This SPAM musubi recipe is an easy Hawaiian style snack that’s as simple as it is delicious. Perfect for snacking on the go!
What is SPAM musubi?
If you’re looking for easy Hawaiian food, SPAM musubi can’t be beat. At its most basic you have just three ingredients: SPAM, rice and nori (or seaweed).
But the variations on SPAM musubi are endless; you can marinate the SPAM, add a scrambled egg, make them bite sized, or even substitute chicken or beef for the meat.
And they’re AMAZING dipped in my Traditional Chinese Plum Sauce!
But my favorite thing about SPAM musubi is that you can make a big batch, individually wrap them and pop them in the freezer. Then they make a great afternoon snack, grab and go lunch or even breakfast.
Buying musubi in Hawaii 7-11
I had my first SPAM musubi at a convenience store on my way to dawn patrol, which is a sunrise surf session. I was a seventh grader who’d been living in Hawaii for a year, and this was my first time surfing. I had a mixture of fear, excitement, and determination not to let the cute high school guys in our group think I was anything but gutsy.
None of us had eaten breakfast, due to the early hour, so we stopped by a 7-11 to grab some quick protein. The checkout counter had a tall heated glass case, filled with rows and rows of perfect plastic wrapped rectangles of rice and meat in a seaweed blanket.
An adventurous eater, I followed the example of the group without question and grabbed two SPAM musubi, for a total cost of $1.
In the van we dug hungrily into the steaming rice “sandwiches”, and I knew instantly that I had a new favorite snack.
LEARNING TO MAKE SPAM MUSUBI
In Hawaii I never made my own musubi at home, because they were everywhere. You could get them cheaply at any convenience store alongside the manapua, bentos and somen salads. We also made them at school (in the science classrooms) and sold them as fundraisers. They were even available in the school snack bar!
But the year of high school I spent in Pennsylvannia, my sophomore year, there was not a single musubi in sight, so I decided to start making my own. I got a cheap musubi press (there are lots of musubi presses on Amazon) and began making several SPAM musubi at a time, keeping the musubi in the freezer for a quick microwave lunch or snack.
The first day I brought a SPAM musubi to school, my friends reacted rather strongly. “WHAT is THAT?!!!”
I explained and offered them a taste. “Meat from CAN? No way!” So I happily ate them myself, secretly glad that I didn’t have to share.
After a few weeks of bringing musubis to school regularly, I could see the feigned disgust change to intrigue, and sure enough, they began asking to try my “foreign food”. My musubi quickly became quite the lunchroom commodity, and soon I could trade them for pretty much anything I wanted.
HOW TO MAKE SPAM MUSUBI
My go to method for SPAM musubi is an easy basic one, with a simple marinade to give that extra pop of flavor. Some people say you need to use sushi rice, but in Hawaii we also used regular rice, just cooking it to be sticky. Just use 1.5 parts water to 1 part rice. For example: 2 cups of uncooked rice with 3 cups of water.
You can cook your rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. I find it easiest to use a rice cooker, or the rice setting on the Instant Pot.
Once your rice and SPAM are cooked (yes, you’re actually suppose to COOK the SPAM!), it’s time to mold or press your musubi.
I like to lay out the strip of nori (seaweed) and put the musubi mold on top of it. Then fill the mold 3/4 full with rice, that’s about two inches high with rice. Place your sliced SPAM on top and use the press to firmly press it down and compact the rice.
Then you can remove the press and wrap your nori strips around the musubi. My press is a long one that makes two musubi, so I then cut it in half with a knife. You can also get single musubi presses, and divided musubi presses.
SPAM MUSUBI SUPPLIES
Here are some options for purchasing musubi supplies on Amazon. If you buy anything on Amazon using one of these links, we get a small commission without it costing you anything extra. Thanks for supporting our family business!
HOW TO MAKE SPAM MUSUBI WITHOUT A MOLD
If you’d like to try your hand at making SPAM musubis, but don’t want to get a musubi mold yet, you can use the SPAM can to press your musubi.
Just open both ends of the can and use it as your mold, pressing the rice down with the piece of SPAM you’re using. Be careful not to cut yourself on the edge of the can! You can use a spoon to press on top of the slice of SPAM to avoid getting your fingers near those edges.
Have you ever had SPAM musubi? Have you ever had SPAM? Let us know in the comments!
PIN TO SAVE THIS SPAM MUSUBI RECIPE FOR LATER:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, or tamari
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey, sugar, or sweetener of your choice
- 12 slices SPAM
- 3-5 sheets nori or seaweed, 10-12 inch squares
- 2-3 cups sticky rice, hot or room temperature
- Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar or honey to make your marinade. Place SPAM slices in a single layer in a shallow dish and pour marinade over the top. Let sit at least 15 minutes (this is a great time to cook your rice!).
- Remove SPAM from marinade and fry in a single layer in a pan on high heat. Lightly brown the SPAM, 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Cut your nori sheets into 2 1/2 - 3 inch wide strips. Place a strip (or two depending on the size of your mold) under your musubi mold.
- Fill mold with about three inches of rice. Use the press to compact it in the mold.
- Place one to two slices of SPAM on top of the compacted rice (again depending on your mold). Place the press firmly on top of the SPAM and carefully slide your mold up and off of the musubis.
- Fold the strips of nori up and over the rice and spam, moistening the ends with a little water to seal.
- If making two musubi in one mold, use a sharp, wet knife to slice the rice in the middle to form two separate musubi.
- You can eat the musubi immediately, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze to eat later. To heat from frozen, keep wrapped and microwave for 30-45 seconds.
Approximate cost/serving: I try to buy SPAM on sale because it just costs more on the mainland than it did in Hawaii. Costco is usually the best deal. I get all my Asian ingredients at an Asian grocery store. This ends up costing me about $3 for 10 so around 30 cents each. Gluten free: Make sure that your nori only contains salt, oil and seaweed. Any flavored ones can contain gluten. Also use gluten free soy sauce or tamari
Serving Size:12 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Saturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 697mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g