Spicy Tuna Onigiri

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I enjoy visiting the Japanese market and picking up a few of these treats to keep in the fridge for a quick snack, so I thought I’d try making them at home instead. Onigiri are Japanese rice balls filled with delicious ingredients and wrapped in nori, creating a beautifully assembled snack! While this spicy tuna and avocado version isn’t traditional, the combination with crispy rice takes the flavor to another level. I love having these in the fridge for a quick snack during the week!

Spicy Tuna Onigiri

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Snack
Servings 12


**Spicy Tuna Filling:**

  • 1 pound of ahi tuna finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise preferably Kewpie mayo
  • 3 tablespoons of sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup of green onions thinly sliced

**Sushi Rice:**

  • 2 cups of sushi rice rinsed well
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil


  • Avocado optional
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Japanese barbecue sauce
  • Nori sheets


**Make the Sushi Rice:**

  • Rinse the sushi rice until the water runs clear. If you have time, soak it in water for 15 minutes before rinsing.
  • In a pot over high heat, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and rice, then lower the heat and cover to simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave covered for an additional 10 minutes, then fluff the rice.
  • In a small bowl, combine rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and sesame oil. Microwave for 30 seconds or warm it in a pot until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the rice and mix until evenly coated. Set aside.

**Make the Spicy Tuna:**

  • In a bowl, mix finely diced tuna with mayonnaise, sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, and sliced green onions.


  • Shape about 1/4 cup of rice into a small triangle using hands dipped in water, on a piece of plastic wrap.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of spicy tuna filling to the center, then cover with more rice in a triangle shape.
  • Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then unwrap. Repeat with remaining rice and tuna. You can add sliced avocado inside if desired. Wrap a piece of nori along the bottom.
  • Optional Step: To grill (yaki) the onigiri, add a splash of oil to a pan, fry each side for 3 minutes until crispy and golden. Drizzle Japanese barbecue sauce and caramelize. Repeat on the other side.
  • Enjoy with spicy mayo or chili oil for dipping!


  • For leftovers, wrap each onigiri tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
  • An easier way to fill and shape them: lay out rice, add tuna in the center, wrap into a tight ball, then shape into a triangle.

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