Japanese desserts 1

12 Popular Japanese Desserts That Are Easy To Make

Japanese cuisine well known globally for its savory dishes such as sushi, ramen, or tempura. We can never get enough of them!

But on a sweeter side, Japanese desserts have also taken the world by storm.

If you have a sweet tooth and are looking to recreate some of these delicious treats, here are some popular Japanese desserts that are easy to make at home!

1. Japanese Cheesecake 

Japanese Cheesecake is somewhat a combination of sponge cake and cheesecake. This Japanese version of cheesecakes has a soufflé-like, cakey texture that jiggles like jelly but tastes light and airy. 

Fun fact: Can you tell the difference between American and Japanese cheesecake?

While American cheesecakes have more sugar and cream present, a base of crushed biscuits, and a variety of toppings from fruit, cream, syrups, and cookies; Japanese ones are known to be softer in texture, and lighter in taste with a lower intake of calories, thus fitting in with the local tastes of Japanese culture.

2. Melon Pan

Melon Pan is a classic Japanese sweet bread that’s covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie-style crust. With a soft and fluffy interior and comes in a huge range of flavors, from chocolate chip to matcha to strawberry, Melon Pan is a gorgeous, tasty, traditional Japanese dessert that everyone loves!

Fun fact: You might think Melon Pan has that name as it is filled with melon-flavored cream (which is sometimes the case), but traditionally melon bread is not made with melon flavor.

Instead, melon bread has just a sugar cookie crust. The name melon pan stems from its patterned cookie topping, which resembles the skin of a melon.

3. Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream

Here’s another dessert that any matcha fan will fall in love with, Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream! The ice cream is subtly sweet with bitter and slightly smoky undertones. It’s an excellent, refreshing treat for those who can’t stand overly sweet and rich desserts, and for hot days as well!

Fun fact: If coffee is too strong for you, try Matcha instead! It is full of clean energy and rich in L-Theanine, which is a rare amino acid that promotes a state of relaxation and well-being without feeling sedated.

And, while L-Theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than common black and green teas.

4. Dorayaki

Dorayaki is a dessert with red bean filling between two slices of sweet fluffy pancakes. It is a palm-sized treat that looks a lot like typical American pancakes and is widely loved by kids and adults alike.

Fun fact: Dorayaki and Taiyaki are the same but different. So how can we tell the differences? First is the shape, Dorayaki is round, whereas Taiyaki is fish-shaped. Dorayaki has a smoother texture by containing honey, and Taiyaki is drier.

Apart from these differences, both of them are basically the same thing. They are both cooked on dry heat and contain red bean fillings. Due to these similarities, Taiyaki is also known as fish Dorayaki.

5. Strawberry Short Cake

If you love strawberries, this sweet treat is made just for you. Strawberry Short Cake is made from layers of fluffy and airy sponge cake filled with whipped cream and decorated with fresh strawberries. Every bite is pure heaven with a sweet, creamy, lightly sour taste!

Fun fact: And we all have to thank Rinemon Fujii for inventing the Strawberry Short Cake. We wouldn’t have Strawberry Short Cake today if Fujii hadn’t gone to the US to learn to make Western desserts in 1912.

During his stay, he was so fascinated with a dessert made with butter sponge cake, sweetened fruit, and whipped cream, that he managed to create his own version of strawberries, whipped cream, and sponge cake.

6. Mochi Ice Cream

Mochi Ice Cream are Japanese rice cakes with an ice cream center in a soft, slightly chewy, sweet rice dough. Its texture is similar to the chew of boba and has a range of flavors like strawberry, green tea, chocolate, mango, and vanilla. Irresistible for a hot day.

Fun fact: In Japanese cultures, Mochi is said to symbolize warmth, nourishment, good fortune, and good health. That’s why Japanese people usually eat Mochi on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day.

Until now, people have brought wonderful inventions of Mochi, including Mochi Ice Cream, a perfect fusion of Western and Japanese cultures.

7. Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango is a traditional Japanese rice dumpling that’s covered in a sweetened soy glaze. These rice dumplings are skewered into sticks, traditionally five to a skewer. The drizzling caramel-colored sauce with a glassy glaze tastes sweet and salty at the same time.

Fun fact: There are numerous varieties of dango, such as anko, cha, kuri, niku, teppanyaki, denpun, bocchan, sasa, kinako, and hanami dango.

Besides Mitarashi Dango, some other popular ones are Anko Dango filled with sweet red bean paste, and Kuri Dango filled with chunks of chestnuts.

8. Black Sesame Cookies

Black Sesame Cookies are an outstanding flavor when talking about cookies. Flavored with black sesame, the cookies have a rich nutty aroma and thick textures. They are best when served with green tea, and suitable to enjoy throughout the year!

Fun fact: How many types of sesame seeds do you think there might be? A lot! The most traded variety of sesame is creamy or pearly white in color ones.

Other common colors are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray, and black. No matter what type you’re taking, they still have the same high nutrition benefits and can help prevent and treat cancer.

9. Japanese Coffee Jelly

Love to try coffee but can’t handle the caffeine? Then Japanese Coffee Jelly is your next must-try! Literally, they are made of black coffee, gelatin powder, sugar, coffee jelly, or kohii zerii. Then sweetened with cream, milk, or whipped cream. A sophisticated dessert that’s also a lot of fun to eat.

Fun fact: Contrary to what you’re thinking, coffee jelly has British origins dating back to the early 1800s. It wasn’t until the Taisho period (1912-1926) that coffee jelly really gained attention in the market.

Combined with Japan’s food culture that loves jelly-like or jiggly consistencies, coffee jelly became – and still is – a staple summertime treat. 

10. Purin

Purin, or Japanese Caramel Custard Pudding, is a flan-like cold custard dessert in Japan. They have two layers, a soft, smooth, and creamy custard with a sweet caramel-like syrup with a slight hint of bitterness. Purin is much beloved in Japan thanks to its sweet, silky, rich taste. Add some milk, mix, and chill, and you’re all set!

Fun fact: The word “purin” comes from the English word “pudding”. The original puddings from British were made from leftover breadcrumbs mixed with flour, lard, and eggs, and then steamed.

It wasn’t until 1860 that puddings probably came to Japan when an Englishman opened a European-style hotel in Yokohama and introduced various types of Western food to Japan.

11. Nama Chocolate

Nama Chocolate is a rich, chocolate ganache truffle that’s cut into cute little cubes/blocks and dusted with cocoa powder. It’s rich, creamy, and melts perfectly in your mouth! If you love chocolate, you must not miss this gem!

Fun fact: Nama means raw or fresh in Japanese. The name “Nama” Chocolate refers to the plentiful use of rich, fresh cream in the chocolate. That’s why Nama Chocolate must be kept in the refrigerator at all times and it is best enjoyed after sitting at room temperature for 10 minutes. 

12. Matcha Tiramisu

Matcha Tiramisu is a simple dessert that consists of rich and creamy mascarpone custard and matcha-soaked ladyfingers. This irresistible treat is creamy, rich, and bursting with bold matcha flavors. A classic tiramisu dessert with a Japanese twist!

Fun fact: You might find it surprising to hear that it’s Italian and not Japanese in origin when talking about Tiramisu.

And the present-day version of tiramisu is said to have been created in a restaurant in Treviso, located northwest of Venice on Italy’s northern Adriatic coast, called Le Beccherie.

13. Daigaku Imo

Daigaku Imo is a popular Japanese snack to enjoy in the fall and winter. They are basically deep-fried sweet potatoes coated with caramel syrup to add sweetness. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, the contrast of flavor and texture makes it too much fun to eat!

Fun fact: “Daigaku Imo,” loosely translated, means “university potato”. The snack itself probably originated as a cheap, calorie-rich, affordable snack sold to cash-poor students around universities in Tokyo around the turn of the 20th century.

The idea of deep frying and then sugar-coating potatoes is inspired by a similar snack in China.

Japanese desserts are more than just Matcha Ice Cream or Mochi Balls, we bet you’ve found that yourself after our suggestions! Keep the food exploring journey going on with some stunning Korean Desserts here!

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