Apr 25

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Better for you Butter Mochi, a Hawaiian dessert

During one of our trips to Hawaii, I bought a fundraiser cookbook, 50th Anniversary Best of Our Favorite Recipes published by the Maui Association for Family and Community Education. I love cookbooks with recipes by everyone’s grandmother and auntie, showcasing traditional and everyday recipes such as malasadas, pork adobo, and laulau. I did do a double take and chuckled when I read “Garbage Cookies,” “Sex in a Pan”, such creative recipe names. 😉 As I flip through the cookbook, part of me longs for a record of recipes from my mom and dad, my aunts, and my grandmother and that longing inspires me to I continue on with my project to write recipes for my children, which I happily share with my Nut Free Wok readers.

I don’t recall eating butter mochi as a child but grew to love it while spending time with Japanese-American friends who were from Hawaii. Butter mochi is a Hawaiian style dessert made with sweet glutinous rice flour baked with coconut milk or cow’s milk, eggs, butter, and coconut. I decided to try making butter mochi many years ago because my mother in law loves it and now my children enjoy it too.

Beautiful Better for you Butter Mochi, made with eggs

Beautiful Better for you Butter Mochi, made with eggs

Making it healthier:

Most traditional butter mochi recipes involve coconut milk, whole milk. 5 eggs, 1 stick of butter, 2 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 cup shredded coconut, all of which are super rich for 24 servings! So through the years I’ve made many variations of butter mochi. Instead of using two cans of coconut milk, I use fat free coconut milk. Instead of using any coconut milk, I use fat-free evaporated milk. How would it taste with half the sugar?  How would it taste with 4 eggs, with 3 eggs? Can I get away with less butter? I’ve tried using as little as 2 tablespoons which is okay but 4 tablespoons is just enough for a wonderful aroma and a crispy crust when eaten while still warm and fresh from the oven. I am very happy with this lightened up recipe that tastes like a treat.

Allergy Aware Asian Fare suggestions:

If coconut is not an allergen concern, then use the canned coconut milks. I personally like using the reduced fat coconut milk from Trader Joe’s (as discussed in another post, call Trader Joe’s to check about your family’s allergens before using). Native Forest produces an Organic Coconut Milk and their allergen info is available on their website. If one doesn’t want to use coconut, then substitute with two cans of non-fat evaporated milk (NOT the thick sweetened condensed milk) or other equivalent dairy substitute.

Egg makes the butter mochi airy and you will see that it looks puffy toward the end of the baking time in the oven. This last time I made it, I had no eggs in my refrigerator and an egg substitute worked perfectly. I used Ener-G Egg Replacer but I’m sure the oil, water, and baking powder substitute would work just as well to leaven the butter mochi. To avoid strong aftertastes, I use the equivalent of 2 eggs rather than 3. My younger son who is allergic to eggs tried it for the first time and his response makes my efforts so worthwhile:

“Mmmm….Wow….This is better than I thought it would be….Can I have another piece?” 

Better for you Butter Mochi, egg-free

Better for you Butter Mochi, egg-free

Milk is not one of our family’s allergens, but since I’ve made butter mochi at least a dozen different ways with reasonable success, I think you could make it with any dairy substitute of your choice. You just need 3 cups of liquid soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc. and a milk allergy safe butter substitute. I have had great results with other recipes and like the taste of Earth Balance’s Buttery Sticks, it is peanut and tree nut free but it contains soy.

As mentioned in my post about Chinese New Year rice cake, I recommend using sweet rice flour by Koda Farms. Koda Farms’ website has an allergen statement (top 8 allergen and gluten free). Even if one doesn’t have food allergies, it’s a superior product and grandmother approved.


5.0 from 3 reviews
Better For You Butter Mochi
Butter mochi is very delicious but I have lightened up a typical butter mochi recipe so that it is better for you but still very tasty. And I have included some allergy friendly substitutions so that everyone can enjoy!
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or non-dairy butter alternative)
  • ¾ cup organic sugar (use a little more if using regular sugar)
  • 2 cans of non-fat evaporated milk (or 2 cans of coconut milk or 3 cups of milk allergy safe substitute)
  • 3 eggs, beatened (or egg substitute of choice for *2* eggs)
  • 1 box Koda Farms sweet rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup of grated coconut (optional, additional ¼ cup for garnishing if desired)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F and spray a 13 x 9 glass baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Microwave the butter in a large bowl, 30 seconds at a time until it is 75% melted (a quick stir will melt it the rest of the way).
  3. Add sugar, evaporated milk (or coconut milk or milk substitute), and eggs (or egg substitute) and beat with a mixer on low for 1 minute.
  4. Add rice flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, and grated coconut (if desired) and beat with a mixer until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
  5. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool and cut into 24 pieces.
1 box of sweet rice flour is 1 pound (464 grams)

Party theme idea:

I had previously shared recipes for Sweet Cucumbers, Kalua PorkTurkey Spam Musubi, and this Hawaiian dessert would round out the theme. Cut up some pineapples and you can host a Hawaiian themed party!

Better for you Butter Mochi (egg-free)

Better for you Butter Mochi, egg-free

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  1. Vivian Stock-Hendel

    Sharon, looks good. I would love to try this. I have not been successful in finding Koda a Farms sweet rice flour. Where do you purchase the flour? Has anyone in the S. F. Valley found this?

    1. Sharon Wong

      Hi Vivian, you can find their flours at most Asian markets, especially a Japanese market. Do you have a Nijiya in your area? Koda Farms also has instructions on ordering their products via mail.

  2. Vivian Stock-Hendel

    Good tip, Sharon. There isn’t one near our house but there is one right near where my husband works. Maybe I can get him to stop in.

    1. Sharon Wong

      Fantastic, let me know how it works out, Vivian! 🙂

  3. Marley

    Safeway sells it. white box with the words mochiko check in the ethnic section.

  4. Mason

    Hi there, I just tried this recipe(with great success, they’re delicious), and I was curious as to whether or not you refrigerated your mochi? When I tried them in Hawaii, they did not, and so I’m likely not going to either but I thought I might inquire as to whether or not doing so ruined the texture because it will likely take me many days to eat through that much mochi.

    1. Sharon Wong

      Hi Mason, I don’t refrigerate the mochi but it does go bad after a few days! I usually try to either share the mochi with friends or make it for an event. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for your question!

  5. jezrel

    Hi Sharon, just found your blog while searching for mochi cake recipe. I wonder how many grams of mochiko is one box koda farm sweet rice flour….I live in the UK and they’re not available here but can get some mochi ko from the japanese shops. Looking forward to hear back from you. Thank you.

    1. Sharon Wong

      Hi, great question! 1 box is equivalent to 1 pound (454 g). Enjoy!

  6. Lisa

    Excited to make this with my daughter tomorrow. She has an egg and dairy allergy so she has never been able to enjoy butter mochi. Thank you so much!

    1. Sharon Wong

      Hi Lisa! Whoo-hoo! Let me know what your daughter thinks. Happy new year!

  7. Lisa

    We substituted the grated coconut for vegan chocolate chips and they turned out so good! My husband thinks this one tastes much better than the original (and so much healthier)! At first my daughter thought it was okay but today she was chowing down on it. Between the three of us, we ate half the pan already! I can’t wait to share the recipe with my mom… She loves the original recipe but doesn’t like that it required so much sugar! Thank you! And Happy New Year to you too!

    P.S. Another place that sells Koda Farms mochiko flour is at the commissary (if you know anyone who can get on a military base).

    1. Sharon Wong

      Oh, I love the idea of adding vegan chocolate chips! That takes it to a whole new level, what a great idea! Isn’t it great when a healthy, allergy friendly version tastes better than the original recipes? And I love it when a recipe is grandmother approved! 😉

  8. Joanne T Ferguson

    G’day This looks delish and wish I could try this now! Pinned
    Cheers! Joanne
    Hope you will like to share some of your other recipes at my new Say Gday Party…can link up to 3!

  9. Healing Tomato

    These look delightful!

  10. Lauren

    Make this. Now. You won’t regret it!

    This is the ultimate recipe to accommodate some of the most frequently occurring child allergens.

    I’ve made this recipes 5 times in the past two weeks for my son’s nursery cooking class. We had to avoid peanut, tree nuts (but not coconut), dairy, and egg amongst other things, and this recipe did the trick. It’s a really forgiving recipe too so for instance you can use light coconut milk or full fat coconut milk and it will still taste yummy.

    Some observations
    1) In my initial batch I used 3/4 cup coconut sugar and it turned out too dark and too sticky. Subsequent batches with 1 cup organic cane sugar was perfect.
    2) I’ve used dairy free and soy free Earth Balance butter substitute successfully
    3) I tried substituting the 1/2 cup coconut with 1/2 cup chocolate chips as another poster suggested. It didn’t taste quite right and I think coconut is better BUT the kids thought it was fine (I think it’s because kids like all things chocolate!)

    1. Sharon Wong

      Hi Lauren, thanks for sharing your feedback and I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Good to know that coconut sugar didn’t work as well, I’ve never baked with it before so I wouldn’t have known.

  11. Chris

    I just made this recipe today and I love it! I never had butter mochi before so I don’t know how it normally tastes, but it probably would be way too sweet and heavy for me anyway. I used organic honey in place of the sugar and reduced the amount of coconut milk by 1/3 cup. Yum!!

    1. Sharon Wong

      I am so glad your adaptations worked, sounds so yummy! 🙂

    2. Footprintsonthemoon

      Original buttermochi is not too sweet or heavy at all. U seriously have never tried it? It’s beyond amazing

      1. Sharon Wong

        Oooo, yes I have. It’s one of those “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” kind of experiences. I just cannot indulge like that anymore.

  12. Footprintsonthemoon

    Sharon, ur posting is awesome. Im addicted to buttermochi but know it’s rich and as a result don’t endulge as often as I’d like so when I found ur site it was like I’d died and gone to heaven ! Ur the best !

    1. Sharon Wong

      You’re welcome! The better for you mochi recipe is a game changer! 😉 My friends totally love it when I make it for potlucks and parties.

  13. Footprintsonthemoon

    I will try it today and was also wondering if u had a brownie buttermchi version ? My son likes it and it’s his 7th birthday in a couple days and wanted to make it for him. 😁
    Thank u so much for ur time and care!

    1. Sharon Wong

      Oooo, a brownie buttermochi sounds really good. I will have to try it sometime. Should I make it “regular” or “better for you” style, haha! Happy birthday to your son! 7 is great!

  14. Debbi

    I’m not sure what size to get of the canned coconut milk. Do you know how many oz are in each can?

    1. Sharon Wong

      I don’t have a can handy at home to check for you, but I estimate that they are about 14-16 ounces.

  15. YT

    My go-to mochi recipe, you are the best!

    1. Sharon Wong

      Whooo-hoo! Thanks for the compliment! 🙂

  16. Jackie

    I made it! The whole family loved it! Do you dress it up any certain way? I got pretty fancy and ate a substantial amount right out the pan 😬 it was delicious!

    1. Sharon Wong

      So AWESOME, Jackie!!! Isn’t it an amazing dessert? It’s usually just served as is like a brownie, cut and serve.

  1. Allergy Aware Asian Fare at WFFS15

    […] Koda Farms – top 8 allergen free, GMO free, gluten free rice and rice products. They have the best allergen statement on their website. When I met the owner, I had no questions, just told him I’m a fan and was very impressed that he looks just like his grandfather. I regularly buy their 1 pound boxes of sweet rice flour to make Nian Gao and Better For You Butter Mochi. […]

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