Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi

Hawaii has acquired a (deserved) reputation for consuming an incredible amount of spam per capita, in a variety of forms. Of those, spam musubi is probably the most popular (for good reason!), and we'd like to share this tasty snack with you. We make it from time to time to enjoy a little taste of Hawaii's local food.

Developed by:


  • 1 can spam, sliced evenly into 6-7 pieces
  • 6-7 10"x5" sheets of 김밥용 김 (aka nori)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar


  • 2 teaspoons 간장
  • 1 teaspoon 소주 or sake
  • 1 teaspoon mirin (sweetened rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly crosswise (optional)
  • pinch of powdered ginger to taste


    Mix in vinegar
  1. Cook the rice the usual way. While the rice is still hot, add rice vinegar and fold in using a cutting motion. Quickly mix and fold until the rice is almost cool enough to handle.
  2. Brown Spam
  3. Heat oil in a medium pan. Brown sliced spam on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  4. Sauce Mixture
  5. Pour the sauce mixture over browned spam and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Reduce sauce
  7. Turn the sauce and spam once or twice and let the sauce reduce and thicken. Remove from heat.
  8. Shaped rice
  9. On a sheet of nori, shape the rice into a block about the length and width as a spam slice, but thicker. Press it tightly so that it will keep its shape as you eat it.
  10. Wrap
  11. Layer garlic and a slice of spam on top of the rice and wrap tightly.
  12. Wrapped
  13. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Notes & Tips

You can cut the Spam to any thickness you like. I used 1/4 inch slices. White rice is more typical, but we use brown rice since it's the only kind of rice we have at home. As long as the rice is sticky enough it should turn out just fine.

In Hawaii, most people who make spam musubi actually use a special musubi press/mold. It is very helpful (especially if you want to place the spam in the middle instead of one one side), but not essential. We don't own a press at the moment.

For extra bonus points, find a way to make it even less healthy. This is an unfortunate (yet often delicious) part of Hawaii's local cuisine. To get you started, here is one way.

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