Perfect Kuri Kinton Recipe: Celebrate New Year’s with Style

Imagine diving into a dish that’s not just a treat for your taste buds but also a piece of cultural heritage. Kuri kinton, with its sweet golden hues, originates from Japan and is traditionally enjoyed during the New Year to bring wealth and happiness. This delightful dish combines the earthy sweetness of chestnuts and the smooth texture of sweet potatoes, presenting a unique blend of flavors that are both comforting and luxurious.

Making kuri kinton might seem like a culinary challenge, but it’s surprisingly straightforward. You’ll love how the natural sweetness of chestnuts pairs beautifully with the creaminess of mashed sweet potatoes. Whether you’re looking to expand your palate with international flavors or aiming to impress at your next gathering, mastering kuri kinton is a rewarding endeavor that’s sure to garner appreciation from all who taste it.


Gathering your ingredients is the first step toward mastering this symbolic and delightful dish of kuri kinton. Below, find the necessary components neatly categorized for your convenience.


  • 300 grams of chestnuts, peeled and cooked until soft.

Sweet Potatoes

  • 600 grams of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar, preferably white for a cleaner taste.
  • 2 tablespoons of mirin, to add a subtle sweetness and sheen to your kuri kinton.

Equipment Needed

To make kuri kinton, you’ll need a few essential pieces of kitchen equipment. Ensuring you have these items ready before starting will make the process smoother and more enjoyable.

Measuring Tools

Accurately measuring your ingredients is crucial for the perfect balance of flavors in kuri kinton. You will need:

  • Measuring cups and spoons for the chestnuts, sweet potatoes, sugar, and mirin.

Cooking Utensils

You’ll need several basic utensils to cook and prepare the ingredients:

  • A large pot to boil the chestnuts and sweet potatoes.
  • A colander or a strainer to drain them.
  • A potato masher or a ricer to create a smooth sweet potato blend.

Mixing and Serving Tools

Once your ingredients are cooked and prepared, mixing and serving them properly is key:

  • A large mixing bowl to combine the chestnuts and sweet potatoes.
  • A wooden spoon or a spatula for mixing everything thoroughly.
  • Serving bowls or dishes to present your kuri kinton beautifully.

With these tools in hand, you are well-equipped to start making your kuri kinton. Each plays a role in ensuring your dish turns out as delightful and visually appealing as intended.

Prep Work

Before diving into the main cooking process, let’s set up everything you need to make this traditional delicacy.

Preparing Chestnuts

To start, you’ll need to prepare the chestnuts, which are a key component of kuri kinton. First, make a small incision on the flat side of each chestnut. This step prevents them from bursting and helps them cook evenly. Next, soak the chestnuts in warm water for about 20 minutes; this softens their shells, making them easier to peel. After soaking, peel off the outer shell and the inner skin. It can be a bit tedious, but perfectly cleaned chestnuts are crucial for the smooth texture of your kuri kinton. Steam the peeled chestnuts for 20 minutes until they are tender. Check their doneness by piercing them with a fork—if it slides through easily, they are ready for the next step.

Cooking Sweet Potatoes

Let’s cook the sweet potatoes. Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and free of blemishes as they provide the best flavor and texture. Wash them thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt since you won’t be peeling them initially. Cut the sweet potatoes into uniform chunks—this ensures they cook at the same rate. Place the chunks in a large pot of water, ensuring the water covers them by at least an inch. Bring the water to a boil, and then let them simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft enough to be easily mashed. Drain the water and, while still warm, peel off the skins. The heat will make this process easier, and the peels should come right off. Mash the cooked sweet potatoes while they’re still warm for smoother results.

Cooking Process

Now that you’ve prepared your chestnuts and sweet potatoes, it’s time to combine these key ingredients to create the heartwarming dish of kuri kinton. Follow these steps closely to ensure a perfect harmony of flavors and textures.

Combining Ingredients

Start by taking your steamed chestnuts and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the chestnuts. It’s crucial that both ingredients are still warm to help them blend more smoothly.

Pour in approximately 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. These not only enhance the natural sweetness of the chestnuts and sweet potatoes but also help in balancing the flavors. If you prefer a richer taste, consider adding a splash of mirin or a teaspoon of vanilla extract for an aromatic depth.

Using a sturdy wooden spoon or a hand mixer set on low speed, gently mix all the ingredients together until well combined. The goal is to achieve a uniform, creamy texture without completely mashing the chestnuts; you should still be able to see some chestnut pieces for a subtle crunch.

Final Simmering

Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and place it on low heat. This gentle simmer will allow the flavors to meld together and help the sugar dissolve completely into the mixture. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture starts to glisten and appears slightly glossy. This change in texture indicates that the kuri kinton is coming together as it should.

Once done, remove the pan from the heat. The kuri kinton can be served either warm or chilled, depending on your preference. It’s traditionally enjoyed as a sweet component of a New Year’s meal, adding a touch of luxury and celebration to the table.


Now that your chestnuts and sweet potatoes are perfectly cooked and combined with sugar and salt, it’s time to put everything together to create the final dish of kuri kinton. Follow these steps carefully to ensure your dish is as delightful to look at as it is to eat.

  1. Blend the Mixture Smoothly: Using an electric mixer or a food processor, blend the chestnut and sweet potato mixture until it’s completely smooth. This is crucial for achieving the creamy, velvety texture that kuri kinton is known for.
  2. Check for Sweetness: Taste your mixture and adjust the sweetness if necessary. Depending on your preference or the natural sweetness of your sweet potatoes, you might want to add a bit more sugar. Mix thoroughly to ensure the sugar is well incorporated.
  3. Simmer Once More: Return the mixture to a low heat and let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot and to help enhance the flavors. This step is vital for achieving that glossy finish that makes kuri kinton so appealing.
  4. Cool and Mold: Allow the mixture to cool slightly before transferring to molds. Traditional kuri kinton is often shaped into small, neat mounds using a spoon or mold to give them their characteristic appearance. If you don’t have molds, you can simply use a spoon to form mounds on a plate.
  5. Garnish: For an authentic touch, garnish each mound with a whole chestnut or a sprinkle of gold leaf if you’re feeling extravagant. This not only beautifies the dish but also reinforces the theme of wealth and happiness.
  6. Chill or Serve Warm: Kuri kinton can be enjoyed either warm or chilled. If you prefer it chilled, refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Otherwise, it can be served warm immediately after assembly.

Serving Suggestions

After perfecting your kuri kinton, presenting it appealingly is key to enhancing the dining experience. This traditional dish, known for its symbolic significance and delightful flavor, can be served in various ways to suit the occasion and your personal taste preferences.

Serve Warm or Chilled

You can choose to serve kuri kinton warm or chilled, depending on your preference and the ambient temperature. Warm kuri kinton exudes a comforting aroma and a softer texture, which is perfect for cold weather. On the other hand, serving it chilled refreshes the palate and highlights the sweet, creamy consistency, making it an ideal choice for warmer days.

Pair With Green Tea

To balance the sweetness of kuri kinton, pair it with a cup of bitter green tea. The astringency of the tea contrasts beautifully with the creamy sweetness of the dish, providing a sophisticated flavor balance that cleanses the palate between bites.


Traditionally, kuri kinton is portioned into small, round shapes using a cookie cutter or a small bowl. This not only makes it visually appealing but also ensures each serving is uniform, allowing every guest to enjoy the same taste and texture experience.


For an elegant presentation, place each portion on a small, decorative plate. Garnish with a whole chestnut or a sprinkle of gold leaf to enhance the festive look, especially during New Year celebrations. This not only adds a touch of luxury but also reinforces the dish’s symbolic meaning of wealth and happiness.

Whether enjoying it at a family gathering or serving it at a special event, these serving suggestions for kuri kinton will help make your celebration truly memorable.

Make-Ahead Tips

Preparing Kuri Kinton ahead of time can be a true time-saver during New Year celebrations. Achieving the perfect blend of flavors and textures while ensuring the dish remains fresh can significantly enhance your festive experience. Here’s how you can efficiently manage your preparation to keep the Kuri Kinton delicious and ready for the celebration.

Cook Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes in Advance

One of the most time-consuming steps in making Kuri Kinton is cooking the chestnuts and sweet potatoes. You can do this step a day or two before you need to serve. Simply cook the chestnuts and sweet potatoes as directed, let them cool, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This method not only saves you time on the day of your event but also intensifies the flavors as they meld together in the fridge.

Pre-Mix Flavors

After mashing the cooked chestnuts and sweet potatoes, mix them with the required amount of sugar and a pinch of salt. This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Keeping the base of your Kuri Kinton ready to go not only streamlines the final preparation but also allows the sweet and savory flavors to enhance further under refrigeration.

Final Assembly

On the day of serving, simply retrieve your pre-made chestnut and sweet potato mixture from the refrigerator an hour before the meal to bring it to room temperature. This makes the texture softer and more palatable. Give the mixture one final stir to make sure all the ingredients are well combined and check if additional seasoning is needed. Then, you’re ready to serve or add any final touches, like garnishes.


Exploring kuri kinton offers you a delightful glimpse into Japanese culinary tradition especially during the New Year. By mastering the creamy blend of chestnuts and sweet potatoes you’re not just preparing a dish but also embracing a piece of cultural heritage. Whether you choose to serve it warm or chilled remember that each spoonful carries the essence of celebration and togetherness. So go ahead make it ahead of time and enjoy the seamless blend of flavors and textures that kuri kinton brings to your festive table. Cheers to a sweet start to your new year!

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