Cheesy Beef Yaki Onigiri

Cheese, beef, and rice? You have to try this cheesy Japanese fusion food!

Get ready to have your mind (and tastebuds) blown away by this cheesy yaki onigiri and beef nigiri fusion. That’s a long name so let me break it down. Yaki onigiri is a grilled Japanese rice ball that is glazed with sweetened soy sauce. Adding cheese on the inside adds a Western twist. Beef nigiri is beef sushi, so the dish overall looks like a beef nigiri and yaki onigiri at the same time. The dish is essentially rice with seasoned beef and cheese, but formed in convenient compact balls. Therefore, the dish is great for picnics or on-the-go since you can eat the food with your hands (or chopsticks).

Onigiri and nigiri are widely sold in convenience stores of food stands in East Asia because many people don’t have time to sit down for a lunch. Rather, they simply walk in and out of a 7-11 with these delicious rice balls. To make these, you will need the following main ingredients:

  • Short grain rice: It is important to use short grain rice so that the rice balls hold their shape. Long grain rice will fall apart because it has very little amylopectin.
  • Cheese of choice, I use mozzarella
  • Choice of thinly sliced beef

Cheesy Beef Yaki Onigiri

yield: 6 rice balls

total cook time:


  • 315 g. or 2 c. cooked short-grain rice
  • cheese of choice (I used mozzarella)
  • 6 thin slices of beef of choice
  • 45 g. or 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 g. or 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 5 g. or 1 tsp. mirin
  • 2 g. or 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • sliced green onions to garnish, optional


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
  2. Cook the 6 slices of beef in a skillet over medium heat and add in ¼ of the sauce. Once cooked, set the meat aside.
  3. Place 1/3 cup of rice on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten the rice. Add some mozzarella cheese in the middle and use the plastic wrap to squeeze the rice together to form an oval rice ball. Repeat for the remaining 5 balls.
  4. Add oil to a skillet and pan-fry the rice balls over medium heat until each side is browned. Once browned, drizzle ¾ of the sauce over the balls and flip so that all sides of the rice balls are coated with sauce.
  5. Plate the rice balls and add one slice of beef to each rice ball. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!

Recipe notes:

  • Reheat the rice balls in an air fryer, pan, or oven. The rice ball becomes very soft when it is microwaved.
  • Consume the rice balls within 3 days of cooking. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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