和訳はこのページの最後にあります。ルビ付けの途中です。/ The Japanese translation is on the bottom of this page. The Ruby is under construction.

How to Make Inari-Zushi

Here is a recipe of inari-zushi. It’s a set of two posts; this one is the recipe and the other is the notes on it.

There are many ways of making this extremely popular sushi but in this we will tell you what the Japanese generally know about it. It is a dish for commoners. Even in a document in the Edo Era, it is referred to as “that cheap sushi”!


An image of inari-zushi
[Click to enlarge / 画像をクリックすると拡大します] O-inari-san and thinly sliced ginger marinated in vinegar and sugar / お稲荷さんとガリ Photo by Amity

(1) What is Inari-zushi (O-Inari-san)?

(2) Three steps to make O-Inari-san

(3) Ingredients for O-Inari-san

1. For abura-age (fried bean curd)

2. For su-meshi (vinegared rice)

(4) Step 1: Cooking of fried bean curd

(5) Step 2: Preparing the vinegared rice

(6) Step 3: Stuffing the fried bean curd with rice

(7) On the leftover of O-Inari-san


(1) What is Inari-zushi (O-Inari-san)?

Inari-zushi is fried bean curd stuffed with cooked, vinegared rice. 

Some Americans call it football rice because of its shape.

The name, inari-zushi (sushi for Inari God), is so-called due to the belief that fried bean curd was the favorite food of foxes, messengers of the Inari God. 

It’s a kind of sushi because it contains vinegared rice. 

Also its sweet-and-savory taste has been a people’s favorite since the Edo Era as a cheap source of carbohydrates and protein.

Inari-zushi is more often called o-Inari-san, its nick-name in my and many other families. So I will use this term here, too. “O-Inari-san” means the Inari God.

(2) Three steps to make O-Inari-san

Basically, there are the following three simple Steps to make o-Inari-san:

  1. Cooking abura-age (takes approx. 1 hour, you don’t have to do it on the same day)
  2. Preparing su-meshi (also called sushi-meshi) or vinegared rice (takes approx. 2 hours)
  3. Stuffing abura-age with rice (takes approx. 20 minutes)

We will first show you the basic way. Then we will give you popular garnish ideas, substitute ingredients and variations (See Notes-on-how-to-make-o-inari-san), but feel free to create your own O-Inari-san. 

(3) Ingredients for O-Inari-san

for 14 o-Inari-san

[One Cup is about 240 ml, One Tablespoon 15 ml and One Teaspoon 5 ml]

1. For abura-age (fried bean curd)

2. For su-meshi (vinegared rice) 

  • Rice (white, sticky, short grain rice is popular in Japan), 1 1/2 Cup or 360 ml, rinsed and drained
  • [Rice-] vinegar, 4 Tablespoons
  • White or light brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon 

(4) Step 1. Cooking of fried bean curd

1. Place the abura-age pieces on a flat surface and roll a round chopstick on each, applying gentle pressure. This is said to allow you to open the abura-age easily when you stuff it with rice. 

2. Mix soy sauce, mirin and sake in a pot. Place abura-age in it and cook on medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes. While you are cooking, move and flip the abura-age in the liquid at least once so that they are seasoned evenly. 

For an alternative to watching and flipping, see the traditional wisdom in Note 3, Notes-on-how-to-make-o-inari-san

3. When the cooking liquid is almost gone, remove from heat. If the liquid doesn’t reduce for a long time, you can cook it on higher heat, but watch carefully so that you don’t burn it. Let the abura-age stand in the remaining liquid and absorb it.

For another popular use of thus cooked abura-age, see Note 4, Notes-on-how-to-make-o-inari-san

(5) Step 2. Preparing the vinegared rice 

An image of fried bean curd being cooked and seasoned
Fried bean curd being cooked and seasoned

1. Boil rice according to the cooking instruction on the package, except: USE A LITTLE LESS WATER than as instructed. Later we will add some vinegar mixture and possibly some vegetables and/or seaweed containing some liquid, so the texture will not be too hard or dry.

2. Make the vinegar mixture by dissolving sugar and salt in vinegar. Set one tablespoonful aside.

3. When the rice is boiled, immediately pour the vinegar mixture all over it and mix into the rice with a wide, flat spatula. In doing this, hold the spatula vertically like a knife with a very wide blade and get into the rice as if cutting into it, and carefully bring the rice near the bottom up as you fluff it up. This way the rice grains will not be squashed. Do this quickly as the rice doesn’t absorb the vinegar mixture as well when the rice is lukewarm.

4. Dump and spread the rice in a flat-bottomed colandar or a large plate. Do not use a bowl since the liquid from the rice will accumulate on the bottom and make the rice there soggy. 

Cool slightly and quickly with a fan as you spread, for five seconds on one side, and another five seconds as you hoist and flip the rice sitting on the bottom up. 

This way the rice grains dry slightly, keep the flavor of the vinegar mixture inside and have a nice luster. 

This is already delicious to eat as is or on salad. A popular addition is roasted white sesame seeds, 1-2 tablespoons to mix with or be sprinkled over the su-meshi.

For variations on the su-meshi, please refer to Note 5 & 6 in Notes-on-how-to-make-o-inari-san.

(6) Step 3. Stuffing the fried bean curd with rice

an image of inari-zushi
Our su-meshi is mixed with some vegetables and seaweed. We will explain it in Notes 5 and 6, Notes-on-how-to-make-o-inari-san. 酢めしに野菜とひじきが混ざっています。「おいなりさんの作り方、注」の5と6でご説明します。

1. If the abura-age is too soggy with the cooking liquid, carefully wring it out with one hand. Don’t squeeze too hard if you want to enjoy the juiciness of the abura-age.

2. Open the pouch carefully and slowly. Wet your hand with the reserved vinegar mixture (this will allow you to release the rice easily), pick a little rice (about 2 tablespoonfuls) and stuff the abura-age. Maybe up to 4-5 tablespoonfuls; do not fill too much or you will tear it. 

When you have finished stuffing one piece, close the opening just by doubling the abura-age of that part and put upside down on the plate. It will settle and stay closed.

3. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

As for the garnish, please check Note 7 in Notes-on-how-to-make-o-inari-san.

(7) On the leftover of O-Inari-san

Keep leftover o-Inari-san in the refrigerator and eat within a week. If you think you may not be able to finish so soon, freeze immediately.

Although vinegar is used, o-Inari-san is very easy molded. It would so sad to see your o-Inari-san molded because it takes so much trouble to make it.

External Link


[End of the English post]







(1) いなりずし (おいなりさん) とは?

(2) 三つの手順

(3) おいなりさんの材料

  1. 油揚げには
  2. 酢めしには

(4) 手順1: 油揚げを煮る

(5) 手順2: 酢めしを作る

(6) 手順3: 油揚げに酢飯を詰める

(7) おいなりさんが残ったら


(1) いなりずし (おいなりさん) とは?





(2) 三つの手順


  1. 油揚げを煮る(所要時間約1時間、当日でなくてもよい)
  2. 酢めしを作る(約2時間)
  3. 油揚げに酢めしを詰める(約20分)



(3) おいなりさんの材料



2. 酢めし

  • 米(白米が日本では一般的)、1.5カップまたは360cc、研いで水切りしておく
  • (米)酢 大さじ4
  • 白または赤砂糖 大さじ3
  • 塩 小さじ1

(4) 手順1 油揚げを煮る






(5) 手順2 酢めしを作る









(6) 手順3 油揚げに酢めしを詰める





(7) 残り物について




  • 英文部末尾をご覧ください。
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