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Tuna Rice

A simple and tasty meal of tuna rice! Mix canned tuna with Kewpie mayonnaise (delicious Japanese mayo) and black pepper. Eat with rice ^_^

Tuna Rice in a bowl, ready to eat

Tuna Rice

Tuna Rice! This is a popular Hawaii dish. We ate it often as kids...and we still eat it a lot as adult (only now it's considered comfort food).

It's basically a tuna rice bowl of hot rice topped with canned tuna mixed with mayo and a bit of black pepper.

We prepare tuna rice for quick lunches and snacks at home. Tuna rice was also a popular "home lunch" that lots of kids brought to school. I remember one friend's dad made it with a lot of mayo and she brought it to school in a long clear rectangular container. Another friend brought snack size nori sheets to eat alongside her tuna rice. Every family seems to have their own version of tuna rice.

It seems silly to write down a recipe for something so ordinary and simple, but the goal with Onolicious is to document all the good home cooking of Hawaii. Hope you enjoy ^_^

Ingredients for Tuna Rice: canned tuna, green onions, and Kewpie Mayonnaise


  • Cooked rice - We usually cook 1 cup rice (which equals 3 cups cooked rice) for every 2 people.
  • Canned tuna in water - Tuna in oil is considered tastier and more flavorful, but you need tuna in water for this recipe. The water is drained and mixed with mayonnaise.
  • Kewpie Mayonnaise - Instead of regular mayonnaise, we use Kewpie Mayonnaise! You can still you regular mayonnaise if you prefer (we use Best Foods brand in Hawaii).
  • Black Pepper - A little or a lot, up to you! The black pepper is mixed directly in with the tuna and mayonnaise.
  • Green Onion - Chopped and sprinkled on top.
Tuna mixed with Kewpie Mayonnaise in a bowl
Mixing the tuna with Kewpie mayonnaise


I usually make this dish for two people. Divide the warm rice into two serving bowls. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the tuna, mayonnaise, and black pepper. Feel free to add more or less of the mayonnaise and black pepper, depending on your tastes.

Divide the mixed tuna over the two rice bowls. Top with the chopped green onions. Eat and enjoy! Easy, yeah? ^_^

See below for ideas on variations and other ways to spice up the dish.

Bottle of Kewpie Mayonnaise

What Is Kewpie Mayonnaise?

Kewpie Mayonnaise is a Japanese mayonnaise. You can find it online or at all Japanese markets.

How is it different from "regular" mayonnaise?

  • Kewpie mayonnaise is made from only egg yolks. Regular mayonnaise is made from egg yolks and egg whites.
  • No added sugar or salt.
  • Includes a bit of rice vinegar.
  • And a kiss of msg!

It's richer in flavor and more complex tasting. You can sub Kewpie mayonnaise in any recipe that calls for mayonnaise.

Different types of pepper to mix into the tuna and Kewpie Mayonnaise. Black pepper, ichimi togarashi, and shichimi togarashi


There are endless variations you can do with this recipe. Here are a few popular ideas:

Tuna goes well with so many different types of pepper. We use black pepper as the default for this recipe, but you can use anything from Japanese shichimi togarashi, and even Thai chili peppers.

Sweet Maui Onions
Finaly chop sweet Maui onions and fold it into the tuna (along with the mayonnaise and black pepper). It's gives a bit of sweetness and juicy crunch. No access to Maui onions? Then just use any sweet onion you can find at the supermarket.

Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
It's called soy sauce on the mainland, but we call it shoyu in Hawaii. Sprinkle on a little shoyu right before eating. We usually use Kikkoman or Aloha brands.

Maggie Seasoning
Instead of soy sauce, use Maggie seasoning (which I prefer for this dish).

These days we make this dish with tuna and brown rice. But growing up we had it with white rice only. You can even do half-white and half-brown rice (we call this "hapa rice").

Ingredients for Tuna Rice: canned tuna, green onions, Kewpie Mayonnaise, and different types of peppers: black pepper, ichimi togarashi, and shichimi togarashi (pepper is optional)

Questions and Tips

How long does this dish keep?

The prepared tuna keeps 1-2 days in the fridge, but it's best to eat it the day you make it.

What temperature to eat this dish at?

The rice should be hot, and the tuna should be room temperature (or very lightly chilled if you prefer).

Can I change up the proportions of mayo and pepper?

Yes! Feel free to change it up however you want. I like 2 tablespoons of Kewpie Mayonnaise per every 5 ounce can of tuna, but you can use more or less mayo.

Sometimes I'm in a super peppery mood and add lots of pepper. Other times I mix the green onions directly into the tuna (instead of sprinkling on top). Few ways to go wrong ^_^

No Kewpie Mayonnaise?

So Kewpie Mayonnaise is definitely the first choice mayo for this recipe. But you can still make it with a different brand of mayo or even homemade mayo!

Best Foods is the most popular mayo brand in Hawaii and has a very loyal following. Many people insist that local macaroni salad MUST be made with Best Foods (and I do not disagree ^_^)

Tuna Rice in a bowl, ready to eat

Tuna Rice Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Tuna Rice in a bowl, ready to eat

Tuna Rice

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A simple but oh so tasty meal of tuna rice! Just mix canned tuna with Kewpie mayonnaise (a Japanese mayo that is delicious!) and a bit of black pepper. Spoon over rice, eat and enjoy ^_^



  1. Divide the rice into two serving bowls. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the drained tuna, Kewpie mayonnaise, and black pepper.
  3. Divide the mixed tuna over the two rice bowls. Top with the chopped green onions.
  4. Eat and enjoy!
  5. P.S. Feel free to also add a dash of Maggie seasoning and/or shichimi togarashi.


1 cup uncooked rice = 3 cups cooked rice

Mahalo for Reading!


Thursday 20th of October 2022

the way this just hit at 1am when i was raising the pantry for a low impact filling snack.

this is now part of my life forever. great recipe and great backstory.

it’s often the simplest dishes from our cultures that make the lasting impact.


Thursday 27th of January 2022

It was about 10:45PM for me, and I was HUNGRY. Craving SOMETHING yummy. Found some instant rice and tuna in the pantry. Googled ideas. Found this. DELICIOUS. Used my mayo (BestFoods of course) and chowed down. Added a squirt of lemon as well. This is now MY comfort food. Coming from someone in the middle of Colorado. Fun.


Friday 28th of January 2022

Aloha Jumbo - So happy you enjoyed! It such a tasty and easy dish, all comfort! :) - Kathy


Sunday 23rd of January 2022

I’m so glad you documented this recipe even though it’s “mundane” to you, because I’m not Hawaiian and had never heard of it before. I was looking for an easy, tasty combination of tuna and rice, and this is perfect! Sincerely, American Girl.


Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Aloha Heather! Thanks for your comment, and so happy you enjoyed the recipe ^_^ - Kathy


Thursday 14th of January 2021

Mahalo for sharing, Kathy! I am excited to try this recipe. What is the seasoning in your picture above in the yellow, silver and black tin (and more importantly can I buy it online)? :)


Thursday 14th of January 2021

Aloha Crystal! Hope you enjoy the recipe! The seasoning is Japanese shichimi togarashi. There are two brands in the post - the red cap one you can find at all Japanese markets. The yellow tin was a gift from a friend. It's Yawataya Isogoro's Yuzu Shichimi.

Looks like you can get that yuzu version here: You can also buy Yawataya Isogoro (non-yuzu version) here:

Best bet is to check with a Japanese market if there's one nearby, hopefully you can find it there! Enjoy ^_^

- Kathy


Tuesday 8th of December 2020

I love that you posted this super simple recipe. I appreciate you’re willingness to document something so “everyday.” I wonder about all the things we don’t really know how to do anymore because it was so common place at the time. I also appreciate your explanation on kewpie mayo. I’ll attempt to make it next time I make homemade mayo.

Also, just to note, I’ve enjoyed my tuna rice bowl with some furikake, or Japanese rice seasoning, sprinkled on top or mixed in. As you say, few ways to go wrong ^_^


Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Aloha Susan - Thank you so much for the kind words :) Totally agree with you about the furikake over tuna rice, such a good combination!


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