This is an easy recipe for Spicy Tuna Onigiri that is not only super portable, but makes for a healthy meal. It features seasoned rice and spicy tuna filling formed into a triangular shape. Pack a couple to go and you've got lunch made.
When it comes to rice, I would rather eat noodles or anything wheat-based over it.
This is funny because growing up, my family ate rice pretty much every night.
So when I'd go to AYCE (all-you-can-eat) sushi places, I would always skip the temaki sushi cones.
It wasn't until I found an onigiri mold that piqued my interest in this rice-centric food.
What is onigiri?
Onigiri is Japanese rice ball wrapped in seaweed.
It is actually not considered sushi since it is made with plain (or lightly salted) white short-grain rice.
Sushi rice, on the other hand is seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt.
Fillings in onigiri
Onigiri can be filled with pretty much anything you like.
Traditional fillings include:
- pickled ume
- salted salmon
- or kombu
You can vary the fillings or make it plain.
For this version, I wanted to make Spicy Tuna.
Ingredients you'll need
For the filling, you'll need these ingredients:
- canned tuna: packed in water or oil, your choice; drained
- sriracha (or hot sauce): to your taste; chili garlic sauce would be great too
- red pepper flakes: to your taste
- mayonnaise: you can use Japanese kewpie mayo or regular mayo
- green onions: chopped
You'll also need these ingredients to assemble the onigiri:
- cooked short-grained rice
- sesame seeds: you can use white or black
- furikake: is a dry Japanese seasoning that contains seaweed, sesame seeds, bonito flakes, salt and sugar
- nori seaweed
- avocado (optional), but I love the creaminess it adds
I used canned tuna since I knew I would be feeding it to the kids, but you can use sushi-grade tuna or any other type of fish.
I also like my spicy tuna on the *spicy* side, so I've added red pepper flakes and green onions for a little more punch.
Shaping the onigiri
Onigiri is really just a rice ball.
There's no "right or wrong" way to shape the onigiri.
Common shapes are triangle, or round balls. So have fun and play around with the shapes!
Essentially, I made it for the kids to see if they would eat a rice ball in the shape of a triangle.
My kids were intrigued by the shape and enjoyed the rice.
Plus, I discovered that I love making (and eating) these, much to the amusement of my husband!
How to serve & store
You can make the the Spicy Tuna Onigiri ahead of time and stick them in the fridge.
They will last for 1-2 days in the fridge, well-wrapped.
Not only it is super portable, but it makes for an easy and healthy meal.
Pack a couple to go and you've made lunch.
The only thing to note is that the rice does harden a little when it's stored in the fridge, so if you don't like that, you can enjoy them fresh.
Other recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Aburi-Style Smoked Salmon Oshi Sushi
I love the textural contrasts in this simple humble parcel.
The warm, sticky unseasoned rice, with the slightly creamy yet flaky spicy tuna, accentuated with the crunch of exterior coating of sesame seeds. One bite and you'll see why this is a staple in Japanese cuisine.
Let me know if you try out this tuna onigiri recipe. Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below.
Spicy Tuna Onigiri
- onigiri mold (optional)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 3 C hot/warm cooked short-grained rice
- 1 can tuna drained
- 2 tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoon green onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon chili pepper flakes optional
- 1 avocado sliced
- 12 x 1 " nori seaweed strips
- furikake Japanese seasoning
- sesame seeds
- Combine tuna, hot sauce, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, green onion, lemon juice and pepper flakes into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Place into the refrigerator until ready to use, at least 1 hour. (The longer it sits, the more flavourful the tuna will be).
- When ready to assemble, using an onigiri mold, add about 1 heaping tablespoon of warm rice to the mold, press down lightly with a spoon.
- Add 1 tablespoon of spicy tuna filling over top of the rice.
- Finish by adding another 1 tablespoon of rice on top of the filling to encase it. Press the mold firmly to retain the shape of the rice ball.
- Open the mold and remove the onigiri.
- Dip the exterior of the onigiri into some sesame seeds and furikake if you wish, and wrap it with a piece of nori.
Be sure to use hot/warm rice as cooled rice will not stick together well.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
Wow! So pretty. I just bought some tuna. Gonna dear some tuna steaks for my bday lol ??
I meant Sear*
Spicy tuna is one of our favorites. I can't wait to make these myself.
I didn't realize that spicy tuna onigiri was so simple to make! Will be making this for dinner soon.
It really is an easy dish to make, thanks Biana! 🙂
Yum! We love spicy tuna sushi and we love making sushi as a family. This will be such a great dinner.
Thank you Lisalia! Hope you all enjoy it 🙂
Yum! This looks so amazing and tasty! So excited to give this a try! My daughter and I are going to love these!
Thank you Beth! 🙂
What a fun recipe! It's absolutely delicious and so fun to fill with different things.
That's the fun part, switching up the fillings! Thanks Megan 🙂
I've never made sushi at home before! I can't wait to try your recipe - it looks surprisingly easy!
Yum! I have been trying to up my school lunch game and I think I may have found it! Might try and find an onigiri mould so it's easier. My daughter would love this and she's not afraid of a little bit of spice too.
I love spicy tuna! This made for the perfect lunch on the go for me and my kiddos! Thank you!
Oh wow! These were so delicious and very easy! I’ve never been a big fan of seaweed but my daughter sure is. I gave these a try and they were so yummy!
Can’t wait to try it but where would you recommend putting the avocado, I have some perfectly ripe ones in the fridge, and I’m tempted to try and mess around and put it inside. Either way spicy tuna is so yummy you can’t go wrong!
Hi Ash, it's really up to you -- you can mash the avocado and combine it with the tuna, add avo slices over the tuna filling inside, or slice into thin strips and drape it on the top/exterior. Hope that helps!