When it comes to Japanese desserts, the Japanese are very adventurous with popular dishes, including a range of traditional and sometimes unusual ingredients. So whether you have a sweet or savoury palette, you’ll find something on our list of Most Popular Japanese Desserts to whet your appetite. Many of these dishes include recipes so you can make your own at home; however, be warned that a few are unique to Japan, so the only way to try the dish will be to book a flight over!
Mochi is a staple ingredient and a traditional dessert category and is surprisingly often used for savoury dishes. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made by pounding short-grain japonica rice into various shapes, including squares, cubes, and balls. Mochi is a sweet dessert with a texture similar to that of a marshmallow. Make your own Mochi at home with these Mochi Recipes.
There are hundreds of popular mochi recipes, including:
- Mochi Ice Cream– small scoops of ice cream wrapped in a layer of mocha and topped with a dusting of mochiko (rice flour)
- Sakuramochi– A pink popular Japanese dessert made with mocha, flavoured with cherry blossoms and filled with red bean paste. This dessert comes wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf.
- Hishi Mochi– A traditional dessert associated with Girls’ Day. This dessert comes in a rhomboid shape with three different colour layers: red, white and green flavoured mochi.
Two pancakes sandwiched together with a sweet or fruit filling. These are different because the pancakes are made of castella, a simple Japanese sponge making this dessert almost like a mini sandwich cake. The pancakes are sandwiched together with Anko, a sweet paste of mashed azuki beans and additional fillings of your choice. The most popular Japanese desserts flavours for Dorayaki include chestnuts and ice cream. Make your own Dorayaki at home with this Dorayaki Recipe.
Dango are dainty rice dumplings made with mochiko, also known as rice flour. Three to four dumplings are placed on skewers and are lightly toasted. Dango can be toasted over an open fire, just like marshmallows. Dango can be served as a sweet or savoury dish are popular widely across Japan. Toppings for this dessert include red bean paste, chestnut paste, sesame seed and soy sauce. A popular accompaniment for Dango is Green Tea, which is also used as a topping! Make your own Dango at home with this Dango Recipe.
One of the most popular Japanese desserts is crepes. Wandering through the streets of Japan, you’ll be greeted with numerous small Japanese crepe shops where they’ll have plastic models outside to advertise their menu. If you have new tried crepes before, then you are in for a treat. Crepes are sweet pancakes wrapped up filled with all sorts of delicious goodies, including fruit, ice cream and whipped cream.
A traditional Japanese pudding delicacy made with sugar and rice flour. Higashi is a sweet confectionary that has a very long shelf life due to its ingredients and dry nature. A popular time to eat Higashi would be when having high tea. These Japanese Desserts are probably some of the prettiest desserts on this list, and they are uniquely and intricately designed and coloured in typical pastel shades. Higashi is often made relevant to particular seasons, such as during the spring, when you can expect to see various cherry blossom versions. Unfortunately for us, the recipes to Higashi are highly guarded secrets so the only way to taste these sweet confections would be to visit Japan!
6. Honey Toast
You know when you buy a fresh loaf of bread, and there’s always a large bit at the end that looks like a doorstop which is often wasted? Never waste it again but creating these truly indulgent Japanese Desserts known as Honey Toast. Honey Toast is exactly how it sounds, a large doorstop of bread covered in honey! Sounds delicious right? The Japanese have made it even better, first you cut out the centre of the toast creating a divet and fill it with anything and everything. Popular fillings include ice cream, fruit, chocolate, biscuits and pretty much anything high in calories! Of course, this is one of the most popular Japanese desserts for children due to its creativity and sugar content. Make your own Honey Toast at home with this indulgent Honey Toast Recipe.
Probably one of the most interesting Japanese Desserts is Tokoroten. Tokoroten, a traditional Japanese pudding, is made through boiling and pressing seaweed to create a jelly which is then turned into clear noodles. The jelly is served cold and is a popular dessert for the Summer months. This is a savoury dish but is considered a dessert in Japan. To add a little flavour to this dish, you can add soy sauce, sesame or vinegar. To make this dish, a traditional gadget is required to squeeze the jelly into noodles, known as a Tentsuki. Make your own Tokoroten at home with this Tokoroten Recipe.
Monaka is similar to an ice cream cone sandwich but with a Japanese twist. Filled with an azuki bean jam filling, Monaka is a popular and traditional Japanese pudding. The crisp outer wafers are made from mocha and have a similar texture and taste to ice cream cones. Monaka can be as unusual or tame as you like. Traditional Japanese fillings include chestnuts, sesame seeds or ice cream.
9. Hakuto Jelly
Hakuto Jelly are probably the most popular Japanese dessert eaten during the summer. The jelly is infused with the juice from Hakuto Peaches and mineral-rich spring water, giving the dessert a fresh flavour. Hakuto Jelly is often sold in a container that looks like the peaches that it was made from. The use of fresh produce makes this dish seasonal, and due to the natural ingredients used, you may notice that the flavour differs from season to season.
Akumaki is a flavourless Japanese dessert made by soaking mochigome rice in lye overnight. Eaten by itself, the dish is known to taste quite bitter, so the Japanese tend to add sugar, soybean flour, salt or honey to give it a unique flavour. This dish is often eaten during Children’s day, and due to its core ingredients, it is known to have a reasonably long shelf life.
If you’re a fan of sponges, this popular Japanese dessert is the one for you. Castello is inspired by pastries introduced by the Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century. This simple traditional Japanese pudding is made from eggs, flour and sugar. The texture is firm yet light and is very subtle in taste. It has a wonderful slight sweetness which is best enjoyed with tea. Nagasaki is the Japanese hotspot for Castella, referred to as the ‘Castella Capital’ of Japan. Castella is a wonderful gift to give to friends or family from the area.
Popular on social media sites due to its fun and attractive appearance, Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake that makes for a wonderful snack. Filled with azuki sweet bean paste, Taiyaki is usually served warm from stands or festivals throughout Japan. Its crispy shell is paired with a sweet filling for a delicious walking-friendly treat. This traditional Japanese pudding has a lot of history: many believe it originated from Toyko’s Meiji era. However, it first rose to popularity circa the 1970s, after the beloved children’s song ‘Oyage!’ was released.
There are plenty more popular Japanese desserts and traditional Japanese puddings, including popular sweets and treats to discover; we’ve barely even scratched the surface! Hopefully, you have found a dessert that sounds delicious and are tempted to create it. Enjoy this post? Follow The Japanese Shop on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates and to learn more amazing facts about Japan. Alternatively, please browse our extensive range of authentic Japanese gifts on our website , along with hundreds of accessories.