Kirbie's Cravings

Grilled Rice Balls

These Japanese-inspired grilled rice balls are a fun and easy side to serve at your next outdoor grilling event. They are brushed with a teriyaki marinade and then grilled until the outsides are crispy. You can serve them hot or at room temperature for a fun summer side dish.

photo of a stack of grilled rice balls

This post is sponsored by Kikkoman and SheKnows Media.

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 recipe. 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.

Yaki Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

In Japan, this dish is known as yaki onigiri which is just sushi rice formed into a ball (onigiri) and grilled (yaki). In Japan, the balls (or sometimes they are in other shapes) are flavored with a soy-based savory sauce.

We saw several versions of it during our vacation to Japan, and this is my variation using a simple sauce consisting of a teriyaki marinade 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.

photo collage showing the process steps in forming the rice balls

Recipe Tips

Rice balls are fun to make and I like to shape them into wedges so they’re easy to grill. Here are some tips for making them:

  • You do want to make sure you use 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.
  • You will cook the rice first and then let it cool so you can handle it.
  • Use a large square piece of plastic wrap to form the rice balls. Place ½ cup of the cooked rice in the center and gather up the plastic wraps so you can press the rice into a ball.
  • Squeeze the ball a few times to compact the rice. You want it to hold its shape so it doesn’t fall apart on the grill.
  • Using your hands, shape the ball into a triangle or wedge shape. Then remove it from the plastic wrap. Repeat with the rest of the rice.

For the sauce, I combine the teriyaki sauce with some brown sugar. Just brush each rice wedge with the sauce and then grill them over high heat until they turn a little golden and crispy on the outside.

overhead photo of rice balls being brushed with teriyaki sauce

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.

If you want more ideas for BBQ dishes be sure to check out some of my more of my favorite summer recipes.

close-up photo of grilled rice balls

Grilled Rice Balls

Servings: 8 rice balls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
In Japan, these grilled rice balls are called yaki onigiri and we saw them everywhere when we visited Japan. This is my easy-to-make at home version - you only need three ingredients!


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


  • Rinse rice a few times and drain. Cook 2 cups of rice according to package instructions. Let rice cool a few minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce and brown sugar until sugar is fully dissolved.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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124 comments on “Grilled Rice Balls”

  1. I love spicy shrimp kabobs on the grill.

  2. Grilled chicken kabobs are my favorite.

  3. I do not have one But I love to grill corn

  4. Stuffed burgers!

  5. I like anything grilled but I especially enjoy a good steak with grilled onions and peppers.

  6. I would say steak kabobs on the grill

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  7. Chicken ranch kabobs on the grill!

  8. I like to grill steaks.

  9. I like to stuff a large tomato with cream cheese, mozzarella, pepper jack and whatever else I can find. Then top it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Delicious!!

  10. #SweepstakesEntry – comment

    I like grilling kabobs using pieces of marinated flank steak in Kikkoman sauce, cherry tomatoes, onions & zucchini


  11. My favorite summertime grilling recipe is by far grilled barbecue Ribs. How delicious it is!

  12. i love grilling steaks!

  13. These look fun! I usually like basic stuff like hotdogs, chicken, etc. on the grill.


  14. steak with mccormick’s steak seasoning

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