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!

124 comments on “Grilled Rice Balls”

  1. The only time I actually grill is when we get off the dive boat with our day’s spearfishing catch. My favorite is actually lionfish. Just wrap the fillets in foil with a slice of lemon and some salt and pepper….most tender fish you will ever eat.

  2. It’s not really a recipe, but I love grilled pineapple in the summer!

  3. I love making grilled pineapple and mango in the summer! Brush a little honey and cinnamon on top and it’s a perfect treat. Will have to try these rice balls as well, they look delicious!

  4. I like to grill veggie skewers

  5. tweet-
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  6. I love grilled chicken for summer, it’s simple but so good!

  7. We love my Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin on the grill. IT is so good!!

  8. tweet-

  9. My favorite grilling recipe is pineapple chicken kabobs

  10. My fav summertime recipe:
    kalbi cooked over charcoal
    buy a package of beef short ribs from Zion
    marinate overnight in kalbi marinade from Zion
    fire up the charcoal in Smokey Joe
    cook till lightly chared

  11. I love barbecued chicken wings.

  12. tweet–

  13. My favorite grilling recipe is BBQ Chicken!

  14. We like to grill kabobs of marinated chicken, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and pineapple.

  15. Grilled pork ribs!

  16. I like just about anything on the grill, from hamburgers to ribs. It’s a day off from cooking for me asvmy husband does the grilling!

  17. My favorite is grilled burgers!

  18. Pizza! (love grilling dessert pizzas with Nutella and grilled fruit!)

  19. Here’s my tweet: thanks for the giveaway!

  20. I Love to Grill!!!! I truly enjoy cooking anything on the grill. BBQ Marinated Chicken and Steak on the grill, are favorites!!! As well any veggies which are in season. What a Great Giveaway! Thank-You so much for the chance, Kirby!!!

  21. I love grilled peaches!

  22. Grilled corn on the cobb with chimichurri!

  23. My favorite summertime grilling recipe is a ribeye steak brushed lightly with oil and a dry rub (Costco’s sweet mesquite rub is great) and grilled until medium rare.

  24. Grilling shishito peppers.  No seasoning needed.

  25. Thinly sliced zucchini strips seasoned with S&P…quick and easy, and best of all delicious! I might need to try those grilled rice balls. 

  26. I like to skewer and grill shrimp and pineapple in the summer months.

  27. I love grilling lemon pepper chicken in the summer with a side of grilled zucchini and grill-baked potatoes!!

  28. I love grilled mushroom & swiss burgers with bacon.

  29. I love to grill fish and veggie kabobs in the summer! I would love to use this marinade on my veggies!

  30. I would put chicken, steak, red onion, sweet onion, bell pepper, shrimp, pineapple on my kabobs, I would then top in off with some Kikkoman teriyaki sauce and them put them on the BBQ.

  31. My favorite summer time grilling recipe is grill corn and steaks. 🙂 Can’t wait to try these grilled rice ball

    amy [at] uTry [dot] it

  32. I love Fajita Chicken Kebabs.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  33. tweet-

  34. My favorite summer time grilling recipe is grilled corn on the cob and steak shish kebabs.

  35. Hawaiian Chicken with grilled pineapple!

  36. I love marinaded chicken in Kikkoman teriyaki sauce and grilled with a fresh salad.

  37. My husband makes grilled chicken tenders with teriyaki or BBQ sauce on our little hibachi grill. So good!

  38. We love to grill shrimp with a homemade aioli


  39. I love grilling peaches and pineapple and I also love grilled chicken with a light honey dijon sauce.

  40. My husband is in charge of the grill, but I love the wood ships he uses to add flavor.


  41. I like to use cubed pork, chicken and sliced sweet sausage and marinade for a few hours. I then add sliced green peppers, red peppers, sweet onions and pineapple chunks and grill in a veggie grill pan on top of the grill.

  42. We love to grill chicken with different sauces, vegetables and even pizza. Who likes to have the oven on when its 90 degrees out…Not me!

  43. I love chicken kabobs – with peppers mushrooms onions and marinated in Italian dressing!
    thank you

  44. My favorite summer time recipe is grilled pizza dough topped with grilled pineapples, honey, and caramel.

  45. Grilled bananas with chocolate sauce! Yum!

  46. I like to marinade my Korean style ribs in soy sauce, sprite, green onions and salt and pepper. .

    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  47. Grilled potatoes and veggies are my favorite Summer time dishes.

  48. I love sausage and shrimp kabobs.

  49. I love grilled chicken and pineapple kabobs! simple and quick!

  50. I like to make Hawaiian kabobs with chicken, pineapple, pepper,s and onioins. The Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce is delicious.

  51. I like grilling chicken and vegetables.

  52. i love grilling cedar plank salmon!! and a lll the veggies 🙂

  53. i like honey glazed teriyaki chicken wings

  54. My favorite summer grilling recipe is “shishliki” – which is lamb marinated for days in lots of garlic, herbs and lemon. It’s the best!

  55. Not big on grilling but after these blogs I am definately going to try grilling on a screwer

  56. I love grilled lamb burgers with buffalo mozzarella

  57. I like simple cheeseburgers on the grill – not really a recipe but my favorite thing this summer.

  58. I like grilled corn

  59. My favorite thing to grill is vegetables. Sometimes I use Kikkoman to spice them up!

  60. My kids love it when I grill ribs, but I prefer salmon.

  61. I like grilled veggies.

  62. POrk chops and pineapple grilled

  63. I love to grill chicken in tons of flavors.

  64. I love to grill chicken and vegetables

  65. My favorite recipe for the grill is Grilled Salmon with garlic, salt, Kikkoman and brown sugar!

  66. Summer squash, onions, green peppers and potatoes with butter garlic and a little hot sauce in a tin foil pouch thrown on the grill….yum

  67. Tweeted-

  68. I love to grill fish and salmon on the BBQ using some type of marinade. I like to try new things so with each BBQ, I try a new recipe.

  69. I loooove Pesto Hummus, I can eat it daily, I love it with warm pita bread.

  70. My hubby does the best bbq, he can bbq spicy chipotle chicken and I love the way he does the grilling corn, I always look forward to it every summer 🙂

  71. I love spicy shrimp kabobs on the grill.

  72. Grilled chicken kabobs are my favorite.

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

  74. Stuffed burgers!

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

  76. I would say steak kabobs on the grill

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  77. Chicken ranch kabobs on the grill!

  78. I like to grill steaks.

  79. 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!!

  80. #SweepstakesEntry – comment

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


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

  82. i love grilling steaks!

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


  84. steak with mccormick’s steak seasoning

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