Rice Cooker

Okaka Musubi (Rice Ball)

  • Main Dish
  • Japanese
  • Plain

Craving onigiri? No need to make a trip to the kombini for Japanese rice balls! Make these classic okaka musubi at home with ease.

  • Servings 3-4
  • Preparation
  • Cooking


  • ½ cup bonito flakes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 cups cooked short grain Japanese rice
  • Salt


  • Using chopsticks, mix the bonito flakes, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl to create okaka mixture.
  • Set a bowl of water next to your work surface. Wet your hands and scoop up about ½ cup of rice.
  • Shape the rice into a triangle or a ball, or whatever shape you like. 
  • Press the center of your rice ball to create an indentation where you can add about ½ tablespoon of okaka.
  • Cover the filled spot with a little rice.
  • Sprinkle a little salt on both of your palms and finish shaping the rice. This will add saltiness to your rice balls.
  • Set aside and repeat until all the rice has been used.


Musubi (aka: onigiri) are Japanese rice balls. Short grain Japanese rice is polished, cooked and typically formed into a triangular shape by hand.

While some musubi will have a topping – like these Spam musubi – most musubi will have a filling inserted into the cooked rice. 

The filling options are endless, but some of the more typical choices are:

  • Tuna Mayo 
  • Spicy Tuna 
  • Ikura (salmon roe) 
  • Mentaiko (spicy pollock roe) 
  • Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) 
  • Takana (pickled mustard leaves)

One of our all time favorites is a simple but flavorful filling called okaka.


Okaka is a simple mixture of dried and thinly shaved bonito or skipjack tuna flakes (called katsuobushi) and soy sauce.

The mixture is smoky, savory and loaded with umami – and imparts a ton of flavor to Japanese rice balls with minimal effort.

Feeling intimidated? Don’t be! Musubi are easier to make than they look.


First things first. You need the right rice. You’re looking for short grain Japanese rice. This rice plumps up when it cooks – and has a slightly sticky texture (although it is completely different than sticky rice). You might find it at your local grocery store labeled as ‘sushi rice’.

Cook your rice as you normally would in your Tiger rice cooker.

Then lightly toss your dried bonito flakes and soy sauce in a seperate bowl.

We’ve got step by step instructions on how to form your rice balls above on this page. As mentioned, most times they are in a triangular shape – but don’t worry too much about the shape! Just get the seasoning right, and you’ll be sitting pretty no matter how they look!

Products used in this recipe


Induction Heating Rice Cooker JKT-D10U/18U

Made in Japan The TIGER JKT-D multi-functional induction heating (IH) electric rice cooker allows yo […]


Rice Cooker


Recommended Recipes