I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve given into the sushi craze that’s been popular in recent years. However, I’ll also be the first to admit I don’t earn enough money to satisfy my wallet with carryout sushi cravings.

Restaurant quality nigiris and sushi rolls require years of culinary experience and fancy tools and utensils, but I promise the only tools you’ll need for these easy onigiri, otherwise known as Japanese rice balls, are your hands.

Like traditional sushi rolls, the possible fillings for these delectables are as endless as your imagination. Consider avocados and crabmeat for a California Roll taste or spicy mayo, mango and shrimp for something more exotic.

As a broke college student, onigiris are the easy alternative to get the same sushi taste on a student budget.

#SpoonTip: Instead of traditional white rice, try brown rice for an extra boost in fiber.

3-Step Onigiris

  • Prep Time:7-10 minutes
  • Cook Time:10-15 minutes
  • Total Time:25 minutes
  • Servings:3 onigiris
  • Easy


  • 3 cup sushi rice, cooked
  • 2 sheets of seaweed, cut into 1 inch strips
  • Assorted fillings (e.g. avocados, tuna)
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Step 1

    Take a handful of sushi rice, roll it into a ball, and gently flatten it out until it’s about the size of your hand and approximately an inch thick.

    Photo by Judy Chen
  • Step 2

    Insert desired fillings (in this case we have prepared avocado and grilled tuna) enclosing it within rice until a snowball shape is formed. Feel free to add additional rice to the ball to fully enclose the filling.

    Photo by Judy Chen
  • Step 3

    Gently flatten the rice ball while using thumb and forefinger to shape the ball into a triangular prism shape. Apply the seaweed strips to the sides of the rice ball and there you have it. For photogenic purposes, we have also sprinkled sesame seeds on the rice ball and added wasabi and ginger on the side.

    Photo by Judy Chen
  • Step 4


    Photo by Judy Chen