Addictive Hawaiian Air Fryer Spam Musubi Recipe

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Say aloha to your new comfort food—Air Fryer Spam Musubi! Taste the sweet and savory goodness of the spam and the tanginess of the sushi rice! 🤩 Fry it, to believe it!

The name “spam musubi” immediately brings to mind pictures of Hawaii’s small local restaurants and stores, with stacks of the wrapped snack piled up near the cash registers. A cousin of Japanese omusubi, Spam musubi became a local Hawaiian favorite after the end of World War II. 

🤔 Fun Fact: Hawaiians consume the most Spam per capita in the world. 

Air fryer Spam musubi is a combination of Japanese and American cultures, featuring its signature slice of Spam atop a traditional Japanese onigiri.

Air fryer Spam Musubi recipe bite shot, served on a black slate.

Due to rationing and the difficulty of delivering fresh food to soldiers during World War II, Spam became a go-to meat substitute that was quickly integrated into the diets of people in American and the Pacific Islands, and the world.  

In this air-fried rendition of the classic recipe, we make a simple musubi sauce that we brush onto slices of Spam before air frying it to crispy perfection and pressing it on top of cooked and seasoned sushi rice. To finish, the little package is wrapped with a nori tie and served!

Enough with the talking, let’s start making those sweet, savory, crispy, tangy—in short—flavorful Hawaiian treat!

Spam Musubi Air Fryer Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for Hawaiian Spam Musubi Air Fryer Recipe

The ingredients required for Spam Musubi are simple and can mostly be found at the grocery store. If you need help finding nori, try a local Asian specialty grocer or even order the sheets online!

  • Spam (we used the low-sodium variety)
  • Nori sheets

Spam Musubi Sauce

  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Garlic powder

Sushi Rice

  • Cooked sushi rice, glutinous rice
  • Sushi rice seasoning- see full recipe below

📣 You can find the exact measurements and adjust the number of servings in the recipe card down below.

Get Adventurous with New Spam Flavors!

Over the years, there have been many variations of Spam added to the market. Some of the recent flavors that you may stumble across in the grocery store include Spam Bacon, Spam Tocino, Hickory Smoked Jalapeño, Hot & Spicy, Teriyaki, and Oven Roasted Turkey.

You can utilize any flavor of Spam to create Spam Musubi, so try some variety for a fun twist on the classic. 

Sushi Rice Alternatives

If you don’t have sushi rice or other short-grain rice, you can substitute it with regular rice. Use 1:1.5 rice-to-water ratio when cooking to make the rice extra sticky, which is essential for this recipe. 

Avoid using day-old rice. Fresh rice is sticky and therefore easily forms into the shape you need to make Spam musubi. For hands-off rice cooking, we suggest using a rice cooker or Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker).

However, if you have leftover rice that you don’t want to go to waste, I’ll also provide a tip on how to revive it and make it into sticky sushi rice.

If you have a short-grain white Japanese rice or medium-grain California rice at home, follow these steps to make a proper sushi rice.

How to make the perfect sushi rice?

To make the perfect sushi rice, you need:

  • 2 cups short-grain uncooked sushi rice
  • 2¼ cups water
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1⅓ teaspoon salt

💡Pro Tip: A rice cooker cup is different from a standard cup; it’s 25% less. So, technically, one rice cooker cup is equivalent to ¾ of a US cup.

To prepare sushi rice, start by washing and rinsing the uncooked rice. Next, drain it and add 2¼ cups of clean water. Cook it using a rice cooker or Instant Pot.

In a small pot, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and heat the mixture over medium heat until fully dissolved.

Do not use any other type of vinegar. It will taste different.

Next, transfer the cooked rice into a large bowl, pour in the sushi seasoning, and mix for a minute or two. Let the rice cool down for a few minutes, and it should be ready for the Hawaiian Spam Musubi recipe.

Disclaimer: I didn’t make the sushi seasoning from scratch; I used a ready-made one sitting in my pantry. Yes, we’re sushi lovers, and we often make baked sushi at home.

Additionally, instead of using sushi rice, I used regular rice. Just bump up your rice to water ratio to 1:1.5, and you’ll end up with sticky rice. However, this won’t work with brown rice, in case you’re wondering.

How to Make Spam Musubi in the Air Fryer?

Making Spam Musubi is easier than you’d think! And the results are delicious and reminiscent of sunny lunches in beautiful Hawaii. Start-to-finish, this recipe will take around 30-40 minutes, depending on how you cook your rice!

1. Get your rice ready.

Cooked rice in Instant Pot

💡Pro Tip: A rice cooker cup is different from a standard cup; it’s 25% less. So, technically, one rice cooker cup is equivalent to ¾ of a US cup.

We used regular rice to make the air fryer Spam Musubi recipe because that’s what we have.

Here are the recommended rice-to-water ratios for making sushi rice, preferably using a rice cooker or Instant Pot.

Regular Rice – 1:1.5 (1 cup uncooked regular rice per 1½ cups water)

Simple Sushi Rice – 1:1.25 (1 cup uncooked sushi rice per 1¼ cups water)

Perfect Sushi Rice – 1:1.125 (1 cup uncooked sushi rice per 1⅛ cups water) see instructions above ↑.

Say if we need 2 cups of regular rice for each can of spam, 3 cups of water is required.

If you’re using an Instant Pot, delay the pressure release by at least 5 minutes for best results. Alternatively, you can allow for natural pressure release for 30 minutes.

Bonus Method: Day-old Rice

If you have leftover rice, you can still revive it to make it sticky using the microwave. Simply transfer the rice into a microwave-safe bowl, add 1 teaspoon of water, and mix it. Then microwave the rehydrated rice for 30 seconds. Repeat the process until the texture of your rice becomes perfectly sticky.

2. Slice the Spam meat loaf into eight equal slices.

Slicing spam

Carefully remove the Spam from the can and slice width-wise into 8 equal slices. 

3. Cut the nori sheets into 1-inch thick strips.

Cutting nori sheets in to 1-inch-wide strips

Trim the nori sheets into long, 1-inch wide strips. Set aside.

4. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (204°C).

Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 400°F (204°C).

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 400ºF (204ºC) and then let it cook for 5 minutes without food.

You may also skip this step by adding 2-4 minutes to your cooking time until you achieve your desired finish.

5. Prepare the musubi sauce.

Mixing Spam Musubi glaze

In a small bowl, using a tiny whisk (of course), combine the soy sauce, honey and garlic powder. Whisk well to ensure the honey is completely incorporated.

6. Air fry glazed the spam slices for 3-4 minutes.

Glazing Spam slices with a basting brush.

When the air fryer is fully preheated, add the Spam slices in a single layer. Brush the top of each slice with the prepared musubi sauce, and air fry for 3-4 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned.

7. Flip and cook Spam slices for another 3-4 minutes.

Cooking Spam Musubi in air fryer

After the first round of air frying, flip the Spam slices and brush again with musubi sauce. Continue air frying for 3-4 minutes or until all the pieces are golden brown and crisp.

I used a 6-quart air fryer to test this recipe. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.

8. Prepare sushi rice.

Making sushi rice out of ordinary rice.

While the Spam is air frying, season the sushi rice with the ready-made seasoning.

9. Mold the Spam musubi.

When the Spam is fully air-fried, carefully transfer to a plate. It’s time to assemble your Spam Musubi!

Add a piece of Spam to a medium-sized square of plastic wrap. On top of the Spam, add a scoop of the sushi rice. Wrap the Spam/rice in the plastic wrap. Using your hands, form the Spam/rice into a compact brick.

Unwrap the rice and Spam, then fold a piece of nori around its midsection, dabbing with water to seal the nori to itself.

10. Serve and enjoy your air fried Spam musubi!

Air fried Spam Musubi served on a black slate

Now, that’s how you make air fryer Spam musubi! It may not be so simple, but it’s definitely worth it.

For a little dipping sauce, double the musubi sauce made to brush the Spam, and serve the extra on the side! 

To add a kick of flavor, add long pieces of scallions to the top of the Spam before wrapping around the Nori strip. The added freshness of a scallion and the bright green color really bring this to the next level!

Instead of using musubi sauce, you could substitute teriyaki sauce. With either sauce, you’ll have a hint of sweetness balancing the saltiness of the Spam.

Want to make this dish without the Spam, or can’t find Spam in the supermarket? Use thick pieces of ham instead! They will cook up just like Spam and be really delicious!

Freezing & Storage

Freezing: To freeze air fryer Spam musubi, allow them to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and follow the instructions below.

Fridge: Allow the Spam musubi to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheating: The easiest way to reheat Spam musubi is in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the rice and Spam are fully reheated. Note, the nori will likely get softened in the microwave, so you may want to rewrap your musubi with fresh nori.

Alternatively, add the Spam musubi to an air fryer preheated to 350ºF and air fry until the Spam is crisp, about 3-4 minutes.

Air Fryer Spam Musubi FAQs

How many calories are there in one Spam musubi?

One serving of Spam musubi contains approximately 250 kilocalories.

How to make Spam musubi sauce?

To make Spam musubi sauce, combine 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey and ½ teaspoon garlic powder in a small bowl.

How to air fry Spam musubi?

To air fry Spam musubi, you need to make sushi rice first. Then, air fry the Spam slices with musubi glaze. Put together the musubi by stacking the sushi rice, air-fried glazed Spam slice, and wrap with a 1-inch thick seaweed sheet.

Air fryer Spam Musubi, served on a black slate.

Addictive Hawaiian Air Fryer Spam Musubi

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Say aloha to your new comfort food—Air Fryer Spam Musubi! Taste the sweet and savory goodness of the spam and the tanginess of the sushi rice! 🤩 Fry it, to believe it!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 254 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can Spam low sodium
  • 2 sheets nori

Spam Musubi Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Sushi Rice

  • 4 US cups cooked regular rice 2 cups uncooked rice + 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sushi rice seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Cook the sushi rice, or if you don’t have any, you can use regular rice with a 1:1.5 water-to-rice ratio. That's what we used for this recipe. In case you have sushi rice, reduce the water ratio to 1:1.25. For every can of Spam, you'll need to cook 2 cups of dry rice. Use an Instant Pot or rice cooker to make your sushi rice. Adjust the water ratio accordingly.
    Cooked rice in Instant Pot
  • Slice the Spam meat loaf into eight equal slices. Do not discard the can; we'll use it as the musubi mold. Wash it to remove any remaining oil inside.
    Slicing spam
  • Cut the nori sheets into 1-inch thick strips and set them aside for assembly.
    Cutting nori sheets
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (204°C).
    Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 400°F (204°C).
  • While the air fryer is preheating, prepare the musubi glaze. Combine low-sodium soy sauce, honey, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
    Mixing Spam Musubi glaze
  • Next, place the sliced Spam in the preheated air fryer, making sure they are nicely spaced out. Brush the musubi sauce on each slice and cook for 3-4 minutes.
    Glazing Spam slices with a basting brush.
  • Flip the Spam slices, brush it again with musubi sauce, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the glaze caramelizes. Be careful not to overcook them, as the sugar in the musubi glaze can easily burn. We’re looking for a deep golden brown finish.
    Cooking Spam Musubi in air fryer
  • While air frying, you can prepare the sushi rice. Take the cooked rice and transfer it into a large bowl. Add the sushi seasoning and mix for 2-3 minutes. After air frying the glazed spam, you should be ready to assemble.
    Making sushi rice out of ordinary rice.
  • Put together the Spam musubi. First, get the Spam can and cut a piece of cling wrap. Place the cling wrap on top of the can, then add the air-fried glazed Spam on top and push it down the can. Next, scoop ½ cup of cooked sushi rice and layer it on top of the Spam. Apply pressure to flatten the rice, then take the cling wrap out along with the contents. Continue molding by hand, then remove the cling wrap. Finally, wrap it with the seaweed strip and seal it nice and tight by dabbing the ends with cold tap water.
    Assembled Spam Musubi
  • Serve and enjoy your labor of love: Hawaiian Spam Musubi Air Fryer Edition!
    Air fried Spam Musubi served on a black slate

Video

Notes

  • 1 rice cooker cup is equivalent to ¾ US cup.
  • To make sticky sushi rice out of regular rice, adjust your water ratio to 1:1.5.
  • If you’re using sushi rice, reduce the water ratio to 1:1.25
  • Day-old-rice: If you have leftover rice, you can still revive it to make it sticky using the microwave. Simply transfer the rice into a microwave-safe bowl, add 1 teaspoon of water, and mix it. Then microwave the rehydrated rice for 30 seconds. Repeat the process until the texture of your rice becomes perfectly sticky.
  • Washing the rice grains is optional.
  • The Spam will shrink after air frying, so thicker slices will work better.
  • If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 400°F (204°C) and then let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • You can also skip preheating by adding 2-4 minutes to your cooking time. Increment gradually, to prevent burning the glazed spam.
  • I used a 6-quart Instant Pot to test the air fryer Spam musubi recipe. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: air fryer recipes, spam musubi in air fryer, spam recipes

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