Japan: 10 Traditional Dessert and Snacks Recipes

Japanese food depicts their cultural significance and is prepared with seasonal ingredients. The dessert recipes shared in this post are- Anmitsu, Anpan, Japanese Crepes, Dango, Mochi and Yokan. The snack recipes are: Senbei, Takoyaki, Onigiri and Yakitori. Let’s have a look at the recipes below:

1. Anmitsu Recipe

Anmitsu is a classic Japanese dessert that is popular for many decades. It is prepared with the cubes of agar jelly and Anko; both of these ingredients are easily available in the market. Agar jelly is obtained from algae whereas Anko is the sweet paste obtained by mashing azuki beans. Other ingredients for this dessert are fruits and green peas etc. It is a vegan and gluten-free dessert. Let’s see the recipe below.

Preparation time:

  • 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients Needed:

For Agar Jelly

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For Syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For Toppings

  • 1/2 cup anko (packaged or make on your own by mashing azuki beans )
  • 2 strawberries, sliced in 4 parts
  • 2 kiwi slices, sliced in 4 parts
  • 1 small apple, sliced in 4 parts


For Agar Jelly

  • Take a pot and add 1.5 cups water in it.
  • Add 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder to this water and stir.
  • Now heat this mixture over medium flame. Continuously stir the mixture when cooking.
  • When the water boils, turn the flame to lower setting.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and continuously stir it with spatula.
  • Add sugar to it and stir until the sugar gets dissolved in it. Once done, turn off the flame.
  • Pour this mixture into a flat container. Let it cool down to the room temperature and then refrigerate. The agar jelly will be ready in few minutes. Meanwhile make the syrup for your dessert.

For Syrup

  • Add 1/2 cup water in a pan and mix 1/4 cup sugar in it.
  • Heat this mixture over low flame to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, keep it aside to cool down.

Assembly and serving

  • By now the agar jelly will be ready. If not, keep it for few more minutes in refrigerator. Once done take out the container and cut the jelly in small cubes with a knife.
  • Take serving bowls and put equal portions of jelly cubes and fruit slices in each bowl.
  • Now pour the prepared sugar syrup on jelly cubes and fruit slices in every bowl.
  • Top it with equal portions of packaged or homemade Anko.
  • Yummy Japanese dessert Anmitsu is ready. Enjoy with your loved ones!


2. Anpan Recipe

Anpan is a classic Japanese sweet roll. Originally it is stuffed with red bean paste- Anko, but the stuffing can vary as per your likings. You can also use green beans, chestnut or other fillings for Anpan. It can be a healthy snack or a tasty filling breakfast.

Preparation time:

  • 60 minutes | Cooking time: 60 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours | Servings: 4

Ingredients Needed:

  • 100 grams all-purpose flour
  • 20 grams sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 30 ml. water
  • 10 ml. milk
  • ½ tablespoon butter, melted

For stuffing and toppings:

  • 150 grams Anko- Red beans paste
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten


  • Take a large bowl and add all-purpose flour, sugar, a pinch of salt along with instant yeast.
  • Add beaten egg, water and milk in this mixture and make knead into rough dough.
  • Add melted butter and again knead into smooth dough. Once done, cover with clean cloth. Keep in a warm place until it is doubled in size. Since you have used instant yeast it will take about an hour.
  • Once the dough is completely prepared split it into 4 equal parts and roll them into a ball shape.
  • Cover these dough balls again and let them rest for 15 minutes.
  • Take one dough ball and slightly flatten it. Add 1 tablespoon or as required red bean paste in it.
  • Now roll the dough again in shape of ball dough in order to completely cover the bean paste filling.
  • Slightly flatten the dough ball again and with your finger make a small dent in the middle. Repeat the process with complete dough.
  • Let them rest again to rise for around 30 minutes. Once they are doubled in size, they are ready to bake.
  • With the help of a brush apply beaten egg on all of the buns.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake the buns for 15 minutes at same temperature (350 degrees F).
  • Take the buns out after 15 minutes and your tasty Anpan is ready to eat.


3. Japanese Crepes Recipe

Crepe is one of the Japanese desserts that are made with thin pancake wrapping and along with the filling of fruits, syrup, milk and ice cream. You can add the fruits as per your choice. The fillings are toppings are usually raw in this dessert. It uses less butter in comparison to other crepes recipes, for instance- French crepes. The Japanese crepes can be filled with savory or sweet fillings. Here is the recipe for crepes with sweet fruits, syrup and ice cream.

Preparation time:

  • 30 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes | Servings: 4-5

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1/2 cup self raising (SR) flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk, let it cool down to room temperature)
  • 20 grams butter, melted

For filling:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5-10 strawberries, cut in halves
  • 2 apples, cut wedges
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons of whipped cream, or as required
  • Ice-cream as much as you like

Instructions :

  • Take a bowl and sift SR flour, sugar and salt in it.
  • Beat the egg and add to the flour mixture.
  • Add ½ cup milk to the bowl and mix well with other ingredients.
  • Beat the mixture until all the lumps are disappeared.
  • Now add melted butter and rest of the ½ cup milk in it.
  • Beat again until lumps are gone.
  • Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Now preheat the nonstick pan and pour in the mixture. Spread the mixture on pan surface just like the omelet.
  • Turn the flame to low flame and let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until it turns golden brown.
  • Now flip it carefully and let it cook from the other side as well.
  • Repeat the process with entire batter.
  • Keep these crepes aside. Now it is time to prepare fillings for it.

For filling:

  • Heat butter in a pan over medium flame
  • Add 2 tablespoons sugar in the pan and let it completely melt. Constantly stir it with spatula.
  • Once the sugar syrup is ready turn off the flame.
  • Add cut apples and strawberries in the syrup. Or you can pour the syrup after adding fruits to the crepe.
  • Now take a crepe and put a portion of whipped cream over a quarter portion.
  • Top the cream with fruits dipped in sugar syrup.
  • Now roll the crepe in a cone like shape.
  • Top again with a dollop of ice cream
  • Delicious Japanese crepe is ready to eat.
  • Repeat the process with remaining crepes and filling and enjoy with your loved ones.

It is the most common street food in Japan and can be eaten in any season.


4. Dango Recipe

Dango is a classic Japanese sweet dumpling that is originally made with two types of rice flours- joushinko and shiratamako. Most often Japanese people like to have it with green tea. These are served on skewers. You can also make colorful Dango using food coloring. Later people started having these sweet dumplings with different types of seasonings and/or dips. The most common sauce for Dango is sweet soy sauce. When you serve Dango with this sweet soy sauce, these are called “Mitarashi Dango”.

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 5-6

Ingredients Needed:

Note: When you go to market ask for Joushinko rice flour and if that’s not available then substitute with regular rice flour that is “non-glutinous” or “not sweet”.

If Shiratamako or mochiko is not available, then substitute with rice flour that is “sweet” or “glutinous”.

  • 200 grams joshinko or other non-glutinous rice flour
  • 60 grams shiratamako or other glutinous rice flour
  • 80 grams sugar
  • 200 ml. hot water or as required to knead smooth dough
  • Sufficient water for boiling the dumplings
  • Sufficient cold water for soaking boiled dumplings

For Mitarashi sauce

  • 130 ml. water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch


For Mitarashi sauce

  • Take a pan and mix all the sauce ingredients in it.
  • Heat the sauce mixture until over a medium or low flame.
  • Constantly stir the sauce until it becomes thick. Once done turn off the flame and keep the pan aside. Sauce is ready.

For dumplings:

  • Take a bowl and add joshinko or other non-glutinous rice flour, shiratamako or other glutinous rice flour, and sugar in it.
  • Mix all the ingredients and add hot water in it. Knead into a smooth dough that feels dry when you touch it. Once done, keep aside for 5 minutes to settle the dough.
  • Take the dough and make equal sized small dough balls. With this dough you will be able to make around 20-25 balls of equal size.
  • Boil sufficient water in a large pot and add dumplings in batches depending on your pot capacity.
  • Boil them until the dumplings start floating in water. Let them cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Drain the dumplings and immediately put them in cold water.
  • Repeat the process with other batches of remaining dough balls.
  • Use skewers to pierce the dumplings. Add 4-5 dumplings in one skewer.
  • You can also grill them for improved flavor. But this is optional.
  • Tasty authentic Dango skewers are now ready.
  • Pour or simply brush the Dango with this Mitarashi sauce. Serve with love and enjoy it with green tea.

5. Mochi Recipe

Mochi is the authentic Japanese sweet and sticky rice cake that is made with mochigome that is basically glutinous rice. Note that Mochi can also be made as a savory dish.

It is generally made for a Japanese ceremony- Mochitsuki but is also a popular dessert for Japanese New Year celebration. The glutinous rice paste is molded into the desired shape. In this recipe, we will use Mochiko- sweet rice flour for making sweet Japanese Mochi.

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 6-8

Ingredients Needed:

  • 150 grams Mochiko (or mochigome flour, if available)
  • 170 ml. water
  • 300 grams sugar (powdered)
  • 50 grams potato starch
  • 130 grams Anko (sweet red beans paste), refrigerated
  • 1 teaspoon matcha (green tea powder)


  • Sift the Mochiko (sweet rice flour) and powdered sugar, if needed.
  • Take a large microwave safe bowl and mix Mochiko and green tea powder in it.
  • Stir it firstly in the water and then in the sugar. Mix it well.
  • If the dough is too dry, add more water and stir it again. Make sure you add 1 tablespoon water at a time.
  • Stir the dough until it becomes smooth. Once done, cover this bowl using plastic wrap.
  • Microwave the dough for 4-5 minutes. Or if the microwave is not available, you can steam it in the steamer for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, take refrigerated Anko paste and divide it into equal round balls. Once done, keep them aside.
  • Take out the flour dough out from the microwave. Stir and heat again for 20-30 seconds.
  • Take a large plate and spread potato starch on its surface.
  • Take out hot mochi dough and dust it well with potato starch.
  • Make small equal balls of this dough. Take the dough equal to 2 tablespoons for making 1 ball.
  • Once all the balls are ready, take one ball at a time. Flatten it out and put 1 red beans paste ball; that we made earlier. Cover bean paste filling completely with dough and shape into a round ball. You can give any other shape as you like but the bean paste balls should be covered entirely.
  • Repeat the process with remaining dough and red beans balls.
  • Delicious sweet Mochi is ready to eat. Enjoy!


6. Yokan Recipe

Yokan is jellied dessert and is one of the simplest delicacies from Japan. To make this dessert you need minimal ingredients, mainly red azuki bean paste, Kanten (agar-agar), and sugar. All the ingredients are easily available in the market. And this dessert is served chilled.

Preparation time:

  • 60 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 80 Minutes | Servings: 5-7

Ingredients Needed:

  • 150 gram red bean paste, premade
  • 200 ml. water
  • Sufficient water for soaking kanten stick
  • 50 grams brown sugar or as much as you like
  • 1 stick dried kanten stick or 2 teaspoons of kanten powder


If you are using Kanten stick follow first step. If using kanten powder move to second step.

  • take a large bowl and put kanten stick in it. Soak for around 60 minutes or until kanten stick turns soft. Remove kanten stick from the water and remove excess water by squeezing the stick. Tear the stick into small pieces. Keep aside.
  • Add 200 ml. water, kanten pieces or kanten powder to a pan and mix well.
  • Boil the mixture over a medium flame.
  • Once it is boiled, turn the flame to very low setting. Stir constantly.
  • Simmer it until kanten gets completely dissolved in the water. Stir the mixture constantly.
  • Once kanten is dissolved, add brown sugar to the mixture. Stir it well.
  • Now add red bean paste to kentan-water mixture. Stir well.
  • Let the red bean paste dilute in the watery mixture.
  • Simmer until the mixture becomes thick. Once done, turn off the flame.
  • Take a shallow rectangular container, plastic or aluminum. Let it cool down to the room temperature.
  • Keep the container in refrigerator until it is chilled or it gets transformed into jelly like consistency. Once done, remove from refrigerator.
  • Cut the cube like pieces. Serve chilled and enjoy with your loved ones!


7. Senbei Recipe

Senbei are Japanese rice crackers and these are in existence in Japanese cuisines from many decades. Senbei come in various flavors and can be made in various shapes. The most common ingredients for Senbei are- rice flour, soy sauce and mirin etc. These are crunchy and very tasty and at the same time healthy to eat. Have a look at the recipe for yummy Senbei!

Preparation time:

  • 3 hours | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 3 hours 25 Minutes | Servings: 10-12 crackers

Ingredients Needed:

For Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin

For Senbei dough:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour + additional flour for dusting
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black and white mixed), toasted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Greased baking sheets


  • Take a large bowl and mix 1 cup all purpose flour, sweet rice flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sesame seeds and salt.
  • Add water to these ingredients and mix well unless it has dough like firm consistency.
  • Wrap this dough into a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  • Dust the working surface with additional flour.
  • Take the dough out from refrigerator and put on flour dusted surface and start rolling it with the help of a rolling pin. Roll it to the thickness of 1/2″.
  • Now cut small circles or any other shape as you like with the help of a cutter of your desired shape and size. The diameter for these Japanese crackers is generally 2-3 inch. You will be able to make 10-12 crackers from this dough.
  • Preheat the oven 350°F for 10 minutes.
  • Place crackers on the baking sheets. If you are not able to place all the crackers on one sheet, use more to bake in batches.
  • Bake the crackers for 7-9 minutes or until they turn light brown. Remove crackers from oven and flip each cracker upside down and bake from this side as well until it turns light brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool down for few minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix mirin and soy sauce in a bowl.
  • Now brush the both sides of crackers with mirin and soy sauce glaze.
  • Place again in the oven for 2-4 minutes. Make sure the glaze doesn’t get burned.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Repeat the process with crackers if there are any for another batch.
  • Let them cool down at room temperature until they become crispy. Tasty Japanese crackers are ready to eat. Enjoy!



8. Takoyaki Recipe

Takoyaki is the Japanese snack that is made with diced octopus. Main ingredients for this unique Japanese snack are flour batter, octopus, tempura, and scallions. The toppings and fillings for this snack can vary. It is one of the popular street foods in Japan, mainly in Osaka. You will need special takoyaki maker/pan for this recipe.

Preparation time:

  • 10 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 Minutes | Servings: 3

Ingredients Needed:

For batter

  • 100 gram all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 400 ml. dashi stock
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Sufficient water for batter
  • For filling:
  • 130 grams boiled octopus, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons pickled red ginger(Benishoga), finely chopped
  • 50 gram tenkasu (Temoura batter crunchy bits)
  • 1 tablespoon scallion, finely chopped

For topping:

  • Takoyaki sauce (store-bought)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Aonori (green dried seaweed)
  • Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)


  • Take a large bowl and add all purpose flour, corn flour, dashi, eggs, soy sauce, and salt. Mix them well with the help of a whisker. It should make thin batter.
  • If the batter is not watery then add sufficient water in it and mix well. The batter is now ready.
  • Heat the special takoyaki pan over medium flame and grease the all the pan holes with oil. Heat the oil as well. Make sure you evenly grease these holes with oil to prevent sticking the batter on the surface.
  • Now fill the holes by carefully pouring batter.
  • Once filled all the holes carefully drop a piece of octopus in the batter in each of the takoyaki pan hole.
  • Now sprinkle chopped scallions, tenkasu and pickled red ginger on these pieces.
  • Let them cook for 1-2 minutes. And start flipping each piece with the help of chopstick or anything else that comes handy to you.
  • Keep flipping them constantly and cook all the pieces for 3-4 minutes or until they turn crispy from outside but should be soft from inside.
  • Once they are crispy, remove from heat. Takoyaki is ready.
  • Place equal pieces of takoyaki in serving plates and serve with the Takoyaki sauce, Mayonnaise, Aonori and Katsuobushi toppings. Enjoy tasty Japanese snack with your family or friends!


9. Onigiri Recipe

Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball that is made from white rice and is most often wrapped in Nori (seaweed). The fillings for onigiri are generally pickled ume (umeboshi), salmon, and kombu etc. You can choose the fillings as per your taste. It can be any time snack or even can be consumed as a complete meal. This dish is enough to activate your taste buds and is quite an easy recipe that can be made quite quickly. Let’s start the recipe below.

Preparation time:

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 25 Minutes | Servings: 3-4

Ingredients Needed:

For rice balls

  • 200 gram cooked Japanese short grain rice
  • 1 sheet sushi nori (seaweed)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons black Sesame seeds

For fillings

  • 200-250 gram canned tuna (packed in oil)
  • tuna mayo
  • pickled ume (Japanese salt plums)


  • Take a large bowl and add cooked rice in it. Fluff the rice with fork or spoon and set aside.
  • Cut nori sheet in small stripes into your desired size.
  • Drain tuna and take out in the bowl.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of pepper and salt on your hands and take a small portion of rice and press with your hands. Pepper and salt will be transferred on rice.
  • Give rice your desired shape- circle or triangle. It should be 6-8 cm wide.
  • Make more rice balls with all the rice and other ingredients. Once you have made all the rice balls it is the time for filling.
  • Mix canned tuna, pickled ume and tuna mayo in a bowl and set aside. Your filling is ready.
  • Take one rice ball at a time and create small well with your finger right in the center of the rice ball.
  • Now put small amount of filling mixture in it.
  • Mould the rice carefully to completely cover entire filling.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of sesame seeds on it and press lightly them into the balls.
  • Take a nori seaweed stripe and wrap rice ball in it.
  • Repeat the process to add filling to all the balls and enjoy your easy and tasty Japanese Onigiri with family or friends.


10. Yakitori Recipe

Yakitori is basically a skewered grilled chicken. It is a common street food in Japan that is made by skewering the meat pieces with kushi which is a type of Japanese skewer made up of steel or bamboo or other similar material.

Preparation time:

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes | Servings: 3

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 cup mirin
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, trim and cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 green onions, cut into 3-4 cm lengths
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds


  • Heat a pan over medium flame and add mirin, soy sauce along with caster sugar. Let the mixture simmer until it becomes thick and the sauce reduces. Constantly stir the mixture. Once done, turn off the flame and set aside to cool down at room temperature.
  • Thread chicken and green onions on skewers. Make sure you alternate each chicken piece with 1-2 green onions.
  • Repeat the process with all the ingredients. You will be able to thread 6 skewers with these ingredients.
  • Preheated the grill over medium-high heat and grill the chicken skewers from both sides.
  • Once the chicken starts changing color brush the sauce on each side, prepared in the first step and continue grilling them for more 3-4 minutes.
  • Keep flipping the skewers to evenly grill them. Once done remove from grill.
  • Sprinkle the sesame seeds on these skewers and serve hot with remaining sauce. Enjoy!


The Japanese cuisines are based on rice and they use different kinds of rice and rice flour for their recipes. They also like to add miso soup in most of their dishes. Hope you try these Japanese Snacks and desserts at your home!

Featured Image Courtesy: Alpha

4 thoughts on “Japan: 10 Traditional Dessert and Snacks Recipes

  1. Omg… So many recipes in one place…wow… I did make Senbei before and it was delicious…
    Thank you for all this wonderful recipe.
    Also, please visit for more such delicious and mouth-watering recipes at sabkimaggi.com

    Liked by 1 person

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