Perfectly fluffy and chewy mochi donuts with a crisp deep-fried exterior. A cross between a donut and Japanese mochi, monchinuts are the latest sweet craze. This Mochinut copycat recipe tastes just like the real thing and makes next level donuts!
If you thought nothing can ever beat a good old fried donut, I want to introduce you to the next level up – mochi donuts. These donuts are much lighter on the inside than a traditional donut and are basically a cross between American donuts and Japanese mochi.
Made popular by the Mochinut bakery across the USA, this recipe is the perfect Mochinut copycat. Mochinuts look incredibly cute, but also taste amazing. The soft and chewy interior and the crispy exterior are a real treat.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your apron on and let’s get baking some delicious mochinuts!
What is a mochi donut or mochinut?
Mochi donuts are a mix between traditional deep-fried donuts and Japanese mochi desserts. Made with either glutinous rice flour or tapioca starch, mochi donuts are much lighter in texture. Although you can call them a cousin of American donuts, mochinuts are simply next level.
The dough for mochi donuts is much stickier and lighter than traditional donuts, making for an extra fluffy interior. Typically, mochinuts are deep-fried to get a perfect crispy exterior.
And the best part? You can customise the flavours as you like. There are endless options for glazing mochi donuts: strawberry, matcha, chocolate, churros, taro, Nutella and much more!
What is the difference between mochi donuts and regular donuts?
Mochi donuts are different from regular donuts in both texture and taste. Regular donuts tend to be much denser, almost bready. The texture of mochi donuts is chewy and light, making them much easier to eat than regular donuts.
Regular donuts are made with all-purpose flour, which makes a denser dough. Mochi donuts are made with tapioca starch or glutinous rice flour, which yields a much softer and stretchy dough.
As they are made from wheat flour, regular donuts contain gluten. Mochi donuts, on the contrary, can be made gluten-free by only using glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch.
Regular donuts are typically fried, whereas mochinuts can be either fried or baked. Personally, I prefer the deep-fried version as it yields a crispy exterior.
Mochi donuts have less calories regular donuts. Since the dough for mochi donuts is much lighter, less flour is needed. This, in return, slashes the calories by quite a bit. And if less calories and better taste doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
Why this recipe is amazing
- Extra chewy and fluffy – Mochi donuts are known and loved for their light and chewy texture. This yields an extremely soft donut, while keeping a crispy shell.
- Delicious flavour – Mochi donuts have a subtle vanilla flavour that everyone will love!
- Enjoy Mochinuts at home – This Mochinut Copycat recipe makes delicious mochi donuts that taste the same as the famous Mochinut treats.
- Less calories, more love: Mochi donuts typically have about half the calories of regular donuts.
- Can be gluten-free: These mochinuts can be made gluten free by using only tapioca starch and/or glutinous rice flour. Despite the name, glutinous rice flour does not contain gluten.
- Endless glazing options: Mochinuts can be glazed in almost any flavour. My favourite flavours: strawberry, chocolate, matcha, churros or caramel, but the options are endless!
Tools & Equipment
For this Mochinut copycat recipe you will need the following tools and equipment:
- Hand mixer or stand mixer – the easiest way to knead the dough.
- Kitchen thermometer – needed to ensure the perfect frying temperature. I recommend using a candy thermometer.
- Parchment paper – needed when frying the mochi donuts. This recipe calls for 12 squares of parchment paper 4 x 4 inches (10 x 10 cm).
- Deep frying pan – essential for frying mochinuts.
- Mesh or spider strainer – used for handling mochi donuts when frying.
- Pastry card or scraper – great for portioning the dough and transferring it into a different bowl.
- Metal or silicone tongs – useful for removing the parchment paper and turning the mochi donuts around while frying.
- Silicone mat – optional, but highly recommended. The dough for mochi donuts is extremely sticky, so using a silicone mat prevents it from sticking everywhere.
- Tapioca starch – the main ingredient in this recipe. Tapioca flour gives the signature fluffy and chewy texture loved in mochi donuts. It can be substituted with glutinous rice flour.
- All-purpose flour – used in combination with tapioca starch to create the perfect texture. Can be replaced with additional tapioca starch or glutinous rice flour for gluten free mochi donuts.
- Unsalted butter – makes the donut dough extremely light and tasty.
- Egg – used to bring the dough together. I recommend using organic, free-range eggs for the best flavour.
- Milk – adds to the subtle sweet flavour of the dough. Can be replaced with lukewarm water or plant alternatives.
- Instant dry yeast – the rising agent in the dough. Instant dry yeast is my favourite because it’s quick and easy to use. It can be replaced with 1 teaspoon of baking powder. However, for an authentic texture I recommend using yeast.
- Sugar – used in a minimal quantity to add sweetness. The dough does not need to be overly sweet, as we will be glazing the mochinuts.
- Vanilla extract – adds flavour to the dough. Can be replaced with vanilla sugar, vanilla bean paste or left out entirely.
- Salt – balances out and brings out the flavour. I like to use extra fine salt, as it’s much easier to dissolve. You can use pink Himalayan salt, sea salt or regular table salt.
For glazing ingredients and information, see the section below all about Glazing and Flavours.
How to make mochi donuts
To make the process easier, I will be breaking down the recipe into 3 main parts: making the dough, shaping the mochi donuts and frying the donuts.
Making the dough
Mochi donut dough is very sticky and can be a little tricky to handle. But trust me, this recipe yields the softest mochinuts ever!
- Begin by mixing the wet ingredients in a large bowl, combining them well. Add the flour and tapioca starch into the wet ingredients.
- Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to combine. Keep mixing to knead the dough until it becomes sticky and thicker in consistency. Do not add extra flour.
- Transfer the dough into a well-greased bowl, then cover with plastic foil and place in a warm spot.
- Let the dough prove for at least 60-80 minutes or until it triples in volume.
Shaping the mochi donuts
I recommend using a silicone mat for this step to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface. You can also use gloves to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Generously sprinkle tapioca starch over the silicone mat, then place the proofed dough over. Sprinkle starch over it, then lightly shape it into a log.
- Use a pastry scraper or a knife to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Cover with plastic foil to prevent the dough from drying out.
- Take one of the 12 pieces and divide it into 6 or 8 smaller pieces (about the size of a coin). Generously sprinkle with tapioca starch.
- Roll each of the smaller pieces of dough in your palm to shape them into round balls.
- Place all 6 or 8 balls of dough on a piece of parchment paper in the shape of a ring. Ensure all the balls are touching each other but are not too squeezed together.
- Continue the process for the remaining pieces of dough until you have 12 mochi donuts.
Frying mochi donuts
Once all the mochinuts are shaped, cover them with plastic foil and let prove for 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, fill a large frying pan with vegetable oil and bring to 350°F (170°C). Use a kitchen thermometer for best results.
- Once the perfect temperature is reached, lower the mochi donut with the parchment paper attached into the hot oil. Press it down with the strainer to submerge in oil.
- Only fry two mochi donuts at once and cook for 60-90 seconds. Remove the parchment paper after 10-20 seconds.
- Once golden-brown underneath, turn around and fry on the other side for 45 seconds.
- When fully cooked, remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool down fully.
Glazing & Flavours
What makes mochi donuts very special is the endless glazing options! Mochinuts can be customised to everyone’s tastes and preferences. Here are some ideas for glazing and flavours:
- Churro – plain sugar and spices. Just like a churro, toss the mochinuts through a mixture of sugar and cinnamon for a simple flavour. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg for an extra kick.
- Strawberry – a combination of white chocolate, heavy cream, and strawberry powder. This glaze is 100% natural in flavour and colour and tastes incredible! I recommend using freeze dried strawberry powder. Alternatively, you can also use strawberry Jell-o powder.
- Matcha – an authentic Japanese flavour. Similar to the strawberry glaze, the base is white chocolate and heavy cream. Adding a teaspoon of matcha powder will make this glaze taste and smell divine!
- Chocolate – for a classic flavour. Add cocoa powder to milk chocolate and heavy cream for the most chocolatey glaze ever!
How to make chocolate glaze for mochi donuts
This glaze is great because it’s silky smooth, tastes delicious and it’s easy to make. Once dried, the glaze hardens and becomes very shiny, unlike traditional sugar icing which become dull.
To make chocolate glaze, heat up the heavy cream, then add it over the chocolate. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to melt the chocolate. Stir well to combine and ensure there are no lumps. If the chocolate hasn’t melted fully, microwave for 30 seconds then mix again and repeat as needed.
Lastly, add the powder of choice: strawberry, matcha, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and more!
Other flavour ideas
- Taro or ube – for an authentic Asian flavour. Use taro powder or ube flavouring, such as bubble tea powder.
- Coffee – add a little instant coffee powder into the glazing for your favourite coffee kick!
- Oreo – sprinkle some crushed Oreo cookies over the glaze for a delicious topping.
- Pistachio – sprinkle crushed pistachio over the glazing. You can also use a food processor to make pistachio powder and add it into the glazing.
- Nutella – add a teaspoon of Nutella into the milk chocolate glaze.
- Peanut butter – add a little peanut butter into the glaze for a Reese’s flavour.
- Cereal madness – sprinkle your favourite crushed cereals over the glazing for extra crunch and flavour.
- Biscoff – Crush up some Biscoff cookies, then sprinkle them over the glazing for a crunchy caramelised topping.
- Caramel – Dip in caramel sauce or drizzle it over the top for a deep, sugary flavour.
- Fruits of all types – Add freeze dried fruit powder to customise the chocolate glaze to your liking. I recommend blueberry, raspberry, mango, pineapple or dragon fruit.
- Marshmallow - dip the donuts in some marshmallow fluff or melt down marshmallows in a double boiler.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Do not add too much flour – Mochi donuts have a very light and fluffy texture, which requires a sticky dough. Adding too much flour into the dough will make the donuts too dense.
- Knead well – Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to knead the mochi dough well before proofing. I recommend kneading it for at least 2-3 minutes for the optimal texture. This will make the dough more supple, sticky, and thicker.
- Use a thermometer – Frying is very important in achieving the perfect mochinut flavour. I strongly recommend using a kitchen thermometer to ensure the oil is at the perfect temperature. If the oil is too cold, the donuts will not cook properly and can become too oily inside. If the oil is too hot, the donuts will burn and remain raw inside.
- Drain excess oil after frying – I like to use a few layers of paper towels to remove any excess oil. The paper towels will absorb any drops of oil, working much better than a wire rack.
- Let the donuts cool down – Since we will be using a chocolate glaze, applying it on hot donuts will make it too runny. Ensure the mochi donuts are at room temperature before dipping them into the glaze.
- Get a partner in crime – Shaping mochi donuts can take a little while, so I recommend asking for help. Getting a partner to help out is the fastest way to shape the donuts and ensure they proof for a similar time.
Frequently asked questions
Mochi donuts are best served on the day you make them for the ultimate flavour and texture. Store for up to 24 hours in an airtight container at room temperature. If they seem a little hard, microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften.
You can freeze mochi donuts once cooked. Allow them to cool down fully before storing in an airtight container and freezing for up to 1-2 months. To serve, microwave until fluffy and soft. I recommend glazing mochi donuts after defrosting them, as the chocolate glaze will melt in the microwave.
Reheat mochi donuts by microwaving them for 15-20 seconds. This will make hard mochi donuts soft and fluffy again,
Mochi donuts are slightly healthier than regular donuts, as they contain less calories. However, since they are deep fried, they cannot be considered fully healthy.
Mochi donuts can be either fried or baked. For the most authentic flavour, I recommend frying them. This makes the flavour and texture the most similar to Mochinuts.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you will love these too:
If you’ve tried this recipe out, please don’t forget to rate and comment on this post. I love hearing from you, so feel free to reach out to me on social media as well and tag me in your posts!
Mochi Donuts (Mochinut Copycat)
Mochi Donut Dough
- 2 ⅔ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (40 grams)
- 1 egg, large
- ⅔ cup milk, lukewarm (160 grams)
- ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (25 grams)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups tapioca starch (180 grams)
- ¾ cup all purpose flour (100 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, fine
Glazing Option 1: Churro
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg powder
Glazing Option 2: Strawberry
- ⅔ cup white chocolate chips (100 grams)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (75 grams)
- 1 teaspoon freeze dried strawberry powder
Glazing Option 3: Matcha
- ⅔ cup white chocolate chips (100 grams)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (75 grams)
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
Glazing Option 4: Chocolate
- ⅔ cup semi-sweet chocolate (100 grams)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (75 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- Start by cutting out 12 squares of parchment paper, roughly 4 x 4 inches (10 x 10 cm) in size. Prepare a tray or large plate by covering it with paper towels.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, then set aside to cool down. Combine the lukewarm milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast in a bowl. Whisk the mixture, then set aside for 10 minutes until the yeast starts bubbling.
- Pour in the remaining sugar, the egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter to the mixture. Whisk the ingredients until fully combined.
- Separately, sift the tapioca starch, flour, and salt together. Whisk well to combine. Add half of the flour into the wet ingredients. Using a hand (or stand) mixer, combine the ingredients on low speed until a runny dough forms.
- Pour in the remaining flour and mix again on low speed until the dough thickens. Once the flour is incorporated, mix on medium speed for 3 minutes until the dough becomes smooth. The dough will be very tacky and sticky, but do not add any extra flour.
- Grease a large bowl with vegetable oil. Transfer the mochi donut dough into the blown with the help of a scraper or spatula. Try to keep the surface of the dough smooth to ensure an even rise.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then place in a warm spot and rise for at least 60-90 minutes.
- Lightly sprinkle the work surface with all-purpose flour. Transfer the proofed dough on the floured surface, then roll it into a log. Use a pastry cutter or knife to divide the log into 12 equal pieces. Cover the dough with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying.
- Take one of the 12 pieces of dough and divide it into 6 or 8 smaller pieces of dough. Roll each small piece in the palm to make it round, without overworking the dough too much. It just needs to be roughly round in shape.
- Place all 6 or 8 smaller dough balls on a square of parchment paper in a circle. The dough balls should touch each other, but not be squeezed together. Repeat the process for all the remaining dough.
- Use a pastry brush to dab a little water where the small dough balls connect. This will help the dough stick better and prevent the donut from splitting while cooking. Cover the donuts with plastic wrap and proof for an additional 20 minutes.
- Whilst the donuts are proofing, fill a large wide-based pan with vegetable oil. Heat the oil slowly up to 350°F (170°C) with the help of a thermometer.
- Using a spider or mesh strainer, lower the donut(with parchment paper) into the heated oil. Fry for 90 seconds on the first side, the tip over and fry for another 40-50 seconds.
- Only fry 2 donuts at a time until all donuts are cooked. Transfer the cooked donuts onto the paper towel to drain excess oil.
- For the plain sugar and cinnamon coating (Option 1), cover the donuts with the mixture whilst they are still hot. For the chocolate glazing (Options 2, 3 & 4), let the donuts cool down completely.
Donut glaze – Options 2, 3 & 4
- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until hot (not bubbling or boiling).
- Cut the chocolate into small chips, then pour the hot cream over. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir well to melt the chocolate. If the chocolate is not fully melted, microwave for 15-30 seconds. Mix again and repeat until the glaze is smooth and lump-free.
- Add in the freeze-dried strawberry or matcha powder, then mix well to combine. For the chocolate glaze, skip this step.
- Dip the donuts into the glaze, using a skewer to remove any excess. Set aside on a wire rack until the glaze has set fully.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- Nutritional value is estimative and it is calculated per serving (this recipe yields 12 servings) with sugar topping (Option 1: Churro).