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Hawaiian Butter Mochi Recipe {Gluten Free}

Soft and chewy Hawaiian Butter Mochi is an iconic Hawaiian treat made with sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour. It will transport you to the island of Hawaii in just one bite!

Looking for more butter mochi recipes? Try this smaller batch Chocolate Mochi, or these Green Tea Mochi and Guava Mochi baked in a mini muffin pan.
A stack of Hawaiian Butter Mochi on a plate

What is Hawaiian Butter Mochi?

Hawaiian Butter Mochi is a local Hawaiian treat made with sweet rice flour, also called glutinous rice flour, along with butter, eggs, coconut milk, evaporated milk, and a few other typical ingredients such as sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract. Coconut flakes or other fillings can be added for different flavored butter mochi.

The butter mochi is baked like you would a sheet cake in a 9”x13” baking pan, and then divided into smaller portions for serving. You can consider it a type of cake, but locals don’t call it a Mochi cake, simply butter mochi or Hawaiian butter mochi will do.

The difference between Japanese Mochi and Hawaiian Butter Mochi

Japanese mochi is typically made with steamed sweet rice, pounded until smooth and stretchy, then it is formed into balls or smaller portions. Japanese mochi can be plain, or filled with sweet red bean paste, or infused with other flavors. But this type of mochi is not baked and is completely different from Hawaiian butter mochi.

Did you know there is also a version of Japanese Butter Mochi?

However, there is also a version of Japanese Butter Mochi, only made in the Akita prefecture in northern Japan. This version of Akita butter mochi is also made with pounded steamed sweet rice and then melted butter, sugar and egg yolks are kneaded into the already smooth and stretchy mochi.

Again, this type of butter mochi is not baked, and resembles the traditional Japanese mochi more than the Hawaiian butter mochi due to the way it is made. I learned about Japanese butter mochi via TabiEats, one of my favorite Youtubers for all things Japanese food and travel.

Ingredients in Hawaiian Butter Mochi recipe

Mochiko

Koda Farm Mochiko box

Koda Farm Mochiko box

One of the main ingredients is Mochiko (or sweet rice flour, also known as glutinous rice flour). This type of rice has a shorter grain and is very sticky when cooked. You need to purchase the correct type of rice flour for this recipe to work.

I typically use Koda Farms Mochiko, as pictured. You should be able to find this at most Asian grocery stores. My local Stater Bros carries it in the Asian or International aisle.

There are also other brands of sweet rice flour. I know my mom usually buys the Vietnamese brand but I have not tried any other brands to tell whether there would be a significant difference. I would expect the recipe to work fine with other brand sweet rice flour.

But I must stress that you need to buy Mochiko or sweet rice flour, not regular rice flour. Regular rice is not as sticky as sweet rice and the texture will not be the same.

Can I use shiratamako?

Shiratamako is another type of sweet rice flour, but it comes in larger lumps and not as a fine powder like Mochiko. If you have shiratamako handy, I expect you can use it in place of Mochiko, after you break up the lumps.

However, it’s actually a lot more expensive due to the difference in processing method, so you better save it for making other types of more refined Japanese mochi confections. Nami from Just One Cookbook has a detailed post about Shiratamako and how it differs from Mochiko if you’re interested.

Substitution: There is ABSOLUTELY NO substitution for mochiko.

Picking up a piece of butter mochi from a plate

Coconut cream or coconut milk

I use unsweetened canned coconut cream and sometimes just unsweetened canned coconut milk if I don’t have coconut cream. The canned coconut cream has higher fat content than the canned coconut milk, you can find both at Sprouts.

Otherwise, any brand of coconut milk should work in this recipe, you will find a variety at Asian grocery stores and any supermarket nowadays. But I will note that you need to use the canned coconut milk variety and not the refrigerated carton ones, those are very light and watery.

Substitution: For the best traditional butter mochi, I don’t recommend substituting the coconut cream or milk. But if you cannot find either, half and half (or unsweetened coffee cream) is a good substitute due to the similar fat content.

Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk also adds another layer of creamy rich taste to this butter mochi. You can make your own evaporated milk by simmering whole milk until the volume is reduced by half.

Substitution: homemade evaporated milk, a mixture of whole milk + half and half (3:1) or whole milk + cream (7:1).

Coconut flakes

Coconut flakes may or may not be a traditional ingredient in Hawaiian butter mochi, but I like the addition for extra coconut flavor and another layer or texture. If you prefer a completely smooth butter mochi, you can omit these.

Substitution: there is no substitution for coconut flakes, but you can omit or use a different add-in like crushed macadamia nuts for example.

Other ingredients

  • Butter – I use unsalted butter here.
  • Eggs
  • Pure vanilla extract – for the best flavor, avoid imitation vanilla flavoring.
  • Baking powder – baking soda is not a substitution for baking powder. Baking soda needs an acidic environment to work and this recipe does not provide that. You must use baking powder.

➤ Learn more about baking powder and baking soda.

How to Make Hawaiian Butter Mochi

This Hawaiian Butter Mochi recipe is a true one bowl recipe. You don’t need any fancy equipment to make it, just a mixing bowl, a hand whisk and a spatula. But you can definitely use your stand mixer if your mixing bowl is big enough.

Making Hawaiian Butter Mochi in a mixing bowl

Making Hawaiian Butter Mochi (Photos 1 – 6)

  1. Mix together the melted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Beat in the eggs, and the rest of the wet ingredients: coconut milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Beat the ingredients in as you add them or beat them all together at the end. But it is easier to at least get the eggs first.
  3. Now add the dry ingredients: mochiko and baking powder.
  4. Stir until completely smooth.
  5. Fold in the coconut flakes.
  6. Transfer to a buttered baking pan and bake until golden brown and cooked through.

Golden brown Hawaiian Butter Mochi in a baking pan

Baker’s Tips

  • This recipe is gluten free since there is no wheat flour in it. Even though the rice flour is also called “glutinous rice flour”, there is no gluten in it.
  • You can bake this recipe in two 8”x8” baking pans. I have not done this myself but some readers have. The baking time will need to be shortened, I suggest checking around 25 – 30 minutes for doneness and continue baking as needed.
  • The baking time can vary from 50 minutes up to 75 minutes depending on your oven temperature. If the top starts to get too brown but the inside is not done, tent it with a large piece of foil to keep the top from burning.
  • This recipe will make at least 24 servings and possibly more if you cut them smaller. For a smaller batch, try these mini Coconut Mochi muffins, they are also a little bit lighter as well.

Storage

Butter mochi tastes best when fresh, especially because this type of treat can lose its bounciness when it is days old. But reheating it can make it tender and moist again.

It will keep at room temperature for a couple of days. Because it is a very moist treat, if kept out too long it can go bad, especially in very warm weather. In this case, it is best to refrigerate the butter mochi, it will last up to 2 weeks.

Can you freeze butter mochi?

Yes, wrap each piece well in plastic and/or foil. Place them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely at room temperature before serving.

Reheating butter mochi

Refrigerated and frozen butter mochi will lose their bounciness once thawed. You will want to heat them up in the microwave for about 20 seconds to soften them. To microwave, either wrap the piece of butter mochi in plastic or a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.

A half eaten slice of Hawaiian Butter Mochi

Other tropical recipes you’ll love

For a complete list of Hawaiian and Hawaiian inspired recipes, check out my roundup post containing 20 Tropical Hawaiian Recipes!

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!

A half eaten slice of Hawaiian Butter Mochi

Hawaiian Butter Mochi

Soft and chewy Hawaiian Butter Mochi is an iconic Hawaiian treat made with sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour. It will transport you to the island of Hawaii in just one bite!
4.91 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 24 2" square pieces
Calories: 243kcal
Author: Trang

Ingredients

  • 4 oz unsalted butter (melted & cooled slightly)
  • 2 cup granulated sugar (400 g)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut cream (or coconut milk, 13.5 oz)
  • 1 box of Mochiko (16 oz)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (80 g)
  • Extra butter for pan

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Brush some melted butter all over a 9”x13” baking pan and set aside.
  • Add melted butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl (or the stand mixer bowl) and mix well to combine.
  • Add vanilla, eggs, evaporated milk, coconut cream and beat until smooth.
  • Stir in mochiko and baking powder and mix until completely smooth.
  • Fold in the shredded coconut.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes (or longer if necessary) until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs attached.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
  • Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over the top if desired.

Video

Notes

  • This recipe is gluten free.
  • There is no substitution for mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  • Be sure to use canned coconut cream or canned coconut milk and not the carton variety.
  • The baking time can vary from 50 minutes up to 75 minutes depending on your oven temperature. If the top starts to get too brown but the inside is not done, tent it with a large piece of foil to keep the top from burning.
  • You can bake this recipe in two 8”x8” baking pans. The baking time will need to be shortened, check around 25 - 30 minutes for doneness and continue baking as needed.
  • This recipe will make at least 24 servings and possibly more if you cut them smaller.
  • Refer to the post for more troubleshooting and substitution tips.

Nutrition

Serving: 83g | Calories: 243kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @WildWildWhisk or tag #WildWildWhisk!

Hawaiian Butter Mochi pin image

This post was originally published on 7/5/2018. The post has been updated and republished on 6/22/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips, and a video to help you in the kitchen.

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45 Comments

  1. Marie
    June 24, 2020 /

    5 stars
    These look fantastic and so many great reviews. I can’t wait to make them.

  2. Kristina Pavao
    June 23, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! Made a half batch in a square cake pan in our toaster oven. Just enough for our family and froze the evaporated & coconut milks for next time. Quick, easy and so good!

    • Trang
      Author
      June 23, 2020 /

      Thanks for trying Kristina! I’m glad you guys enjoyed it 🙂

  3. JenLo
    June 23, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Super easy one bowl recipe. Our family loves it!

  4. Eri
    June 9, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Hello! I’ve made this recipe a few times and only now again have I been able to make it a little close to your photos :’) My ratio of ingredients was off last time so my cake rose too much and was all dry and crumbly. Still tasted decent though.

    I was wondering, how did you get the top to brown so beautifully? My latest cake is quite pale with brown spots… My toothpick comes out with crumbs attached at around 48 minutes.

    Thank you!

    • Trang
      Author
      June 10, 2020 /

      Hi Eri, I wonder if your oven just have uneven temperature. I don’t do anything special to brown the top, try to rotate your pan halfway through baking and see if it helps.

  5. Michelle
    May 17, 2020 /

    Can this be frozen after baking prior to serving? Can’t wait to try this.

    • Trang
      Author
      May 18, 2020 /

      Hey Michelle, I’ve never frozen these before, but they can be kept refrigerated for a week. However, you’ll need to warm them up before serving to get the soft chewiness back. Usually, I wrap a piece in plastic and microwave for about 10-15 seconds. If you freeze them, you will need to thaw them and warm them back up before serving. They are best the day they are baked though. Hope you’ll enjoy them, let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. Serena
    April 19, 2020 /

    4 stars
    I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started making this recipe (I have never had “traditional” Mochi) so I was a little weirded out by the result. I have never had anything like this. Ever. There is nothing you can compare them to (except regular Mochi I guess). THE RECIPE TURNED OUT EXACTLY AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO, very simple! (I altered it ever so slightly by accidentally using salted butter and I adding a little confectioners sugar to compensate) They are wonderfully flavourful and not overly sweet. They are very dense and filling but quite good. My family wasn’t big on the texture but agreed that they taste good. My gluten-free best friend LOVES them so I will be making again 🙂 thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • Trang
      Author
      April 20, 2020 /

      Thanks for trying Serena!

  7. Sori
    February 1, 2020 /

    5 stars
    The cake came out great. Everyone loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Bethany
    January 26, 2020 /

    5 stars
    I’ve tried many versions of this dessert, and this is my favorite! I prefer it without the shredded coconut so I omitted that ingredient, and 55 minutes was spot on for my oven! I lined the baking dish with parchment paper which made it super easy to remove from the pan after cooling. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

    • Trang
      Author
      January 26, 2020 /

      Thanks Bethany, glad you enjoy this recipe! One of our favorites as well 🙂

  9. Tiffany Green
    January 25, 2020 /

    5 stars
    So easy to make and was delicious! My entire family really loves it. We made 3 pans this week for Lunar New Year

    • Trang
      Author
      January 26, 2020 /

      I’m glad to hear your family loves this. Such a great treat for Lunar New Year celebration!

  10. October 26, 2019 /

    Hey Trang,
    Tried this recipe. It was so good, the two 8×8 baking pan I used was empty at the end of a family gathering. Thank you WildWildWhisk.

    • Trang
      Author
      October 27, 2019 /

      Woohoo! Thank you Dennis, I”m so happy to hear the family loved it 🙂

    • Grace Abellera
      May 26, 2020 /

      How long did you cook in a 8 X8

      • Trang
        Author
        May 27, 2020 /

        Grace, if you use 8×8 pan, make sure to use 2 pans since the batter would be too much for just 1 pan. I’m going to guess about 30 – 40 minutes, but make sure to check with a toothpick.

  11. Nira Wong
    September 28, 2019 /

    So excited to make this. I only had coconut milk and decrease the sugar by 1/2 cup. Checking at 50 mins. It was a nice golden top. It appeared to be ready after testing and the tester cameout clean. After cooling completely I cut into it and the bottom 2/3 didn’t appear cooked completely like the pictures on your website. Any suggestions? It tastes fine but a little mushy.

    • Trang
      Author
      September 29, 2019 /

      Hey Nira, if it browns too quickly on top before cooking through, you could tent it with a large piece of foil and let it continue baking. You should be able to tell with the toothpick test if it’s cooked, was yours completely clean?

      • Nira
        October 1, 2019 /

        Thank you for your response and suggestions. The toothpick did come out clean from several spots. That’s why I was surprised to find the bottom 2/3 darker and denser. It tastes ok could it be cooked?

        • Trang
          Author
          October 2, 2019 /

          If you’re worried about it being uncooked, I would pop a couple of pieces back into the oven and see if it helps if you bake it again. My very first batch when making these were like that, golden brown on top and still a little mushy at the bottom, but still tasty. It could also depend on the oven too, if you have hot spots maybe that’s why it browns faster. I’d definitely bake it longer next time and just tent it with foil to ensure you get the springy chewy texture throughout.

          You said the bottom 2/3 is darker and denser? Or mushy? Do you have a photo?

          • Nira
            October 2, 2019 /

            Thanks for all your tips. Will try again because it was tasty. I will see if I can figure out how to send you a picture.

          • Trang
            Author
            October 2, 2019 /

            You can email it to me 🙂

  12. June 4, 2019 /

    I made this for a wedding last weekend and it was a hit! I did not alter the recipe at all. Perfect the way it is! Thanks for a great recipe

    • Trang
      Author
      June 4, 2019 /

      Thank you so much Lina! I’m so happy that everyone enjoyed it 🙂

  13. Lynn
    May 18, 2019 /

    I’m taking this to a bake sale & expect it to sell wildly! I couldn’t find unsweetened coconut cream, so I used a sweetened version & cut the sugar by 1/2 cup. Gotta do what you gotta do when it comes to bake sales.

    • Trang
      Author
      May 19, 2019 /

      How fun!! I hope everyone will love it! 🙂

  14. Mary Robinson
    April 22, 2019 /

    Hello, I have made your Mochi recipe several times and I have always recieved excellent reviews. I would like to branch out and make some of your flavored mochi but i want to continue to use this recipe for it’s serving size. What advice do you have for adding things like pineapple, matcha and mango? Not all together of course 🙂 If I don’t hear back from you i guess I’ll play mad scientist and see what happens.

    • Trang
      Author
      April 22, 2019 /

      Hi Mary, I’m so glad you like this recipe and want to modify for different flavor. With matcha, it’s pretty straightforward, just add matcha powder, how much depends on how strong you like it. I used 1 teaspoon in this matcha coconut mochi recipe and it yielded a mild flavor. For this large batch maybe 2 tablespoons and even more to taste. Pineapple and mango will be a little trickier. If you want to use fruit puree, you must leave out some other liquid ingredients like evaporated milk and/or coconut cream, I would try a 1 to 1 replacement at first but you may need to play around with the ratio anyways. For even stronger fruit flavor, I would also add freeze dried fruit powder (buy freeze dried fruit and pulverize in a food processor, see how I infused pineapple in these pineapple truffles). I hope this helps somewhat, let me know if you have any other questions.

  15. Stephanie
    April 1, 2019 /

    Is it possible to use regular 2% or whole milk instead of Evaporated milk?

    • Trang
      Author
      April 1, 2019 /

      Hey Stephanie, you can substitute but note that whole milk has higher water content than evaporated milk and 2% has higher water content than whole milk so the taste will be less “rich” and the baking time may lengthen. If you’re looking for a substitution because you don’t have evaporated milk, use 3/4 whole milk and 1/4 cream. But if you’re looking to use a less “fat” milk, then I would try to keep it at whole milk, 2% is too light IMO.

  16. Serena
    February 5, 2019 /

    5 stars
    I made your butter mochi for family and friends for Chinese New Year, and can’t remember the last time I got so many raves and requests for more (and I bake A LOT)! Even people who 1) don’t love coconut, 2) don’t have a huge sweet tooth couldn’t stop telling me how much they liked it. I cut the sugar down by just a tiny bit (maybe 1/4 cup or less) which didn’t seem to affect the taste. Also, in my oven, 55 minutes was a bit too long (top got a bit too brown) so will cut back a bit next time. Thank you for this amazing recipe…I haven’t found another on the Internet that uses coconut cream and think this is what puts this recipe over the top!

    • Trang
      Author
      February 5, 2019 /

      Thank you so much for your feedback Serena. I’m so happy you guys love this recipe! It’s one of my favorite island treats 🙂

  17. Taina j. Feil
    January 17, 2019 /

    5 stars
    Your recipe is a SMASH!!! IT turned out perfectly and yummy! Its bout 3 or 5 days later and my boys (myself too) asking for more of this tummy dessert! My sister Darlene…an INCREDIBLY AWESOME BAKER..makes these every year when we go back! These are delicious like hers! ThankyouSoMuch* Taina

    • Trang
      Author
      January 17, 2019 /

      I’m so happy you and your boys enjoy this. I really appreciate your feedback and thanks for baking along!

  18. Gabriel
    December 19, 2018 /

    Hello! Im look8ng forward to making this. One question, how big a box of mochiko?

    • Trang
      Author
      December 19, 2018 /

      Hi Gabriel, I usually buy a 1 lb box, pictured in the post, this is enough for 1 batch.

  19. Peggy Swingholm
    October 7, 2018 /

    I made this recipe for the first time today. I baked in convection oven at 325 and after 60 minutes took out. I probably could have taken out after 50 to 55. The top was a little browner than I remember when I was in Hawaii. Still very tasty and something I will make again.

    • Trang
      Author
      October 7, 2018 /

      Thanks for your feedback Peggy. This is definitely useful for anyone who uses convection oven as well. Glad it still comes out tasty 🙂

  20. Elle
    September 30, 2018 /

    This is a delicious recipe. Everyone absolutely loved it! Will be making this again and again! Thank you so much.

    • Trang
      Author
      October 1, 2018 /

      Thank you so much for your feedback Elle! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  21. Elle
    August 25, 2018 /

    Hi Trang! So excited… Can’t wait to try this mochi recipe! For the cans of milk and coconut cream, how many oz are each can? I found different can sizes at the store.

    • Trang
      Author
      August 26, 2018 /

      Hi Elle, the evaporated milk is 12 oz and coconut cream is 13.5 oz. Apology, I didn’t think about the different size cans. I’m going to update the recipe card. Thank you for your question 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy these!

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