This easy and authentic Spam Musubi with Egg is the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack. Fried Spam gets coated in a delicious homemade teriyaki sauce. Then it's wrapped in seaweed with warm rice and fluffy eggs. This popular Hawaiian snack couldn't be easier to make at home!
What Is Spam Musubi?
Spam musubi, at its most basic form, is Spam and rice wrapped in a sheet of seaweed, or nori. It kinda sounds like Spam sushi right? It became popular during World War II when fresh meat was hard to transport. Instead, Spam, a canned pork product, grew in popularity due to its affordability and shelf stability, especially in Hawaii where American troops were stationed. Local Hawaiians then took inspiration from the Japanese onigri, or rice ball, and created their own version with Spam. And that's how spam musubi was born!
Nowadays, spam musubi is an absolute staple in Hawaiian cuisine. The Spam is pan-fried or grilled, then sometimes brushed with a teriyaki-like sauce before being wrapped in rice and seaweed. There are endless variations throughout the Hawaiian islands. My favorite is the spam and egg musubi - it reminds me of the breakfasts my parents would make for me as a kid! To me, it's so 'ono (delicious)!
Why You'll Love It
- Affordability: This easy recipe uses all fridge and pantry staples. The ingredients are simple but pack a punch when it comes to flavor!
- Portable: The best part about musubi is that you can take it on-the-go. Whether you're making a bento box for lunch or going on a hike, you can take these anywhere.
- Flavorful: In my humble opinion, this authentic musubi recipe is perfectly balanced. Spam can be a salt bomb but the sweet teriyaki glaze, soft eggs, and lightly seasoned rice helps tame the flavor.
- Seaweed (nori): Look for the large square sheets that are used to make sushi or gimbap and make sure they're roasted. You can cut them in half, thirds, or even small strips, depending on how large you'd like the seaweed wrap to be. I like my musubi to be completely wrapped in seaweed so I cut it in half.
- White rice: Short or medium-grain white rice works best because it's stickier. You can find a lot of varieties in Asian markets. Sushi rice falls under this category.
- Rice wine vinegar: Hawaiian style musubi usually doesn't have seasoned rice, but I like adding a touch of vinegar to balance the richness of the Spam and sauce. Feel free to leave it out!
- Eggs: Make sure to whisk them really well with a pinch of salt and pepper. They should be homogenous in color with frothy bubbles.
- Cooking oil: Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F). Make sure to get unrefined!
- Spam: A canned meat product that tastes like pork and ham. I always get the 25% less sodium version.
- Soy sauce: The base of our sauce. Adds umami and flavor. I recommend using less sodium.
- Oyster sauce: It adds umami, sweetness, a little funkiness, and a pretty shine to the sauce. Lee Kum Kee is my favorite brand.
- Mirin: A sweetened rice wine that's similar to sake.
- White sugar: Adds sweetness and caramelizes to help the sauce become a sticky glaze.
How To Make It
- Season the rice. Make the rice as you normally do. While it's warm, add in the rice wine vinegar if you're using it. Stir well, then set aside.
- Whisk the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, and sugar. Set aside for now.
- Cook the eggs. Scramble the eggs with salt and pepper. Then cook in a large non-stick pan, covered, until set. Slide out onto a plate or cutting board. Use the inside of a musubi mold or Spam container to cut out 8 slices and set aside.
- Fry the Spam. Cut the Spam into 8 equal slices and place into the same pan that you used to cook the eggs. Fry until the first side is golden, then flip. Turn the heat down, whisk the sauce to get all the sugar from the bottom, and pour into the pan. Turn the heat down and cook until the sauce thickens into a glaze, flipping the Spam once more. Let cool.
- Assemble. Place a half sheet of seaweed on top of plastic wrap, shiny side down. Place the mold in the center and spoon in ⅓ cup of rice. Use the press to flatten the rice and remove the mold. Top the rice with Spam and egg. Then fold the seaweed over, using a little water to help it stick. Wrap with plastic and lay seam-side down.
How To Assemble Without a Mold
If you don't have a nifty musubi mold, you can use the Spam can! Remove the Spam and wash the interior with soap and water. You can cut the can in half with an exact-o-knife but I think it's easer (and safer) to leave it as-is. Try this method instead:
- Sit the empty Spam container on your work surface, with the opening on top. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on top. Then use your hands to lightly push the the plastic wrap inside the can, leaving the four corners of the plastic sticking out.
- Scoop the rice into the can and use a spoon to tightly press it onto onto the bottom.
- Using the four corners of the plastic wrap, lift the rice out of the can.
- Layer the Spam and egg on top of the rice. Wrap the nori sheet around and seal with water.
- To cut even slices of Spam, cut the block in half first. Then cut each half in two so you now have 4 pieces. Finally, cut each piece in half to get 8 even slices.
- Use a large pan that can fit all the Spam slices in a single layer. Make sure to use this same pan when you're cooking the eggs. It's less clean-up and you're guaranteed to be able to cut 8 slices of egg.
- When cooking the eggs, don't stir or touch the eggs. Just pour it in, cover the pan with a lid, and let cook until the top is set. This will make sure it stays flat and even, which will make rolling the musubi easier.
- When you're ready to add the sauce to the Spam, turn the heat down and take the pan off the heat. Make sure the pan isn't too hot or else the sugar will burn. Then, give the sauce a stir (the sugar will clump to the bottom of the bowl) and pour it in.
- Buy a cheap spam musubi mold to make assembly a breeze. I purchased this very affordable one from Weee!, an online Asian market. You can also find them on Amazon and Asian stores like H-Mart, Daiso, and more.
Substitutions & Variations
- Depending on how large you'd like your strip of seaweed to be, you may need 4 or less sheets. Four full-size sheets is enough to wrap the musubi fully. Or you can cut the sheet into 3-4 strips to have a small band of seaweed instead.
- If you don't have oyster sauce, you can leave it out.
- Instead of making your own sauce, you can save time and purchase a pre-made teriyaki sauce at the grocery store.
- Mix in some furikake to the rice for more seasoning and flavor.
- So many great ingredients work in a spam musubi! Some popular add-ins are avocado, furikake, Kewpie mayonnaise, kimchi, imitation crab, inari age (tofu pockets), and shiso (perilla leaves).
- To make a classic breakfast combination, add a strip of bacon for more pork!
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Spam musubi is best served fresh and slightly warm. But if you have leftovers, wrap each individual musubi in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezing: Let the spam musubi with egg cool completely, then wrap each one in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil. Store in a zip-top bag with as much air removed as possible. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating: Remove the plastic wrap and microwave in 30 second intervals until lightly warmed through. If reheating from frozen, let thaw overnight in the fridge first or microwave in 1 minutes intervals until warm.
Make It In Advance: Spam musubi tastes best when they're warm and fresh! For a party, I would recommend making it only 1 or 2 days in advance.
In my opinion, it's Hawaiian. Barbara Funamura, a Japanese American who lived in Hawaii, is said to have invented spam musubi. This dish is ubiquitous in Hawaii but it's clear that there were Japanese influences.
Traditionally, it's made with 2:2:1 ratio of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. I like the addition of oyster sauce for more umami and flavor.
Depends on what you're referring to. Both are rice balls that are stuffed or flavored with a variety of ingredients. Onigiri can have pickles, tuna, bonito flakes, etc, and is usually molded into a triangular shape. These can also be called omusubi or musubi for short. Although spam musubi has the same name, they aren't the same as onigiri. It can be a little confusing!
Looking For More?
My travels to Hawaii inspired me to recreate some of my favorite dishes from the islands! If you're looking for more Hawaiian style food, try:
Spam Musubi with Egg
- Spam musubi mold (optional)
- 4 large sheets roasted seaweed sheets (sushi nori) cut in half
- Season rice. Stir in rice wine vinegar, if using, while the rice is warm. Set aside.
- Cook eggs. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, salt, and pepper until frothy and homogenous. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add egg mixture, cover, and let sit for 6-7 minutes or until cooked. Slide out onto a plate and let cool. Use a paper towel to lightly wipe down the pan so you can cook the Spam. Once the eggs have cooled, place musubi mold on top at the edge and trace the inside with a paring knife. Repeat until you have 8 pieces.
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, and sugar. Set aside.
- Cook the Spam. Cut Spam into 8 slices. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add Spam in a single layer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then flip and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and take the pan off the heat. Working quickly, give the sauce a stir and then pour into the pan. Return the pan to the heat and let sauce thicken for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally and flipping Spam halfway through. Then set aside.
- Assemble. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the bottom, then place seaweed on top, shiny side down. Place musubi mold in the center of the seaweed. Spoon ⅓ cup rice into mold and evenly spread out. Use mold press to flatten the rice. Then place Spam on top, followed by a slice of egg. Wrap with seaweed, using a little water at the edge to seal.
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