Gochujang-Glazed Onigiri with Teriyaki Spam

This is quick blog post for a recipe I didn’t think would be one of my most popular to be honest – but I’m glad it is! This recipe is perfect for when you want to use up your pantry items, which is even better during the COVIDpocalypse.

Yaki onigiri is basically onigiri, a stuffed rice ball, that’s grilled! Or in my case, pan-fried until both sides have that desirable crispity-crunchy rice crust! Don’t have spam? Use any other meat for the teriyaki glaze, or use a different filling like canned tuna and spicy mayo! Don’t have gochujang? I was planning on using miso anyway~ Glaze this onigiri with whatever and stuff it with whatever – the options are endless!

Special thanks to my cousin Kha who challenged me to make yaki onigiri that was better than his – he thinks mine was better, but honestly I really liked his simple soy-glazed one! You can really make it as simple or complicated as you’d like.


Makes about 4-6 onigiri

For the teriyaki spam:

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp mirin

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (reduce to 1 to 1-1/2 tbsp for regular soy, taste your glaze!)

1/3 of a can of low-sodium SPAM

For the gochujang glaze:

1/2 tbsp gochujang

2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (again, or reduce to 1 tsp for regular soy)

1 tbsp mirin

2 tsp sugar

For the rice:

2 rice measuring cups worth of uncooked rice (apparently one of these is 3/4 cup so I’d say 1-1/2 cups of uncooked rice?)

Shiso furikake (optional; use any furikake, seasoning, spice, salts, crushed nori, sesame seeds, anything you want to mix in your rice! or go plain~)


Making the teriyaki spam:

Mix together all the ingredients for the glaze: soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.

Cut spam into thin 1/4″ inch slices, and cut into little cubes.

Heat up a couple tbsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Fry the spam until browned and crispy. Lower the heat to medium.

Pour in the glaze and constantly stir until most of the liquid is evaporated and the glaze is thickened, sticky, and coating the spam, and sticky. Take off the heat and set aside in a bowl.

Making the gochujang glaze:

Mix together all the ingredients for the glaze and set aside to be ready.

Making the seasoned rice:

Make the rice how you usually make it and keep it warm. The rice needs to be warm to be easier to handle and fry.

In a separate bowl, mix the rice and seasoning to your liking!


Lay down a piece of plastic wrap over a cutting board. Place about a big palm-size amount of seasoned rice on the plastic wrap.

Spoon about a tablespoon or two worth of glazed Spam onto the rice.

Top with a little more rice.

Raise and wrap the plastic wrap around everything so that it’s all combined.

Squeeze the rice ball together tight, keeping your hands clean with the plastic wrap.

When it’s tight and not breaking apart, begin to mold into a triangular onigiri shape or the shape of your choice.

Take off the plastic wrap and set aside to prepare for pan-frying.

Frying and Glazing:

Heat up enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.

When the oil sizzles as you stick your chopstick or utensil in, place your onigiri carefully into the pan.

Sear both sides for 1 minute on each side, checking to make sure nothing is burning.

Lower the heat to medium. Glaze one side with the gochujang glaze and flip. Quickly glaze the other side and flip again after you check the bottom side. Flip and crisp up to your liking.

Serve and enjoy! Yaki onigiri should be eaten the day of.