Mochi Donuts

Mochi Donuts

What happens when the American donut chain, Mister Donut, opens up shop in Japan? They invent a product to appeal to the local clientele, and so the mochi donut, or pon de ring, was born. Named after the Brazilian pão de queijo, this chewy donut is made of a circle of 8 mochi balls and looks very much like a teething ring. 

What Gives Mochi Donuts Their Chew?

The main ingredient in mochi donuts is glutinous rice flour which gives them their signature chewy and stretchy texture. There are so many recipe variations for mochi donuts, some have flour, some have tofu, and some have tapioca flour. I use glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour, keeping it gluten free. This is the best mochi donut recipe, they’re so chewy and craveable!

How Do You Make Mochi Donuts?

The process of making mochi donuts is similar to making choux pastry. If you’ve ever made ėclairs or cream puffs you know what I’m talking about. The liquid is brought to a boil then the glutinous rice and tapioca flours are added all at once. It is really important to stir it until it comes together into one lump. Initially it will be really dry and crumbly but after some folding and smearing you will notice the texture change and become stretchy and chewy like mochi. After the whole process you will end up with a dough that is firm enough to shape with your hands but also soft enough to pipe. 

In my opinion it is much easier to use a small cookie scoop and roll the dough into balls. It is also important to work with the dough quickly as it dries out after some time, making it hard for the dough balls to stick together. Cover the dough with plastic while you work to help keep the moisture in, and if you find them not sticking together, just wet the sides with a little water to act as the glue. 

Make Your Own Fun Flavors

One of the fun things about mochi donuts is they come in an array of beautiful colors thanks to glazes like matcha, black sesame, ube, and more, which I have included instructions for below the recipe. Use your imagination and create your own colorful glazes!

Tips for Making Mochi Donuts

  • It’s important to keep stirring the dough over the stovetop until it becomes a ball to activate the “chewy.”
  • This dough is very sticky and can also be piped instead of scooped and rolled. Just fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch circle tip and pipe the balls over your guide. I recommend using a paring knife in your non-dominant hand to cut the dough off at the tip since the dough is so sticky.
  • This dough can also be rolled on a work surface dusted with glutinous rice flour to 1/2-inch-thick and made into traditional donut shapes using circle cookie cutters; a 3-inch cutter for the outer circle, and a 1 1/4-inch cutter for the inner circle.
  • When shaping the donuts, keep the dough you aren't working with covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
  • If your mochi donut balls aren't sticking together, dab them with a little water.

“Mochi Donuts are so good! I’m not really a fan of donuts in general but these mochi donuts are a game changer. The donuts are crispy on the outside, drizzled with a delicious glaze and soft and chewy on the inside. Even on the second day I’m finding it very hard to resist them. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about any other day old donut!” —Joan Velush

Mochi donuts with a vanilla glaze A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Donuts:

  • 2/3 cup whole milk

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 2 cups (300 grams) glutinous rice flour (such as mochiko)

  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) tapioca starch

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1/4 of a vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Steps to Make It

Make the Donuts

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make mochi donuts

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Heat the milk, sugar, butter, water, and salt in a medium pot on medium high and bring to a boil.

    A pot of boiling milk, water, sugar, butter, and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Add the glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch all at once. Turn the heat to low and stir until it becomes a firm and goopy ball, about 2 minutes. Initially it will look very clumpy and dry, just continue to stir, fold, and smear the dough against the sides and bottom of the pot.

    A pot with thick, lumpy dough

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Empty the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. Knead on medium speed to release the steam, 2 minutes.

    A smooth piece of dough in a large bowl with a hook attachment

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add about half the egg. Continue to knead on medium speed until the dough comes back together, 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl again, add the rest of the egg, and continue to knead until smooth and combined, about 1 minute more. Add the baking powder and knead to combine, 1 minute. The dough will be very sticky.

    A sticky ball of dough in the bowl of a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Heat the vegetable oil to 350 F in a large, deep saucepan (or your preferred frying vessel). While the oil heats, shape the donuts.

    A pot of oil with a thermometer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. Cut a sheet of parchment paper into eight 4-inch squares and place them on a baking sheet. Take one of the squares of parchment and draw a 3-inch circle using a circle cutter or a drinking glass. This will be your guide.

    A square sheet of parchment paper with a circle

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  8. To shape the donuts into a ring: lightly grease the palms of your hands and a teaspoon with a little bit of vegetable oil or cooking spray. Scoop the dough with the teaspoon, and roll the dough portions into balls. You will need 8 balls per donut.

    A hand holding a small ball of dough

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  9. Place the guide under another square of parchment paper and place the balls around the inside of the circle, making sure all the balls are touching each other. Gently press down on the balls to make sure they are sticking to each other. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough. This dough can be piped too! (see Recipe Tips)

    Pieces of parment paper with round rings of donut dough made of eight small balls

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  10. Carefully pick up the parchment with the ring donut and lower it into the oil, donut-side down. Leave the paper on. When the donut floats to the top, remove the paper using a pair of tongs and discard. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown, a total of 5 to 6 minutes. Do not crowd the pan, and regulate the heat under the oil to keep it at a steady temperature.

    A mochi donut frying in a pot of oil

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  11. Carefully remove the donuts using tongs or a spider onto a wire rack to cool.

    A cooling rack with fried mochi donuts

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Make the Glaze and Glaze the Donuts

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth.

    A bowl of glaze with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Dunk the top side of each donut into the glaze and place back on the wire rack. Let the glaze dry for about 15 minutes. Eat immediately.

    A glaze mochi donut on a cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

How to Store

The donuts are best eaten the day of, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

I do not recommend freezing the donuts or making the dough in advance.

Recipe Variations

  • For chocolate or matcha glazes: add 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or 1 teaspoon matcha powder to the glaze recipe.
  • For raspberry or black sesame glazes: add 2 teaspoons freeze dried raspberry powder or 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, finely ground (just shy of a paste) in a mortar and pestle, food processor, or spice grinder to the glaze recipe.
  • For ube glaze: add 1/2 teaspoon ube extract to the glaze recipe.
  • Feel free to garnish the donuts with sprinkles, nuts, coconut, chocolate, candy, cereal, and so on.

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