Miso Yakionigiri (Grilled Miso Rice Balls)

There is a long tradition of grilling in Japan—even rice, which is shaped into balls (onigiri) and brushed with lightly sweetened miso. The shape is a matter of preference. Cookbook author and cooking teacher Sonoko Sakai says that, in her family, they always make them triangular but you can also form them into rounds or ovals. Be sure to use sticky short- or medium-grain rice; the long-grain kind will not hold together. Serve them right off the grill, while they are still hot and crispy.

Miso Yakionigiri (Grilled Miso Rice Balls)
Photo: Rick Poon
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr


  • 1 ½ cups water

  • 1 cup short-grain white rice

  • 2 tablespoons red miso

  • 1 ½ teaspoons mirin

  • 1 tablespoon light sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Bring water and rice to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender and no water remains, about 20 minutes. (Alternatively, cook rice in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer's directions.) Fluff the rice and let stand until cool enough to handle.

  2. Meanwhile, combine miso and mirin in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Divide the cooled rice into 6 equal portions, about 1/2 cup each. Using wet hands (or a small bowl), press each rice portion into a ball, oval or triangle shape. Brush one side of each rice ball using half of the sesame oil.

  4. Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill the onigiri, oiled-side down, until crisp and slightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Brush the second side with the remaining sesame oil, flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Brush the reserved miso mixture on the onigiri tops and continue grilling until the miso is slightly set and the bottom is golden and crispy, about 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

136 Calories
4g Fat
21g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 rice ball
Calories 136
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 3g 6%
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 249mg 11%
Potassium 32mg 1%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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