RECIPE: Sakura Onigiri (Rice Balls)

  • 2 min read

RECIPE: Sakura Onigiri (Rice Balls)


For a practical yet artfully designed snack, try these delicious sakura onigiri!

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls and may be one of the most famous Japanese foods. They are beloved in Japanese culture and can be spotted everywhere from a dinner table to children’s bento boxes to convenience stores!

Onigiri are loved for their depth of flavors and the multiple ways to customize the simple starting ingredients! The white rice in an onigiri is used as a canvas to showcase many flavors, textures, and designs. Onigiri are also a wonderful way to eat healthy, fresh ingredients, which are all rolled up in one easy-to-eat ball. This recipe will combine the delicious textures of soft green peas, smokey toasted sesame seeds, and warm rice to make the perfect onigiri!

Onigiri are also convenient and quick to make with as many or as few ingredients as you would like. Onigiri last all day and are a great food to bring along to a picnic or outdoor barbecue with friends. This onigiri recipe is perfect to showcase to friends and will be the hit of any gathering! It uses ingredients that are easy to mix together with a simple, delicate design.

The elegant topping of these onigiri is the salt pickled sakura! Carefully press the rice mixture into a rice ball shape and place the salt pickled sakura on top for a burst of flavor. Our tip is to use wet hands to roll the onigiri mixture to prevent stickiness!

The salt and vinegar flavors of the sakura will beautifully balance the flavors of the toasted sesame seeds and konbu cha. With its kelp, beet sugar, and matcha powder, the konbu cha will add a savory dimension to the mix. The umami-rich flavors of the konbu cha will tie the ingredients together in a warm, aromatic onigiri!

We highly recommend trying this classic, elegant onigiri recipe for your next gathering or to simply treat yourself to a beautiful meal!


Servings: 2 



  1. Soak the salt pickled sakura in warm water to remove excess salt. Gently squeeze to remove water and pat dry.
  2. In a bowl, combine the rice, green peas, sesame seeds, konbu cha. Mix gently to combine. Divide equally into four amounts.
  3. Gently form four rice balls, pressing one Salt Pickled Sakura onto the front of each.


Introduction courtesy of Kimberlee Laney

Kimberlee Laney

As a Japanese-Korean-American, my love for Japanese food first came from my grandmother's kitchen! Japanese food feels like home and I love being able to cook it anywhere in the world to connect with Japan in my own little way. I love diving deep into the layers of Japanese food and always marvel at the food diversity between prefectures. I'm currently eating my way through Tokyo and taking up photography with my Instagram account @capturingkim!

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