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Check Out This Epic List Of 39 Lightly Sweet Japanese Desserts!

Check Out This Epic List Of 39 Lightly Sweet Japanese Desserts!

Are you looking for Japanese desserts here? We’ve rounded up 40 of our favorite Japanese dessert recipes that you can make at home!

Japanese cuisine has a reputation for savory and umami, but it’s also a diverse source of delectable treats. 

There’s plenty of recipes to add to your recipe collection, from traditional to modern.
Some of the common ingredients might be uncommon for western bakers and makers, so prepare to explore new flavors. 

If you already love matcha and red bean paste, you’ll likely be head over heels for everything we’ve compiled.

Ranging from skills that require a Japanese sweets expert to easy Japanese desserts like the Banana Sushi and Kohi Zeri, so keep an eye for mentions of difficulty level. 

Whether you want to practice an old favorite or are seeking new flavor horizons, this list of Japanese desserts has something for everyone, like the crisp and delicious sweet treat #40.

And because some of these recipes were hard to find, there are a few that will need converting to American/Imperial measurements, so here are a couple converter tools here and here.

Respectfully, meshiagare! (bon appetît!)

Of course, sushi has a dessert version! 

The combination of banana, pistachio, and chocolate might call for simple ingredients, but the taste is an irresistible sweet-meets-crunchy. 

While not traditional, it tops the list of easy Japanese desserts.

Japanese Cheesecake or Cotton Cheesecake is a lighter dessert than its American counterpart. 

It also puts the cake in cheesecake, leaning more towards the fluffiness of a sponge or Angel food cake.

You’ve likely heard the name before. 

That’s no surprise since these popular Japanese desserts are enjoyed all over the world. 

The chewy, tiny, sticky rice cake can be tricky to make the first time, but it’s worth it for the unique taste.

If you want to add a colder spin on classic mochi, why not indulge with Mochi Ice Cream? 

The sweet rice dough covers an ice cream center for a soft, chewy, light treat.

Once you’ve mastered making mochi consistently, the extra step of ice cream is no sweat.

The translucent gelatin alternative looks like its name: a raindrop.

Although the essential ingredients are colorless and flavorless, the toppings make the taste stand out. 
In its simplest form, Kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup) and Kinako powder (roasted soybean powder) are go-to toppings. 

This melt-in-your-mouth dessert was inspired by Japanese mochi, a little nutty, airy, with only a touch of sweetness.

In many western cultures, sandwiches are savory. 

But the Japanese Furutsu Sando uses fresh fruits and cream. 

So for your next picnic, consider packing some sweet sandwiches alongside your lunch sandwiches.

While France introduced the original parfait concept, the dessert has boomed in popularity with a Japanese twist. 

While the Fruit Parfait is the most common, the Matcha Parfait displays another flavor that dominates Japanese cuisine.


Mitsumame features black sugar syrup, fruit, gelatinous cubes, and other summertime add-ins for a refreshing and sweet mix. 

For an authentic Mitsumame, cut the clear agar-agar jelly to resemble ice cubes.

Coffee might have earned a reputation as a morning picker-upper. Still, it also has a history associated with evening treats.

One such instance is Kohi Zeri or Coffee Jelly. Created in the 1900s, this example of simple Japanese desserts is refreshing for a summertime cool-down.

Just add milk, whipped cream, or ice cream if you prefer a sweeter coffee flavor.

A red snapper fish pastry filled with Anko (sweet red bean paste) is an iconic Japanese dessert. 

It’s a standard recipe for street food and a staple of festivals. As a bonus, the shape symbolizes good luck.

Rich and creamy, Purin, also named Japanese custard pudding, is often compared to flan. 

The custard is melty and tickle-down-to-your-toes sweet. Additionally, you coat the custard with a bittersweet caramel glaze.

Going down the rabbit hole of Japanese desserts means embracing a lot of matcha, including Green Tea Ice Cream. 

It’s an easy recipe, especially if you’ve made ice cream at home before. 

Smokey, with a hint of bitter mellowed by sweetness, it’s a refreshing post-dinner treat.

Mixing the delicate, creamy tiramisu of Italy with Japan’s bold, smooth matcha, you get a dessert that’s the best of both. 

Matcha Tiramisu balances sweetness, umami, and silky without tasting sugary, bitter, or empty. 
Alternatively, Japanese pudding fans might try swapping heavy cream for custard.

If you love matcha or green tea Japanese sweets, add a soft crunch to your treat plate with Green Tea Cookies. 

While the matcha is distinct and leans into bitter, it’s satisfying to mix it with something sugary, like white chocolate chips.

Sweet red bean paste is another Japanese staple ingredient. 

These steamed, round cakes should be added to everyone’s list of Japanese desserts to try. 
Tip: If you want to replicate the traditional serving style, pair Manju with a cup of hot green tea!

More sweet red bean paste! Instead of cake, Dorayaki is like a pancake sandwich filled with anko. 

Although a traditional Japanese dessert, its fame grew as the featured snack in a famous Japanese cartoon (Doraemon).
Alternatively, you can experiment with pancake flavor. Craving more matcha, anyone?

Souffle Pancakes are another treat that’s been around forever but has recently surged in recognition for popular Japanese desserts.
The best part of this easy recipe is that you can customize your topping preferences. 

Fresh fruits, syrup, nut spreads, or plain, it’s a fluffy treat for breakfast (or anytime you’re craving it).

Deep-fried with a thick caramelized coating, Daigaku Imo is crispy and tender, savory and sweet. 

The dessert earned its name because of its historical association as a cheap snack for university-aged sweet tooths.

In case you’re keeping track, black sesame is another of those common ingredients that’ll pop up everywhere in traditional recipes. 

Sesame cookies are a nice change for bakers who want to try something less sweet for those without a sweet tooth. 
However, you can also spread the icing of your choice if you like a touch of sweetness in your cookies.

Named after its origin, Shibuya Honey Toast uses shokupan bread (Japanese milk bread) to create a decadent cake with a haul of toppings. 

Some ideas include sprinkling chocolate shavings, crunching some Pocky, or decorating with sliced fruit. 
The process is relatively easy, and the result is filling.

While Pocky is a brand name, it’s a snack so iconic we can’t resist a homemade version. 

Pick is a crunchy, stick-like biscuit dipped in either chocolate or strawberry. 

But, like a dipped soft pretzel, you can also add nuts, crunched candy, salt, and other toppings.

Mizu Yokan is a mild, light jelly dessert flavored with red bean paste and a touch of sugar. 

It has more water content than other jelly desserts, which makes it refreshing. 

It could be considered the Japanese version of jello but with a less sugary flavor profile.

Miso or fermented soybeans might seem like an odd choice, but it’s one of the must-try Japanese sweets combined with a buttery dough. 

If you love salty and sweet mixed with melty, buttery flavor, get baking these Miso Butter Cookies. 

Alternatively, peanut butter fans will be happy to know there’s more than one buttery option: Miso Peanut Butter Cookies.

Japanese Strawberry Sponge Cake has a good reason to come around every Christmas Eve. 

Usually decorated with holiday or Santa imagery, the sponge cake or shortcake has plenty of frosting, whipped cream, and strawberries. 

We’ve laid them flat, we’ve formed balls, so why not roll ourselves some cake? 

Heavy cream rolled inside a delicate, fluffy cake with fresh fruits. 

Alternatively, you can substitute the fruit with jelly or jam.

It’s a festive addition to any collection of seasonal cakes. 

Find even more Japanese Christmas Cakes in our list here.

Consisting of thin layers of Matcha or Green tea flavored crepe sandwiching layers of whipped cream, the Matcha Mille Crepe Cake is a popular dessert. 
While the idea comes from the French, the matcha is a Japanese signature. 

The brilliant green hue and the light, fluffy stack is as pleasing to the eyes as the taste buds.

Kabocha is a type of winter squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin. 

In other words, for your autumnal feast, you can add a Japanese twist with Kabocha Squash Pie. 
The taste is a balance of western pumpkin and sweet potato, although some compare it to chestnuts. 

It’s the perfect way to satisfy dinner guests with a mild or minimal sweet tooth.

Steamed cakes might resemble muffins in appearance, but what makes these unique is the cooking method. 

Since oven baking isn’t part of traditional Japanese desserts, alternative methods created confectionery treasures like the mushi-pan. 

As a result, it’s lighter and less sweet.
You can add any preferred flavor to your mushi-pan. 

Some classics are green tea, sweet potato, chocolate, corn, or cheese.

The decadent Chocolate Gateau might be a French creation, but it follows traditional Japanese sweets that are light and layered. 

Chocolate lovers with sweet teeth will want to add this rich cake to their baking list.

Another one for chocolate fans, Nama Chocolate is a go-to for Valentine’s Day gifting. 

Although the Royce brand is trendy for its Nama Chocolate, making it home means you can sprinkle extra flavoring to your satisfaction. 

Have we mentioned you can add matcha to everything?
Enjoy these smooth, decadent chocolate ganache treats by yourself or impress your loved ones by joining this Valentine’s Day tradition.

Dango is a sweet rice dumpling. Served on a skewer and grouped in threes, dango is available with various flavors. 
We’re highlighting Hanami Dango, where pink represents cherry blossoms, white for winter snow, and green for the coming spring or summer. 

Pair with traditional flower viewing for a delicious spring treat.

Like the chewy texture of a dango? 

Here’s another but with the addition of sweet potato and red bean paste. 

Originally a local delicacy from the Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, 
While most dango can be served cold or hot, Ikinari Dango is best warm.

A Wagashi variation and a classic Japanese dessert, Nerikiri uses white bean paste and mochi. 

However, what sets it apart is the unique color and styling.  

Whether it’s a rainbow of rolled balls or a colorful sculpture, it’s a dessert for the eyes.
Commonly, the shape reflects the season. 

Additionally, it’s also frequently served at tea ceremonies.

There are many daifuku varieties amongst popular Japanese desserts. 

Still, Ichigo Daifuku is unique as it requires whole strawberries for the filling. 

You coat the strawberries in a thin layer of red bean paste followed by white mochi.

For candy enthusiasts, Higashi is a dry, sugary treat made with rice flour. 

Pressed into wooden molds, you can create beautiful, cute, or quirky shapes for these traditional treats. 

In addition, Higashi is frequently made with Wasanbon, a fine-grained Japanese sugar with a hint of umami.

Amanattō is a classic Japanese confectionary featuring candied beans, usually azuki or black soybeans. 

The beans are boiled, soaked, and then caramelized for peak sweetness. 

Although more cherished by older generations, the simple recipe is a traditional Japanese food all ages can enjoy.

Get your sweet fix with these sugar candies. 

Introduced to Japan by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, the crystallized candy is notable for its star shape. 

Similar to rock candy, it’s best to have a good relationship with your dentist if you’re cracking into a bowl of Konpeito.
Alternatively, if you like more than sugar as a base flavor, you can also build layers of fruit flavor.

Castella or Kasutera is another recipe derived from Portuguese merchants. 

The moist, subtly sweet sponge cake is easy to transform with a variety of Japanese flavors. 

Matcha, brown sugar, chocolate, and strawberry are some of the favorites.

39. Okoshi

If you like rice crispy treats, you might enjoy this classic Japanese dessert with a similar mouth feel. 

Using roasted rice grains, sugar, corn syrup and served as cut squares, Okoshi is uncomplicated and easily personalized.
Flavor with your preference of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, and more. 

Drizzle with extra syrup, caramel, or whatever coating or spread delights.

❤️ MORE: 28 Asian Desserts for you to choose from! ❤️

The bottom line

Umai! (It’s Delicious!)

We curated quite a long list to begin your culinary exploration of popular Japanese desserts. 

If you noted some of the recurring flavors, you could take advantage of stocking the frequent ingredients and create your way through the list.
Try pairing your traditional Japanese desserts with teas, especially green tea. 

While hosting a tea ceremony might be lovely for an event, you can also have casual tea time to bring out the best of the flavors.

Did our list introduce a stand-out favorite that you can imagine making time and time again? 

Or a new take on an old recipe you’re inspired to try?
We hope you try out your favorite Japanese dessert soon.

🍰 Japanese Christmas Cake Recipes You Should Check Out! 🍰

39 EPIC Japanese Dessert Recipe Collection

39 EPIC Japanese Dessert Recipe Collection

Got a craving for Japanese desserts? We have here an EPIC list of 39 Japanese dessert recipes you can make at home!


  • Anmitsu
  • Banana Sushi
  • Japanese Cheesecake
  • Daifuku (Mochi Balls)
  • Mochi Ice Cream
  • Raindrop Cake
  • Furutsu Sando (Fruit Sandwich)
  • Japanese Parfait
  • Mitsumame
  • Kohi Zeri (Coffee Jelly)
  • Taiyaki
  • Purin (Japanese Caramel Custard Pudding)
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
  • Matcha Tiramisu
  • Green Tea Cookies
  • Manju (Japanese Red Bean Cakes)
  • Dorayaki
  • Souffle Pancakes
  • Daigaku Imo (Candied Sweet Potatoes)
  • Sesame Cookies
  • Shibuya Honey Toast
  • Homemade Pocky
  • Mizu Yokan
  • Miso Butter Cookies
  • Japanese Christmas Cake
  • Matcha Mille Crepe Cake
  • Kabocha Squash Pie
  • Steamed Cake (Mushi-Pan)
  • Chocolate Gateau (Japanese Sponge Cake)
  • Nama Chocolate
  • Hanami Dango
  • Ikinari Dango
  • Nerikiri
  • Ichigo Daifuku
  • Higashi
  • Amanattō
  • Konpeito
  • Kasutera (Castella)
  • Okoshi


  1. Choose one or more options from our list of Japanese desserts here!
  2. Create your new favorite dessert.
  3. Pat yourself on the back for making food at home.
  4. Share and comment! Did you make any tweaks so it’s all your own?

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