dairy-free mochi

Making Heavenly Tasty Dairy-Free Mochi

Author Avatar

Updated on March 30, 2024

Mochi, those delightful little Japanese bundles of chewy rice dough, have captured the hearts (and taste buds) of millions around the world. But for vegans, lactose-intolerant people, and those who are allergic to or ditching dairy for whatever other reason, the question arises: can I still enjoy this sweet treat? The answer is a resounding yes!

In this article, we will delve into the wonderful world of dairy-free mochi, exploring traditional recipes and delicious fillings and toppings that cater to your dietary needs without sacrificing flavour or fun. So, whether you are vegan, lactose intolerant, allergic to or simply ditching dairy for your own private reasons, get ready to discover the delightful world of dairy-free mochi.

Let’s embark on this tantalising voyage that will have you rustling up the most appetising dairy-free mochi before you know it.

Basic Dairy-Free Mochi


Mochi is a commonly known Japanese dessert made from sticky sweet rice dough wrapped around red bean paste, frozen ice cream or fruit. It is often enjoyed during Japanese New Year celebrations and other special occasions. It has gained popularity worldwide in recent years and is often found in speciality dessert shops or Japanese markets.

Usually, the rice dough used to make mochi does not incorporate any milk as an ingredient, so it is naturally dairy-free. It is often the filling that may contain milk or other dairy products. So, in order to make dairy-free mochi, you just need to adjust the filling so it does not incorporate milk, butter, cream, or yoghurt.

So, here is how to make the best dairy-free mochi.


  • 1 cup of glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • Cornstarch or potato starch, for dusting
  • Your choice of dairy-free ice cream (common flavours include vanilla, green tea, or red bean)


Just like how you pre-heat your oven in baking recipes, the first step in this mochi-making journey is to scoop balls of dairy-free ice cream on a tray lined with plastic wrap and freeze them for no fewer than two hours and up to a day. Done? Great. Now, let’s make the mochi dough.

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour and granulated sugar together. Gradually add water while stirring until you have a smooth, thick batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid and microwave the mixture on high for about one minute. Remove from the microwave and stir well. The mixture should, by then, be thick and slightly translucent.

Return the bowl to the microwave and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Stir again. The dough should become even thicker and more translucent. If required, microwave for an additional 10-20 seconds until the dough is fully cooked and has a stretchy, mochi-like texture. Let the mochi dough slightly cool until it is comfortable to handle.

While the dough is still warm, divide it into small pieces, about one tablespoon each. Dust your hands and a clean surface with cornstarch or potato starch to prevent sticking. Take one piece of mochi dough and flatten it into a small circle in your palm.

Place a small scoop of frozen ice cream in the centre of the mochi circle. Carefully wrap the mochi around the ice cream, pinching the edges together to seal it completely. Repeat the process with the remaining mochi dough and ice cream until you have used up all the ingredients.

Place the filled mochi on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them for at least one to two hours, or until the mochi is firm and the ice cream is solid. Once frozen, your homemade ice cream-filled mochi is ready to enjoy! Serve them immediately as a refreshing treat, or store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for later enjoyment.

If desired, you can fill the mochi with other sweet fillings like red bean paste, fruit preserves, or chocolate ganache by flattening each portion, placing a small amount of filling in the centre, and then wrapping the dough around the filling, pinching to seal it, just like what you did with the ice cram scoops.

Different Flavours and Colours

dairy-free mochi

The classic and most common mochi flavour is usually vanilla; however, you can made it in many other flavours as well, so here are some suggestions:

  1. Matcha Mochi: Add matcha powder to the mochi dough for a vibrant green colour and a subtly earthy flavour. Fill with sweetened red bean paste or white chocolate ganache for a delightful contrast.
  2. Strawberry Mochi: Add strawberry extract or pureed strawberries to the mochi dough for a fruity flavour and a pink colour. Fill with fresh strawberries or strawberry jam for an extra burst of flavour.
  3. Chocolate Mochi: Mix cocoa powder into the mochi dough for a rich chocolate flavour. Fill with chocolate ganache, Nutella, or peanut butter for a decadent treat.
  4. Mango Mochi: Add mango puree or mango extract to the mochi dough for a tropical flavour and a vibrant yellow colour. Fill with diced fresh mango or mango-flavoured cream to get a refreshing taste.
  5. Blueberry Mochi: Blend freeze-dried blueberries into a powder and mix it into the mochi dough for a purple hue and a burst of blueberry flavour. Fill with blueberry jam or fresh blueberries if you want to enjoy a sweet and tangy filling.
  6. Coconut Mochi: Use coconut milk instead of water in the mochi dough for a rich coconut flavour. Fill with shredded coconut or coconut-flavoured cream for an extra coconutty experience.
  7. Lavender Mochi: Infuse culinary-grade dried lavender buds into the water used for making the mochi dough for a delicate floral flavour and a pale purple colour. Fill with lavender-infused cream or honey for a unique and aromatic treat.
  8. Citrus Mochi: Add zest from citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, or orange to the mochi dough for a bright, citrusy flavour. Fill with citrus curd or marmalade for a tangy twist.

Optional Toppings for Added Taste

dairy-free mochi

To enhance the flavour of your mochi even more, you can use numerous delicious toppings. For instance, you can sprinkle kinako over the mochi for a nutty, slightly sweet flavour, as it pairs exceptionally well with traditional fillings like red bean paste, or you can dust your green tea-flavoured mochi or vanilla ice cream-filled mochi with matcha powder for a vibrant green colour and a hint of bitter, earthy flavour. 

Another two great options are sesame seeds and shredded coconut. Toasted sesame seeds usually add a crunchy texture and nutty flavour to the mochi—black sesame seeds are particularly striking against the white mochi dough. If you roll the mochi in shredded coconut, you will get a tropical twist. This works especially well with fruity fillings like mango or pineapple ice cream.

You can also sprinkle crushed nuts over the mochi for added crunch and nuttiness. This complements fillings like chocolate or peanut butter ice cream or dust chocolate or fruit-filled mochi with cocoa powder for a rich, chocolatey and contrasting flavour.

Honey, maple syrup, or fruit sauce are also great toppings. Just drizzle a small amount of any of them over the mochi for a touch of sweetness and shine and a burst of fruity flavour. Both honey and maple syrup pair with pretty much all types of mochi, while fruit sauce, such as strawberry or mango, is best added to vanilla or coconut ice cream-filled mochi. 

Another interesting mochi garnish is edible flowers. They add an elegant touch, visual appeal, and a subtle floral flavour to your dessert.

Feel free to mix and match these toppings according to your taste preferences and the flavour of the mochi. Experiment with different combinations, and you may get delightful and unique creations.

Storage and Shelf Life

dairy-free mochi

Mochi is basically ice cream, so it must be refrigerated. Place it in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag to prevent it from absorbing any odours in the refrigerator. Properly stored, mochi can last in the refrigerator for about one week.

If you want to store mochi for a longer period, you can freeze it. Place the mochi pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer the mochi to an airtight container or freezer bag, separating the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Frozen mochi can last for several months.

When ready to enjoy frozen mochi, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing mochi at room temperature, as it can get too soft and lose its texture. If your mochi becomes too hard after refrigeration or freezing, you can gently reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. Be careful not to overheat the mochi as it can become too sticky or rubbery.

To prevent the mochi from drying out, you can put a damp paper towel or a piece of plastic wrap over the mochi when storing it in the refrigerator. Make sure that any container or bag used for storing mochi is sealed tightly to prevent air from getting in, which can cause it to dry out or become stale.


Mochi stands not only as a cherished Japanese delicacy but also a beloved treat enjoyed by people around the globe, including those following a vegan or dairy-free diet. Its simple yet versatile nature allows for endless variations, from traditional fillings and flavours to various modern topping twists.

Whether savoured during festive celebrations or as an everyday indulgence, mochi captivates with its soft, chewy texture and delightful array of flavours. As we continue to explore and welcome diverse culinary traditions, let us savour the timeless appeal of mochi, a delightful confection that brings joy with every bite.

Share with our social media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *