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How to Make Mochi

Updated on August 4, 2009

Samples of Mochi - A variety of shapes, sizes, colors, flavors

Make Mochi Not War

Will loved to eat at the local Japanese-buffet located close to our home. One day the owners put out a new dessert and, being of an adventurous nature, Will put several on his plate. When I asked what they were, he told me they weren't labeled but he wanted to try them anyway. To his surprise, the sightly sweet, "squishy" dessert was delicious and it became his favorite delicacy.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. One night we pulled into the parking lot and found it deserted. The owners had closed their doors and my husband's days of eating the treat came to an end. I never found out what the stuff was, Will lamented. But, I'm going to find it again. Someday. And for the next 11 years, he searched. Anytime we ate at a Japanese restaurant or buffet, Will asked about his beloved dessert ... without any luck.

But his perseverance and diligence paid off.

We had just moved to a new area and decided to eat at a local restaurant. Upon finishing, we got in the car but before we drove out of the lot Will noticed at a small building by the exit. Look, he pointed, an Asian Market. Let's go check it out.

We perused through the aisles, staring at packages of fish jerky and jellied 'somethings' when my husband stopped and grabbed a small package. There, on a refrigerated shelf, were rows and rows of a biscuit size cake labeled Mochi.

Will picked up the package and, to my horror, stuck his finger in the cake and started squishing. I hope you're planning on buying that, I said as he whooped and danced around the aisle. Famous last words.

The owner of the shop, also a mochi lover, eyed Will as he placed his 34 packages on the checkout counter. (I was hiding behind him in mortification.) I wasn't surprised at her question.

You like Mochi? the lady asked. Her name tag said Keiko.

Like what? Will responded as he ripped open a package and shoved 5 of the small cakes in his mouth.

Keiko rolled her eyes and turned to me. You cook? she asked. And while Will devoured another three packages of mochi, she told me about the rice cake and asked if I wanted a recipe.

I looked at the receipt. $64 dollars for mochi?? At this rate, I'd be spending a couple hundred on pre-packaged mochi unless I learned how to make the dessert myself. I looked at her and nodded. Will opened his 10th package and offered one to Keiko. She popped one of Will's cakes in her mouth and began talking.

Mochi, also called chapssalddeok in Korea, is a sweet rice cake. It's normally eaten during the Japanese New Year to symbolize good health and fortune. It can be made with or without filling and can also be flavored with a spice of the taster's choosing.


  • 1 cup Glutinous Sweet Rice Flour
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar (if you like it sweeter, use 3/4 cup)
  • Optional: 1 tsp. Food Coloring
  • Optional: Flavoring (Lemon, Almond, Green Tea, etc)


  • Corn starch
  • Cookie sheet
  • Saran Wrap
  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Bowl of cool water
  • Food Brush


1. Cover the cookie sheet with a thin layer of corn starch (this keeps the dough from sticking and allows for pliability and movement with the dough.)

2. Combine the 1c. glutinous sweet rice flour, the 1c. water and the 2/3c. granulated sugar in the microwavable bowl. Stir the ingredients together until mixed, then cover the bowl in Saran Wrap. Cover tightly and make as air-tight as possible.

3. Microwave the ingredients 2 - 3 minutes or until the mix is solid. If the mixture is still runny, microwave for another 30 seconds at a time until firm.

4. Take the bowl out of the microwave and carefully remove the wrapping. Pour the contents on the corn starch-covered cookie sheet.

5. BEFORE TOUCHING THE MIXTURE, dip your hands in the cool water. (This keeps your hands from sticking to the dough.) Allow dough to cool slightly then pat the dough until it's 1 inch thick. Let the dough sit three minutes.

6. After three minutes, dip your hands in the water again and flip the dough. Use your brush and dust any excess corn starch from the dough.

7. Dust corn starch on a knife and cut the dough into bite sized pieces (1 to 2 inch squares). Leave in the square shape or (dip your hands in water and) roll the squares into balls and slightly flatten.

Optional Step 8. Use fresh fruit or red bean paste for filling. Take your square or ball and roll it flat. Put the fruit / paste in the middle and connect the dough back together, pinching the ends together.

Recipe yields 10 - 20 pieces, depending on the size of the cakes.

I closed up my notebook and thanked Keiko for all her advice - and the recipes. And as I dragged my very full, groaning husband to the car, Keiko followed behind with the last 4 mochi packages.


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    • Kyoko Kerasaki profile image

      Kyoko Kerasaki 5 years ago

      Ah...thank you so much! \^o^/

      My family absolutely loved it, and it will be a brilliant dessert for my upcoming Japanese themed 21st birthday party =^.^=

    • profile image

      DeathMeister 5 years ago

      Hullo again! Just wanted to say that this recipe worked BRILLIANTLY! The only thing that went askew was that I didn't microwave it for long enough! ;-; Ah, but it tasted wonderful! It tasted especially good with peanut butter filling!

    • profile image

      DeathMeister 5 years ago

      Cool idea! I've always wanted to try some, but i could never find it. Now I can just make my own! :D

    • profile image

      crimsonjade 5 years ago

      Chinese also has their own mochi (Chinese rice cake). However, we call it (roughly for pronunciation purposes) "law mai chi" (Cantonese) or "nuo mi which is literally 'glutinous rice balls'. A bit of explanation here:

      We usually dust ours with coconut though:

    • profile image

      Ann 6 years ago

      Great idea!

      But I don't use the microwave.

      It there a way to do it that doesn't use the


      That I need to do!

    • profile image

      Evan 7 years ago

      Thanks for the recipe. I have also read your page on dango. I have a question: If you have already made some mochi, but want to use it for dango, can you just boil it like normal? i was wondering because I have some leftover mochi I've just made and wanted to make dango. however, I don't have enough mochiko left to make any more.

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      Adalia 7 years ago

      I'm hoping this recipe works, because I already ordered some of the rice flour from and bought the cornstarch and plastic wrap (the only things I didn't already have at home). I want to try mochi and there is no Asian market near me, so I'll just have to make it myself. :)

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      Ichigo 7 years ago

      I thought Mochi was a icecream that had a jelly-like outside cover. Atlese when I went to a japanese resturaunt it was that.

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      Tina 7 years ago

      Very entertaining story! I'm Asian, so I'm very familiar with those markets. I've only tried mochi with ice cream at restaurants and they're delicious. I believe Trader Joes has these too in strawberry, chocolate, etc.

    • profile image

      Umexchan 7 years ago

      I must try this recipe! I bought mochi from an international food market when I went home for break and had mochi for the first time and I love it, but I don't know if they sell it anywhere near my university. If this recipe works for me, I will love you long time. Thanks so much!

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I just witnessed an extended family making mochi the hard way from scratch on Christmas day and I'd never even heard of mochi until then. It's quite a production and I had to write about it. Very few families make it anymore, but I got some great pictures. I have a feeling that these pictures are hard to come by and will get more scarce as more families use the quick and easy recipes. I wrote this on Squidoo since I needed their photo gallery module to do this right.

    • profile image

      Majenta 8 years ago

      This is fantastic! I've only ever made mochi by pounding it and I didn't know there was such an easy alternative. I tried it tonight and it worked perfectly. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Jen 8 years ago

      Where would you get the filling?