Tuna Onigiri


For me this is a quick lunch to grab on the go or to make when there’s leftover rice. It’s even great “deconstructed” – flavored tuna and seasoned rice with roasted seaweed, it’s a win – win – win.

The Rice and Seasoning

Usually made with “sushi” rice or short grained rice, it’s stickier and will hold the shape of the triangular onigiri better. But I make it with whatever I have on hand which is generally jasmine rice. (NOTE: The longer grained rice will most likely fall apart when handled.)

I season the rice with rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar (which is one in the same if you happen to see it in your grocery store). The rice vinegar can come preseasoned which means it also contains more sugar. You can opt for the unseasoned rice vinegar if you want better control of your sugar intake and the flavors in your recipes.

I also use furikake which is a Japanese condiment that also comes in various flavors, including wasabi, salmon, and shiso to name a few. In general furikake will contain, seaweed pieces, sesame seeds, salt and sugar.

The Tuna/Filling

This recipe calls for canned tuna. I prefer solid white Albacore tuna in water from Bumble Bee. It’s chunkier while others seem more “soupy.”

To enhance the onigiri tuna filling I used Kewpie mayonnaise and Sriracha, however, I urge you to go off the beaten path. Try adding some scallions/green onions, (or red onions) celery, or tomatoes if you so choose. That leftover tuna salad, you can use it as the filling too.

Shaping the Onigiri

I have a special mold to make the onigiri (bought off Amazon). However, you can easily make the shape by dampening your hands with a little bit of water and molding the rice into the traditional triangular shape. The water will help prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.

The Seaweed

Now we aren’t using the wet stuff that clings to you after a dip into the ocean. We use the pre- dried stuff, already made into sheets. What I had on hand were those roasted seaweed sheets that come packaged in foil wrap. Which, surprise surprise, also comes in different flavors. These come in approximately  3 by 4 inch sheets that I cut lengthwise to wrap my onigiris. However, you may find larger nori sheets to completely wrap the onigiri in seaweed and that’s delicious too.

Pro tip: Hold off on covering your onigiri with the seaweed until you are ready to eat them. The seaweed absorbs the moisture from the rice fairly quickly, so instead of a nice crunch, you get a soggy, chewy texture.

Tuna Onigiri

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Japanese


  • 1 Onigiri Mold Optional



  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 2 Tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Furikake Plus extra to coat the rice after molding

Tuna Filling

  • 1/2 Can Tuna Solid White Albacore in water
  • 1 Tbsp Kewpie Mayo
  • 2 Tsp Sriracha optional - add more or less to spiciness preference


  • 4 Sheets Roasted Seaweed ( Cut to size to wrap around your onigiri) - the amount of seaweed wrapping your onigiri depends on the size of the sheets you have and how much of the onigiri you want to wrap. We used a fairly small strip of seaweed but you can cover the onigiri completely.


  • In a bowl combine rice ingredients (rice, furikake, rice vinegar).
  • In a separate bowl combine tuna, mayonnaise and sriracha (if you are using it).
  • Using the onigiri mold or your hands, layer rice > Tuna > rice and compress until you have a triangle shape. If using your hands, it helps to dampen them with water to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.
  • Cover the rice triangle with the seaweed sheet.
  • Optional: If you have a small piece of seaweed covering the onigiri as I did - dip the exposed rice sides of the onigiri into some Furikake.
  • Optional: Forego the shaping and eat a deconstructed tuna onigiri which is just the seasoned rice and tuna on a nori/seaweed sheet. It’s still DELICIOUS!



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