Tuna mayo onigiri, or rice ball, is a simple and delicious Japanese snack. Rice is filled with a flavorful tuna and mayonnaise, shaped, and wrapped with a sheet of nori (seaweed).
Onigiri is one of the most recognizable Japanese snacks there is. From homemade lunches to convenience stores, onigiri can be found just about anywhere. It’s really simple. Rice is shaped in (usually) a triangle and filled with some sort of salty or sour filling. Popular choices are umeboshi (pickled plums), shake (salted salmon), okaka (bonito flakes with soy sauce), and what I’m showing you today: tuna mayo.
Tuna is one of my favorite proteins to work with because it’s so quick and easy! No defrosting, no making sure it’s cooked through… you just open it and go! It makes tuna mayo onigiri such an easy recipe. I also have a tuna takikomi rice, made in a rice cooker, and a canned tuna sushi hand roll recipe, so check those out for more tuna ideas!
In my home, mayo is the most popular tuna onigiri filling. Probably because we always have tuna in the pantry and mayo in the fridge. Our favorite time to make it is for Sunday lunch. My kids love shaping their own onigiri, so we turn it into a nice family activity.
My favorite brand of tuna is Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna, because it is sustainably caught, tastes better, and is high quality. For me, it’s worth the higher price point, and I always have a few cans handy.
These rice balls are so easy to make, but there are a couple of specialty ingredients. Firstly… Japanese mayonnaise. It’s not the same as American mayonnaise, and you HAVE to give it a try! Second, Japanese nori, or seasoned seaweed. Last but not least, mirin. You should have mirin in your pantry if you want to make Japanese food, as it is a commonly used ingredient. You can get these online, but they are cheaper at your local asian store/market.
Give tuna onigiri a try! Tuna and mayo go together so well!