Simple Spam Musubi Recipe

Good old Spam — it strikes the perfect balance between tasty and affordable, and it really is the ideal go-to protein in a pinch. Spam is delicious on its own, but it's even better when you use it to make classic Spam musubi. "Spam musubi originated in Hawaii and was eaten as a snack or lunch," recipe developer Cecilia Ryu explains. "Spam has a long shelf life making it perfect to store in the pantry to easily make musubi." 

Indeed, Spam is a pretty easy, pantry-friendly ingredient to work with, but the recipe itself also deserves points for being easy to make. "I have three kids and we're always on the run going from one activity to another," Ryu describes. "A lot of times, I need to pack lunch or dinner on-the-go, and this is perfect!" If you also have active kids like Ryu, or you simply want a tasty snack or lunch option to add to your rotation, you really can't go wrong with this easy, delicious, and classic Spam musubi recipe. 

Gather the ingredients for Spam musubi

Naturally, you're going to need a can of Spam to make this recipe, but you'll also need a handful of other pantry staples. To round out the dish, you'll need rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, roasted sesame seeds, cooked white rice, canola oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, and sheets of roasted nori or seaweed

"There isn't a special ingredient or method, but I do season my rice instead of using plain white rice," Ryu explains. "You can also use brown rice in place of the white rice if that's what you prefer!" Also, she makes note of one ingredient upgrade that you could add: "You could cook an egg, omelette style, and put it in between the Spam and rice." If eggs are your thing, have at it! Otherwise, feel free to keep it classic. 

Season the rice and caramelize the Spam

If you thought this recipe simply involved wrapping a slice of plain Spam and some rice in a nori sheet, you'd be mistaken. As Ryu noted, she opts to season her white rice, which really amplifies the flavor. To do so yourself, combine the rice wine vinegar, white sugar, and salt in a small bowl and mix until the sugar and salt dissolve. Drizzle this mixture over the white rice and use a spatula to mix it all together, then add in the sesame seeds as well, stirring to combine. 

Next, you can focus on adding flavor to the spam. Spam already has a wonderfully rich, savory flavor, but you'll cook it in a tangy and sweet sauce to really amp things up. In a clean bowl, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and mirin. Add the canola oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the Spam slices in, allowing them to crisp up on both sides. Reduce the heat a little bit, then pour in the soy sauce mixture, cooking until it has reduced, about 5 minutes. Feel free to flip the Spam slices throughout this 5-minute period, and once they're thoroughly caramelized in the sauce, set them aside on a plate. 

Use the Spam can to shape the musubi

Not only is Spam itself pretty tasty, but the can serves a purpose, too. Line the empty Spam can with plastic wrap, and be sure that there's plenty of overhang. Spoon about ½ to ¾ cups of the seasoned rice into the plastic-lined can, and press down so it takes the shape of the mold. Place a slice of spam on top, press down, then use the plastic overhang to remove the whole thing from the mold. If the rice becomes disfigured, simply use the plastic to reshape it. "You can purchase separate musubi molds, but using an empty Spam can works just as well," Ryu notes. 

Wrap the Spam and rice in a nori sheet

With the shiny side down, lay a piece of nori out on a clean work surface. Remove the Spam/rice mold from the plastic and place it centered on the nori sheet. Wrap the edges of the nori around the Spam/rice mold, and dab a little bit of water on to seal it. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients — in total, you should end up with eight musubi. 

All that's left to do is enjoy, but it's okay if you don't want to enjoy right away. "You can keep individually wrapped musubi wrapped in plastic for up to a day at room temperature," Ryu says. "I would not recommend storing them in the refrigerator because the rice will become hard when stored in the refrigerator." That being said, if you do have leftovers that you can't eat within a day, store them in the fridge and simply reheat them in the microwave to soften up that rice a little bit. 

Simple Spam Musubi Recipe
4.9 from 20 ratings
This recipe for simple Spam musubi is flavorful, easy to make, and is the perfect option for protein-packed, on-the-go snacking.
Prep Time
Cook Time
spam musubi on serving platter
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 12-ounce can low-sodium Spam, cut horizontally into 8 slices
  • 3 sheets roasted nori/seaweed, cut into thirds
  1. In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until dissolved. Drizzle the mixture over the white rice and mix with a rice paddle or a spatula until combined. Add the sesame seeds and mix well. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, and mirin. Mix well until the sugar dissolves.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Add the Spam slices and cook until crispy and browned on both sides. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan and cook until reduced and thick, turning as needed, for approximately 5 minutes. Transfer the caramelized Spam to a plate.
  4. Line the inside of a clean Spam can with a piece of plastic wrap large enough to hang over the sides. Spoon about ½ to ¾ cups of prepared rice into the container. Gently press the rice down evenly to fill the mold. Place a slice of the reserved Spam over the rice and press down firmly. Use the plastic wrap to lift the rice and Spam out of the can carefully. The shape of the rice may become disfigured. Use the plastic wrap to re-shape the rice.
  5. Lay a piece of nori shiny side-down on a flat work surface. Carefully place the rice/Spam mold on top and in the center of the nori. Wrap the sides of the nori around the rice. Use your fingers to dab a small amount of water on the end of the nori. Press to seal. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  6. Enjoy immediately, or individually wrap each Musubi in plastic until ready to eat.
Calories per Serving 273
Total Fat 8.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 31.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 3.3 g
Sodium 659.9 mg
Protein 9.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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