Sweet Potato Imo Mochi Recipe: How to Make, Store & Enjoy

We’re diving into the cozy, comforting world of imo mochi, a delightful twist on the traditional Japanese mochi that swaps the usual rice base for sweet potatoes. This sweet and chewy treat combines the heartiness of sweet potatoes with the classic texture of mochi, creating a snack that’s both satisfying and unique.

Imo mochi, with its roots in Japanese cuisine, has gained popularity for its simplicity and the sweet, earthy flavor that sweet potatoes naturally provide. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways, from being pan-fried to a golden crisp, topped with a sprinkle of soy sauce, or even enjoyed as is, showcasing the natural sweetness of the ingredients.

Join us as we explore how to make this delightful snack, perfect for those looking for a twist on traditional mochi or simply in search of a new sweet potato recipe to fall in love with.


Now that we’ve introduced you to the delights of imo mochi, let’s dive into what you’ll need to create these sweet, chewy treats at home. We’ll start with the essentials for the dough, followed by some optional toppings to enhance your mochi experience.

For the Imo Mochi Dough

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes (about 400g), peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup of glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (adjust based on the sweetness of the potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup of water (you may need more or less, depending on the moisture content of your sweet potatoes)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Cornstarch for dusting

Optional Toppings

To add an extra layer of flavor and texture to your imo mochi, consider these toppings:

  • Soybean flour (kinako) mixed with sugar for a nutty, sweet coating
  • Ground black sesame seeds mixed with sugar for a sweet and savory option
  • Melted butter for a rich, decadent finish
  • Sweet soy sauce (a mixture of soy sauce and sugar, reduced to a syrup) for a sweet and umami glaze
  • Whipped cream and fruit for a dessert twist

With these ingredients ready, you’re all set to make your very own imo mochi. Let’s move on to the preparation steps.

Required Tools and Equipment

To make imo mochi, having the right tools and equipment on hand is as crucial as having all the ingredients ready. Let’s ensure we’ve got everything we need to embark on this delightful culinary journey.

Steaming Setup

First and foremost, a steaming setup is vital for cooking the sweet potatoes until they’re perfectly soft. You can use a traditional steamer basket, a steamer insert, or even a makeshift steaming setup with a colander and a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Ensure the sweet potatoes are evenly chopped to ensure uniform cooking.

Mixing Bowl

A large mixing bowl is necessary for combining the steamed, mashed sweet potatoes with glutinous rice flour and other ingredients. Opt for a bowl that gives you ample space to mix thoroughly, ensuring the sweet potato and flour meld together into a smooth, homogenous mixture.

Potato Masher or Fork

After steaming, the sweet potatoes need to be mashed until no large lumps remain. A potato masher is ideal for this task, but a sturdy fork can also do the job well. The goal is to achieve a smooth consistency, which is the backbone of the mochi’s texture.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Precision matters in baking and mochi-making alike. Have your measuring cups and spoons ready to accurately measure the glutinous rice flour, sugar, water, and salt. This ensures the balance of flavors and textures in your imo mochi hits the mark every time.

Baking Sheet and Parchment Paper

Once your imo mochi dough is ready, shaping and baking come next. A baking sheet lined with parchment paper ensures that your mochi pieces don’t stick to the surface, making cleanup a breeze. Whether you’re opting to bake or grill your imo mochi, this setup will be indispensable.

Spatula or Dough Scraper

A spatula or dough scraper not only helps in transferring the imo mochi dough from the mixing bowl to the baking sheet but also aids in folding the dough and dividing it into portions. This tool ensures the process is smooth, efficient, and mess-free.

Brushes for Toppings

If you decide to brush your imo mochi with butter, sweet soy sauce, or any liquid topping, having a pastry brush or a small food brush on hand is essential. It allows for even application, imparting flavor to every bite.

Prep Work Before Cooking

Before diving into the magic of making imo mochi, let’s ensure we’ve got everything prepped. Proper preparation sets the stage for a seamless cooking experience.

Cleaning and Preparing the Sweet Potatoes

First up, sweet potatoes are the star of our dish, so they deserve some special attention. Begin by giving your sweet potatoes a good rinse under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Using a vegetable brush, scrub their skins gently but thoroughly. Since we’ll be steaming the sweet potatoes, there’s no need to peel them yet. The high steam heat will make the peeling process way easier and preserve most of their nutrients and flavor. Dry the sweet potatoes with a clean towel or paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Now, they’re ready for steaming.

Preparing Other Ingredients

While our sweet potatoes are becoming tender and steamy, let’s turn our attention to the other components of our imo mochi. Measure out your glutinous rice flour—we’ll need it soon after the sweet potatoes are done. If you’re adding sweetness or flavor to the dough, now is the time to get your sugar, salt, or vanilla extract measured and set aside. This prep also includes any toppings or fillings you plan to use. If you’re going with a sweet route, perhaps measure out coconut flakes, sesame seeds, or chopped nuts. For a savory twist, have your cheese shredded and herbs finely chopped. Having these ingredients ready and at arm’s length will streamline the mixing and shaping process, letting you focus purely on crafting your imo mochi to perfection.

Cooking Instructions

After preparing our ingredients and toppings, it’s time to dive into the exciting process of cooking imo mochi. Let’s make sure our sweet potatoes are ready to transform into this delicious, chewy treat.

Making the Dough

  1. Start by peeling the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them thoroughly in a large bowl until no lumps remain. The smoother the mash, the better the texture of our imo mochi will be.
  2. Gradually add in the glutinous rice flour to the mashed sweet potatoes. For one cup of mashed sweet potatoes, we’ll need about two-thirds of a cup of glutinous rice flour. Stir continuously to incorporate well.
  3. If you’re adding sugar, salt, or vanilla extract to enhance the flavor, now is the time. We recommend a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt for that perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of savory. Vanilla extract is optional but adds a lovely aroma. Mix everything together until a soft yet pliable dough forms. It should not stick to your hands too much. If it does, sprinkle a little more glutinous rice flour until the right consistency is achieved.
  4. The dough is now ready for shaping. Let’s move on to the next exciting step!

Shaping and Preparing the Imo Mochi

  1. Before we start shaping, let’s set up a clean workspace and dust it lightly with glutinous rice flour to prevent sticking. Keep a small bowl of water nearby to wet your hands slightly, making it easier to handle the dough.
  2. Take a small portion of the dough – about the size of a golf ball – and roll it between your palms to form a smooth ball. Flatten the ball gently to form a disc shape. If you’re adding fillings like cheese or nuts, press them into the center of the disc now, then gently wrap the dough around the filling and roll again to seal it inside.
  3. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, placing the shaped imo mochi on a plate or a tray lined with parchment paper. Ensure they are not touching to prevent them from sticking together.
  4. Once all the mochi is shaped, they are ready to be cooked. You can choose to boil, bake, or fry them based on your preference. Each method offers a distinct texture and flavor. Boiling yields a softer mochi, baking gives a slightly crispy surface with a chewy inside, and frying offers the crispiest texture.

We’ll move on to our chosen cooking method next, getting closer to savoring our sweet and chewy imo mochi.

Frying the Imo Mochi

Frying imo mochi transforms these sweet potato delights into crispy, golden treats with a chewy center. Let’s guide you through setting up your frying station and share some essential frying tips.

Preparing Your Frying Station

To ensure a smooth frying process, it’s crucial to have everything ready before you start. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A deep, heavy-bottomed pan or a deep fryer.
  • Enough oil to fill the pan about 2 inches deep. We recommend a neutral oil with a high smoking point, such as vegetable or canola oil.
  • A slotted spoon or spider strainer for safely removing the mochi from the hot oil.
  • Paper towels or a wire rack placed over a baking sheet to drain excess oil from the fried mochi.
  • A candy or deep-fry thermometer to monitor oil temperature, ensuring it stays consistently around 350°F (175°C).

Preheat your oil over medium heat while you prepare the imo mochi dough balls for frying.

Frying Tips and Techniques

Achieving the perfect crispy texture while maintaining a gooey center requires a bit of finesse. Follow these tips for best results:

  1. Oil Temperature is Key: Maintain the oil temperature at around 350°F (175°C). If the oil is too hot, the outside will burn before the inside is fully cooked. Too cool, and the mochi will absorb too much oil and become greasy.
  2. Do Not Overcrowd the Pan: Fry the mochi in batches to avoid dropping the oil’s temperature too much. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and soggy mochi.
  3. Constant Monitoring: Keep a close eye on each piece as they can go from perfectly golden to burnt quite quickly. Each piece should take about 2-4 minutes to reach that desirable golden brown color.
  4. Drain Well: After frying, let the imo mochi drain on paper towels or a wire rack to remove any excess oil. This step will help keep them crisp.
  5. Serve Immediately: Frying lends a delightful crispiness to the exterior of the mochi that is best enjoyed fresh. Serve them warm for that irresistible crunch contrasting the soft, chewy interior.

Following these steps and tips, your fried imo mochi will turn out perfectly crispy on the outside with a soft, chewy center, ready to be savored with your favorite toppings or dipping sauces.

Serving Suggestions

After mastering the fine art of making imo mochi, let’s elevate the dining experience with some delectable serving suggestions. Whether you’re yearning for a sweet dip or looking for presentation tips to impress, we’ve got you covered.

Pairing with Sauces

Imo mochi pairs wonderfully with a variety of sauces, enhancing its natural sweetness and chewy texture. For a classic combination, try a homemade soy sauce syrup. Simply mix equal parts soy sauce and sugar, heat until the sugar dissolves, and drizzle over your warm imo mochi. If you prefer something on the sweeter side, a dusting of kinako (roasted soybean flour) mixed with a little sugar offers a nutty sweetness that complements the mochi’s flavor. For those with a penchant for decadence, warm chocolate sauce or a dollop of sweet red bean paste makes for an irresistible treat. Remember to serve these sauces on the side or drizzle them over the mochi right before serving to maintain the perfect texture.

Presentation Ideas

How you present your imo mochi can turn this mouthwatering treat into a feast for the eyes. Paying attention to color and arrangement can elevate your serving game. Place the mochi on a beautiful plate or a traditional Japanese serving dish for an authentic touch. Garnish with a sprinkle of green matcha powder for a pop of color and a subtle bitterness that balances the sweetness. Alternatively, arrange the mochi with fresh fruit slices or berries for a refreshing contrast. If you’re serving imo mochi as part of a larger meal or dessert spread, consider using small individual plates or bamboo skewers for easy sharing and a playful presentation. With these suggestions, your imo mochi will not only taste fantastic but also look stunning, making your homemade treat a memorable part of any dining experience.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

After enjoying the delightful taste and texture of freshly made imo mochi, you might wonder how best to store any leftovers or make them ahead for future enjoyment. Here, we’ll guide you through effective storing and reheating tips to keep your imo mochi delicious for days.

How to Store

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and texture of imo mochi. For any uneaten mochi, follow these steps:

  1. Cool Completely: Ensure the imo mochi is cooled to room temperature before storage to prevent condensation which can lead to sogginess.
  2. Airtight Container: Place the mochi in an airtight container. If you’ve made different flavors or types of imo mochi, you might consider wrapping each piece in plastic wrap before placing them in the container; this helps to keep flavors distinct and prevents them from sticking together.
  3. Refrigerate or Freeze:
  • For short-term storage, keep the airtight container in the refrigerator. Imo mochi can be stored this way for up to 1 week.
  • For long-term storage, freezing is the best option. When stored in a freezer-safe airtight container or bag, imo mochi can last for up to one month. Make sure to label the container with the date so you can keep track of how long they’ve been stored.

Reheating Instructions

When you’re ready to enjoy your stored imo mochi, proper reheating will help restore its original texture and warmth:

  1. From the Refrigerator:
  • Microwave: Place imo mochi on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for about 20-30 seconds, or until it becomes soft and warm.
  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C). Place the imo mochi on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover it with aluminum foil. Warm it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.
  1. From the Freezer:
  • Allow the imo mochi to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, follow the above reheating instructions for refrigerated mochi.
  • For a quicker method, you can microwave frozen imo mochi covered with a damp paper towel for about 30-60 seconds on high. However, this might slightly affect the texture.

Imo mochi is best enjoyed when it’s soft and warm, so don’t overheat it to avoid drying out or hardening the texture. With these tips, you can savor the delightful imo mochi any time you wish.


We’ve explored the delightful world of imo mochi together, from its sweet beginnings to the final, satisfying bite. Whether you’re wrapping it up with coconut flakes or diving into the richness of cheese-filled centers, there’s no denying the joy this sweet potato mochi brings to the table. Remember, it’s not just about following the steps; it’s about making it your own with each choice of filling and cooking method. And when you’ve got leftovers, don’t fret. Our tips ensure your imo mochi stays as fresh as the day you made them. So go ahead, give it a try, and let the sweet, chewy goodness of imo mochi fill your home with warmth and delight.

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