Killer Korean Rice Balls Two Ways

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I recently discovered Jumeokbap or Korean Rice Balls and I wish I had tried these little bits of heaven sooner. Apparently Jumeokbap translates to “fist rice” as the rice is rolled into the size of your fist. This is a life saver recipe, just make a note when you have leftovers and have no idea what to do. These rice balls are basically made using leftover rice and leftover anything else you might have, vegetables, seaweed, spam, ham, any other kind of meat. You can even make it with quinoa. It can be a perfect, quick and healthy snack or double the portions and it becomes a satisfying meal. You can make the rice balls smaller in size so that it can fit into little lunchboxes and little mouths. The Korean Rice Balls are everything and you can customize the spice and flavor profile to satisfy your cravings, while putting to good use, everything in your fridge. So, let’s get going, here is my Killer Korean Rice Balls Two Ways.

Tuna Mayo Rice Balls

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 448kcal


  • 2 cups of warm cooked rice short grain white rice
  • 1 can tuna
  • 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 table of sesame oil


  • Take 2 cups of warm cooked rice and set aside. If you don’t have leftover rice, make rice according to package instructions.
  • Open and drain the can of tuna thoroughly and put in a bowl
  • Add the mayo to the tuna and mix well. If you prefer more mayo, add according to personal preference
  • Now add the salt and pepper and mix again
  • Add the rice and sesame oil to this mixture and combine well
  • Take a fistful of the rice mixture and roll into balls



Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 31IU | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

Mushroom-Spinach Rice Balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 381kcal


  • 2 cups of warm cooked rice short grain white rice
  • ½ cup mushrooms finely chopped
  • ½ cup spinach finely chopped
  • ½ cup onions finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper


  • Assemble your ingredients
  • Take 2 cups of warm cooked rice and keep in a mixing bowl. If you don’t have leftover rice, make rice according to package instructions.
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add the onions and sauté till it softens
  • Add the mushrooms and spinach and sauté till they are all well cooked
  • Add the soy sauce and mix well
  • Take the pan off heat and add the sauteed vegetables to the rice
  • Add salt and pepper and combine well
  • Take a fistful of the rice-vegetable mixture and roll into balls



Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 352IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Tips & Tricks

  • Short grain white rice and sushi rice work best. Brown rice and long grain rice don’t stick well enough to roll into tight balls that hold.
  • You can use frozen rice, make sure to warm it up first.
  • You can use vegetable oil, but sesame oil works best, taste-wise
  • Whatever meat or vegetable you are using, they need to be finely chopped. Big chunks make the rice balls fall apart and they also don’t make for a manageable bite.
  • If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, wear a pair of disposable plastic gloves and dab with a little bit of oil.
  • As tempting as it may be, don’t add too many ingredients. Remember they’re supposed to be small, bite-sized balls so don’t overpack them.


These Killer Korean Rice Balls Two Ways are made using leftover rice and ingredients, so I wouldn’t recommend refrigerating them for more than a day. Even if you are using freshly made rice, I would suggest you refrigerate for no more than a day, maximum two, only because the rice tends to dry out and the balls tend to get crumbly.

As mentioned, the older they get, the crumblier they become, whether refrigerated or frozen. But if you do want to freeze them, don’t freeze them for more than two days. To reheat, place in a microwave-safe dish, thaw or defrost and if it still needs to be heated, heat for about a minute. If the balls start losing shape, dab a little bit of oil on your palms and roll again. Do not thaw them overnight, they fall apart.


Can I use anything else besides white rice?

Quinoa works well. Cook it according to package instructions and make sure the quinoa is on the softer side, makes rolling into balls easier. You can use brown rice, but it doesn’t hold the shape as well.

Substitutions & Alternatives

This is one of the most versatile recipes out there and you can pretty much try various combinations, depending on what’s lying around in the house and create your own little concoction.

Vegetables that work well: Carrots, Zucchini, Squash, Kale, Peas, Seaweed, Mushrooms (of all kinds), Peppers, Scallions and so many more.

Proteins: Ham, Turkey, Chicken, Beef, Spam, Eggs, Tofu, Crumbled Chickpeas

Spice and Flavorings: Furikake is an amazing option. So is soy, tamari or hoisin sauce, sliced chilis for a bit of a punch, sesame seeds. Kimchi flavored rice balls are also very popular.

You can also be a bit more adventurous and make rice balls with bits of cheese and even avocado.

Try and stick to sesame oil, but in case of allergies or unavailability, use vegetable oil.


These Killer Korean Rice Balls make an adequate snack all on their own. A little bit of soy dipping sauce gives it some additional kick and rounds it up nicely.

If having it as a meal, scrambled eggs is a nice accompaniment.

If you like this be sure to check out this spam musubi recipe and the delectable kimchi buns for more such flavors.

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