Mochi Ice Cream

published Jul 8, 2023
summer
Mochi Ice Cream Recipe

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.

Serves8

Prep30 minutes

Cook5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
mochi ice cream on a plate
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling Debbie Wee

Attention, fellow little-treat-lovers! Mochi ice cream is the one thing you’ll want to make and keep in your freezer until summer ends. These adorably tiny frozen confections fuse two components — cool, creamy ice cream and a soft, chewy rice flour wrapper made from glutinous rice flour — into the perfect bite. Enjoy these as a post-dinner dessert, an afternoon energy boost, or whenever you crave a break from the classic cone from a scoop shop. 

What Is Mochi Ice Cream?

Mochi ice cream is mochi, the Japanese rice cakes with that iconic taffy-like chewy texture, filled with a golf ball-sized round of ice cream. Mochi itself has existed in Japanese cuisine since the Nara Period (710–794 CE), but the ice cream variety is the brainchild of Japanese American businesswoman Frances Hashimoto, who ideated the mash-up of ice cream and mochi in the 1990s. 

Since its conception, mochi ice cream has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity. Even if you’ve never tried them before, there’s a likelihood that you’ve brushed shoulders with mochi ice cream in the frozen dessert aisle of Trader Joe’s, or maybe on the menu of a Japanese restaurant. 

Customization and minimalism make mochi ice cream worth the effort of making from scratch. It also cuts down on costs! A few pantry staples and a pint of ice cream on hand means you can make many more batches of mochi than you can buy with the same money.

Ingredients You Need to Make Mochi Ice Cream

Here’s everything you need to make your very own mochi ice cream.

  • Glutinous rice flour: The gluten-free flour made from short-grain sweet rice is the key to the stretchy, chewy pull that makes mochi ice cream undeniable.  
  • Granulated sugar: This provides a light sweetness to the outer mochi shell. 
  • Cornstarch or potato starch: A dusting of cornstarch or potato starch on your work surface helps to prevent stickiness when you shape your mochi ice cream. 
  • Food coloring: This is optional, but the use of food coloring that tonally matches the color of your ice cream will make it easier to distinguish what flavor the mochi ice cream is without having to open a ball. 
  • Ice cream: Popular mochi ice cream flavors range from vanilla to matcha to strawberry, but feel free to customize with pints of your favorite flavors. Mango, coffee, ube, or cookies and cream would all be delectable.
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling Debbie Wee

How to Make Mochi Ice Cream

The first few you make might not be perfect, but as you become one with the mochi dough and learn how to work quickly so that the ice cream doesn’t melt, you’ll never need to shell out on the store-bought stuff again. Once you get the hang of it, the process should be fun and soothing!

  • Use an egg carton as your ice cream mold. Shaping your ice cream scoops in an egg carton lined with plastic wrap helps create and retain a round ball shape. 
  • Work quickly. The ice cream balls, however solid, can melt rather quickly when they touch the heat of your hands when shaping. Pulling each ball from the freezer as you go and shaping as quickly and efficiently as you can will work in your favor. 
  • Dust on more cornstarch. While you work through making each piece, sprinkle on more cornstarch or potato starch as needed to prevent sticking. 

Mochi Ice Cream Recipe

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.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pint

    ice cream, such as vanilla, matcha, strawberry, or a combination

  • 1 cup

    glutinous or sweet rice flour, such as Koda Farms mochiko

  • 1 cup

    water

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 drop

    gel food coloring, such as green or red (optional)

  • Cornstarch or potato starch, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Let 1 pint of ice cream sit at room temperature to soften slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.

  2. Line a baking sheet or egg carton with plastic wrap. Scoop out 2 tablespoons ice cream (about 1 ounce) with 2 spoons or a 2-tablespoon ice cream scoop, and shape into a tight ball. Place on the baking sheet or in a well in the egg carton. Repeat until you have 8 balls. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

  3. Place 1 cup glutinous or sweet rice flour, 1 cup water, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl. If using, add in 1 drop gel food coloring (green for matcha, red for strawberry). Using a damp flexible spatula, mix until combined – the mixture will be lumpy and the sugar will not be fully dissolved.

  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute. Fold over the mixture with the spatula, scraping down the sides. Microwave on high for 1 minute more.

  5. Dust a cutting board generously with cornstarch. Dust a work surface with cornstarch. Transfer the mochi dough onto the work surface. Sprinkle the top lightly with more cornstarch. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 7x10-inch rectangle that’s 1/4-inch thick, dusting with more cornstarch as needed if sticky. Transfer to the cutting board and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

  6. Using a large knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 even rectangles (about 2 1/2 x 3 1/2-inches each). Brush off any excess cornstarch. Line a plate with plastic wrap, then stack the dough pieces on the plate with a sheet of plastic wrap in between each one. Cover the top piece loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  7. Assemble the mochi ice creams: Have a baking sheet ready. Place the mochi rectangles on the work surface, keeping the plastic wrap underneath. Place 1 ice cream ball in the center of 1 mochi rectangle. Work quickly, stretch the mochi over the ice cream until completely covered, then pinch the dough together tightly at the seam to seal.

  8. Wrap the mochi ball with the plastic wrap and twist tightly to encourage extra sealing. Place the mochi ball on the work surface and very gently push down with the heel of your hand while moving your hand in 2 small circular motions, then gently cup the ball with both hands toward the end to form a flat round that’s about 2-inches thick.

  9. Place on the baking sheet and transfer to the freezer. Repeat forming the remaining mochi ice creams. Freeze until firm, 3 to 4 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The mochi ice creams can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to several weeks.