Spam Musubi. Pan-fried spam with a homemade teriyaki glaze packed with sushi rice and wrapped in roasted seaweed. A delicious and popular Hawaiian dish that is easy to make at home.
What is Spam Musubi?
Spam musubi is a popular foreign food that residents of Hawaii love! It's sold at many shops. This is one of my favorite foods as a savory snack because it's made with simple ingredients like rice, nori, spam. If you have leftover rice, it's even more convenient as you can simply reheat it. Spam musubi is a very popular food to eat in Hawaii. After the World War II, canned meat was heavily available on the island as it was imported from the United States. Spam has become a very popular ingredient in Hawaiian food.
Hawaiian spam musubi is best served as a handheld treat for an easy snack. You can make it a complete meal by pairing some veggies with it! You can find this wonderful Hawaiian snack sold at any convenience store or gas stations in Hawaii. But now you don't have to travel to the Hawaiian Islands to eat this, as you can make the best spam musubi recipe at home.
This recipe does not require a spam musubi mold or a musubi maker. You can simply use the can that your spam comes in or your hands to create the rectangular block. Just make sure to clean the can with soap and water.
The below teriyaki spam musubi ingredients are required. Please scroll down to the below Recipe card for exact measurements
- Short-grain rice: aka Sushi rice or Calrose rice is recommended for this dish. Avoid using long grain rice or medium rice grain as it's not sticky enough. Do not use glutinous rice either.
- Spam: We're using reduced sodium spam but feel free to use regular spam.
- Nori Seaweed: This Japanese roasted seaweed. We will take a sheet and cut it into strips of nori. Then take a nori strip and wrap it around the rice block and spam.
- Neutral oil: any flavorless oil like avocado oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil or canola oil with a high smoke point. I would avoid using olive oil or coconut oil due to its heavier scent.
- Regular soy sauce: or substitute with low sodium soy sauce or light soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, substitute with tamari sauce, coconut aminos or a gluten-free soy sauce of your choice.
- Mirin: this is a Japanese sweet cooking wine where you can't taste the alcohol as much as one like sake. It adds a lovely sweet flavor to any dish.
- Sake: Any Japanese cooking sake will work for this recipe. This is a Japanese cooking wine that is commonly used in many Japanese dishes.
- Sugar: white sugar or brown sugar will work
- Rice vinegar (aka rice wine vinegar)
Note: Most Asian grocery stores will carry these ingredients. You may find them at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
Required: large non-stick skillet
How to make Spam Musubi
Prepare & Season Rice
Rinse your uncooked white rice in water a few times. Cook rice in a rice cooker. Season hot rice with sugar, salt and rice vinegar. Cover and let it cool down to room temperature as you prepare other ingredients.
Slice Spam & Reserve Can
Lay spam on a clean surface. Cut spam into 5 equal pieces for the perfect thickness. Clean and reserve the spam can for later.
Make Teriyaki Sauce
In a small bowl, combine regular soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
Fry Spam until Golden
In a large skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil. Fry slices of spam in a single layer for 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side, until pinkish golden brown. Do not go above medium-high heat.
Pour teriyaki sauce over cooked spam slices and let it fry in sauce for 1 minute on each side until it becomes a thick glaze. Remove spam from hot pan and transfer to an oiled plate to prevent the spam from sticking to plate. Note: Do not leave spam in pan as the teriyaki glaze will start to burn it with the residual heat.
Line Cleaned Can
Line the can of spam with a large piece of plastic wrap.
Add Equal Portion of Rice into Can
Divide seasoned rice into 5 equal portions using a wet rice paddle. Scoop 1 equal amount of rice into the bottom of the can.
Carefully Pack the Rice
Cover the rice with the plastic wrap. Then using your fingers, pack the rice into base of can until top is flat. Note: Be careful not to cut yourself along the sharp edges of the can, feel free to use a utensil to help you with this step. Remove the block of white rice from can by pulling the cling film out and unwrap it.
Assemble Spam Musubi
On a clean work surface like a cutting board, cut your nori sheet horizontally into 5 equal sized strips. Wet your hands with a little water and place sliced spam on top of rice. Shiny side up. Wrap a strip of seaweed around the whole thing. Repeat process for remaining ingredients. Enjoy!
Storage & Reheating
- This is best consumed within 12 hours at room temperature. Make sure to tightly wrap each musubi in plastic wrap. Note: rice is a breeding ground for bacteria so if it's past the 12 hour mark, refrigerate it.
- Leftover spam musubi can be stored for 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Just make sure to wrap each piece in plastic wrap. To reheat, it's best to microwave it for 60-90 seconds until the rice is hot.
- Season rice while hot. This allows for the seasoning to penetrate the grains of rice. It’ll also be easier to mix when the rice is piping hot versus warm.
- Cover rice to keep moist. This is super important. Otherwise, your rice will not stick when you press it.
- Cut spam into equal portions. On a flat surface, slice spam into equal pieces. Each slice of spam should be about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick depending on your personal preference.
- Do not overcook the spam. Fry spam for just 1.5-2 minutes per side over medium heat until pinkish golden. Do not raise flame to medium high heat or it'll burn. You only want to glaze the spam in the sauce for 2 minutes in total at most!
- Use a clean spam can and plastic wrap or cling wrap. This will help you so much versus molding the rice yourself. Be sure to use a sheet of plastic wrap to line the can to make it easier when you remove the rice block.
- Use wet hands when handling the rice block. Short grain rice is a sticky rice. Wet your hands with a little bit of water as this prevents the rice from sticking to your hands as you assemble your musubi
- Keep nori dry inside the package until assembly time. Roasted seaweed tends to draw on surrounding moisture in the air making it less crispy or crunchy. So, I keep the sheet of nori by keeping it in the packaging until you're ready to assemble.
Other spam musubi additions?
Feel free to sprinkle furikake on the rice, add a single layer of egg, avocado, or add any veggies to this handy snack.
Other recipes you may like!
If you enjoyed my teriyaki spam musubi recipe, you may enjoy these other recipes:
- Spicy Tuna Onigiri
- Japanese Tuna Onigiri
- Bulgogi Beef Triangle Kimbap
- Cheese Kimchi Kimbap
- Tenmusu (Shrimp Tempura Rice Ball)
- Pork Katsu Onigirazu
- Korean Tuna Mayo Rice Balls
- Folded Kimbap
- Sushi Bake
Easy & Simple Spam Musubi
- Rinse your uncooked rice in water a few times. Then boil it until cooked. Season hot rice with sugar, salt and rice vinegar. Cover and let it cool down as you prepare other ingredients.
- Lay spam flat on the cutting board. Slice spam into 5 equal pieces. Clean and reserve the spam can for later.
- In a bowl, combine regular soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
- In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil and fry spam for 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side, until pinkish golden.
- Pour sauce over spam and let it fry in sauce for 1 minute on each side. Remove spam from hot pan and transfer to an oiled plate to prevent the spam from sticking to plate. Do not leave spam in pan as the teriyaki glaze will start to burn it with the residual heat.
- Line the spam can with a large piece of plastic wrap.
- Divide seasoned rice into 5 equal portions using a wet rice paddle. Scoop 1 portion into base of lined spam can. Cover the rice with the plastic wrap. Then using your fingers, pack the rice into base of can until top is flat. Be careful not to cut yourself along the edges of the can, feel free to use a utensil to help you with this step.
- Remove the rice from can by pulling the cling film out and unwrap it.
- Cut your nori sheet horizontally into 5 equal sized strips.
- Wet your hands and place a piece of glazed spam on top.
- Wrap a strip of nori around it. Repeat process for remaining ingredients. Enjoy!