How many Japanese desserts and sweets have you tried so far? Among them, are there any dishes so tasty, so simple-appearing that make you want to try making them at home by yourself?
If you’ve been there, you are not alone. Japanese desserts have always fascinated me because of how delicate they seem. From the simplest to trickiest Japanese recipes, there’s something you can learn about how to create a perfect dish.
The Japanese especially pay attention to balancing flavors, so their desserts are not too sweet or will be served with something to balance out the sweetness.
Go On A Cookery Journey Through These Excellent Desserts And Sweets Of Japan
Japanese desserts are as tasty as their main-course dishes; once you start digging, you won’t be able to stop. However, you don’t have to go to a restaurant or a bakery to buy a dessert you can make right at home.
1. Ichigo Daifuku (Strawberry Sweet-Filled Mochi)
Total time: 30 minutes
Daifuku, or Daifuku mochi, is a mochi stuffed with red bean paste (or Anko). These mochi balls can also have fruit fillings at the center for a more refreshing flavor.
Daifuku is among the most famous Japanese treats, but it’s a little expensive. So, making daifuku on your own allows you to have it whenever you want at a lower cost.
You have to make the mochi from scratch, which takes the most time in the process. You can buy Anko from the store and cook it until it becomes thicker and paler in color. Lastly, form the Anko into balls with strawberries inside, then wrap it with mochi.
Daifuku is good in the fridge for one or two days, but it’s best to eat it immediately.
2. Taiyaki (Baked Fish-Shaped Cake)
Total time: 35 minutes
Taiyaki means baked sea fish, which explains the fish shape of this sweet snack. Taking a bite, you will first feel the crispiness of its outer layer, then comes the fluffy feel of its interior.
Taiyaki can also be stuffed with red bean paste, like daifuku, but the recipe I’m introducing to you now will provide a step-by-step guide on making the baked cake only. Once you have mastered its technique, you can add any filling you like.
There are a few tips you may find useful when preparing this recipe. Pancake flour can replace cake flour; use it if you have leftover pancake flour.
Also, the original Japanese version of Taiyaki is a little sweet, so you may want to add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth. Salt is optional, but a tiny bit of salt will help enhance the overall flavor of the dessert. I don’t recommend skipping it.
3. Hanami Dango (Japanese Sweet Dumplings)
Total time: 20 minutes
Dango is a colored rice ball. It’s made from rice flour like ice cream mochi, but it’s stickier and chewier. Hanami is one of the most popular variations of Dango, consisting of three colors: white, pink, and green.
Making green Dango requires matcha powder, while pink Dango involves strawberry powder. Also, Dango doesn’t have fillings, and you have to boil them to achieve the final result. It’s slightly sweet, often served with tea.
One tip to form perfectly round Dango balls is to coat your palms with powder. It prevents stickiness and allows you to roll the balls freely until it’s round.
While making Dango is a little messy, it’s fairly easy and takes less than 30 minutes to make. If you want a fun snack made in Japanese style for a relaxing weekend, consider adding this recipe to your to-do list.
Dango is not hard to make at all. Find out here!
4. Oshiruko (Sweet Red Bean Soup With Mochi)
Total time: About 1 hour
A bowl of Oshiruko is the perfect addition to your day, whether it’s a hot or cold one. Nothing’s better than taking a sip while letting the steam from the dessert warm up your face.
Most of the time used for making oshiruko involves waiting for the beans to get super soft by cooking in a lot of boiling water. In terms of mochi, you can buy or make these rice balls yourself, depending on how willing you are to deal with the messiness.
It’s worth noting that oshiruko is high-carb and can make your stomach heavy after eating. So, you may want to cut down on your meal before eating this dessert. On the other hand, if you are hungry, feel free to eat as much as you want.
5. Anmitsu (Japanese Traditional Cold Sweet)
Total time: 30 minutes
When you think of summer desserts, what comes to your mind? Something cool, refreshing, maybe sweet, maybe not, something served cold? Anmitsu has it all.
Think of anmitsu as a mixture of jelly, red bean paste, and fruit. It offers the sweetness from Anko, the refreshing flavor from different types of fruits, the crumbly texture from Kanten jelly, and the cold feeling of ice cream.
Ideally, it takes only 30 minutes to prepare anmitsu, provided that you only have to make the jelly and the other ingredients are store-bought. It may take a bit longer if you want to put anmitsu in the fridge to serve it cold.
Also, you can replace these fruits suggested here with any type of fruit in Japan that you like, such as blueberries and cherries. The steps won’t change one bit.
6. Dorayaki (Japanese Red Bean Pancake)
Total time: 30 minutes
Ah yes, the Doraemon pancakes have become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to this adorable blue cat robot.
A dorayaki consists of red bean paste sandwiched between two pancakes. While the red bean paste is thick, the pancakes are soft, moist, and a bit fluffy.
If you have made Japanese pancakes before, making dorayaki will be a piece of cake. Remember to avoid high heat when frying pancakes because they burn easily.
Also, you can increase or decrease the amount of sugar to make the pancakes based on your preference. I hope this simple sweet dessert will bring a lot of fun to your free time.
Follow this fool-proof dorayaki recipe.
7. Mizu Shingen Mochi (Raindrop Cake)
Total time: 6 hours and 10 minutes (including chilling time)
Mizu Shingen mochi is one of the dishes that seem sophisticated and make you think it’s hard to make.
Also known as raindrop cake, this dessert is delicate and elegant. So you may not expect it to take only 10 minutes to make it from start to end.
The trickiest thing with this dessert is that you have to make sure it’s completely clear with no cloudiness when you cook the agar. If the agar is not transparent after being boiled, the dessert fails.
It’s also worth noting that the 10-minute time is for cooking the agar only. After pouring it into a mold, you need to let it cool down and refrigerate it overnight or at least 6 hours.
What does Mizu Shingen Mochi taste like, you may wonder? It is extremely soft and has a light sugar flavor, which can be overtaken by the strong sweetness of Kinako powder (roasted soybean flour).
8. Mizu Yokan (Traditional Japanese Dessert Jelly)
Total time: 10 minutes
“Mizu” means water, which indicates the recipe for this dessert uses more water than usual. Mizu yokan consists of agar, sugar, and red bean paste.
It’s sweet due to the sugar and red bean paste ingredients. Like Dango, Mizu yokan is often paired with matcha to balance their flavors.
Moreover, this Japanese treat is suitable for vegetarians as all of its ingredients are vegan. Besides, you can adjust the amount of sugar to match your taste.
However, to obtain a texture true to the “Mizu” part in its name, you should pay close attention to the amount of water you use. Read the recipe carefully and follow each step closely. Double-check before adding any ingredient to the mix.
9. Mushi Manju (Japanese Buns with Red Bean Paste Filling)
Total time: 30 minutes
This is another recipe that uses red bean paste as the filling. Manju originated from China, where it’s known as mantou, a flour-based pastry.
The recipe I’m providing for you in this article helps you make the original, most basic variation of this dessert. However, you can change the color or the filling of the manju if you want to use your creativity.
For example, you can make matcha Manju that’s green on the outside and has a green tea flavor.
Manju is quite simple to make, including two methods: steaming and frying. If you like a soft outer layer, go with steaming as frying will give a crispy result.
The process is straightforward to follow. But like any recipe involving flour, prepare to face a messy kitchen during the process.
10. Honey Kasutera (Japanese Castella Cake)
Total time: 55 minutes
Taiwanese Castella is more widely known around the world and has become a go-to sweet treat using honey for a lot of people.
In Japan, this cake is called kasutera, and it has a basic difference from its Taiwanese counterpart. The Japanese version uses bread flour instead of cake flour, leading to a chewier, bouncier texture.
However, honey kasutera doesn’t use butter. So, if you are into buttery flavors, this cake may not be for you.
Normally, a honey kasutera goes alone, but you can eat it with ice cream if you like.
If you don’t have granulated sugar, you can replace it with brown sugar and the recipe still works!
11. Souffle Pancake
Total time: 30 minutes
In Western countries, pancakes are a common breakfast. They are also among the most popular breakfast recipes in Japan. However, this soft dish can also be a dessert or a snack.
Japanese fluffy pancakes are also called souffle pancakes because their recipe involves the souffle technique. Specifically, you need to whip the eggs up with sugar until the mixture becomes a thick meringue.
Souffle pancakes also have much less flour than Western pancakes, another reason why they are so fluffy.
12. Japanese Cheesecake (Cotton Cheesecake)
Total time: 1.5 hours
Japanese cheesecake has a special place in my heart. It’s a sweet dessert but its flavor is so much more than just sweet.
A Japanese cheesecake is arguably the most jiggly thing you will ever see. Its flavor is a combination of sweet, sour, buttery, and savory tastes. The cake is so soft and tender that you don’t want to use much force when cutting it.
Making a cheesecake is not as easy as frying pancakes, which is why I’m giving you a fool-proof recipe. You cannot fail as long as you follow its steps closely and precisely.
If you have made cakes several times, I expect you have got the basic tools for this recipe. Otherwise, you should consider buying the items you lack because using the wrong tools can lead to undesired results, especially when dealing with a lot of eggs.
13. Matcha Roll Cake
Total time: 1 hour
Matcha, a beloved ingredient to make Japanese-style beverages, smells great and gives an interesting additional flavor to desserts. Matcha is bitter, so it balances out the sweetness from the sugar in a cake.
I want to introduce this specific recipe to you because it also uses whipping cream, a tastier product than topping cream, and strawberries that add a refreshing, cool feeling to your experience when eating this cake.
This matcha cake roll doesn’t use butter, so it’s more fluffy because butter causes a cake to harden when refrigerated.
If you are having guests over, a small dinner party, or just want to practice making desserts, you must not miss out on this cake.
Learn how to roll the cake here. You can also replace strawberries with red bean paste for this recipe.
14. Nama Chocolate
Total time: 10 minutes
Japanese nama chocolate is nothing like your regular chocolate sweet treats from Western. The latter is hard, and you have to wait for it to gradually melt in your mouth. In contrast, nama chocolate is soft and silky, and you can sense the buttery flavor as it melts.
Nama means fresh or raw, and nama chocolate should contain a lot of rich creams. Nama chocolate’s weight must consist of at least 40 percent chocolate and 10 percent cream.
The unique texture of nama chocolate comes from its heavy cream ratio. By making nama chocolate on your own, you can adjust this ratio to achieve the level of silkiness you want.
15. Purin (Japanese Caramel Custard Pudding)
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Purin literally means pudding, and you can’t miss out on this Japanese custard pudding if you love desserts with a creamy texture. Purin will blow your mind with its sweet, rich flavor and super silky texture that melts right in your mouth.
The hardest part of making Purin is probably the caramel because there’s a thin line between the perfect caramel and the burnt one.
You have to be very careful, pay extra attention. It may take a few practices for you to come up with a delicious, good-looking caramel.
Other than that, the steps to this mouthwatering dessert is easy to follow, I hope you will succeed at your first try.
16. Miso Butterscotch Cookies
Total time: 1 hour 17 minutes
If you are not a big fan of sweet treats, why not add some savory taste to your dessert? Apart from the regular sweetness from sugar, miso butter cookies also carry the umami flavor signature of Japanese cuisine.
There are three types of miso: red, yellow, and white. The last one works best for this recipe because it’s the mildest of all with a bit of a sweet flavor, making it suitable for adding to cookies.
To be honest, this recipe is not the easiest, and making cookies can take a couple of hours or more if you are not familiar with baking. But I can guarantee you it’s worth it. Dessert doesn’t have to be all sweet, it can taste interesting like these miso cookies.
17. Green Tea Ice Cream
Total time: 5 to 8 hours (including freezing time)
Do you have a personal ice cream maker that’s sitting in your cabinet forever? Take it out; it’s time to make a fan-favorite matcha recipe to beat the heat. Many say ice cream is for summer only, I say you can have a few scoops any time you want to.
When working on ice cream, you work with eggs, milk, heavy cream, and sugar. You need to be careful because if unwanted water gets into the mixture, it will ruin the result. Therefore, remember to dry all the equipment with towels or paper tissue before the first step.
You can still make green tea ice cream without egg yolks. Find out how!
18. Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Bun)
Total time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Anpan looks very similar to Mushi Manju, another recipe I introduced in this article. However, they are different dishes with different textures.
Mushi Manju is denser, heavier, and its recipe does not include bread flour. Meanwhile, Anpan is made like bread, using bread flour in its recipe.
Specifically, you need to let the dough rest for about three hours or until it doubles in size. Anpan’s texture is less dense, the bun is lighter than Mushi Manju. If you have made bread before, you will have zero problems making Anpan.
19. Green Tea Mochi
Total time: 1 hour
Japanese traditional mochi with the green tea flavor is a dessert combining Japan’s signature food – mochi, and Japan’s signature ingredient – green tea. It’s sweet, chewy, and elegant.
You can make green tea mochi with white bean filling or white mochi with green tea filling, your choice. Either way, the ingredients are the same.
However, if you want more of a green tea taste, you should mix matcha with white bean paste to make matcha filling, which is also the first type I listed here. The other version doesn’t have as much matcha flavor.
20. Sakura Mochi
Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Unlike other types of mochi, sakura mochi is not made of rice flour. Instead, you will use regular rice. However, you will have to cook it and mash it until it becomes sticky but you can still see the grains.
After finishing the mochi part, the other steps are easy. You just need to form red bean paste balls and wrap them in the mochi you made. Most of the time needed in this recipe is for soaking and cooking the rice.
You can also wrap the mochi balls in pickled sakura leaves. They will give the dish a little salty flavor while the mochi tastes slightly sweet.
If you want to make red bean paste on your own, follow this instruction.
21. Mochi Cookies
Total time: 2 hours
If you like mixing recipes, try combining mochi with cookies. The result is a dessert that features a crispy outer layer and a chewy filling. Mochi cookies have three layers in total: the cookie layer, the mochi layer, and the center filling layer.
This recipe allows you to mix several cookie flavors with different mochi flavors. These include chocolate cookies, matcha cookies, regular mochi, strawberry mochi, red bean paste filling, chocolate block, and strawberry jam.
I recommend you ask one or two friends over to try this recipe with you; it will be so much fun and take less time to finish.
22. Mochi Ice Cream
Total time: 3.5 hours (including freezing time)
This recipe is the sweet treat with ice cream you need after a big meal or on a hot summer day. It’s a scoop of ice cream wrapped in Japan’s traditional rice cake.
Take a bite, once you get through the chewy outer layer, the cold smooth ice cream welcomes you with its milky, sweet flavor. The best thing about this recipe is that you can choose any ice cream flavor you want, more options than buying from a store.
However, keep in mind that you will have to wait for a few hours for the ice cream to be frozen, it’s not an instantly made and served dish.
23. Melonpan (Japanese Melon Bread)
Total time: 2.5 hours
Melonpan is a type of sweet Japanese-origin bread that has also been popular in China and Taiwan. Its name comes from its appearance, which resembles a rockmelon, rather than its flavor. The original melon pan doesn’t contain any melon-related ingredients.
A melon pan has a crunchy exterior and a fluffy interior. This contrast in flavor and texture is the interesting thing about this dessert.
If you have a few hours to spare on the weekend, work on this recipe and let the smell of baked cookies fill every corner of your house.
24. Mochi Donuts
Total time: 20 minutes
Mochi donuts are deep-fried balls made of mochiko flour, coated with granulated sugar. These Japanese donuts are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Mochi donuts are very easy to make. First, mix all the dry ingredients, then mix all the wet ingredients. Next, mix the dry and wet mixtures. Then, use a cookie scoop to scoop and drop the donuts in hot oil, and fry until they turn golden brown.
It takes only 20 minutes to make a batch of mochi donuts, so it’s the perfect sweet food for when you are starving or when you have unexpected guests coming over.
You can also make big mochi donut rings using this recipe.
25. Nerikiri Wagashi (Japanese Confection)
Total time: 30 minutes
Nerikiri wagashi is made of Anko, rice, or agar, formed into beautiful shapes. This sweet dish is often served with green tea, so it can be a great dessert or a sweet treat to eat in a tea ceremony.
Nerikiri wagashi is not difficult to make, but it requires extra effort to create shapes by hand. The most common shapes used include cherry blossom (sakura). However, you can form any shape you want, even resembling real subjects in your life.
Let Japanese Sweetness Fulfill Your Daily Life
The dessert is not only the final part of a meal but also an additional flavor, something lighter than the food you consume in the main course.
The Japanese have succeeded in making some of the best desserts and sweets in the world. Millions of people love their mouthwatering recipes. It’s not always easy to make Japanese dishes, but it’s always worth the effort.
If you love this list of Japanese desserts and sweets like I do, spread it, share it with your friends and family. And who knows, maybe you will become a star of desserts to your beloved.
6 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories1053
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 1g 5%
- Cholesterol 109mg 37%
- Sodium 346mg 15%
- Potassium 69mg 2%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 17g 68%
- Sugars 135.9g
- Protein 26.8g 54%
- Calcium 141%
- Iron 8%
- Vitamin D 10%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Linda Dean is a talented food blogger and cookbook author with a passion for creating simple and delicious recipes. With a focus on using wholesome ingredients and showcasing their flavors with minimal fuss, Linda’s recipes have become a favorite among busy home cooks looking for quick and nutritious meals.
With years of experience in the kitchen and a love for experimenting with new ingredients and flavor combinations, Linda has honed her culinary skills and developed a signature style that is both approachable and sophisticated. Whether she’s sharing a classic recipe with a twist or showcasing the latest food trends, Linda’s work is always fresh, innovative, and inspiring.
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