Tokiko Suzuki

Inari Sushi Recipe (いなり寿司)

Recipe by Tokiko Suzuki

Inari sushi, or “fox sushi,” gets its name from the belief that foxes love abura-age. It's a popular picnic food made with a ball of seasoned sushi rice wrapped in sweet and savory abura-age.

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Inari Sushi Recipe (いなり寿司)
Photographed by Masaya Suzuki

Inari sushi, which means “fox sushi,” is a delicious rice dish that’s easy to make and perfect for packing into bento boxes. It is said that foxes love abura-age (fried tofu), and because this sushi is wrapped in abura-age that has been simmered in a savory sweet sauce, it makes for a treat that even the most cunning fox would love!

The process for making inari sushi starts with splitting the abura-age in half and hollowing out a pocket. These are then “washed” with boiling water to remove any excess oil. The inari wraps are then simmered in a sweet and savory dashi broth including soy sauce and mirin. If you want to make vegetarian inari, you can substitute water for the dashi.

Then it’s just a matter of filling the flavorful inari wraps with seasoned sushi rice. You can also add condiments like pickled ginger or shiso leaves to give your inari sushi some more flavor and color. Your fox-colored inari sushi will be tasty from the inside out, with tangy sweet sushi rice and nutty sesame seeds on the inside, and savory sweet abura-age on the outside holding everything together.


Beans & Tofu



Makes 12



Calorie count is for one piece.
Excludes time needed to soak the rice.

Ingredients (Makes 12)

  • 6 abura-age (Approx. 300 g /10 oz)
  • [Simmering liquid]

    • 300 ml dashi (10 oz)
    • 4 tbsp sugar
    • 2 1/2 tbsp mirin
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 400 ml rice (13.5 oz)
  • 1 piece konbu kelp (10 cm square)
  • [Mixed vinegar]

    • Slightly more than 50 ml rice vinegar (1.7 oz)
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • Takuan, as desired
  • Ginger pickled in ume vinegar, as desired
  • Rice vinegar, as needed



Cut the abura-age across in half, then place lengthwise on a cutting board. Roll a cooking chopstick over the abura-age to make them easier to open into a pouch. Place in a strainer and pour boiling water over both sides to remove excess oil.


Lay the abura-age pouches in a wide and shallow pot, leaving some space in the center. (This will allow the pouches to absorb the [Simmering liquid] without burning.) Slowly pour the dashi over the pouches, then turn on the heat. When the liquid comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add 4 tbsp of sugar and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 1/2 tbsp of mirin and 2 tbsp of soy sauce. Cover with a drop-lid and simmer, turning over occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the pouches to a tray and set aside to cool. Lightly fold over the mouth of each pouch to make it easier to stuff with sushi rice.


Quickly rinse the rice and place in a pot. Add slightly more than 400 ml (13.5 oz) of water and set aside for 2-3 hours. Add the konbu and place over high heat. When it comes to a boil, immediately remove the konbu and complete the cooking process for plain white rice.


While cooking the rice, prepare the [Mixed vinegar], stirring the mixture until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Loosen the rice from the pot and empty into a handai rice tub or bowl without breaking up the mound.


Hold your spatula so that the flat side is facing up. With a cut-and-fold-motion from right to left, fold the [Mixed vinegar] into the rice, while fanning the rice to cool and make it glisten.


Sprinkle with white sesame seeds and mix evenly. When the rice has cooled to about body temperature, moisten your hands with a dash of vinegar water and gently squeeze into 12 oval shapes.


Stuff each abura-age pouch with sushi rice, using the pad of your thumb to ensure tight packing. Garnish with takuan or ginger pickled in ume vinegar, as desired.