Simple Unagi Don (Roasted Eel Rice Bowl)

This minimal-effort roasted eel rice bowl is packed with flavor and nutrients!

Unagi don is a Japanese dish consisting of marinated roasted eel on top of a bed of rice. The dish is sometimes accompanied by vegetables or other toppings, but is traditionally served with just those two ingredients. First off, if you haven’t had unagi before, you must be thinking… eel? That snake-like sea creature with electric abilities? Yes, that is what I am talking about. Eel as food dates way back when eel was a cheap, nutritious, and readily available food for people, particularly in East Asia and Europe. The Japanese delicately filet the eel, brush on a sweet BBQ marinade, and roast it to perfection, the English prepare the eel in a gelatinous mix and eat it cold, and the Germans and the Dutch smoke the eel to enjoy with salads and toast. Eel is more commonly eaten than you would think, and it is incredibly delicious and nutritious.

Unagi is savory and slightly sweet, with so much flavor as the sugars in the sauce caramelize as it is roasted over a charcoal fire. The meat is tender and the skin is gelatinous. Preparing and roasting an eel from scratch requires technique and time, so we will be using pre-packaged marinated eel. All you have to do is heat up the eel and place it on rice because the packaged eel is cooked, marinated, and ready to go. Therefore, this is probably the easiest recipe ever…. All you really have to do is assemble. It is so easy that this is often my go to meal. I cook some rice, heat up the eel, and enjoy!

Unagi Don

yield: 1 serving

total cook time: 20 min.


  • 1 c. cooked white sushi rice
  • 4 oz. frozen marinated eel (unagi kabayaki; the eel is pre-cooked)
  • shredded tamago (omelette)
  • 2 tsp. ikura (salmon or trout roe)
  • sprouts to top


  1. Bake or air fry the eel according to package instructions. Takes approximately 15 minutes at 400-450 F for frozen eel.
  2. Add the eel over a bed of rice and top with toppings of your choice. I use shredded omelette, salmon roe, and sprouts.
  3. Enjoy!

Recipe notes:

  • You may thaw the frozen eel to reduce the baking time
  • cooked sushi rice is the best option. However, you may use any rice that you have available.

5 thoughts

  1. Gosh, I LOVE unagi don! I usually buy them at my local Japanese supermarket, but given how pricey they can be, it’s wonderful you provided a recipe to cut the cost! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

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