Spicy Tuna Onigiri Recipe

by liliana
Tuna Onigiri Recipe

Onigiri are rice balls filled with a variety of delicious ingredients. This Spicy Tuna Onigiri recipe is one of my favorites because it’s simple to make and has a great flavor. The tuna and sriracha mayo together are a perfect combination of flavors. In this recipe, I’ll show you how to make spicy tuna onigiri. They’re sure to be a hit with adults and kids alike!

What Is Onigiri?

Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball, traditionally made with white rice and filled with a variety of savory ingredients. The rice is usually molded into a triangle or oval shape and then wrapped in seaweed, although onigiri can also be round or cylindrical in shape. Onigiri is a popular snack food in Japan and can be found at most convenience stores. It is typically eaten with the hands, although it can also be eaten with chopsticks. Onigiri can be filled with a wide range of different ingredients, including pickled plum, salmon, tuna, and shrimp. In recent years, onigiri has become popular as a healthy alternative to traditional Western snacks such as chips and cookies. Onigiri is typically low in calories and fat, and it is also a good source of fiber and protein.

How Do You Say Tuna Mayo In Japanese?

In Japan, “tuna mayo” is written as ツナマヨ or つなまよ. The word ツナ (tsuna) refers to tuna fish, while マヨ (mayo) is the Japanese word for mayonnaise. This dish is typically made by mixing canned tuna with mayonnaise and some chopped vegetables such as onions, celery, or carrots. It is then served on bread or crackers as a light snack or main meal. “Tuna mayo” is a popular lunch item in Japan and can be found in most convenience stores and supermarkets. It is also a common filling for bento boxes. If you are ever in Japan and want to try this delicious dish, just ask for ツナマヨ or つなまよ at your local store or restaurant!

Tuna Mayo Onigiri

Tuna Mayo Onigiri

What Do You Put Inside An Onigiri?

Inside an onigiri can be a variety of ingredients. Common choices include pickled plum, tuna salad, salmon, and shrimp. Other popular fillings include spam, umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums), and konbu (kelp). Onigiri can also be filled with vegetables such as carrots or cucumber slices. With each ingredient, it’s important to think of the flavor and texture when combining them. For example, pickled plum is a great source of umami and sweetness, while tuna salad can provide a more savory taste. It all depends on what you like!

Tuna Mayo Onigiri Ingredients

Tuna mayo onigiri is a Japanese rice ball that is popular as a quick and easy snack or light meal:

  • Sliced scallions
  • Sriracha hot sauce
  • Extra virgin olive oil packed Albacore tuna
  • Rice vinegar
  • Traditional mayonnaise

How To Make Spicy Tuna Onigiri

Make sure to wash the rice thoroughly before cooking it. This will remove any dirt or debris that may be present. Next, cook the rice either in a rice cooker or on the stove. If you are using new crop rice, you may need to reduce the amount of water slightly.

Once the rice is cooked, spread it out on a tray and allow it to cool. While the rice is cooling, mix together the tuna, scallions, mayonnaise, sriracha hot sauce, and some rice vinegar in a bowl. Take about half a cup of cooked rice and press it into your palm. Place a tablespoon of the tuna mixture in the center of the rice and wrap it up into a triangular shape. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make as many onigiri as desired.

Once all of the onigiri are formed, heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Place each piece of onigiri carefully into the pan and cook for about two minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve the onigiri immediately, or store them in an airtight container for up to three days. Enjoy your spicy tuna onigiri!

Recipes Tips

When making onigiri, be sure to use cooked rice that is still slightly hot. This will help the onigiri keep its shape and will also ensure it is cooked through.

If you are using canned tuna for the filling, be sure to drain off any excess liquid before adding it to the mixture.

You can get creative with your onigiri fillings. You can make sweet versions, such as adding a dollop of jam to the center of the rice ball or savory versions like adding cheese and herbs.

When frying the onigiri, be sure not to overcrowd the pan. This will help them cook evenly and prevent sticking together.

How To Wrap Onigiri

  1. Prepare all your ingredients before shaping your rice balls – this will make things a lot easier. You’ll be washing your hands multiple times during this recipe, so having everything ready beforehand will help. Remember that the food you’re handling will be consumed without being heated, so take extra care!
  2. To wrap your onigiri, take a handful of cooked rice and press it into the shape of a triangle. Place some of your filling in the center of the triangle and then wrap one corner over the other two corners to form a ball-like shape. Use wet hands when handling the rice – this will help keep everything together.
  3. When stuffing your rice balls with tuna, flatten the rice ball first and then place only 1 tsp of your tuna mixture. Any more and it’ll be too much. This is a recipe where you don’t want to overstuff or the tuna will seep out.
  4. Use your thumbs to push the tuna into the ball of rice before sealing it. This will help to keep the tuna in place. Wet your hands again before shaping the triangle. This will help to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.
  5. Place the seaweed strip into a plate first, and then place your triangle over top and fold up the sides. This will help to seal in the filling and give you a nice, clean edge. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to make perfect rice balls every time.

Video How To Make Tuna Mayo Onigiri Rice Ball

How To Serve Onigiri

Onigiri can be enjoyed as a light meal or snack. You can serve them with soy sauce, pickled vegetables, mayonnaise, or any other accompaniments you like. They also make a great addition to bento boxes and picnics! To make the onigiri more enjoyable for kids, try adding vegetable faces to the rice balls. This will make them more fun to eat!

Onigiri can be eaten with your hands, but you can also use chopsticks or a spoon to enjoy them.

Storage And Reheating

Onigiri can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or they can be frozen and reheated when needed. To freeze, wrap each triangle individually with aluminum foil before transferring them to a sealed container or freezer bag. To reheat, simply place the onigiri into a microwave-safe dish and heat for 15-30 seconds.

More Japanese Recipes:

Japanese Tuna Onigiri

Japanese Tuna Onigiri

FAQs For Japanese Tuna Onigiri

Is Tuna Mayo Onigiri A Type Of Sushi?

No, tuna mayo onigiri is not a type of sushi. Sushi is typically made with raw fish and rice, while tuna mayo onigiri contains cooked tuna mixed together with mayonnaise and other ingredients.

Can I Use Canned Tuna?

Yes, you can use canned tuna for this recipe. Just make sure to drain it well and use a higher quality tuna for better flavor.

Can I Make Vegan Onigiri?

Yes, you can make vegan onigiri! Simply substitute the mayonnaise with your favorite vegan mayo or apple cider vinegar, and use cooked vegetables as the filling instead of tuna.

Is Tuna Mayo A Traditional Onigiri Filling?

No, tuna mayo is not a traditional onigiri filling. Onigiri can be filled with any type of ingredients and the most popular fillings are usually pickled vegetables or salted fish. Tuna mayo is a more modern take on the classic Japanese dish.

Can I Use Brown Rice To Make Onigiri?

Yes, you can use brown rice to make onigiri. It will take a bit longer to cook and it may be more difficult to shape, but the result is still delicious. Just remember to add more water when cooking and be sure to use wet hands when shaping the triangle.

What Fillings Can You Put In Onigiri?

You can put a variety of fillings in onigiri such as cooked vegetables, canned tuna, umeboshi (pickled plum), salmon, shiso leaves, and more. Be creative and experiment with different flavors to find what you like best!

What Are The Top 3 Most Popular Onigiri?

The three most popular onigiri flavors are umeboshi, salmon and mayonnaise, and tuna mayo. Umeboshi is a pickled plum that has a sour taste and is usually served with plain rice. Salmon and mayonnaise is a classic combination of sweet and savory flavors. And lastly, tuna mayo is a modern twist on the traditional Japanese dish.

What Is Traditionally In Onigiri?

Onigiri is usually filled with pickled vegetables, salted fish, or a combination of both. The traditional Japanese dish can also be flavored with umeboshi (pickled plum) or soy sauce depending on the type of filling used.

Why Is It Called Devil Onigiri?

The Japanese term “Devil Onigiri” is used to refer to onigiri that has been deep-fried. The Japanese called it devil because of the crisp, crunchy texture and the extra flavor that comes from frying the rice balls. It is a popular snack in Japan and can be found at various restaurants and convenience stores.


These delicious and easy-to-make onigiri are sure to be a hit with the whole family! With some prepping and a little bit of patience, you’ll have perfect Japanese rice balls that you can enjoy at any time. Have fun experimenting with different fillings and wrapping techniques and make sure to share your creations with me. Lilianakitchen.com can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Tuna Onigiri Recipe

Tuna Mayo Onigiri

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 487 calories 13 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • Japanese short-grain rice: 1 ½ cups
  • Cold water: 1 ⅔ cups
  • Chunk tuna in oil: 85 grams
  • Japanese mayonnaise such as Kewpie: 3 tablespoons
  • Soy sauce: 1 teaspoon
  • Hot sauce: 1 teaspoon
  • Rice vinegar: ½ teaspoon
  • Wild sesame leaves green shiso or nori: 6
  • Scallion (green parts): 1
  • Salt


1. Rinse the Japanese short-grain rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Put the rinsed rice into a medium saucepan and add 1 ⅔ cups of cold water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, drain the tuna and place it in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce, hot sauce, and rice vinegar. Stir until everything is well combined.

3. Once the rice is done cooking, transfer it to a large bowl and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and mix with a wooden spoon.

4. Divide the cooked rice into 6 equal portions, rolling each portion into a ball. Place one portion in the palm of your hand and flatten it slightly to create a cup shape.

5. Put 1 tablespoon of tuna mayo filling inside the cup and fold the sides up over it to make a triangle shape. Repeat for the remaining portions of rice.

6. Place a piece of wild sesame leaves (shiso or nori) on top of each triangle and garnish with scallion greens. Serve the onigiri warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!


  • If you cannot find shiso or nori, you can also use sheets of toasted seaweed.
  • To make the onigiri easier to shape, wet your hands with cold water.
  • For a spicier flavor, add more hot sauce to the tuna mayo mixture.
  • Onigiri can be stored in airtight containers for up to two days. After that, the rice will begin to dry out. Be sure to consume within one day of making.
  • If you’d like a vegan version, replace the tuna with mashed firm tofu or tempeh. You can also try using other vegetables as fillings.
  • You can also try adding other ingredients such as diced carrots, pickled plums (umeboshi), or konbu to the tuna mayo mixture.
  • If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can use the stovetop method described in this guide.

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