shape making sure not to squeeze too tight. Or roll them into balls.
  • Wrap the onigiri with nori seaweed and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Enjoy!

Traditional Method:

  • Scoop a handful of warm rice (about ⅓ cup) into your hand. Create a small indent in the center of the rice.
  • Then add a spoonful of the flaked salmon inside the indent. After, mould the rice around the filling and cover it completely.
  • Squeeze the ball together and gently form the rice into a triangular shape. Or you can roll it into a ball. Squeeze hard enough to make sure the rice ball doesn’t fall apart but not too tightly or else the filling will spill out.
  • Wrap the onigiri with nori seaweed and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Enjoy!


  • Like any other rice dish, it will get hard once you refrigerate it. It’s best to consume right away. You can wrap the rice balls in kitchen towels before putting them in the fridge if you do need to store them.

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