Can You Reheat Onigiri?

Have you made too many onigiris and are wondering how you can reheat or store them for later use?

Yes, you can reheat onigiri. Tightly wrap onigiri in a damp paper towel, or as an alternative, sprinkle some water over it and place it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Heat it in a microwave at 50% high power at 20 seconds intervals until warmed through. Wrap the onigiri in new nori and serve.

Onigiri is a perfect snack, but rice tastes much better when they are warm. Leftover rice becomes clumpy, greasy, and chewy. Therefore, it’s best to know the perfect ways to reheat onigiri. If you want to know how you can reheat onigiri, then keep reading.

Can you reheat onigiri in a microwave?

There are two ways to reheat onigiri in a microwave. You can either wrap the onigiri in a damp paper towel or, as an alternative, splash some water over it and place it in a plastic wrap-covered bowl. Microwave at 50% power at 20 seconds intervals until hot.

How to reheat onigiri in a microwave?

To reheat in a microwave;

  1. Remove the nori if present. Wrap onigiri in a damp paper towel. Place it in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave at medium heat (50% power) and reheat at 20 seconds intervals.
  3. Once reheated thoroughly, wrap again in new nori and serve.

As an alternative, sprinkle water over onigiri and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and follow the exact instructions mentioned above.

Damp paper towels or sprinkling water provides the necessary moisture needed to prevent onigiri from drying out and keep them soft.

Note: Be mindful that onigiri reheats quickly. Therefore 20-40 seconds of heating should be enough. Onigiri will dry out if left in the microwave for too long.

If you’re curious about other things that can be reheated in a microwave, you can check out our articles on heating up baklava and crawfish!

two onigiri covered in nori except for their corners

Can you reheat onigiri in a frying pan?

Remove the onigiri from nori. Add oil or butter to the pan and heat on a medium flame—fry the onigiri for 2 minutes. If you want, brush the onigiri with soy sauce and heat for another minute. Place the onigiri in new nori and serve hot.

This method is perfect for reheating stale onigiri, which cannot be revived by microwave or steaming.

How to reheat onigiri in a frying pan?

To reheat in a frying pan;

  1. Remove the nori and set the onigiri aside.
  2. Heat some oil or butter on medium flame.
  3. Fry the onigiri for 2 minutes.
  4. As an option, you can brush the onigiri with some soy sauce and fry it for a minute or until the outer layer of onigiri become crunchy.

Make sure that the heating temperature is not too high. This reheating method will give you moist and flavorful onigiri from the inside, which will be crunchy on the outside.

Can you reheat onigiri in a steamer?

Place a perforated baking paper on the steamer basket to prevent sticking. Remove any nori from the onigiri if present, and spread the onigiri in the steamer basket. Cover it with the lid, and steam for 4-5 minutes.

Steaming warms the onigiri thoroughly and produces soft onigiri.

How to reheat onigiri in a steamer?

To reheat in a steamer;

  1. Line the steamer basket with perforated baking paper to prevent the onigiri from sticking.
  2. Set up the steamer and add water to it.
  3. Remove the nori from the onigiri, and place the onigiri in the steamer basket.
  4. Cover the steamer with a lid.
  5. Heat for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Wrap the reheated onigiri in new nori and serve hot.

Tip: Cabbage and lettuce leaves can be used as an alternative if you have no baking paper.

Lining the steamer basket with a perforated baking paper prevents onigiri from sticking to the basket. Ensure that the paper is perforated so that the steam gets access to the onigiri.

Be mindful that you are not overheating the onigiri. Doing so in the steamer will make them soggy and inedible.

an onigiri without the nori covered in black sesame seeds

Can you reheat onigiri in an oven?

Yes, you can reheat onigiri in an oven; however, it is not recommended because the oven-dried the rice out, leaving a chewy onigiri that will fall apart.

How to reheat onigiri in an oven

If you still want to reheat your onigiri in the oven, follow the steps below;

  1. Set the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove the nori from your onigiri.
  3. Sprinkle some water onto the onigiri to add a little moisture.
  4. Wrap each onigiri tightly in tin foil.
  5. Place the onigiri inside the oven and heat for 5 minutes.

How long does onigiri last?

Onigiri made with umeboshi can last for up to 3 days in the fridge. Onigiri containing mayonnaise or tuna last for a day in the refrigerator. In the freezer, onigiri last for 2 months. 

How to store onigiri?

Wrap the onigiri with plastic wrap to lock the moisture in and prevent the surface from drying out. Store them in the refrigerator. You can also wrap the onigiri with nori, but the nori will turn soggy, so it’s better to use plastic wrap instead. 

To store onigiri;

  1. Remove the nori and wrap the onigiri with plastic wrap completely.

Wrapping onigiri with plastic retains the moisture and keeps the surface from drying out.

  1. You can also place a dishcloth over the plastic-wrapped onigiri. Doing so will prevent direct exposure to too much cold air. 
  2. Store the nori in a moisture-free sandbag separately. Doing so will prevent it from becoming soggy.

It is essential to cover the onigiri properly because rice tends to dry out in the fridge. Hence, the proper coverage will help retain moisture and keep maximum air out.

a plate of onigiris with the middle one having a face drawn on it using nori

Can you freeze onigiri?

Yes, you can freeze onigiri. Wrap each onigiri with plastic wrap and freeze them. Once frozen, put all the wrapped onigiri in a freezer bag, squeeze maximum air out, and store for a longer duration. 

How to freeze onigiri?

Follow the given steps to freeze onigiri and store it for longer.

  1. Remove the nori.
  2. Wrap individual onigiri with a plastic wrap and freeze.
  3. Once frozen, place all the wrapped onigiri in a single freezer bag and squeeze maximum air out.
  4. Seal the bag and store the onigiri for 2-3 months.

To prevent onigiri from drying out, squeeze maximum air out. Tightly pack the onigiri to block maximum air exposure. The double plastic wrap will exactly do that. If you don’t want to use plastic wrap, use parchment paper instead.

Before hopping to the FAQs, check this guide on reheating noodles properly!

an onigiri sitting on top of a piece of nori with a brown topping on its tip.

Is onigiri eaten warm or cold?

Onigiri is typically eaten cold or at room temperature. However, you can quickly heat it if you like it hot.

Is onigiri good for breakfast?

With its savory flavors, the rice ball makes for a quick breakfast. Complement it with some miso soup, vegetables, or omelette, and it’ll make a perfect morning meal.

Can you reheat Japanese rice?

Yes, you can reheat Japanese rice; however, you must ensure that it is safe to eat before consuming it. It can contain Bacillus cereus bacteria, which causes food poisoning through reheated or cooked rice.

Can you eat onigiri the next day?

Yes, you can eat onigiri the next day as long as they have been stored properly overnight.

Is onigiri good for weight loss? 

No, onigiri is not good for weight loss. It is carbohydrate-rich and low in protein, making it unideal for when you’re trying to lose weight.

Concluding our thoughts on reheating onigiri

Onigiri is a Japanese food made from white rice molded into a triangular or cylindrical shape wrapped in nori. It makes for a quick breakfast and can be reheated in a microwave, steamer, or frying pan. Leftover onigiri can be stored in the fridge or a freezer for later use. Keep in mind to perfectly wrap onigiri in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out while storing it!

Continue to learn how to reheat meals by following this guide on how to reheat oatmeal!

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Immad Amir
Hey there, I'm Immad! I'm an SEO and appliance fanatic. Amna, my fiance, and I combined our interests and came up with RavvyReviews to help you all with our well-researched kitchen appliance reviews and foodie informative articles. We aim to learn more along the way and keep bringing you authentic trustworthy articles so all of us can have fun in the kitchen! We love interacting with you guys, do share yours thoughts in the comments. Get in touch with me through

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