Whether it is an official Japanese holiday you are simply celebrating or time with family and friends, or you want to try out something authentically Japanese, this list of 19 Japanese appetizers will surely inspire your creative juices!
Some Japanese food is complicated with multiple steps, while others are ridiculously easy, like Yaki Onigiri and Oysters With Ponzu Sauce!
Some will be finger foods, others easy snacks, still others may go well with sushi.
Japanese appetizers such as the meaty goodness of #15 may stop your party guests in their tracks as they try something new for the first time!
They may also give you an excuse to try out a new recipe or simply use seasonings to achieve that umami flavor or ingredients not typically reached for daily.
Enjoy this plunge down the Japanese appetizer rabbit hole!
I hope you find the best Japanese appetizer recipes that suit your liking!
This Japanese finger food started in Japan but is typically referred to as Polynesian since it gained popularity in Hawaii.
This rumaki begins with cooked bacon wrapped around a water chestnut and half a seasoned chicken liver, secured with a toothpick and baked until crisp and scrumptious!
Easy to make Japanese snacks at their best!
These tasty morsels need only salt.
It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Boil water and add the soy beans for 5 minutes.
Drain, salt, open the pods, and enjoy!
When a warm soup is what you want as a Japanese starter, this miso soup is an excellent choice.
Savory and comforting are the two words that come to mind.
Traditionally, it is made with dashi (soup stock made with bonito flakes), miso paste (hint: yellow miso paste is the best for this, but if you couldn’t find any, you can use the white miso paste instead), and any variety of other ingredients based on region, season, or preference.
These adorable shrimp and avocado bites are exquisite Japanese party food!
Shrimp just takes any recipe up a notch!
Cucumber base, wasabi mayo, a slice of avocado, shrimp, grated radish, and a mint leaf!
Here we have a popular Japanese appetizer called Hiyayakko.
It is served chilled with tofu as the base.
The slaw is made of radishes, scallions, and cilantro.
The sauce has apple juice, soy sauce, and vinegar.
Assemble into duct personal-sized bowls, and everyone will be talking.
This appetizer that goes well with sushi is not for the faint of heart.
A multi-step process is necessary to make these dumplings.
They do take a bit of time using Shuumai skins.
There are two recipe options for the filling.
One turns into shrimp dumplings and the other tofu.
But if you prefer having vegetable dumplings or pork dumplings instead, just switch the shrimp base with your vegetables or pork.
After assembly, they need pan frying and steaming.
Perhaps a winning segway into the fine art of eggplant preparation might be this recipe.
Japanese appetizers in this style allow everyone to help themselves from a serving platter.
After roasting the eggplant in the oven, add the lemon tahini sauce and serve warm.
A small cup of smooth egg custard could serve as a Japanese starter for any type of meal.
It is indeed a popular Japanese appetizer served in restaurants but often made at home.
It is pretty flexible as far as adding ingredients from asparagus, shrimp, chicken, mushroom, and carrots—lots of beautiful pictures to guide you.
Japanese inspired tempura broccoli is an incredible Japanese finger food complete with a dipping sauce!
The broccoli will be dipped into the flour mix, fried in oil until crispy.
When ready to serve, add a touch of salt and the dipping sauce.
Don’t be surprised when party guests ask for the recipe!
When you are in a seafood mood and want a special Japanese starter for your evening, steamed clams just might be the perfect recipe!
Soaking the cold closed clams for two hours in the water in the fridge will help clean them before starting.
Rinse them well, and then make the sauce.
Next, the clams will cook in a skillet with the sauce till they open.
A few more steps, and you will have delicious steamed clams for your Japanese appetizer!
This Japanese finger food is made of grilled rice balls with a crispy crust and slightly sticky sushi rice inside!
Cook it, season it, shape it, fry it, and serve it!
These can be accompanied by a dipping sauce like Siracha mayonnaise.
Easy to make Japanese snacks like these definitely deliver on taste.
Daikon is a Japanese white radish simmered in a broth in this Japanese appetizer that goes with sushi.
Additionally, it is often served with sashimi.
The daikon is peeled and sliced, and simmered for 40 minutes, and then drained.
A sauce is made separately and poured on top before serving hot with fruit zest or some green onions on top.
Crunchy, sweet, and tangy, this Japanese cucumber salad is refreshing and delicious and is easy to make as a Japanese snack or appetizer!
Salt and squeeze out the excess water from the cucumber slices.
Then, the dressing is the tangy part made of rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sugar, and sesame seeds!
Five minutes to slice, toss and serve is fantastic.
Any kind of cucumber will do!
Sushi can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as a main entree!
This recipe gives step-by-step instructions on making marinated mackerel sushi as Japanese appetizers.
It has all the usual suspects needed for sushi; mackerel fillets, salt, rice vinegar, wasabi paste, rice, soy sauce, and Japanese pickles.
Steam fried pork gyoza, Japanese dumplings is an outstanding Japanese party food!
I often hear them referred to as Japanese potstickers too.
If you are like me, these seem challenging, but this recipe is easy to follow and makes a lot, so you can enjoy some now and freeze the others (uncooked) for later!
Pick up some Japanese gyoza wrappers from an Asian grocery, finely mince the pork, gather the other ingredients, and you’re in business!
If you want another version of the popular appetizer, try making the vegetable gyoza, simply mince various vegetables of your choice and opt out of the pork!
You can also serve it with a special sauce, which you can find in the recipe.
Since most of us do not have a yakitori grill, these instructions adapt the recipe so you can cook them in an oven.
Lucky for us!
This Japanese appetizer is served on a set of skewers which need to be pre-soak in water to prevent burning.
Mince up some chicken thighs or chicken breast, add other ingredients, knead together, form into oval cylinder shapes, and make the sauce, yakitori tare.
Oh, these are going to go fast!
This recipe is going to take your Japanese finger food game to the next level!
It combines a perfectly hard boiled egg with shiitake bacon for an unbelievably tasty Japanese appetizer.
The shiitake bacon recipe is also included, and you have lots of options for different types of mayo to use as well like spicy mayo and garlic mayo.
Might need to make a double batch!
Pork makes another appearance on this Japanese appetizers list, this time using the pork belly.
Two separate cooking times should be planned for.
Once with water to boil and simmer for 90 minutes.
Again after dicing the pork belly into cubes, boil for two hours with a braising liquid.
Best served hot on a small bed of rice.
Ponzu sauce, a popular Japanese creation, uses yuzu lemons in a Japanese citrus dipping sauce.
Turns out, it is one of the best to use when serving raw oysters.
This version is quick to make at home with four ingredients: bonito flakes, lemon juice, soy sauce, and mirin.
After it infuses together, strain out the flakes and top each oyster with a teaspoon of it.
Many variations are presented here as well as techniques for opening the oysters, which most certainly come in handy!
The bottom line
Every single one of the items on this list is considered a popular Japanese appetizer and comes highly recommended.
Once the unique ingredients are slowly acquired in your kitchen pantry, the pulling together of these easy to make Japanese snacks will be seamless, just like your other favorites.
🍮🍮 It’s Dessert Time! 🍮🍮
- Japanese Rumaki
- Edamame Recipe
- The Best Miso Soup
- Japanese Shrimp And Avocado Appetizers
- Chilled Tofu With Apple Soy Sauce Recipe
- How To Make Shuumai / Shumai Dumplings
- Roasted Japanese Eggplant With Tahini And Lemon
- Chawan Mushi (Japanese Steamed Egg Custard)
- Tempura Broccoli
- Sake Steamed Clams With Soy Butter
- Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Japanese Rice Balls)
- Simmered Daikon Recipe
- Japanese Cucumber Salad
- Marinated Mackerel Sushi
- Pork Gyoza - Japanese Dumplings
- Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs)
- Ultimate Miso Deviled Eggs
- Japanese Sweet And Sticky Pork Belly (Kakuni)
- Oysters With Ponzu Sauce
- Choose one or more options from our list of Japanese appetizers here!
- Create your new favorite dish.
- Pat yourself on the back for making food at home for you to enjoy!
- Share and comment! Did you make any tweaks so it’s all your own?