Japanese desserts are full of a combination of sweet flavors that no other country has managed to emulate. No one does dessert like Japan, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite recipes for you to make today.
By the end of this article, you’ll be running to the store to fetch your ingredients because these are the 15 must-have desserts from Japan.
If you want to try Japanese desserts (see also ‘15 Delicious Vietnamese Desserts You’ll Love To Make!‘), these are the most straightforward and accessible to make outside of Japan. These recipes can be simple enough to make with ingredients already in your cupboard.
However, other recipes may require a trip to the store to find more specialist ingredients. With this in mind, here are some of our favorite 15 recipes.
Dorayaki is made by sandwiching two small pancakes together and putting a filling of your choice. In fact, dorayaki is a favorite snack of the famous anime character: Doraemon.
One of the most popular flavors is anko, which is why we’ve included a sweet bean recipe. You can also fill your dorayaki with custard, matcha, strawberry, and sweet potato paste, so you can always experiment to find your favorite flavors.
You will know when you’ve made dorayaki successfully as dorayaki takes its name from its circular gong-like shape.
2. Coffee Jelly
Coffee jelly has been a popular Japanese dessert since the ‘60s, but it’s become even more global with the success of the anime: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
The best thing about coffee jelly is that anyone can enjoy it, as you make it with agar, a plant-based gelatine mixed with black coffee.
It’s a popular treat in Japanese convenience stores, and you can now enjoy it in the comfort of your home as a refreshing dessert.
Purin is a Japanese crème caramel, a trendy dessert for all ages (see also ‘10 Tasty Korean Desserts To Make This Weekend‘). You can make it at home quickly and easily with ingredients you’re sure to already have in your cupboard.
You can make the custard with a mix of sugar, eggs, and milk and then harden it by adding gelatin.
When making purin, the caramel is at the bottom of your ramekin, and once you put it on a plate, it gently falls over the rest of the purin.
If you want a dessert to share with your family and friends, then manju is a delicious choice. It’s a popular treat that consists of a fluffy bun filled with red bean paste.
For generations, people of all ages have enjoyed this treat in Japan. The best way to enjoy it is to wash it down with a cup of green tea.
Of course, there are other ways to enjoy it, too, with Mizu Manju also a very popular choice.
5. Mizu Yokan
We mentioned Mizu Manju earlier, but let’s go into more detail about what we mean by Mizu. When we talk about Mizu treats, we talk about desserts made with agar jelly.
Mizu yokan is one of Japan’s oldest desserts. You make it from agar jelly and red bean paste, but other flavors are also available.
You can also find yokan made from sweet potatoes, matcha, and chestnut. As a rich and thick jelly, the biggest challenge of making it is waiting for it to settle.
6. Japanese Cheesecake
You would generally think of New York-style cheesecakes when you think of cheesecakes. But Japanese cheesecakes are on a whole other level. They’re famous for their fluffy texture, yet it’s not overwhelmingly sweet.
It’s sometimes referred to as cotton cheesecake, and while it may be challenging at first, the results are worth it.
Unlike western cheesecakes, you don’t need a biscuit bake to make it, but ideally, you need to make it in a water bath to ensure it keeps moist.
7. Daifuku Mochi
Daifuku mochi is a trendy dessert in Japan that brings mochi to another level. Mochi is a glutinous rice cake and one of Japan’s most famous desserts. However, daifuku mochi is different.
Compared to regular mochi, you can fill it with various ingredients. Traditionally, you would fill it with anko, but you can also put strawberries inside to make ichigo daifuku mochi.
8. Matcha Nama Choco
Valentine’s Day is when women and girls make homemade chocolates and give them to loved ones. There is often some romantic intention, but girls may also give chocolates to their friends too.
A popular treat is matcha nama choco, a matcha-flavored white chocolate that’s surprisingly easy to make.
You only need four ingredients to make this delicious treat: white chocolate, matcha powder, heavy cream, and honey.
9. Strawberry Sponge Cake
In Japan, strawberry sponge cakes are a popular dessert around Christmas and are incredibly similar to cotton cheesecakes (see also ‘Can You Freeze Cheesecake?‘).
These cakes are often called strawberry shortcakes in Japan, and they’re known for their soft and fluffy texture.
Traditionally, you would decorate a strawberry shortcake with strawberries and whipped cream, but you can also decorate them with your other favorite fruits. Peaches and berries are also popular options.
If you want a decadent dessert, then anmitsu will be up your street. It’s a parfait that you can make with sweet bean paste, anko, and agar cubes.
You can serve it with other fruits, such as pineapple, mikan, cherries, and other sweet fruits. You can enjoy it in restaurants with shiratori dango and even ice cream.
So long as you include some sweet black syrup to pour over it, you can have a refreshing dessert (see also ‘15 Delicious Spanish Desserts You’ll Love To Make!‘).
11. Daigaku Imo
Sweet potatoes are an affordable and enjoyable treat in Japan and are particularly popular in the fall. Daigaku imo is a form of candied sweet potato that college students would eat.
They have also been called university potatoes because of their history among college students. All you need to make daigaku imo are sweet potatoes, oil, and sugar.
You can add some sesame seeds if you want to add a garnish, and you can enjoy them with butter or soy sauce.
12. Melon Pan
If you want a small dessert for you and your family, then melon pan is a perfect choice. Melon pan is a sweet bread covered with a cookie crust with a grid line pattern on top.
Despite the melon in the name, there isn’t melon in this recipe. Instead, it may have gotten this name due to the melon-like pattern on its crust.
You can easily adjust melon pans to fill them with various fillings such as custard cream and white bean paste. However, you may find that some manufacturers do include melon flavoring in the melon pan.
13. Mitarashi Dango
Mitarashi dango is a traditional Japanese dessert that you can put on a skewer. Hence, it’s no surprise they’re such a popular street food.
To make this recipe, you need to make a collection of rice dumplings, so there are three to five on each skewer. You need to grill the dumplings, which you then cover with a soy sauce glaze.
You can even change the flavors of the mitarashi dango so that they have a more colorful appearance.
Recently, more people have gotten a craving for mitarashi dango thanks to the popular anime: Demon Slayer.
14. Castella Cake
You can easily make castella cake with only five simple ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour, honey, and water. Like other variations of castella cake, it originally came from Portugal.
However, the Japanese modified the recipe to have a smooth and bouncy texture. It’s a soft and delicate cake that you can find in any convenience store in Japan, and it’s incredibly delicious when paired with an iced coffee in the summer.
While this dessert is sweet in Japan, you may find that it’s not as sweet as other Western desserts, which is why we recommend it with coffee.
15. Shiratama Dango
If you enjoy mochi, then you will love shiratama dango. These are chewy and gooey and have a more elastic texture than mochi.
You can make them using glutinous rice flour and combine them with other dishes. If you want to adjust the flavor, you can make them with strawberries instead of a generally sweet taste.
Unlike mitarashi dango, you don’t have to skewer them, and you can serve them in a bowl and coat them in your sauce.
These are 15 of our favorite Japanese desserts you can try at home today (see also ‘15 Best Indian Desserts To Make Today‘). We’ve found the easiest desserts you can make outside Japan without needing many specialist ingredients.
If you want to make any of these desserts, you shouldn’t have to go out to buy any special tools as they don’t require any extra steps.
Over the years, Japanese sweets have become more accessible worldwide; therefore, it’s easier for us to make them in the comfort of our own homes.
In the past, you may have had to know someone in Japan to access these ingredients, but now it’s even easier to gain access to them.
If you liked these recipes, don’t hesitate to check out some of our other articles to find more inspiration for desserts and other dishes.
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