If you like the bouncy, springy, chewy, sticky texture of mochi and you like the rich, sweet taste of butter, sugar, milk and eggs of regular cakes, then you will love Matcha Butter Mochi! It's bouncy, beautiful, and sweet, and though traditional mochi sounds like it could be intimidating to make, Butter Mochi only takes 5 minutes to whip together. Shall we?
What is Butter Mochi?
Butter mochi is a classic Hawaiian dessert, often called by the full "Hawaiian Butter Mochi" by non-Hawaiians, originating as a multi-faceted fusion of local Hawaiian culture and Asian culinary influences. The primary ingredients—glutinous rice flour, butter, coconut milk—and resulting taste and texture are a kind of hybrid of Japanese mochi, Chinese nian gao, Filipino Bibingka, and Korean sweet chapssal tteok. However, Butter Mochi is unmistakably its own thing.
Butter, along with milk and eggs, give Butter Mochi richness similar to regular cake. Mochiko, Japanese sweet rice flour, is the ingredient that gives Butter Mochi it's characteristic bouncy, chewy texture. Rather than being shaped and steamed like mochi, Butter Mochi is a batter baked in a pan in the oven.
This version infuses matcha green tea powder throughout the Butter Mochi that visually imparts a bright green glow. Matcha's earthy, subtly nutty flavor undertone counter-balances the sweetness of the sugar and glutinous rice, as well as the richness from the eggs, milk, and coconut milk. Matcha Butter Mochi is bouncy, beautiful, and definitely a must-make.
Ingredients You Need For Matcha Butter Mochi
Here is a list of the ingredients you need for Matcha Butter Mochi:
- Mochiko, also known as sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour
- Matcha green tea powder
- Baking powder
- Coconut milk
- Vanilla Extract
Optional: Toasted sesame seeds, either black or white, or shredded coconut, are optional ingredients you can sprinkle onto the batter right before baking. Either one will make a visual statement and add a little extra toastiness.
What is Mochiko
Mochiko is a type of rice flour made from sweet rice, sometimes called sticky rice or glutinous rice. Though mochiko is generally associated with Japanese cuisine, it is a popular ingredient across many Asian cuisines, sometimes used in savory dishes, and mostly used in sweet desserts and confections. When baked or cooked, mochiko imparts a distinctive texture that ranges from bouncy and squishy to sticky and chewy. If you've ever had mochi, mochi ice cream, or any of the small colorful rice cakes like Korean tteok/dduk, Filipino bibingka, and Chinese nian gao, you're familiar with the texture!
Though the name has the word "glutinous" in it, glutinous rice flour does not have "gluten," spelled with an "e" in it, so it is in fact, gluten-free. The word glutinous refers to the high starch content of the sweet rice, which is what makes it sweet and sticky.
This is the only brand of mochiko I use. It is grown and milled in California by a multi-generation Japanese-American rice farming family!
Other Types of Sweet Rice Flour
There are several types of sweet rice flours that are similar to mochiko in that they are derived from sweet rice, but different in the way they are processed and therefore slightly different in the final texture and how it is used:
- Shiratamako is a Japanese type of glutinous rice flour, processed soaking the rice first then milling into a much finer final product that is better suited for silky mochi confections. This is not as widely available as mochiko, and is generally more expensive.
- Thai glutinous rice flour is also made by the "wet milling" method and is used for smooth silky dumplings. If you can't find a glutinous rice flour labeled mochiko, this is a good substitute.
- Sweet Rice Flour is basically any other "Western" brand that makes its own finely ground sweet rice flour, e.g. Bob's Red Mill.
What is Matcha
Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from dried Camellia sinensis tea leaves, which are the same tea leaves used to make regular brewed green tea, white tea, and black teas. However, rather than brewing the dried tea leaves and drinking the liquid like regular tea, for matcha you whisk the fine powder into liquid and consume all of it. Matcha powder doesn't dissolve.
There are several factors that distinguish matcha from other teas made from the same plant. How the tea plants are grown, which leaves are harvested, when they are harvested, and how the leaves are dried and processed all determine whether tea will be matcha or regular tea. All of these details in the processing of matcha ensures that the vibrant green color is retained in the final product, but more importantly the health benefits.
Like most teas, matcha has a slightly bitter, tannic taste. Different types and styles of matcha can range in flavor from grassy and herbal to almost sweet.
Here are some of my favorite matcha powders:
Health Benefits of Matcha
The extraordinary health benefits of matcha come from its antioxidant content, specifically a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate aka EGCG. This antioxidant is found primarily in green tea, but the powdered matcha form has almost 140 times the EGCG as regular brewed green tea.
Here's how matcha's antioxidants and other compounds can benefit health:
- EGCG has strong anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, and thus has the capability to prevent and fight a broad range of disease and chronic illness including cancer specifically skin, liver and lung cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Research has shown that EGCG in matcha may reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the accumulation of plaque in blood vessels thereby reducing the overall risk of heart disease.
- Studies suggest that EGCG in matcha may help boost metabolism and promote fat oxidation. While matcha alone is not a magic solution for weight loss, it may be a helpful component of a healthy diet and exercise routine.
- Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress. The caffeine in combination with L-theanine in matcha can enhance mental focus and alertness without the jittery side effects that can be associated with high caffeine intake.
- Matcha may aid the liver in detoxification. One study has shown that, 80 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease were given either a placebo or 500mg of green tea extract for 90 days. The results of one study have shown that individuals who took a green tea extract for 90 days had significant reduction in liver enzymes, which are a sig of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Matcha is grown in the shade, which can increase its chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is believed to support the body's natural detoxification processes by aiding in the elimination of toxins and heavy metals.
Ingredients Notes and Resources
- Mochiko. I have only ever used this brand of mochiko. It is grown in California by a multi-generation Japanese-American farming family. You can buy it at most Japanese and Asian grocery stores, and online.
- Matcha Powder. This is my favorite matcha for drinking, and in this recipe, will create a vibrant green Matcha Butter Mochi! However, using such an expensive matcha is not required, and almost a waste because the flavor is competing with a lot of other ingredients. Use any organic, shade-grown matcha green tea powder.
- Sugar. Plain granulated sugar works the best here.
- Salt. Either this kosher salt or this ancient sea salt for every day use in the kitchen.
- Butter. I use salted butter for everything because I love salt. You can use unsalted butter, but why.
- Milk. You can use any fat percentage of regular dairy milk, though I have had the best results with 2%. Even nonfat/skim milk is fine if you use a full-fat coconut milk.
- Coconut milk. Use plain, unsweetened coconut milk in a can. Any fat percentage is fine, though full-fat will give you the richest texture. What you don't want to get is the kind of coconut milk in a carton usually located in the plant-based milk aisle. Also, not coconut cream, and not cream of coconut.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds. Any Japanese or Asian grocery store will have sesame seeds that are already toasted. If you can only find raw or unhulled sesame seeds, lightly shake them in a sauté pan over medium heat for about 90 seconds until they are fragrantly nutty.
- Black Sesame Seeds. Any Japanese or Asian grocery store will have. Make sure to get black sesame seeds that are already toasted.
How to Make Matcha Butter Mochi
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Using the wrapper and ½ tablespoon of the butter, generously grease the bottom and sides of your baking pan. Or, spray with baking spray.
Whisk together 4 large eggs, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups of milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a large bowl just until well combined and pale golden in color, about 2 minutes. Try not to beat or whip too much air into the batter.
In a sieve directly over the bowl with the liquid ingredients, sift together all the mochiko, 2 tablespoons matcha powder, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon sea salt directly into the liquid ingredients.
Stir dry ingredients into liquid ingredients until well incorporated. You do not need to worry about overmixing because mochiko does not have gluten.
Add the melted butter and 1 can coconut milk and mix until fully combined. The batter will be liquidy.
Pour the Matcha Butter Mochi into the prepared baking pan. Tap the baking pan against the countertop to level out the batter and pop any air bubbles. If you are using sesame seeds, evenly sprinkle in a thin layer over the top of the batter.
Bake the Matcha Butter Mochi for about 1 hour, or until the edges are golden brown and no longer wiggles in the center when you shake the pan. Place the pan on a wire rack and run a knife with a thin blade around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides. Let the Matcha Butter Mochi cool in the pan completely, about 1 hour.
Tip the Butter Mochi out on to a cutting board upside down. Slice the Butter Mochi from the bottom side with a plastic knife for the cleanest cuts, and serve or wrap for storage.
Pro Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
- For an extra boost of matcha flavor, add up to 2 tablespoons more of the matcha powder, totaling 4 tablespoons matcha powder in the recipe. This does not affect the texture of the final Matcha Butter Mochi.
- Make sure to grease all the way into the corners of the pan to make sure the Butter Mochi releases.
- Dust the buttered/greased pan with some of the mochiko or regular rice flour to make a very crackly crust around the edges of the final baked Butter Mochi.
- Whisk and stir by hand rather than an electric mixer, which will aerate the batter too much and give it a fluffier, more cake-like texture rather than the bouncy, chewy, mochi-like texture we want in Butter Mochi.
- Make sure to tap the baking pan with the batter in it against the counter to pop out any air bubbles.
- Use a PLASTIC knife, like the disposable kind, to cut the mochi for the smoothest, edges and no sticking. I tried a serrated knife, my ultra sharp Bob Kramer heated, run under water, slicked with oil and butter, and none of those even came close to a clean cut. I have no idea how or why the plastic knife works, but it does.
Tools and Equipment for Matcha Butter Mochi
There isn't any special tool or piece of equipment required for Matcha Butter Mochi. In fact, I highly encourage you to skip hauling out heavy stand or hand mixers for this. However, that doesn't mean there are a couple of things that might make this Matcha Butter Mochi easier than it already is to get from pantry to plate.
- 9x13-inch pan. Because the final baked mochi is very sticky, you will have to grease or spray the pan no matter what. So it doesn't matter if the pan is non-stick or not. I love this pan with the 90° angle, perfectly squared off corners. This is a more affordable one available on amazon.
- Ceramic 9x13-inch pan. Because Butter Mochi is considered something of a "homestyle" recipe, I love the look of it in baked and served directly out of a cute ceramic dish. And how cute is this sage green one that matches the matcha green???
- Parchment paper.Iif you're really worried about the mochi sticking to the pan, use parchment paper. Grease the pan directly first, layer with parchment, then grease the parchment. If you don't grease the parchment, the mochi will stick to it!
- Glass mixing bowls. You will need a fairly large mixing bowl to make this.
- Sifter. I use an inexpensive metal wire sieve to sift dry ingredients together. P.S. metal sieves are great for straining bone broth!
- Whisk. So much easier to grab a whisk out of the utensil drawer than haul a mixer out of the cabinets!
- Spatula. To scrape every last drop of that precious butter mochi batter out of the bowl and into the pan.
Different Size Pans for Baking Matcha Butter Mochi
- Can You Bake Matcha Butter Mochi in a Muffin/Cupcake Tin? Yes! And I highly encourage it because you get MAXIMUM crispy caramelized edges! Bake this Matcha Butter Mochi recipe as is in two 12-cup muffin tins, yielding 24 mochi muffins. Fill the muffin cups ⅘ full with just a ½-inch of space at the top. Mochi muffins do not rise like regular muffins and will not overflow. No muffin tops!
- Can You Bake Matcha Butter Mochi in a Square Pan? Yes! You can bake this Matcha Butter Mochi recipe as is in two 8x8-inch square pans. Or, make half the recipe and bake in one 8x8-inch pan. The final product will be a little flatter, so check the butter mochi at 45 minutes.
- Can You Bake Matcha Butter Mochi in a Round Pan? Yes! You can bake this Matcha Butter Mochi recipe as is in two 8-inch round pans or two 9-inch round cake pans. Or make half the recipe and bake in one 8-inch or 9-inch pan. The final product will be a little flatter, so check the butter mochi at 45 minutes.
- Can You Bake the Cake in a Loaf Pan? Not recommended! Unless you have four loaf pans and only fill them about 1-inch high each time.
I baked a killer Tres Leches Cake in the only 9x13-inch pan I owned and took it to my then-boyfriend's house for a dinner party. We broke up and I never got the pan back. So I make my Butter Mochi in one 9x9-inch square pan and the overflow in a muffin pan.
No I do not want to buy another 9x13-inch pan.
Leftovers and Storage
You can absolutely keep leftover Matcha Butter Mochi for several days on the countertop and up to a month in the freezer. You just need to take care to do a couple of things for optimal storage:
- Pre-slice the Matcha Butter Mochi into individual portions
- Wrap each individual piece of Matcha Butter Mochi in parchment paper (best option) or plastic cling wrap (acceptable option) to keep them from sticking together.
- Air-tight container to keep the mochi from drying out and getting a little too chewy (unless you like that)
Here are detailed tips for how long to store leftovers:
Countertop. Keep leftover Matcha Butter Mochi in an airtight container on the countertop for two days.
Refrigerator. Keep leftover Matcha Butter Mochi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for five days. Take individual servings out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature or heat gently in the microwave for 30 seconds or in a toaster oven on medium.
Freezer. Store Matcha Butter Mochi for the longer term, about 1 month, in the freezer. It is best to freeze what you know you wont eat right away. Wrap each portion in parchment paper to keep from sticking, and store in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, or pop into a toaster oven or air-fryer for a few minutes.
Ingredients Substitutions and Varying Ratios
The Butter Mochi itself is fairly forgiving in terms of flavor additions and measurement precision. However, there aren't many actual substitutes for the ingredients themselves, e.g. sweet/glutinous rice flour, butter, sugar, and eggs.
- Can you use a different type of flour? No. You can use different styles or brands of sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour, but you cannot use any other kind of flour, e.g. wheat flour, cassava or other starch, or ground nut flours. Regular rice flour as explained above, is not "sticky" and does not produce the mochi "bounce."
- Can You Substitute Out the Butter? The point of Butter Mochi is butter. If you want to use oil, make a different recipe. That being said, you can absolutely substitute a plant-based butter that has the same general flavor and texture of regular butter in this recipe.
- Can you Replace the Eggs? I have not yet personally made this Matcha Butter Mochi with an egg substitute, either store-bought or something like ground flaxseeds. If you do, please let me know how it turns out! I would recommend against ground flaxseed though, as they will take away from the smooth texture of the mochi.
- Milk. If you would prefer not to use regular dairy milk, you can substitute with an additional can of coconut milk, any other plant-based milk, or you can simply add 1½ cups plain water. You do need the liquid to create the characteristic mochi bounce. Just be mindful that if you're trying to make this Matcha Butter Mochi dairy-free, you also have to consider replacing the butter.
- Can You Make it Vegan? If you replace the eggs, butter, and regular dairy milk with appropriate plant-based substitutes, the butter mochi will be vegan. That being said, I have not applied any of these substitutions myself. If you do, let me know how it turns out!
Varying the Amount of an Ingredient
- Sugar. If you prefer something less sweet, you can decrease the amount of sugar by up to half without affecting the texture of the final Butter Mochi. However, do not use a low- or no-calorie sugar substitute.
- Butter. My mom, a stubborn product of the lowfat diet era, requires that I reduce the butter by half in anything I ever make or bake. I have made this with half the amount of butter (¼ cup melted butter) and as long as you use coconut milk, the final result will be fine.
- Coconut Milk. Coconut milk contains some fat that contributes to the richness of the final butter mochi. If you would prefer not to use coconut milk because of the flavor, you can add an extra 1 cup of regular dairy milk, as long as the dairy milk is at least 2% fat.
More Matcha Recipes
If you're here for the matcha, bake this Matcha Butter Mochi first, then come back and try more of these recipes using matcha!
Matcha Butter Mochi Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) melted
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk 12 to 14-ounce
- 1 1-pound box mochiko, or sweet glutinous rice flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- optional: toasted or black sesame seeds
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter or baking spray.
- Whisk together 4 large eggs, 2 cups sugar, milk, coconut milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a large bowl until fluffy and pale golden in color.
- In a sieve directly over the bowl with the liquid ingredients, sift together mochiko, 2 tablespoons matcha powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon sea salt directly into the liquid ingredients. Whisk until well incorporated. You do not need to worry about overmixing because mochiko does not have gluten.
- Add the melted butter and mix until fully combined. The batter will be liquidy.
- Pour into the Matcha Butter Mochi into the prepared baking pan. Lightly tap the pan against the countertop to level out the batter and pop any air bubbles. If you are using sesame seeds, evenly sprinkle sesame seeds in a thin layer over the top of the batter.
- Bake the Matcha Butter Mochi for about 1 hour, or until the butter mochi no longer wiggles in the center when you shake the pan.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and run a knife with a thin blade around the edge of the pan. Let the Matcha Butter Mochi cool in the pan completely, about 1 hour. Tip the Butter Mochi out on to a cutting board to slice and serve or wrap for storage.