Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri

October 5, 2011

Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri are a fun little appetizer made with pan fried sushi rice mixed with a few fresh herbs and served with a ponzu dipping sauce. 

Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri

You are going to love Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri because...

They are an inexpensive appetizer

Great way to use up leftover rice

Addition ideas are endless

The crispy end bits of the rice are completely addictive

Whip together in less than 30 minutes

The Sky is the Limit with Additions

We kept our Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri vegan with just the addition of some fresh herbs and five spiced powder. However, the additions to the mix are really endless. The only strict parameter is that the additions must be dry so that these little onigiri fry up well and get crispy. You can add sesame seeds, Japanese rice sprinkles, chili flakes, cumin, cooked adzuki beans, etc.

How to get your rice super crispy

If you want to get your rice cripsy, make sure that all of your additions to the rice are dry. In addition, in you dip your rice balls in a little panko bread crumbs or sesame seeds before frying, they get really crispy and delicious. We kept our Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri gluten-free by using gluten free bread crumbs and exchanging soy sauce in the panzu dip for tamari sauce.

Dealing with THE Hungry Crew!

My teenage boys are always hungry! I swear they each have a hallow leg as I have no idea where they put all that food. They are both are skinny as rails.  I was sharing a story with my friends the other day on how teenage boys can really pack away the groceries. I think you will find this story either amusing or distressing.

Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri

One day a few years ago, I had placed a large beef roast, about 6 potatoes, and lots of carrots in a crock pot to simmer all day while I was at work so that we could have a nice dinner upon our return.  My eldest had returned home early from football practice and was home alone for a period of time while I was still at a function with my youngest son. I walked in the door and checked in on the roast in the crock pot but it was all gone except for a small little wedge of meat left in the pot.  I asked my eldest son, "What happened to the family beef roast?". He responded, "I had a little snack". A little snack, I retorted, you just ate the family roast!!!  Ayyyyehhhh! Boys! Teenagers!!!!!

Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri

Needless to say I was browsing through an Australian Master Chef magazine and an advertisement caught my eye - "Obento Japanese Meals in Minutes". I was trying to think of something else to go with my other Asian Small bites recipes that would really help fill up my hungry growing teenage boys. Bingo, a stick to your ribs type of rice dish!

Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri

I had both rice and dried Nori available in my kitchen but a plain onigiri sounded so boring. Then a brilliant idea came to mind, what if I added a few yummy ingredients to the rice, fry them up and then let my boys wrap them up in the dried Nori....! Yum! Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri was a big hit.

If you liked this Japanese recipe, be sure to try our...

Tuna Mayo Rice Balls (Onigiri)

Sukiyaki Beef Udon

Shrimp Tempura Udon Noodles

Wasabi Mayo Crab Onigirazu

How to Cook Shishito Peppers on the Grill

Soba Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing

or check out our Japanese Recipe Cuisine Category for more inspiration.

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Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri

By HWC Magazine  , ,   

October 5, 2011

Japanese Crispy Rice Onigiri are a fun little appetizer made with pan fried sushi rice mixed with a few fresh herbs and served with a ponzu dipping sauce.

  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yields: 4 servings


2 cups cooked rice (sushi rice is nice but also brown or basmati can be used if you add an egg to make it sticky)

dish of water to keep your hands from sticking to rice

1 tablespoon flour (rice flour or gluten free flour)

1/2 teaspoon Five Spice Powder

1/4 cup chopped green onions

salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste

white or black sesame seeds (optional)

panko breadcrumbs (optional can use rice flour for gluten free)

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Dried Nori (seaweed laver) 1 inch by 5 inch strips (optional)

Panzu Dipping Sauce: (Optional)

4 teaspoons soy sauce (tamari sauce for gluten free)

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil


1In a medium bowl combine, cooked short grain rice, flour, five spice powder, chopped green onions, salt, white pepper.

2Dip your hands in water to prevent the rice from sticking to hands and take about 1/4 cup of the rice mixture and form into a flat round patty. (If it is easier for you, you can put the contents into a piece of saran wrap to shape to keep your hands from sticking)

3If you choose you can either dip the rice patties into black sesame seeds or panko bread crumbs before frying.

4Place oil into pan and fry each rice patty for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

5Remove fried rice patty from pan and wrap with Nori and serve with dipping sauce. Fried Rice Patties are also delicious just plain or served instead of bread slices for a sandwich.


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