Butter Mochi, Custard Mochi

Butter mochi is a classic Hawaiian treat that features sweet rice flour, which gives the dessert its characteristic chewy texture. #buttermochi #custardmochi #mochi #hawaiian #dessert

much of my time at aunty lily’s was spent trying not to step on hyper dogs, hunting for easter eggs and watching my aunts and uncles scream in laughter after seeing the newest, most outrageous entry into the annual white elephant game. despite how busy i ended up being, i always found time to accept a piece of butter mochi from aunty lily.

aunty lily was technically my great aunt, but unofficially the grandma i never had.

don’t get me wrong. my paternal grandma is always lovely. she smiles so brightly when i see her, and she would always make me my favorite spareribs when i was little. she also brags about me incessantly (which is pretty nice). the language barrier is a bit of an obstacle (she speaks cantonese, i speak english, a minuscule amount of french and dim sum), though we still enjoy each other’s company. i never met my mom’s mother, unfortunately, but my step-grandma is always quick to gift me loquats, dried apricots, and compliments on my desserts (even when i made cream puffs that never puffed). 

aunty lily, on the other hand, spoke english. she’d take my cousins and i to the arcade, then for the lunch buffet. she was always travelling and ready to take on a new adventure, and she always had a pan of butter mochi lying around. it’s best on the day it’s made, yet i can’t turn away a warmed up (enough to soften) day-old piece.

her cancer diagnosis was a huge blow to the family. she was the glue that kept us together and happy, and we all loved her immensely. she didn’t slow down until the last week, and passed away peacefully in her sleep.

i’ll always miss her. having butter mochi makes me feel like i’m with her again. when i get lonely, i drive to the nearby asian market and buy a box of mochiko. an hour later, i’m greeted by the warm, luscious scent of butter melting and mingling in all the best ways. it’s like she’s giving me a hug.

The top of the custard mochi separates a bit, giving you a creamy top layer and a chewy, dense bottom layer. #buttermochi #custardmochi #mochi #hawaiian #dessert

notice the milk? the original recipe aunty lily gave me didn’t have the milk. so, on one of the days when i was craving butter mochi, i made it. i was so anxious when it came out of the oven. i could feel the taut chewiness between my teeth, the crispy then soft texture on my tongue. i tried to cut into it.

my knife never made it past the top layer. the mochi was hard as a rock, and seemed to grow impossibly more unyielding as time passed. aunty lily later laughed as i relayed the story to her, and lovingly added a note that reads “+ 3 cups milk (:” on my copy of the recipe. and if you don’t know what mochiko is, it’s a sweet rice flour, so it’s gluten-free. it’s what gives the mochi its characteristic elasticity and chew.

butter mochi is, unfortunately, one of those things that doesn’t taste good hot, or even warm. one’s patience can get sorely tested while waiting for a batch to cool (which takes a while; many a time, i’ve had to hold the pan in a sturdy, thick cardboard box while transporting it to a party because the mochi was still hot). but once it’s ready to be consumed, nothing can stop me from cutting a huge rectangle and chowing down.

now, why did i make a batch today? for one of the members in my group for a physics project. you see, i brought over cream cheese brownies the other day for my group to enjoy. except i didn’t know that she was gluten-free. i know it wasn’t my fault, but i still felt bad, and vowed to make her mochi. i eventually did during one of our meetings, because i’d rather bake than engineer an upside down loop out of duct tape and foam tubing. i almost forgot the milk, but thankfully remembered to stir it in at the last moment.

i’ve also included a recipe for custard mochi. it has more milk, and the resulting mochi is creamier. it tends to separate into two layers: a creamy, buttery, unctuous top with a more modest, chewy bottom. some people may not like it, but i think it’s pretty superb.

also: when i say 1 package of mochiko, i’m talking about the koda farms mochiko. one package is the perfect amount for these recipes, and you don’t need to measure out the mochiko. that being said, you can definitely use another brand of mochiko, so long as you use 1 lb of it when you make these mochis.

I love the crispy, extra golden edges on butter mochi and custard mochi. #buttermochi #custardmochi #mochi #hawaiian #dessert

1 year ago: the lion king in san francisco | spicy pan-fried tofu bowl
2 years ago: chocolate chip cookies a la flour bakery | squash carbonara with pancetta and sage
3 years ago: aunty m’s thai shrimp curry | procrastination thursday
4 years ago: artichoke chicken | banana granola

5 from 1 vote
The top of the custard mochi separates a bit, giving you a creamy top layer and a chewy, dense bottom layer. #buttermochi #custardmochi #mochi #hawaiian #dessert
Butter Mochi
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
Butter mochi is a chewy, buttery Hawaiian dessert made of sweet rice flour.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Hawaiian, Japanese
Keyword: baking powder, brown sugar, butter, eggs, gluten-free, glutinous rice flour, milk, mochi, mochiko, nut-free, vanilla
Servings: 32 people
Calories: 134 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1 lb mochiko
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 5 large eggs room temperature and beaten
  • 3 cups whole milk room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a 11x15" dish. Bake at 350F for 1 hour; the top will bubbly, golden brown and poofy. Cool completely (it will deflate) before slicing (it's easiest with a plastic knife so that the mochi doesn't stick to the knife) and serving.

  2. You can store leftovers at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge. If you refrigerate it, however, the mochi gets a little hard and I like it best reheated (I prefer toasting or microwaving).

Recipe Notes

From Aunty Lily (there are a bunch of very similar ones that you can Google as well; not sure where Aunty originally got the recipe from).

During my most recent batches, the butter (which rises to the surface of the mochi during baking) has bubbled over a bit in a 9x13" pan, so I suggest either using an 11x15" pan or using a 9x13" pan with a baking sheet on the rack below the pan to catch any drips. Another thing to keep in mind: an 11x15" pan yields mochi with a higher crispy crunchy top to chewy mochi ratio, whereas a 9x13" pan yields mochi with a thicker middle and less of the topping. Your choice, but I love more top (chances are, if you're into muffin tops, you'd like the thinner, crispier mochi, too).

5 from 1 vote
The top of the custard mochi separates a bit, giving you a creamy top layer and a chewy, dense bottom layer. #buttermochi #custardmochi #mochi #hawaiian #dessert
Custard Mochi
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
 
Custard mochi is a slightly creamier, lighter version of butter mochi. Both versions of the popular Hawaiian dessert are made with sweet rice flour, which gives them that chewy texture.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Hawaiian, Japanese
Servings: 32 people
Calories: 140 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 4 cups whole milk room temperature
  • 1 lb mochiko
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the rest of ingredients and mix until well blended.
  2. Pour into a 11x15" pan and bake at 350F for 80 minutes, or until center is firm and the mochi is golden brown on the edges.
  3. Cool completely (it will deflate) before slicing (it's easiest with a plastic knife so that the mochi doesn't stick to the knife) and serving.

  4. You can store leftovers at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge. If you refrigerate it, however, the mochi gets a little hard and I like it best reheated (I prefer toasting or microwaving).

Recipe Notes

During my most recent batches, the butter (which rises to the surface of the mochi during baking) has bubbled over a bit in a 9x13" pan, so I suggest either using an 11x15" pan or using a 9x13" pan with a baking sheet on the rack below the pan to catch any drips. Another thing to keep in mind: an 11x15" pan yields mochi with a higher crispy crunchy top to chewy mochi ratio, whereas a 9x13" pan yields mochi with a thicker middle and less of the topping. Your choice, but I love more top (chances are, if you're into muffin tops, you'd like the thinner, crispier mochi, too).

10 Replies to “Butter Mochi, Custard Mochi”

  1. Is your custard mochi recipe the one where the custard ends up on the top of the mochi? If not, do you have a custard butter mochi recipe? I made it once by accident and stupid me did not write down what I did and now that I want to make it again, I can’t find a recipe.

    1. hi alice! yes, this custard mochi separates. i don’t think i’ve ever had a non-separating custard mochi, but i bet it’d be delicious! you may be able to try combining the two recipes (maybe add a little bit more milk to the butter mochi?) and play around with it. i’d be interested to know how it turns out if you end up trying it (:

  2. Do you think using 2% milk would have an effect on the final product? I’m looking specifically at the custard mochi.

    1. go for it! whole milk is actually around 3% in fat content (what a misnomer, right?), so it’s not that big of a difference. whole milk makes it richer, but it’s still tasty with 2% (:

      1. Thanks! I’m in Canada where we have homogenized milk, which is 3.75%. It’s delicious but I don’t like having it around – a little too delicious, if you get me.

        1. haha (; you’ll have to try using the 3.75% when you can bring the mochi to a potluck or something!

  3. Hello,

    I’d love to try this recipe but there’s only 2 people in the house. I want to cut the recipe in half and use a 9×9 in square pants. Can you tell me how long to make it? I’d hate to guess and under or overcook it. Thanks.

    1. hi! i’d recommend baking it for 1 hour at first; if it’s not ready then, check every 10 minutes. the center should be firm, and the top should be golden brown. the mochi can take extra heat (it’ll still be chewy and buttery and crispy on top), so definitely bake it longer if you’re not sure! if you underbake it, it’ll taste kind of flour-y, but i’ve never had this issue with baked butter mochi (this happens to me more when i’m trying to microwave mochi).

  4. Hi Heather, I made the custard mochi and it was amazing! The soft texture and crunchy top was so delicious. I’m Hawaiian and my husband is Filipino (we eat butter mochi at least every other month lol) and we are both in love with your recipe. And I really liked how you broke it down in the butter mochi vs custard mochi side-by-side comparison, very informative. Can you please make an ube mochi pancake/waffle recipe next? I was gonna get a relative to mail me some from Trader Joes (we don’t have TJs in Hawaii) but some crazy people bought out the entire stock and are reselling it on ebay for triple the price! Anyway sorry for the rant, mahalo and have a great day!5 stars

    1. i’m so glad you liked the custard mochi! i don’t eat enough butter mochi, so that might have to change (;

      i need to hunt down some ube or ube jam and i’ll try it out – if it goes well i’ll post a recipe for it!

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