Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 60 mins

Assemble: 30 mins

Total: 100 mins

Servings: 10 servings

Yield: 20 pockets

Known as aburaage, deep-fried tofu pouches are very popular in Japan. By the 1980s, close to 300,000 to 450,000 pouches were made every day and roughly one-third of the soybeans used for tofu went to making aburaage. Today, the love for these tasty pockets continues.

In the United States, these pouches are widely available in the refrigerated aisle in Asian supermarkets, but can also be bought canned from online retailers. Many tofu pockets are gluten free, but double-check the label before buying if there’s a wheat allergy in the house.

What Is Inari Sushi?

Inari sushi is made by filling a pouch of seasoned fried tofu with sushi rice. It is named after the Shinto god Inari, who is said to have had a fondness for tofu. These tofu pouches are a portable, healthy, everyday vegetarian and vegan dish.

You can dress these up any way you wish, as our recipe is just the most basic recipe to make inari. Use your imagination and other ingredients you have at hand to prepare your own version of inari sushi.

Tips for Making Inari Sushi

  • Place the cooked rice into the biggest bowl you have—the more surface area there is, the quicker the rice cools.
  • Fanning the rice doesn't just help it cool down; it also creates the beautiful shine that sushi rice is known for.
  • When adding the vinegar-sugar mixture and seaweed, be sure to mix them into the rice gently. You don't want to overwork the rice or else it'll start to get mushy.

Ways to Dress Up Inari Sushi

For other fun lunches with aburaage, use this recipe as a template and add steamed vegetables, furikake seasoning, radishes, avocado, thinly-sliced seaweed, bamboo shoots, or proteins like crab, pork, or fish. Any way you choose to make them, inari sushi is great for an office or school lunch box.

They also keep well overnight if refrigerated and can be eaten cold.

What to Serve With Inari Sushi

To make a complete lunch of these tasty treats, here are a few ideas on what to serve alongside:

  • Serve some soy sauce or tamari on the side for dipping your inari sushi.
  • Wasabi also makes a great addition, as each guest can add a dab or two into each pocket, depending on their heat tolerance.
  • Steamed vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, and snap peas, are an ideal side to these pockets.
  • Sesame seeds (white, black, or both), add some crunch and nutrition to the pockets, so sprinkle some on top if desired.
  • A bowl of miso soup is also a welcome addition to an inari sushi lunch.

“I can see why inari sushi is often packed into lunchboxes. They’re truly the perfect portable bite. The fluffy rice and fried tofu pocket contrast nicely with each other. Working with the sushi rice can be messy—I recommend keeping a bowl of water around so you can wet your hands in between forming the rice balls.” —Patty Lee

Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 cups sushi rice, or medium-grain rice

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 2 sheets nori, or gim, crumbled

  • 10 square inari pockets, cut in half

Steps to Make It

Make the Sushi Rice

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  2. Cook the sushi rice according to instructions in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  3. Once the rice is done, fluff the rice with a spoon.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  4. Let rest with the lid on for another 10 to 15 minutes.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  5. In a bowl, combine sugar with the vinegar, whisking to combine.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  6. Transfer the rice to a very large wooden bowl or salad bowl. Spread out in a thin layer so that the rice cools.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  7. Cool the rice using a hand fan or waving a magazine back and forth, and when it's cool enough to handle, mix in the vinegar-sugar mixture to the rice. Keep fanning as you combine.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

Assemble the Inari Sushi

  1. Mix the crumbled seaweed into the seasoned rice.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  2. Wet your hands with rice vinegar or water so the rice doesn't stick. Divide the rice into 20 portions, either by weighing the total amount and neatly dividing, or using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Form into egg-shaped balls.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

  3. Press the rice firmly into the inari pockets. Repeat the process until you have used all the rice and pockets. Serve immediately.

    Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 154
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 164mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 50mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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