23 Essential Japanese Recipes You’ll Want to Make on Repeat

updated Nov 20, 2023
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chopsticks and soup spoon tightly placed near pink bowl of shoyu ramen
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

There’s no wonder why Japanese is one of the most beloved cuisines in the world. Besides being responsible for sushi, Japanese cuisine also commands a deep understanding of umami or deeply satisfying, savory flavor. What’s more, it’s a cuisine that’s full of simple, accessible recipes, going far beyond the expensive raw fish or days-long ramen recipes by which it can be commonly defined.

So whether you’re completely new to Japanese cuisine, or you just need a quick refresher, we’ve rounded up some of most popular yet classic recipes to help you get started. From a crispy tonkatsu recipe to comforting udon, these Japanese dishes (and a couple of Japanese-American iterations) will inspire your kitchen adventures ahead.

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Tonkotsu Ramen
Making a great bowl of ramen is 100% doable at home.
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Salmon Teriyaki
Roasted and broiled salmon is coated in an easy four-ingredient teriyaki sauce.
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An endlessly flexible noodle dish, yakisoba adapts beautifully to any vegetables and thick cuts of meat you have on hand.
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Tamago Kake Gohan (Egg Over Rice)
This hot, savory breakfast of rice, egg, soy sauce, mirin, and hondashi is super simple to make, yet offers a really comforting and nutritious start to the day.
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Japanese Pancakes
A step-by-step guide to making fluffy, soufflé-like Japanese pancakes at home.
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Katsu Sando
Crispy pork cutlet, kewpie mayonnaise, and thinly shredded cabbage sandwiched between slices of plush milk bread.
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Tonkatsu Sauce
A dark-brown sauce that’s served alongside tonkatsu (crispy deep-fried pork cutlet). It’s a beloved condiment in Japanese home cooking for a reason.
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Shoyu Ramen
With tender pork, jammy eggs, chewy noodles, and extra-flavorful broth, everyone will ask when you’re making this again.
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A popular street food found in Japan, tsukune are chicken meatballs that are threaded on skewers, grilled, and brushed with a sweet and salty syrup-like sauce.
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Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelet)
This slightly sweet Japanese rolled omelet is the perfect side for rice.
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Japanese Milk Bread
Soft and fluffy Japanese milk bread is the perfect everyday sandwich loaf, and it's surprisingly simple to make.
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Chili Crisp Mazemen
This saucy, highly slurpable Japanese noodle dish is all about the kaleidoscope of toppings.
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Miso Soup

Your favorite pre-sushi soup is actually one of the easiest recipes to make from scratch at home, and only requires a handful of ingredients. One of them is dashi — a very simple broth made from kombu (a dried seaweed) and dried bonito fish flakes.

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Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Noodle Salad)

Not only is the Japanese chilled noodle salad absolutely refreshing, it also features the sweetest, crispest vegetables: tomatoes, corn, cucumbers. Plus a light and tangy sauce that takes no time to whip up.

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Paitan-Style Ramen

Paitan ramen is one of the coziest types of ramen because of its thick and creamy broth.

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Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
Rice, steamed broccoli, and carrots turn sweet and savory teriyaki chicken into a complete meal.
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Stovetop Japanese Rice

Short-grain Japanese rice is quite different from long-grain basmati or jasmine rice, so achieving the right texture — glossy and tender but not sticky — calls for a particular cooking method.

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Salmon and Black Sesame Onigiri (Rice Balls)

These rice balls are a perfect answer to the mid-afternoon homemade snack craving. Fair warning that they’ll harden and lose their freshness in the fridge, so they’re best eaten as soon as they’re packed. If you’d like to make them ahead, you can also store the rice mix in an airtight container and wrap them when you’re ready to eat.

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Udon Noodle Soup with Bok Choy and Poached Egg

Cook bok choy and noodles in some chicken broth and you can have a very satisfying bowl of soup within 15 minutes of walking in the door.

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Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)
This simple Japanese meal consists of chicken and egg cooked in an umami-rich sauce served atop freshly cooked rice.
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Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce can be drizzled over meats and veggies or served on the side as a dipping sauce.
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Dashi Broth

Dashi is an incredibly simple broth, and it forms one of the culinary cornerstones of Japanese cooking. It’s made in about 10 minutes with just three ingredients: water, kombu (dried kelp), and bonito fish flakes. The resulting clear broth tastes like the essence of the sea.

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Mochi Ice Cream
These small Japanese-American frozen confections combine two components – a ball of cool, creamy ice cream and a soft, chewy shell made from glutinous rice flour – into the perfect bite.
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