Grilled Rice Balls (and a Giveaway!)

Grilled Rice Balls (and a Giveaway!)

photo of a stack of grilled rice balls
These Japanese-inspired grilled rice balls are a fun and easy side to serve at your next outdoor grilling event. This post is sponsored by Kikkoman and SheKnows Media.

photo collage showing the process steps in forming the rice balls

With the weather warming up, we’ve been doing a lot of grilling and I’ve been testing out fun grilling recipes for upcoming house parties. I always like to offer some dishes that aren’t the typical ones you’ll find at BBQ events, like these grilled rice balls. The rice balls are brushed with a teriyaki marinade and then grilled until the outsides are crispy. It’s a delicious and fun way to eat rice.

overhead photo of rice balls being brushed with teriyaki sauce

In Japan, this dish is known as yaki onigiri. We saw several versions of it during our vacation to Japan, and this is my variation using a simple sauce consisting of Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce and brown sugar. Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce is a great blend of soy sauce and other spices. It easily brushes onto the rice balls and soaks in, flavoring the rice all the way through.

close-up photo of grilled rice balls

You do want to make sure you use a premium Japanese sushi rice to make these balls. The higher-grade sushi rice will stick together well, while still maintaining the grain’s structure so that it doesn’t become too soft when you press the rice together to form the balls.

These are easy to prepare, making them a great, stress-free side dish to serve. They taste great both warm and fresh off the grill and also cooled to room temperature. You can find Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce at grocery stores nationwide.

Grilled Rice Balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 8 rice balls

In Japan, these grilled rice balls are called yaki onigiriand we saw them everywhere when we visited Japan. This is my easy-to-make at home version – you only need three ingredients!

Print Recipe


  • 2 cups premium Japanese sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp  Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
  • 1 tbsp packed light brown sugar


  1. Rinse rice a few times and drain. Cook 2 cups of rice according to package instructions. Let rice cool a few minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce and brown sugar until sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Cut of a large square sheet of plastic wrap. Add 1/2 cup of cooked rice to the center. Gather up the ends of the plastic wrap and wrap it tightly around the rice, forming a round ball. Squeeze the ball a few times to compact the rice. Then using hands, shape rice ball into a triangle. Open up plastic wrap and remove triangle. Set aside. Repeat with remaining rice.
  4. Using a pastry brush, brush all sides of the rice triangles with sauce. Heat grill to medium heat and grease grill grids. Place rice balls onto hot grill. Cook rice balls a few minutes until the side lying on the grill is brown and crispy. Flip over and cook other side until brown and crispy. Serve warm or room temperature.