An easy matcha mochi muffin recipe that is naturally gluten-free. It's a perfect no mixer mini cake recipe for those who have celiac disease or who don't like their treats overly sweet. Once you've tried it fresh out of the oven, with the crispy exterior and the gooey insides, you'll find it hard to stop!
What are mochi?
Mochi are small sweet treats, very similar to Chinese tang yuan and muah chee. These all use glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice flour or mochiko flour), a popular ingredient in Asian cultures which produces a very chewy texture. (For more sweet rice flour recipes, click here.)
Mochi are so popular that we now have chewy mochi doughnuts, mochi bread, mochi waffles, mochi cookies, mochi brownies and even mochi muffins. (To be honest, mochi muffins taste more like a green-tea flavoured small Hawaiian butter mochi cake than mochi in my opinion!)
Word of warning: the elastic texture of mochi is highly divisive. Some people LOVE it- hence the million and one mochi bakes- but others hate it! If you're not a fan of chewy, gelatinous foods, this matcha mochi muffin/ mochi cupcake may not be for you.
Why make this
- It's delicious: the crispy exterior goes wonderfully with the gooey dough, especially when it's hot out of the oven!
- You only need simple, readily available ingredients
- Mochi muffins are naturally gluten-free
- Glutinous rice flour is easy to find and inexpensive so you don't need a fancy expensive gluten-free flour for this naturally gluten-free snack
- It's an easy recipe- you don't even need a mixer!
- For more no mixer bakes, try these Chinese peanut cookies or walnut cookies.
The key ingredients are:
- Mochiko flour: Mochi flour is a type of glutinous rice flour, so you can also use Thai sticky rice flour for these green tea mochi muffins (I usually use the Erawan brand shown above.) However, rice flour and glutinous rice flour are NOT the same thing so don't substitute mochiko flour with regular rice flour!
- Matcha: Use culinary grade instead of ceremonial grade matcha powder. Once baked, you won't be able to tell the difference so you can save some money. (For more information about matcha powder, click here.)
- Milk: Make sure you use whole milk or regular milk and not semi-skimmed!
For the full ingredients list, please scroll down to the recipe card.
Note: If you're trying to recreate the Third Culture Bakery mochi muffin, which is regarded as the original version, note that they use mochiko flour from Koda Farms, pandan as well as organic French-style butter. (You can sub the butter with a neutral oil but the matcha mochi muffin won't taste as rich so I don't recommend it.)
Even though we use a bit of coconut milk in the recipe, the matcha cupcakes taste of matcha and not coconut!
Where to buy
The ingredients are all widely available so you shouldn't have to go specially to Asian grocery stores for them.
These mini Japanese rice cakes- OK Japanese-inspired!- come in a whole range of different flavours such as ube (purple yam.) I'm making matcha ones but you can also make:
- Black sesame mochi muffins
- Replace matcha powder with ground, lightly toasted black sesame seeds for a deliciously rich and nutty flavor
- Sprinkle white sesame seeds on top for a pretty contrast
- Click here for a Cantonese black sesame sweet soup (that also uses glutinous flour.)
- Butter mochi muffins
- A mini version of the popular Hawaiian butter mochi cake
- Give them a butterscotch flavor by using browned butter and slather with some coconut caramel!
- Chocolate mochi muffins
- Substitute the matcha with an equal amount of cocoa powder and add ¼t of instant coffee powder for every 12 muffins.
- Or toss some chocolate chips into the butter mochi cakes
- I would suggest replacing the white sugar with light brown sugar or dark brown sugar for a more caramel flavour.
- Alternatively, I like stuffing a few chocolate fevers into the centre of the muffin before making, so that it melts into a gooey lava chocolate cake kind of centre!
- And for the final finish, drizzle chocolate syrup over the top! (For matcha, I find a white chocolate sauce complements better than dark chocolate.)
- Pumpkin spice mochi cupcakes
- Replace matcha powder with pumpkin spices
- Perfect for Thanksgiving!
- Other tea flavoured mochi bakes
- Change the matcha to a strong tea like hojicha, Hong Kong coffee milk tea or Thai tea
If you don't have a muffin tin, you can also bake the batter in the form of a larger cake. However, it will need to be baked for longer (timing depends on size of cake pan.)
Nonetheless, I recommend baking mochi muffins if you can. The best part is the contrast between the crispy outside and the soft gooey inside, and you get more of that with a muffin than a cake!
Step by Step Instructions
- Melt the unsalted butter in a pot with the whole milk and coconut milk over low heat.
2. Whilst the liquids are heating up, whisk the eggs till the whites and yolks are well-mixed.
3. Pour the glutinous rice flour, matcha powder, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk well. (This is to prevent lumps as matcha clumps easily.)
I didn't sieve the flours and my batter was OK, but if yours is very lumpy, it may need sieving.
4. You can stop once the powders are all mixed up and you don't see any lumps of green.
5. Once the butter from Step 1 has melted, pour it into the mixed dry ingredients and whisk well.
6. Glutinous rice flour has no gluten, so you don't have to worry about overworking the batter. Keep whisking till no lumps remain (my batter is not quite mixed enough yet!)
Once the batter is smooth, pour into a buttered muffin tray and bake at 350F/ 157C fan/ 177C for 45-55 minutes, or till the exterior is crisp and golden.
How to serve
Enjoy this glutinous rice treat fresh from the oven, with a hot drink such as:
A popular Japanese food pairing is green tea and red bean. Why not insert a ball of red bean paste into the centre of each matcha muffin, then serve hot right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side!
How to store
These mini matcha cakes taste best right after baking. However, they can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-4 days. Remember to reheat before serving, if possible!
In the fridge
They last longer in the fridge but the dough will harden into a solid, not very appetising lump. Hence, you will need to reheat them before serving.
In the freezer
You can also freeze them for up to a month. Freeze them spaced out on a tray first. Once frozen, they can be jumbled in a ziplock bag. (This is to prevent the cakes from sticking to each other.)
How to reheat
Microwave: Blitz on low-medium in 10 second intervals.
Toaster oven: If you don't have 1, pop the matcha muffins into the toaster oven.
Tip #1: As glutinous rice flour has NO gluten, you don't have to worry about overmixing (it won't become tough.) Go for a smooth, well-mixed mochi muffin batter to ensure there are no pockets of flour. In other words, mix till there are no lumps or air bubbles!
Tip #2: Unlike regular Japanese mochi, which are soft through and through, matcha mochi muffins are slightly crisp on the outside but with a gooey and chewy center. The inside will look slightly translucent and "wet" even when fully baked (almost like what underbaked regular muffins (which use wheat flour) would look like.)
Tip #3: Butter generously so that the muffins don't stick. To get the outside even crisper, dust each muffin compartment with semolina, regular wheat flour or rice flour (after buttering them to ensure they don't stick!)
Traditional mochi is dairy-free, however, there are tons of modern mochi-inspired foods these days, many of which contain dairy (such as these mochi muffins.) Hence, always check the ingredients list if you have allergies or are on a plant-based diet.
Real mochi is always made with mochiko flour- a type of glutinous rice flour that, contrary to its name, does NOT have gluten in it. Hence, true mochi or mochi related products, such as the mochi muffins in my post, are naturally gluten-free. However, there are many recipes out there that claim to be related to mochi, but use other types of flours, so always read through the ingredients list carefully!
Chef Sam Butarbutar of Third Culture Bakery in Berkeley, California, USA created the original mochi muffins in 2014. He was inspired by an Indonesian dessert that he ate growing up and uses the South East Asian flavours of pandan and coconut milk.
Other matcha recipes
Enjoyed this matcha mochi muffin recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & if you REALLY like it, I'd love a comment. Thank you and have a great day!
Easy Matcha Mochi Muffin recipe
- Muffin tin Dust each muffin compartment with semolina, regular wheat flour or rice flour (after buttering them to ensure they don't stick!)
- Pot (if you're melting the butter on the stove) Substitute: microwaveable bowl (if using the microwave to melt the butter.)
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted I do this on the stove, but you can melt it in a microwave if you prefer
- ⅓ Cup + 1 tablespoon of whole milk (120g/ 4.23oz) Do not used skimmed milk! UHT milk is OK.
- ⅜ Cup coconut milk (75g/ 2.65 oz) Substitute: 1 part/ 15g/ 0.53 oz coconut cream to 4 parts/ 60g/ 2.12 oz water
- 1 egg beat till well-mixed
- ⅞ Cup glutinous rice flour Substitute: mochiko flour etc. See notes for other varieties of glutinous rice flour
- ½ Cup white sugar (100g/ 4 oz)
- 1 T matcha powder Culinary grade is acceptable
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F/ 177C (157 fan.)
- Melt the butter over low fire, with the whole milk and coconut milk.
- Whilst the butter is melting, beat the egg well in a separate bowl.
- Once the butter has melted, switch off the fire and whisk the egg into the pot of milks and butter.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl- if possible, sieve the powders before mixing till well-combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix your batter till there are no lumps, bits of flour, or air pockets- don't worry about overmixing as the glutinous rice flour has no gluten and can't be overworked.
- Ladle the batter into the muffin tray. Tap the filled muffin tin to remove air bubbles in the dough before placing it in the oven.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or till the edges have turned crisp and golden.
- The finished matcha mochi muffin will still have a slightly translucent interior and a crisp golden outside- the inside will look like it's not fully baked even when it's done!
If you've liked this matcha mochi muffin recipe, please do share it on social media. I'd love to see what new flavors you guys experiment with so don't forget to tag me on Instagram @greedygirlgourmet !
Love this recipe! Super tasty! One question… mines didn’t have that hallowed/ dip in the middle. How do you get that? Mines looked like a round too muffin.
Overly sweet for me even at 92g sugar, suggest to reduce further. Otherwise it's chewy and delicious. Can even put 2tbsp matcha powder to make it more prominent.
Is the batter supposed to be super runny? Not sure if i was doing anything wrong...
Thanks for the feedback Meow! I'm happy you liked it, sorry to hear you felt it was too sweet! It's based on an American bakery's recipe, and American recipes tend to be on the sweeter end, but I'll be sure to include a version with less sugar when I update the post 🙂 P.S. Yes the batter is runny! 🙂
Dorene chew says
Love your recipe : easy matcha mochi muffin. My helper baked the muffins - so easy and tasty!!
Thanks Dorene, glad you enjoyed the matcha muffins!
Delicious!! I tried the tea bag version and like u said the green tea flavor wasn't strong but I actually preferred it to matcha!
Super chewy and delicious! Not a fan of typical mochi but the contrast between the crispiness and the softness of the dough had me hooked!