Mitarashi Dango Recipe: A Delicious Japanese Delight

Written By Japanese Recipes

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Mitarashi Dango is a delightful traditional Japanese treat that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. These bite-sized rice dumplings, skewered on bamboo sticks, are drizzled with a lusciously sweet and savoury sauce that creates a perfect balance of flavours. Whether you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine or simply looking to explore new culinary adventures, learning how to make Mitarashi Dango is a must.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of creating this mouthwatering delicacy. From preparing the dumplings to crafting the tantalizing sauce, you’ll discover the secrets behind the art of Mitarashi Dango. So, put on your apron, gather your ingredients, and let’s embark on a culinary journey to master the Mitarashi Dango recipe!

1. What is Mitarashi Dango?

Mitarashi Dango is a traditional Japanese dessert made from glutinous rice flour. The word “mitarashi” refers to a sweet soy glaze that coats the dumplings, while “dango” simply means dumplings. These delectable treats are typically skewered on bamboo sticks, making them convenient to eat and adding to their visual appeal.


The soft and chewy texture of Mitarashi Dango, coupled with the sweet and savoury sauce, creates a harmonious balance that is simply irresistible. It’s no wonder that this dessert has become a beloved staple in Japanese cuisine, often enjoyed during festivals, street fairs, or as a delightful snack any time of the year.

2. The Origins of Mitarashi Dango

The origins of Mitarashi Dango can be traced back to ancient Japan, where it was originally offered as a sacred food during Shinto rituals. The name “mitarashi” is derived from the Mitarashi Shrine in Kyoto, where these dumplings were first introduced. Over time, Mitarashi Dango gained popularity and became a cherished treat enjoyed by people of all ages.

Today, Mitarashi Dango continues to be a beloved dessert in Japan and has also gained international recognition. Its unique combination of flavours and cultural significance make it a must-try delicacy for anyone interested in Japanese cuisine.

3. Essential Ingredients for Mitarashi Dango

To prepare Mitarashi Dango, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Glutinous rice flour: Also known as sweet rice flour or mochiko, this is the key ingredient that gives the dumplings their soft and chewy texture.
  • Water: Used to moisten the rice flour and bind it together.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness to the dumplings and balances the flavours.
  • Soy sauce: Forms the base of the savoury sauce that coats the dumplings.
  • Mirin: A sweet rice wine that adds depth and complexity to the sauce.
  • Cornstarch: Helps to prevent the dumplings from sticking together and adds a slight crispness to the exterior.
  • Water (for the sauce): Dilute the sauce to achieve the desired consistency.

These ingredients can be easily found in most well-stocked supermarkets or Asian grocery stores. Now that you have a good understanding of the key ingredients, let’s move on to the equipment needed for making Mitarashi Dango.

4. Equipment Needed for Making Mitarashi Dango

To prepare Mitarashi Dango, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Mixing bowl: A large bowl for combining the rice flour and water to make the dumpling dough.
  • Bamboo skewers: These will be used to skewer the dumplings, adding a traditional touch to the presentation.
  • Steamer: If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a large pot with a steaming basket or improvise by using a colander and a lid.
  • Saucepan: Used to prepare the sweet and savoury Mitarashi sauce.
  • Whisk or spoon: To mix the ingredients and ensure they are well combined.
  • Plate or serving dish: To arrange and present the cooked dumplings.

With these basic kitchen tools on hand, you’re ready to start creating your own batch of Mitarashi Dango!

5. Preparing the Mitarashi Dango Dough

Now that you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment, it’s time to prepare the Mitarashi Dango dough. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to achieve the perfect texture and consistency:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour and sugar. Mix them well to ensure the sugar is evenly distributed.
  2. Gradually add water to the rice flour mixture, stirring constantly. Continue adding water until the dough comes together and forms a smooth and slightly sticky consistency. It’s important to add the water slowly to avoid making the dough too wet.
  3. Once the dough is well combined, knead it gently with your hands until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too dry, add a little more water; if it’s too sticky, sprinkle some additional rice flour.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let it rest for about 15 minutes to allow the rice flour to fully absorb the moisture.

By following these steps, you’ll create a soft and pliable dough that is ready to be shaped into delightful dumplings. Let’s move on to the next section to learn how to shape and cook the dango.

6. Shaping and Cooking the Dango

Shaping and cooking the dango is where the fun really begins. Grab your dough and let’s get started:

  1. Pinch off a small portion of the dough, roughly the size of a cherry or a large marble. Keep in mind that the dumplings will expand slightly during the cooking process.
  2. Roll the dough between your palms to form a smooth ball. Repeat this process until all the dough has been shaped into small balls.
  3. Prepare a steamer by lining it with parchment paper or lightly greasing it to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
  4. Place the dumplings in the steamer, making sure to leave some space between them to prevent sticking.
  5. Steam the dumplings over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until they become firm and slightly translucent. Be careful not to overcook them, as they may become too chewy.

Once the dumplings are cooked, remove them from the steamer and let them cool slightly before skewering them. Now, let’s move on to the most crucial element of Mitarashi Dango—the sweet and savory sauce!

7. Crafting the Sweet and Savory Mitarashi Sauce

The delectable sauce is what truly elevates the flavors of Mitarashi Dango. Here’s how you can prepare the irresistible sweet and savory sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and water. Stir the mixture well to dissolve the sugar and ensure the ingredients are thoroughly blended.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for approximately 5 minutes, allowing it to thicken slightly. Keep an eye on the sauce to prevent it from boiling over or burning.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the sauce cool for a few minutes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Congratulations! You have successfully created the irresistible sweet and savory Mitarashi sauce. Now it’s time to bring all the elements together and serve the Mitarashi Dango.

8. Serving and Enjoying Mitarashi Dango

To serve Mitarashi Dango, follow these steps:

  1. Skewer the cooked dumplings onto bamboo sticks, usually three to four dumplings per stick. This not only adds to the presentation but also makes it easier to enjoy the dango.
  2. Drizzle the sweet and savoury Mitarashi sauce generously over the skewered dumplings, ensuring each dumpling is coated with the delectable sauce.
  3. Optionally, you can garnish the dango with a sprinkle of kinako (roasted soybean flour) or sesame seeds for added flavour and texture.
  4. Arrange the skewered dumplings on a serving plate or platter, and they are now ready to be enjoyed!

Mitarashi Dango is best enjoyed fresh and warm, but it can also be served at room temperature. The soft and chewy texture of the dumplings, coupled with the sweet and savoury sauce, creates a delightful burst of flavour in every bite. It’s no wonder that Mitarashi Dango is beloved by both locals and visitors to Japan.

9. Tips and Variations for Perfect Mitarashi Dango

Here are some tips and variations to help you achieve the perfect Mitarashi Dango:

  1. Rice flour consistency: The texture of the dough is crucial in creating the perfect dango. If the dough feels too dry, add a little more water; if it’s too sticky, sprinkle some additional rice flour.
  2. Bamboo skewers: Using bamboo skewers adds an authentic touch to the presentation. Soak the skewers in water for about 10 minutes before skewering the dumplings to prevent them from burning during cooking.
  3. Grilling option: If you prefer a slightly charred and smoky flavour, you can grill the skewered dumplings instead of steaming them. Simply brush the dumplings with sauce and grill them over medium heat until they develop a light char.
  4. Gluten-free option: If you have a gluten intolerance, you can use gluten-free rice flour to make the dumplings. Additionally, make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce in the sauce recipe.
  5. Vegetarian and vegan options: Mitarashi Dango can be made vegetarian by using a vegetarian version of soy sauce. To make it vegan, replace the honey in the sauce recipe with a vegan sweetener like maple syrup or agave nectar.

Feel free to get creative with your Mitarashi Dango by adding your own twists and variations. Whether you enjoy them as a sweet treat or a unique party snack, Mitarashi Dango is sure to impress!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of rice to use for Mitarashi Dango?

The best rice to use for Mitarashi Dango is glutinous rice or sweet rice. This type of rice has a higher starch content, which gives the dumplings their characteristic chewy texture. Look for glutinous rice or mochiko in your local supermarket or Asian grocery store.

Can I substitute the soy sauce in the sauce recipe?

While soy sauce is the traditional choice for the Mitarashi sauce, you can experiment with other options. Tamari, a gluten-free soy sauce, can be used as a substitute. You can also try using teriyaki sauce for a slightly different flavour profile.

How long can I store Mitarashi Dango?

Mitarashi Dango is best enjoyed fresh on the day it is made. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Before consuming the leftovers, lightly steam or microwave the dumplings to regain their soft and chewy texture.

Can I freeze Mitarashi Dango for later consumption?

Yes, you can freeze Mitarashi Dango for later consumption. After cooking the dumplings, let them cool completely. Place them in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and lightly steam or microwave them to reheat.

Can I make Mitarashi Dango gluten-free?

Yes, you can make gluten-free Mitarashi Dango by using gluten-free rice flour. Look for specifically gluten-free rice flour or mochiko at your local supermarket or speciality stores. Additionally, make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari in the sauce recipe.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan alternatives for Mitarashi Dango?

Yes, there are vegetarian and vegan alternatives for Mitarashi Dango. Simply replace the soy sauce in the sauce recipe with a vegetarian version or tamari for a gluten-free and vegetarian option. To make it vegan, substitute the honey with a vegan sweetener like maple syrup or agave nectar.


In conclusion, Mitarashi Dango is a delectable Japanese dessert that combines the chewy texture of rice dumplings with a sweet and savoury sauce. By following our comprehensive recipe and tips, you can recreate this traditional delicacy in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Impress your friends and family with your culinary skills as you serve up these delightful skewered dumplings. Whether enjoyed as a sweet treat or a unique party snack, Mitarashi Dango is sure to satisfy your craving for authentic Japanese flavours.

So, gather your ingredients, embrace the art of dango-making, and indulge in the irresistible charm of Mitarashi Dango. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this delightful Japanese delight!

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