Mochi Donuts are colorful, chewy, pull-apart fun! Their unique texture and fluffy interior makes them a snacking sensation.
Mochi donuts are like no other donut you’ll try. The crisp, chewy, almost elastic exterior gives way to a soft, subtly sweet interior. If you’re looking to dip a toe in the water with homemade mochi donuts, then this is the perfect recipe. It makes six total, which is just enough to practice your forming, frying, and glazing techniques. Each donut is a generous serving. And even though six donuts may not sound like a lot, it’s plenty enough for sampling and even sharing.
The pastry’s origins are a bit winding. The first iterations can be traced to Honolulu in the early 90’s with Charmaine Ocasek’s homemade poi mochi. Later in 2003, the Japanese donut chain Mister Donut (which actually originated in the US in 1956) launched the flower-shaped ring of pull-apart dough balls, the “Pon de Ring”. Its popularity spread from Japan to the United States by route of Hawaii. Now mochi donuts are widely available. And people like me are enthusiastic about learning how to make them at home.
Start by sifting together the dry ingredients. Mochi donut recipes are varied when it comes to flours, and this one uses all-purpose flour blended with mochiko (glutinous rice flour). Mochiko gives the donuts a soft, bready interior. You may remember this ingredient from my Lemon Mochi Chicks recipe.
Press silken tofu through a fine sieve. This ingredient creates a smooth batter and gives the donuts a lot of protein. Coincidentally, I must tell you that mochi donuts have half the calories of a regular donut. Personally, I’m not a calorie counter when it comes to donuts, but I know some people are.
Mix the tofu with some eggs and a little water. Then, stir it all together until a ragged dough forms, and then knead with your hands until smooth.
Cut six parchment sheets into 5×5 inch squares. Separate the dough into 36 even pieces (about 5 grams each, for my dough) and roll them into balls. Place 6 balls on each paper touching, in a ring shape. This is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. There are mochi donut cutters for purchase, but I wouldn’t splurge until you’re sure you are a mochi donut fan.
Note: The original Pon de Ring-style donuts are made up of 8 dough balls. In this abbreviated recipe, I use just 6. If you wanted to make the balls a little smaller, you could do so to yield 8 per donut. However, it’s a bit more time consuming.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan to about 375°F. I prefer using an electric skillet, which keeps the temperature even. If you’re using a stove-top burner, I suggest starting at 350°F, and testing the oil with an instant-read thermometer.
Slip the donuts on the parchment into the oil. Do this 2 at a time, if you have room in the pan. After a minute or two, slide the donut off of the parchment. Fry until golden brown on each side.
Flip the donuts gently with a pair of tongs, or some chopsticks. I prefer the later because it touches less surface area on the donut and helps retain the shape.
Glaze and garnish.
Glaze the donuts with a simple white chocolate ganache combined with fruit powder, vegetable powder, or tea powder. I used all three! Suncore Food’s Lilac Taro Yam Powder, will give you a beautiful lilac hued glaze. Dragonfruit powder yields a deep magenta. And my favorite – green tea powder imparts a grassy hue.
Garnishes are only limited to your imagination! I had some cookies and cream Pocky sticks, so I added those to the taro donuts. Almond flavor goes so well with matcha, so I topped those with sliced almonds. The dragonfruit-glazed donuts got a white chocolate drizzle and some sprinkles.
These donuts are subtly sweet. Aside from the round shape, they’re not much at all like your standard American donut. The glaze adds the sweetness, but even with a thick coating it’s not the sugar bomb you might imagine. Give them a try and you just might get hooked! For me, it’s the texture that I can’t resist.
Mochi Donuts (Pon de Ring – Inspired)
- slotted spatula
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/8 cup mochiko glutinous rice flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt optional
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 oz. silken tofu
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons water
- Oil for frying 2-3 cups
- 4 oz. white chocolate finely chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tablespoon taro purple yam powder or dragonfruit or matcha powder
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, mochiko, baking powder, and salt if using. Whisk to combine. Sift the granulated sugar over the mixture. Whisk again.
- Place a fine sieve over medium mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press the tofu through the mesh. Scrape the bottom of the sieve to remove the all of the tofu into the bowl. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk until combined. Add the water and whisk again to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the tofu mixture in the center. Stir until a ragged dough forms. When you can no longer stir the ingredients together, work the dough with your hands until a uniform dough is achieved. Form into a ball and let stand, covered, for about 10 minutes.
- Cut 6 squares, 5×5 inches each from parchment paper.
- Form the dough into 36 small, even balls. For me, this was about 5 grams each on a kitchen scale. If dough is sticky, lightly dust the dough rounds with a little AP flour. Place 6 dough balls in a ring on each piece of parchment, so that they touch.
- Pour about 2 inches of oil in a skillet or in an electric skillet. (Depending on the size of your skillet, this could be 2-4 cups of oil). Preheat the oil to 350°F on the stove top, and test it using an instant-read thermometer. If using an electric skillet, which heats more evenly, preheat to 375°F.
- Place one or two donuts on the parchment paper into the oil. After about 2 minutes, gently remove the parchment paper from under the donut. Fry until golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Use tongs or chopsticks to flip the donuts to avoid splashing hot oil from the pan. Use a slotted spatula to remove the donuts to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Place the chopped white chocolate into a microwave-safe dish. Add the heavy cream. Microwave at 100% power for 1 minute. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute, then whisk together until smooth. Add the powder and mix again. Dip each donut into the glaze and turn upright. Use a spoon to scoop more glaze onto any bare spots.
- Immediately garnish with your choice of topping. Mochi donuts are best eaten the same day they are fried. Leftovers can be stored airtight overnight, but will lose some of the elastic texture. See recipe notes for topping ideas.