Mochi ice cream is an East meets West fusion dessert made of mochi with a frozen filling. It is a favourite of many who like the sweet and light taste.
It's an invention by a Japanese-American businesswoman and has made its way around the world.
You can find the dessert served fresh in cafes or supermarkets. But you can also make your version at home. Making it at home will be much more affordable than buying it.
We taste-tested many recipes on the Internet and added our own twist. So if you're looking for a cool concoction, try our recipe!
What is mochi ice cream made of?
Mochi ice cream is made of pounded rice dough wrapped around a ball of ice cream. The dough is steamed and becomes a thin, sticky skin that encases the filling. This sweet snack looks a little like a large boba. The sweet frozen centre can be any flavour that you like!
This Japanese wagashi typically does not have a frozen filling. Instead, you usually find mochi with red bean or green tea fillings, so this is a new spin on the classic treat. And mochi is so easy to make, so it's fun to try different fillings. That way you won't get bored.
If you're shopping for this frozen dessert, you'll come across these popular brands:
The founder of Mikawaya, Frances Hashimoto, also invented the dessert. It prides itself on a centuries-old dough recipe, which means you will get the most authentic flavour.
Additionally, the ice cream flavours are plentiful and unique. You can choose from red bean to plum wine. For first-timers' experience, we definitely recommend Mikawaya.
Trader Joe's brand
While Trader Joe's may seem like a surprising place to find these chilled bites, the in-house brand is an excellent find. The flavour may taste slightly non-traditional, but it is a good store-bought version for those who are not too fussy.
Besides, the pumpkin pie flavour is a summer treat. Light and smooth, you can enjoy its taste under the hot sun. The best thing is that you know it's easy to find.
Little Moons mochi ice cream is quite unique. You can peel the chewy rice dough skin and nibble at it. Soft and sweet, it's slightly thicker than the usual wagashi layer. Inside, however, the gelato filling is cold and creamy.
You can have the gelato inside without the rice dough skin by scooping it out. This is unlike the other brands, which are more of a large boba packed tightly together.
The retailer carries a few different brand names if you're shopping at Costco. The most popular one seems to be Bubbie's line of desserts.
You'll find entire Youtube series and blogs dedicated to this brand. It could be because the range has plenty of flavours with new ones out almost every month. There are tropical versions like guava and grapefruit. There are also more traditional flavours, such as green tea and dark chocolate.
You'll also find red velvet and salted caramel for more decadent versions. It's pillowy and soft and comes in many flavours. No wonder there's an entire subgenre of content creators promoting it.
The brand 'My Mochi' is the other one commonly found in most Costco stores. The filling inside is sweet and lush, like a mini bun.
One thing, though, is that most of these brands tend to be much sweeter than the other brands above.
What does mochi ice cream taste like?
Mochi ice cream tastes slightly sticky when you bite into it. Then you will experience the soft, cold lush filling. It's unlike the average chilly dessert because the filling is usually sweeter and less creamy.
But, the glutinous rice flour used for the outer layer gives it a milky, rich taste. So you can think of it as a giant boba, except chilled with a mild rice taste.
Mochi ice cream only has 100 calories per 43 grams. So you can think of it as a guilt-free indulgence!
In addition, it is healthier than ice cream because the chewy rice flour skin makes the treat appear denser, which convinces you to eat less.
It also has a handful of beneficial nutrients such as Vitamin B and potassium, which lowers blood pressure and helps your body absorb bone-strengthening calcium.
Mochi ice cream flavours
There are so many different mochi ice cream flavours, and one can find a favourite among the diverse options. If not, you can customise it to your liking by adding your desired filling! Let's take a look at some popular variations.
Plain vanilla mochi ice cream
The plain vanilla version is the OG. Inside, the simple sweetness of good old vanilla is just right and refreshing.
Colour-dyed mochi with ice cream
Most store-bought mochi ice cream does not come in the original pale white of the rice flour but in different shades of pink, red, and purple. At the cafe, the chef might use fruits to make them more colourful. Grocery store versions might use synthetic food dyes.
Matcha mochi ice cream
Matcha is a popular Japanese ingredient. The bittersweet tea leaves are grounded into a powder and then used to mix with cream for the filling. For a stronger and creamier treat, try our matcha mochi recipe.
Mochi mango ice cream
This tropical fruit with a sweet yet slight sourness is perfect as mochi. While mango mochi tastes delicious, mochi mango ice cream is a wake-me-up dessert. The combination is delicious with its cool, sweet ice cream and chewy rice dough!
Chocolate mochi ice cream
Our chocolate mochi recipe is a solid favourite as it is more palatable compared to traditional flavours like red bean paste.
You can also use it as a dense frozen filling or mix it with rice flour to flavour the mochi.
Mochi boba ice cream
This mochi boba ice cream is a fusion dessert of mochi with milk tea flavoured ice cream and tapioca pearls.
Made popular by beverage retailer Nestle, it has gone viral on social media since it first came out!
We'll show you how to make our version of mochi ice cream, but you can also adapt the recipe to include any of the flavours featured above.
Mochi Ice Cream Ingredients
To make mochi ice cream, you need the following ingredients:
- Glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour)
- Potato starch or cornstarch
- Ice cream of your choice
Both flours are known for their stickiness and chewy texture and are used to make Japanese pastry and sweets. However, there is a difference in texture and flavour. Shiratamoko is easier to mould into shapes because it is more elastic.
But many people in the West use mochiko as it is easier to find. You can experiment with either flour, depending on what you can find. However, many chefs prefer shiratamoko.
If you can't find either, you can try tapioca or potato starch. These substitutes give the chilled dessert a firm shape even without rice flour. Some people add arrowroot powder as a thickening agent. Or, you could use cornflour if you cannot find anything else. You'll get a final product that is less chewy compared to the store-bought version.
Using a mochi ice cream kit
So one of the best things about this chilled treat, we think, is the cold touch of the ball in your hands. However, it can be difficult to shape them into perfect spheres. A DIY mochi ice cream kit is your best kitchen helper for this.
One of the pros of using one is that anyone can use it, from a beginner to an expert. Even children can learn to use the tool, making it a great activity for kids. Plus, it comes with written step-by-step instructions. Finally, you'll get a shape with all the right curves.
But there is one drawback: it takes away the fun experience of shaping the dough with your hands. One of the best things about working with elastic material is that you can practice the skill of your fingers.
There are mochi masters who have flexible fingers from shaping rice balls! Unfortunately, it's also relatively pricey for a tool that only shapes the dough into a ball.
You can consider a round cooker cutter, soup scoop, or a round ice cream mould. It will have the same effect if you don't wish to purchase it. However, we think a mochi ice cream kit is aesthetically pleasing in your kitchen.
Is mochi ice cream vegan?
While the outer layer of rice flour is vegan, the inner layer of this sweet cold treat often has milk. Therefore, mochi ice cream is not vegan.
To make mochi ice cream vegan-friendly, you will need to use a dairy-free filling. For instance, you can use sorbet or any dairy-free alternative made from plant-based ingredients such as almond or soy milk.
You can add red bean, matcha paste or any fruit filling to mix with your plant-based alternative if you want a denser filling.
Making mochi ice cream is fun but hard to nail if it's your first time. Here we've put together the solution to some typical questions for making this dessert.
Why is my mochi ice cream hard?
You'll need to invigorate the dough with moisture if the dough is hard. So either microwave it with some water, or steam it.
When you first take your dessert out of the freezer, it's typical for it to be hard. Let it sit at room temperature for a while. The filling will thaw, and your dessert will become softer and ready to eat.
Why is my mochi ice cream grainy?
If it feels grainy when you take a bite, it's probably because the filling inside has melted and was frozen again. Tiny ice crystals would have formed from the liquid melting and solidifying.
To prevent this from happening, store your dessert properly. Tightly seal your container, and try to fill it to the top to prevent air and moisture from escaping.
However, if the rice dough tastes grainy when you've made a fresh batch, it's because the rice flour has not been grounded enough. This is quite normal, so if it does not bother you, you can eat it as it is.
Why do you need to work fast when wrapping them?
You will need to work fast when wrapping mochi ice cream, when you're working in a warm kitchen. This is because the cold filling gets messy when it melts.
You can use corn starch to help you, making the dough less sticky and easier to work with. Next, place the filling and seal quickly with plastic wrap to preserve it.
How to perfectly wrap each mochi ice cream
One way to perfectly wrap your dessert is to use a round cookie cutter. We recommend an 11-12cm wide diameter one. Once you get an excellent round shape, brush off any remaining cornstarch as you need the dough to be sticky to hold the dessert in shape.
Use cling film to wrap your dough before placing them in the fridge to chill. Once the dough wrap is nice and cool, you can add your frozen sorbet.
How to eat mochi ice cream
To eat mochi ice cream, we recommend eating it soft and cold as a mid-day snack. So you'll need to leave it at room temperature for a while before eating. When it's too cold, you cannot get the full sensation.
You do not have to defrost it. Just leaving it on the kitchen counter or at fridge temperature is enough.
To soften it further or quicker, you can microwave it. But once it reaches room temperature, it should soften enough. The sweet rice dough covering it all around slows down the melting process.
That makes it a timely, portable treat as long as you get to it quickly enough.
How to store mochi ice cream
It's best to eat this dessert once you've made it. But if you want to store it, wrap each ball in plastic cling film and seal it tightly in an airtight container. It will last for two weeks.
It might lose some of its softness, but it will still be delicious. However, avoid leaving it in a humid environment because it will spoil quickly.
Mochi Ice Cream Recipe (Mango, Chocolate, Matcha)
- Make the mochiko dough balls. Mix the flour with sugar in a microwavable bowl. Add water slowly and in small amounts until the dough comes together.
- Shape the mango gelato using a scoop to make balls before putting them into baking cups. And then place them in the freezer. Put your mango jam through a strainer to remove all lumps.
- Add the mango jam and sugar to the mochiko mixture. Cook it for a minute in the microwave at and then remove it. Stir it with a wet spatula and cook it again. Repeat until it is transparent and doughy. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap when ready.
- Mix the mochiko mixture until the surface is glossy. Once ready, place the dough on a tray with a thick layer of corn starch. Sprinkle more starch on top with a mesh strainer to keep it from sticking.
- Allow the mochi dough to cool. You can add more starch if needed, flatten it with a rolling pin, and leave it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Then cut the dough into equal circles.
- Place the mango gelato into the centre of each circle. Work quickly to pinch the opposite sides together to seal each mango mochi ice cream.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.
Secret Kitchen on Youtube has a quick and easy-to-learn video on how to prepare this dessert. We recommend you check out their video recipe on preparing your own guilty pleasure at home!
We hope this was an easy-to-make and fun dessert. Try out boba milk tea mochi next and save yourself some money.
If you've enjoyed following this recipe, why not head to @honestfoodtalks on Instagram? We've got more cool recipes for your work-at-home snack time. See you there!