Hawaiian Spam Musubi

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 01/06/2022 Updated: 30/11/2023
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes
Hawaiian spam musubi is the ideal savory treat when you are on the go or packing for a picnic. This recipe features sweet and savory caramelized spam which lays on a fluffy bed of seasoned sushi rice wrapped with crispy roasted seaweed.
Hawaiian Spam Musubi

Sponsorship Disclosure: This post is sponsored by USA Rice.

Hawaiian spam musubi is the ideal savory treat when you are on the go or packing for a picnic. This recipe features sweet and savory caramelized spam which lays on a fluffy bed of seasoned sushi rice wrapped with crispy roasted seaweed.

Two Hawaiian spam musubis on a plate.

Take one bite into this Hawaiian spam musubi and you will instantly taste the sweet and salty caramelized spam paired with soft and springy, seasoned sushi rice and a touch of roasted seaweed. This spam musubi recipe is so incredibly easy to make with under 10 easy-to-find ingredients and 4 simple steps.

During our trip to Oahu, we stumbled across the Musubi Cafe Iyasume in Waikiki. This tiny shop had thousands of 5-star reviews online and a line out the back. They sold so many varieties of delicious spam musubi for under $5 each. It was incredible. We bought about a dozen of different spam musubi and savored them one by one on the warm sandy beach.

Now with this Hawaiian spam recipe, you too can have a small taste of Hawaii right at home. For, personal customization options, check out the substitutions and additions sections below. If you are looking for more recipes that incorporate spam, check out our budae jjigae (Korean army stew), spam and egg benedict, and spam and eggs recipes.

Someone holding up a spam musubi in the air.

Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is made by cooking short-grain rice which is then seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The thick granules are ideal for absorbing all the flavor and are the right amount of stickiness to clump together and hold their shape.

Short grain rice has a short and plump kernel. Cooked grains are soft, springy, and stickier than regular Jasmine white rice. 95% of all sushi eaten in the U.S. is made with U.S.-grown rice. California is the leading state that grows the vast majority of short-grain rice. 

The U.S. rice industry is invested in sustainable production and processing practices. The President and CEO of USA Rice Betsy Ward said “rice farmers and millers must comply with thousands of pages of federal and state regulations that are strictly enforced. This paired with the industry’s commitment to conservation makes U.S.-grown rice the most sustainably produced in the world.” Practices such as precision water use, and conservation tillage, which reduces CO2 emissions and winter flooding, have made significant positive impacts on the environment. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This Hawaiian spam musubi recipe is made with sweet and salty caramelized glazed spam on top of a bed of seasoned fluffy sushi rice and wrapped in a crisp roasted nori seaweed sheet.
  • Spam musubi is the perfect snack on the go or for picnics in the park or beach.
  • This recipe lists a variety of substitutions and additions for you to customize your Hawaiian spam for your personal preferences.
A grid of hawaiian spam musubis.

Kitchen Equipment

This Hawaiian spam musubi recipe only needs three kitchen equipment staples. No fancy equipment is necessary!

  • Rice Cooker: I am team rice cooker all the way. It is the fastest and most efficient method of making rice. Alternatively, if you don’t have a rice cooker, you can cook your rice on the stove.
  • Mixing Bowls: you will need small mixing bowls to mix up the sauces to season the rice and the spam.
  • Medium Skillet: I recommend using a medium 12-inch nonstick skillet to lay all the spam pieces flat at one time to cook evenly.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients for this Hawaiian spam musubi recipe at your local Asian grocery store or online.

  • Short Grain Sushi Rice: short-grain rice is the best type of rice for musubi. They are soft, sticky, and slightly springy to the bite.
  • Rice Vinegar: a touch of rice vinegar seasons the rice and balances the flavor and richness of the spam.
  • Salt: adds additional flavor and enhances the flavor of the rice vinegar.
All the ingredients to make flavored sushi rice for a musubi.
  • Spam: you can use the original Spam or the 25% less sodium Spam based on your sodium preferences.
  • Soy Sauce: adds a hint of umami flavor and a beautiful golden glaze to the spam. For best results, use traditional Japanese soy sauce.
  • Granulated Sugar: sugar sweetens the rice and creates a beautiful caramelized glaze texture over the spam.
The ingredients to make caramelized spam.
  • Seaweed Sheets: you will need a large square roasted seaweed sheet. You will cut these seaweed sheets into 2-inch large strips to wrap the spam musubi.

Substitutions and Additions

Substitutions

  • Spam: there are so many varieties of spam flavors you can choose from. You can use spam lite, 25% less sodium, turkey spam, hot and spicy spam, or jalapeno spam.
  • Rice: you can opt for medium grain, brown rice, or Jasmine white rice if you do not have sushi rice. Note that brown rice is less sticky and may not hold its shape as well.

Additions

  • Egg Omelette: if you want to make this a breakfast spam musubi you can add a rolled-up thin egg omelet.
  • Bacon: for a complete breakfast musubi
  • Avocado: for added creaminess and texture
  • Shiso Leaf: is an aromatic Japanese herb that pairs well with seaweed
  • Kimchi: for an added pickled crunch
  • Furikake seasoning: for additional flavor in the rice
Three different styles of Hawaiian spam musubis on a server platter.

How to Make Hawaiian Spam Musubi

Making these delicious Hawaiian spam treats is really easy to make with only 4 simple steps. The hardest part is not eating all of them in one sitting!

  1. Prepare the rice. Wash the rice until the water runs clear and drain. Add the washed rice and water to your rice cooker and cook. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Then drizzle the mixture over the cooked rice and carefully mix it with a rice paddle until combined.
Mixing together the sushi rice with flavors in a bowl.
  1. Cook the spam. Slice the Spam into 1/4 inch thick slices. Using a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat, cook the spam until browned and crispy on the edges for about 4 minutes, flip after 2 minutes for even cooking.
  1. Caramelize the spam. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce and water until combined. Turn the heat to medium-low heat and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the spam and flip the spam to evenly coat, for about 30 seconds. Next, pour in the soy sauce mixture. Swirl the sauce and flip the spam to evenly distribute. Then let the spam gently simmer until the sauce dissolves around 4 minutes. Flip the spam slices every 2 minutes.
  1. Assemble. Line the inside of your Spam can with plastic wrap. Add about 1/2 cup of rice into the lined spam container and gently press down to fill the mold. Pull the rice out of the mold. Place a slice of caramelized spam on top of the nori strip at the bottom, then place the rice on top of the spam, then roll up the spam and rice wrapping the nori around it. Secure the end by wetting with water and place the musubi with the seam side down. Continue with the remaining pieces.

Tips for the Best Hawaiian Spam Musubi

  • Brown and crisp the spam first. It’s very important that you brown the spam on medium-high heat first. It renders some fat and makes a very crispy crust.
  • Caramelize the spam on low heat. Then you will use some sugar and soy sauce mixed with water to braise and make that beautiful caramelized flavor over the Spam. You will end up with a dark brown caramelized surface that is glossy and delicious.
  • Shape the rice in the plastic wrap after you pull it out of the spam container. When you remove the rice out of the container the shape may disfigure a tiny bit. To tighten the shape, gently pack the rice into the desired shape by using plastic wrap to protect your fingers from sticking to the rice.
  • Seal the edges of the nori strip with a dap of water. To seal the ends of the seaweed strip, simply dip your finger in some cold water and seal the ends.

Storage Instructions

This Hawaiian spam musubi is best served fresh. But if you have leftovers, wrap each individual musubi in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep in mind the rice will dry out and harden the longer they stay in the refrigerator.

To reheat, remove the plastic, lightly cover the musubi with a damp paper towel, and microwave until warm. If the rice is dried out, I suggest dropping a few drops of water onto the rice before microwaving.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

How do I make spam musubi with egg?

To make a rolled egg omelet, simply mix 4 large eggs in a small mixing bowl. Then on a greased medium 10 or 12-inch skillet, pour the beaten eggs and cook on medium-low heat until well done. Do not stir.

Place the entire cooked egg omelet circle onto a cutting board. Carefully roll the egg omelet about 1 1/2 inch thick (the width of the spam can) and then slice it into three-inch pieces (the length of the spam can).

What is spam musubi sauce made of?

The golden caramelized coating on the spam is made with sugar, water, and soy sauce that is gently simmered down on a skillet.

Is Spam musubi Hawaiian or Japanese?

Hawaiian. Barbara Funamura, a Japanese American woman from Hawaii, invented spam musubi during WWII. During wartime, Spam became a necessity for survival which was then integrated into local dishes.

Did you make this Hawaiian Spam Musubi

If you made this dish and loved it, please leave a review and comment below. We would greatly appreciate it!

Share your dish with us on Instagram, and tag us @takestwoeggs—we’d love to see and share your delicious creation!

Hungry for more? Follow us on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook for more tasty creations and updates 🍜

Recipe

Two Hawaiian spam musubis on a plate.

Hawaiian Spam Musubi

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Hawaiian spam musubi is the ideal savory treat when you are on the go or packing for a picnic. This recipe features sweet and savory caramelized spam which lays on a fluffy bed of seasoned sushi rice wrapped with crispy roasted seaweed.
Servings: 6 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Sushi Rice

  • 1 ½ cup dry short grain sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Caramelized Spam

  • 1 can 12 oz Spam
  • 2 ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Assembly

Instructions

  • Prepare the rice. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Add the washed rice and water in your rice cooker and cook. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves. Then drizzle the mixture over the cooked rice and carefully mix it with a rice paddle until combined.
  • Cook the spam. Slice the spam into 1/4 inch thick slices. Using a medium sized skillet on medium-high heat, cook the spam until browned and crispy on the edges for about 4 minutes, flip after 2 minutes for even cooking.
  • Caramelize the spam. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce and water until combined. Turn the heat to medium low heat and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the spam and flip the spam to evenly coat, about 30 seconds. Next, pour in the soy sauce mixture. Swirl the sauce and flip the spam to evenly distribute. Then let the spam gently simmer until the sauce dissolves around 4 minutes. Flip the spam slices every 2 minutes.
  • Assemble. Line the inside of your Spam can with plastic wrap. Add about 1/2 cup of rice into the lined spam container and gently press down to fill the mold. Pull the rice out of the mold. Place a slice of caramelized spam on top of the nori strip at the bottom, then place the rice on top of the spam, then roll up the spam and rice wrapping the nori around it. Secure the end by wetting with water and place the musubi with the seam side down. Continue with remaining pieces. For a breakfast musubi option, add a rolled egg omelette.

Notes

  • Brown and crisp the spam first. It’s very important that you brown the spam on medium-high heat first. It renders some fat and makes a very crispy crust.
  • Caramelize the spam on low heat. Then you will use some sugar and soy sauce mixed with water to braise and make that beautiful caramelized flavor over the Spam. You will end up with a dark brown caramelized surface that is glossy and delicious.
  • Shape the rice in the plastic wrap after you pull it out of the spam container. When you pull the rice out of the container the shape may disfigure a tiny bit. To tighten the shape, gently pack the rice into the desired shape by using plastic wrap to protect your fingers from sticking to the rice.
  • Seal the edges of the nori strip with a dap of water. To seal the ends of the seaweed strip, simply dip your finger in some cold water and seal the ends.

Nutrition:

Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 747mg | Potassium: 164mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

Rate & Review What did you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and everyone loved it! Thank you for making it so simple to follow. We are going to make them again!!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious! My kids, husband, and I all enjoyed this. Takes us back to Maui.
    We will definitely make this one again.