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21 Incredible Japanese Desserts

Japanese desserts (Wagashi) don’t always get enough attention in my dessert world. I’ve been slowly changing that and have been making them far more often. Most Japanese sweets aren’t as sugary as what we typically serve here in the US, although many of the Japanese desserts in this list have been tailored to our palates.

You’ll find everything here from traditional Japanese desserts to Japanese pastries to Japanese pancakes! Most of them are incredibly simple to make and will make the perfect ending to any Japanese meal.

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a list of 21 incredible Japanese desserts with a photo of mochi donut holes

Full List of Japanese Desserts

1. Japanese Coffee Jelly

Let’s start this list with a bang and go with my favorite from the entire list! Coffee Jelly might seem strange if you’ve never heard of it, but hear me out.

Sweetened coffee is turned into “jelly” that’s the consistency of jello. It is, essentially, coffee jello that’s served with cream, milk, or even whipped cream. It’s a sophisticated dessert that’s also one heckuva lot of fun to eat.

2. Mochi Ice Cream

My oldest begs me to buy Mochi Ice Cream (strawberry is her favorite). They sell it everywhere now – even at Costco! I’d had Mochi many times before but never with ice cream; it takes it to a whole new level!

Mochi is a sweetened sticky rice dough. Wrapping it around ice cream is the perfect way to serve it and is much simpler than you might think!

3. Strawberry Cream Japanese Cake Roll

This Japanese dessert is light and airy with a whipped cream filling that’s stabilized with a bit of gelatin. It’s much easier to make than the final result makes it looks. With step-by-step photos and clear instructions, this is definitely one to try.

4. Hakkaido Chiffon Cupcakes

Who wants a “cottony meringue cupcake filled with delicious custard”? 🙋‍♀️

Light and airy, these little Japanese sweets aren’t overly sweet and they don’t need frosting, only a dusting of powdered sugar. They’re also a dessert that tastes even better the next day, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for something to make ahead of time.

5. Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango is a traditional Japanese rice dumpling that’s covered in a sweetened soy glaze. The dumplings are skewered on a bamboo stick, traditionally five to a skewer.

The chewy dumplings brushed with the sweet glaze are irresistible and the perfect ending to a meal or for a snack with a cup of hot green tea.

6. Purin (Japanese Caramel Custard Pudding)

“Purin” means “pudding” in Japanese. This version has two layers: a soft, smooth and creamy custard with a sweet caramel-like syrup with a slight hint of bitterness. It can be made up to 3 days ahead making it perfect to serve at your next dinner party.

7. Cream Pan (Japanese Custard-Filled Cream Buns)

This delicious sweet bread melts in your mouth. The fact that it’s filled with custard is just a bonus! This Japanese dessert recipe takes more time and care than most of the others on the list, but it’s well worth the extra effort.

8. Matcha Magic Cake

If the last Japanese dessert recipe was extra effort, this one is just the opposite. It’s called “magic” cake for good reason: a very thin, pourable batter becomes a custard-like “cake” that’s sliceable and oh-so-delicious! Give it a dusting of powdered sugar and enjoy the wonderful texture of this truly magical cake.

9. Melon Pan

Melon Pan is a classic Japanese sweet bread that’s covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie-style crust. A grid pattern is etched into the top for a gorgeous, tasty, traditional Japanese dessert that everyone will love!

10. Japanese Cheesecake

If you’re looking for a Japanese dessert to serve that doesn’t stray too far from what you might be used to, give this Japanese cheesecake a try. It’s much fluffier and softer than traditional cheesecake with an incredibly light texture.

There are a few more steps involved when making this version but with clear instructions as well as troubleshooting tips, it should be a breeze!

11. Matcha White Chocolate Swiss Roll

How gorgeous is this simple roll cake?? If you love the flavor of Matcha then you’ll absolutely love the flavors of this beautiful dessert. With a white chocolate cream center and a tender, moist sponge cake to wrap it in, this is one Japanese dessert you’ll be proud to serve and glad to be eat!

12. Dorayaki (Japanese Red Bean Pancake)

Sweet, fluffy pancakes are “stuffed” with a sweet red bean filling to make a delightful, traditional Japanese dessert. It’s very popular in Japan and is beloved by kids and adults alike. It’s perfect served with green tea for a wonderful ending to a meal.

13. Fluffy and Soft Japanese Chocolate Cake Roll

Yet another cake roll but this time it’s all about chocolate. A soft and fluffy chiffon cake is filled with a light chocolate whipped cream – what’s not to love?

14. Matcha Cream Puffs

It’s a beautiful thing when two cuisines merge to create an entirely new dessert flavor. These pretty little puffs are best served the same day they’re made, but don’t worry, they won’t last longer than that anyway!

15. Japanese Pancakes

These extra thick, fluffy pancakes might not technically be a dessert, but we’d be remiss not to include them, especially since they could easily be dessert-worthy with a bit of chocolate sauce and fresh berries. You’ll need a mold or you can easily make your own (instructions are included).

16. Japanese Milk Pudding

With just four ingredients, this silky, creamy pudding tastes similar to ice cream! You can find this easy pudding in stores throughout Japan but it’s also very easy to make at home. Garnish with some edible flowers for a beautiful Japanese dessert.

17. Matcha Marshmallows with Fresh Mint Hot Cocoa

These cute little Matcha marshmallows are tasty enough to enjoy on their own but even better in a cup of hot cocoa. This would be a fun recipe to make with your kids. Serving after a cold day sledding outside is entire optional.

18. Homemade Pocky Sticks

You’ve probably seen pocky sticks at the store and may have even picked some up. They’re very popular with my kids who beg me to buy them. They come in a variety of flavors but making them at home means you can make them just how you like them plus add nuts, sprinkles, or whatever your heart desires!

19. Mochi Donuts

These mochi donuts are the ultimate cultural fusion dish. They have a chewy mochi center that’s paired with a crunchy, golden brown exterior. Then it’s rolled in granulated sugar for the perfect dessert for any occasion.

20. Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

My mom’s strawberry shortcake will forever be my favorite (she makes the biscuits with Bisquick and they’re SO good, plus quick and easy) BUT this Japanese version is a close second. It has a soft, pillowy cake that’s the perfect complement to the strawberries and whipped cream filling.

21. Matcha Tiramisu

The final Japanese dessert on the list is a mix of Italian and Japanese flavors to create the ultimate delicious ending to your Japanese meal. This one is definitely a make-ahead dessert as it needs to chill for at least two hours and preferably overnight. Check out the step-by-step photo instructions to see how easy this incredible dessert really is.

Do you have any favorite Japanese desserts we missed? Share them in the comments below so we can consider adding them to the list. You might also be interested in this list of easy desserts, these blueberry desserts using either fresh or frozen berries, or this list of Mexican desserts.

Kristy Bernardo
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