Japanese Onigiri Rice Triangles

onigiri rice triangles
Patsy Catsos
Total Time: 50 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Servings: 5 (2 triangles each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

220 calories
3g fat
37g carbs
10g protein
Show Nutrition Label Hide Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 (2 triangles each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 220
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 510mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 10g  
Vitamin D 3mcg 15%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 792mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Onigiri is a popular Japanese snack or lunchbox item. Much less fussy to assemble than sushi, you can vary the filling to suit yourself. Tightly wrapped, these keep for several days; they can be served cold, or pan-fried in a little oil to warm them up and make them crispy on the outside.

With nutrient-rich dried seaweed for flavor and texture and salmon or your choice of fish for a boost in omega-3 fatty acids, onigiri rice triangles are a healthy choice for a quick and satisfying snack on the go just about any time of day.


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short grain white rice
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz. dried sliced seaweed, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 oz. cooked, smoked, or canned salmon
  • 1 sheet nori


  1. Measure the rice in a medium saucepan. Rinse, stir, and drain it several times. Cover it with plenty of water and allow it to soak for about 40 minutes or until the rice is an opaque white color. Thoroughly drain the rice in a mesh strainer.

  2. Return the drained rice to the saucepan. Add water and salt; cover the pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the rice for 20 minutes, then remove it from the heat.

  3. Leave the pot covered and allow the rice to steam for another 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.

  4. Sprinkle in the seaweed and sesame seeds. Stir to combine.

  5. When the rice mixture is cool enough to handle, moisten both hands. Spread about 1/2 cup of the rice out on the palm of one hand. Place 1 tablespoon of salmon in the center, and form the rice mixture into a ball around it. Press firmly to stick the rice together. Form it into the traditional triangle shape, flat on both sides, with rounded corners.

  6. Using scissors, cut the sheet of nori into strips, 1-inch by 2 1/2-inches each; wrap a strip of nori around one edge of the triangle. Cover or wrap tightly until serving.

Variations and Substitutions

There are a few ways you can mix things up to create customized onigiri rice balls to suit your unique tastes and preferences.

  • Short-grain brown rice can be used instead of white sushi rice. Use 1 1/2 cups of brown rice, 2 1/4 cups of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook the rice for 50 minutes, remove from the heat, and steam for 10 more minutes.
  • Stuff onigiri with smoked or canned sardines, tuna, herring, trout, or mussels instead of salmon. Instead of fish, you can also stuff the onigiri with pickled low-FODMAP vegetables like carrots or cooked sweet potatoes.
  • Shred the fish and stir it into the rice before forming the onigiri. Stir finely chopped or shredded cooked carrots or pickled ginger into the rice before forming the onigiri.
  • Use a prepared onigiri seasoning blend or furikake rice seasoning instead of salt, sliced seaweed, and sesame seeds. (Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure that onions, garlic, and lactose are not present as flavorings or sweeteners if you are following a low-FODMAP diet or have an allergy or sensitivity.)

Cooking and Serving Tips

Follow these preparation tips to get the most out of your onigiri rice balls:

  • Don't use any other type of rice. Only short grain white rice (sushi rice) or short grain brown rice are sticky enough to make onigiri.
  • Start soaking the rice 40 minutes prior to the active preparation time for this recipe.
  • The nori on the edge of the onigiri triangles keeps the rice from sticking to your fingers when you eat it.
  • Nori may be sold as "roasted seaweed." Look for flat green sheets that look like dark green hand-made paper, with pictures of sushi rolls on the front.
  • Onigiri can be formed into any size or shape. Try balls the size of ping-pong balls, omitting the nori wrap.

Rate this Recipe

You've already rated this recipe. Thanks for your rating!
1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sprague M, Dick JR, Tocher DR. Impact of sustainable feeds on omega-3 long-chain fatty acid levels in farmed Atlantic salmon, 2006-2015Sci Rep. 2016;6:21892. doi:10.1038/srep21892

By Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, is a nutrition expert with expertise in GI disorders. She is a leader in using the FODMAP approach with IBS patients.