Easy Spam Rice Balls Recipe: How to Make, Cook & Serve

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine biting into a delightful ball of flavor that combines the savory taste of Spam with the comforting texture of sticky rice. That’s exactly what you get with Spam rice balls, a fun and easy-to-make snack that’s perfect for any occasion. Originating from the creative kitchens of Hawaii, where Spam is a beloved ingredient, these rice balls have gained popularity for their delicious simplicity and versatility.


Here’s what you’ll need to make your Spam rice balls, a delectable blend of salty Spam and comforting sticky rice, wrapped in a crisp coating.

For the Rice Balls

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 1 can (12 ounces) Spam, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying

Required Tools and Equipment

To make your Spam rice balls smoothly and efficiently, having the right tools and equipment is essential. Here’s what you need to gather before you start:

Cooking Equipment

  1. Rice Cooker or Pot
  • A rice cooker is ideal for cooking sushi rice to the perfect texture, but if you don’t have one, a regular pot with a tight-fitting lid will work as well.
  1. Large Skillet
  • You’ll need a large skillet for frying the Spam and later to cook the rice balls to a golden crisp.
  1. Mixing Bowls
  • Various sizes are handy for mixing the rice with seasonings, beating eggs, and setting up your breading station.

Preparatory Utensils

  1. Sharp Knife
  • A sharp knife is crucial for cutting the Spam into precise, even slices and then into smaller pieces if desired.
  1. Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Precision is key in cooking, so proper measuring cups and spoons will ensure you use the exact amounts of ingredients.
  1. Spatula
  • A spatula will be essential for flipping the Spam in the skillet and for stirring and assembling the rice balls.
  1. Plastic Wrap
  • Used to help shape the rice around the Spam without sticking to your hands.
  1. Breading Trays
  • Helpful for efficiently coating your rice balls in egg and then in panko breadcrumbs before frying.
  1. Slotted Spoon or Spider Strainer
  • Ideal for safely removing the rice balls from the hot oil and draining excess oil.

Prep Instructions

Get ready to create your own delightful Spam rice balls by following these step-by-step prep instructions.

Cooking the Rice

Firstly, rinse 2 cups of sushi rice under cold running water until the water runs clear, which will remove excess starch and prevent your rice balls from becoming too sticky. Using your rice cooker, combine the rinsed rice with 2.5 cups of water. Follow the cooker’s instructions to cook the rice to the perfect consistency—typically a fluffy, slightly sticky texture that will hold together well when molded.

Once cooked, transfer the rice into a large mixing bowl and gently spread it out to allow it to cool down slightly. This prevents the rice from becoming mushy when mixed with other ingredients.

Preparing the Spam

While the rice is cooking, take out a can of Spam and slice it into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the Spam slices in a single layer. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and slightly crispy. This not only enhances their texture but also intensifies the savory flavor that complements the subtle sweetness of the rice.

After frying, place the Spam slices on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil and then cut each slice into small cubes. These will be mixed into the rice for a uniform flavor throughout each bite.

Mixing Additional Filling Ingredients

In addition to the cubed Spam, you’ll want to enhance your rice balls with a few more flavors. Prepare a small bowl containing 2 tablespoons of soy sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Stir this mixture well until the sugar dissolves. Pour this over the slightly cooled rice, then add your cubed Spam, and gently fold everything together using a spatula or your hands, ensuring not to mash the rice grains.

This step not only seasons the rice but also infuses it with a delightful umami flavor from the soy sauce and a hint of sweetness and richness from the sesame oil and sugar, creating the perfect balance of flavors for your Spam rice balls.

Assemble the Spam Rice Balls

Now that your seasoned rice and Spam are ready, it’s time to put everything together into delicious Spam rice balls.

Forming the Base

Start by wetting your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking. Scoop about a quarter cup of the seasoned sushi rice into your palm and flatten it gently into a circular shape. Make sure the rice is cool enough to handle but still warm to help it mold easily.

Adding the Filling

Place a few pieces of the fried Spam cubes in the center of the rice base. You can add about three to four cubes, depending on your preference for a more meaty bite. This is also a perfect time to add a little extra drizzle of the soy sauce mixture if you like your rice balls to be extra flavorful.

Sealing and Shaping

Once the Spam is nestled in the rice, bring the edges of the rice around to enclose the filling completely. Gently press and form the rice into a ball or a traditional triangular onigiri shape. Ensure the edges are sealed well to keep the filling from leaking out. If desired, you can wrap the rice ball in a strip of nori (seaweed) for an added touch of flavor and ease of handling. Repeat this process until all your rice and Spam are used up.

Cooking Instructions

Now that you have your Spam rice balls assembled, let’s move on to cooking them to achieve that delightful crunch and golden finish.

Frying the Rice Balls

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough cooking oil to cover the bottom.
  2. Once the oil is hot, carefully place your Spam rice balls in the skillet. Make sure they do not touch each other to prevent sticking.
  3. Fry each rice ball for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until all sides are evenly golden brown.
  4. Use tongs to carefully turn the rice balls to ensure even browning. Watch for oil splatters.
  5. Once golden and crispy, remove the rice balls from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it with cooking spray or a brush of oil.
  3. Arrange your Spam rice balls on the baking sheet, ensuring they are spaced out evenly.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the surfaces are crispy and light golden brown.
  5. Halfway through the baking time, flip each rice ball to ensure they brown nicely on all sides.
  6. Remove from the oven and let them sit for a couple of minutes before serving; this resting period helps them to firm up a bit.

Both options provide a delicious way to enjoy your Spam rice balls, whether you prefer the quick crunch from frying or a lighter, oven-baked finish. Choose the method that best suits your taste and kitchen setup.

Serving Suggestions

After you’ve mastered the art of making Spam rice balls, whether fried to a golden crisp or baked to light perfection, the next step is to serve them in a way that complements their delicious taste and delightful texture. Here are some tasty ideas to elevate your serving game:

Pair with Dips

Spam rice balls are delightful with a range of dips. Try a simple soy sauce mixed with a touch of sesame oil for a traditional touch. For something a bit more adventurous, a spicy mayo dip or a tangy teriyaki sauce can enhance the flavors wonderfully.

Accompany with Soup

Serve your Spam rice balls with a comforting bowl of miso soup or a clear vegetable broth. The soup provides a soothing contrast to the savory, crispy texture of the rice balls, making for a balanced and satisfying meal.

Side Dishes

Consider light side dishes such as a cucumber salad dressed in vinegar and sesame seeds or pickled radishes to add freshness and crunch to your meal. These sides can cleanse the palate and complement the rich taste of the Spam.

Plate It Up

For an appealing presentation, arrange the rice balls on a plate with some green lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and slices of avocado. Not only does this make the dish colorful and inviting, but it also adds a variety of textures and flavors that blend well with the main dish.

By incorporating these serving suggestions, you turn a simple meal into a delightful dining experience that’s bound to impress. Enjoy your Spam rice balls in these different ways, savoring each bite with joy and satisfaction.

Make-Ahead Tips

Preparing Spam rice balls in advance can be a great way to save time and ensure that you have a delicious, ready-to-eat snack or meal whenever needed. Whether you’re planning a party or looking for quick lunchbox fillers, these tips will help you make the most out of your Spam rice balls prep.

Prepping the Rice and Spam

To start, you can cook the rice a day ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and ideal texture for forming rice balls. As for the Spam, dice it and fry the cubes until crispy. Once cooled, these can also be refrigerated in a separate container.

Assembling in Advance

Pre-assemble your Spam rice balls without cooking them. Form the rice around the fried Spam pieces and wrap them tightly to ensure they hold their shape. If you’re using nori sheets, wrap these around the rice balls just before refrigerating to prevent them from becoming soggy. Place the formed balls on a tray or in a container with a lid, ensuring they’re not touching too much to avoid sticking.

Storage for Optimal Freshness

Keep your assembled but uncooked Spam rice balls in the refrigerator for up to two days. For longer storage, you can freeze them. To freeze, place the rice balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Transfer them to a zip-lock bag or an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to a month.

Quick Cooking from the Fridge or Freezer

When ready to enjoy, you can cook the Spam rice balls straight from the fridge or freezer. If you froze them, there’s no need to thaw; just adjust cooking times slightly. Fry in a skillet or bake in the oven until they’re heated through and golden. This ensures a crispy exterior with a warm, savory center.

By following these make-ahead tips, your Spam rice balls will be ready to cook at a moment’s notice, making your snack or meal time both convenient and enjoyable.


Now that you’ve mastered the art of making Spam rice balls you’re ready to impress at your next gathering or enjoy a unique meal at home. Whether you choose to fry them for that irresistible crunch or bake them for a lighter touch the flavors are bound to delight. Don’t forget to experiment with different dips and side dishes to find your perfect match. With the make-ahead tips you can enjoy these tasty morsels anytime—convenience and flavor are just a prep session away. So go ahead give these Spam rice balls a try and watch them become a new favorite in your culinary repertoire!

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