Japanese

How to Make Your Own Mochi Ice Cream

May 27, 2019
Photo by Linda Xiao

Mochi—smooth and pillowy and cotton ball-light—needn't be messed with. But if you had to—let's say it's summer and a billion degrees outside and you wish your big toe could be submerged in an ice bath at all times—you could combine it with ice cream. And not just combine it with ice cream, but wrap it around the scoops to make a handheld and highly adorable dessert.

You can buy mochi ice cream at Trader Joe's or order it at sushi restaurants or from fancy websites. But you can also make it yourself. And today, that's just what we're doing. Together!

With only two component parts (mochi, ice cream), this dessert is simple enough to conquer at home. (And personally, I do everything in my power to avoid the Trader Joe's lines in New York City.)

Because the mochi needs to engulf the ice cream scoops, you'll have to contort it—manipulating (and warming, and melting) the ingredients much more than for a typical ice cream sandwich. In summer's heat, it's a bit of a wild pursuit, but not an impossible one. It's fun! And you can choose whatever combination of mochi (matcha, black sesame, vanilla, mint) and ice cream (cookies and cream, strawberry, chocolate) you want.

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Top Comment:
“somehow mine still melt allll over the place when i try to combine the mochi and ice cream, no matter how cool the mochi is, how frozen the ice cream is, how fast i work! i'll have to try the gloves and see if those help.”
— Heather |.
Comment

You'll need to track down sweet glutinous rice flour and your favorite ice cream (store-bought is easier to work with than homemade if you're a first-timer), but once you've got those, you're good to go.

Follow These Tips for Mochi Ice Cream Success

Photo by Linda Xiao
  • You'll need to scoop and refreeze the ice cream well in advance of assembly. Portion the ice cream scoops into a mini muffin tin or an egg carton lined with plastic wrap.
  • You want your mochi to be cool but also super fresh. As mochi sits, it becomes drier and less elastic, which means it'll be more prone to tearing as you try to stretch it around the ice cream scoop. Since mochi-making takes only about 30 minutes from start to finish, I recommend starting that process when the individual ice cream balls are already frozen solid.
Act fast! Photo by Linda Xiao
  • As you're making the mochi, be generous with the cornstarch to avoid stickiness. You can always dust it off later! I also recommend sifting the cornstarch to avoid big clumps.
  • Plastic wrap is here to help. Place each mochi round on a generous piece of plastic wrap, then use the excess to help gather and smush the mochi around the ice cream: You'll be able to belt it all together and then shove it in the freezer—all ice cream leaks will be contained until they refreeze.
  • And plastic gloves will help, too: They'll protect the ice cream from the warmth of your hands.
Now you see the ice cream, now you don't. Photo by Linda Xiao
Plastic wrap helps to hold everything in until the ice cream has a chance to re-freeze. Photo by Linda Xiao
  • If possible, work with one ball of ice cream at a time (and in close proximity to the freezer).
  • Let your mochi soften a bit at room temp before attempting to slice or bite or serve to friends. The mochi layer needs some time to relax back into its naturally soft state.

Want to Make Your Own Ice Cream, Too?

Plan ahead: If you're making the ice cream for your mochi ice cream (look at you!), make sure you churn and freeze it at least a day or two in advance, so it doesn't melt during assembly.

Made with toasted black sesame seeds, this ice cream tastes like a peanut butter–tahini mashup (yes, please). And we can't get enough of its moody, sultry grey color.

Thai iced tea is great. Thai iced tea ice cream is better. It boasts a glowy-neon color, thanks to the tea leaves, and an ultra-creamy flavor, thanks to not one, not two, but three types of dairy: whole milk or half-and-half, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk.

"If I had to choose one ice cream flavor for the rest of my life," our co-founder Merrill Stubbs writes, "it would be black raspberry." Whoa. If you can't track down black raspberries, feel free to swap in red raspberries or blackberries. The flavor and color won't be quite the same, but it'll still be good.

This egg-free ice cream has a little secret: cornstarch. After you cook this with heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar, the mixture takes on a lush, pudding-like consistency, which turns into the smoothest, creamiest ice cream in town.

Meet your new favorite chocolate ice cream, straight from chocolate expert Alice Medrich: "Really good milk chocolate—and I promise you that exists—makes decadently rich creamy ice cream," she writes. And if you want to gild the lily? Fold in some salted cashew brittle, too.


See Mochi in Action

This article was originally published in August 2016. We updated it in anticipation of summer (soon! it's happening!). Now, tell us: Would you rather eat mochi ice cream or just plain mochi? And what's your favorite flavor combination? Discuss in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mary Dodgson
    Mary Dodgson
  • Diane O'Sullivan Gordon
    Diane O'Sullivan Gordon
  • pamela
    pamela
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
  • Heather | Delicious Not Gorgeous
    Heather | Delicious Not Gorgeous
Comment
Sarah Jampel

Written by: Sarah Jampel

A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.

8 Comments

Mary D. June 19, 2017
I love any form of Mochi, broiled so it's crispy and gooey inside, crispy baked in a waffle iron or as a sweet with bean centers or ice cream.
 
Diane O. August 24, 2016
This looks like fun! I doubt if I will find the rice flour near me, but I bet I could make it from grinding up sushi rice into flour in the blender. I'll report back!
 
pamela August 20, 2016
I've filled my mochi with matcha, lychee and avocado ice creams. All are delectable!
 
Merrill S. August 19, 2016
This is one of my favorite things in the world to eat. Sarah, if you tell me I can make it at home I'm going to take you at your word!
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. August 19, 2016
It's not SUPER EASY—but you can do it! (If you're at the level where you can dip entire ice cream sandwiches in melted chocolate, you can make mochi ice cream.)
 
Heather |. August 19, 2016
these are a pain in the butt to make. somehow mine still melt allll over the place when i try to combine the mochi and ice cream, no matter how cool the mochi is, how frozen the ice cream is, how fast i work! i'll have to try the gloves and see if those help.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. August 19, 2016
I have faith in you!
 
HalfPint August 19, 2016
I love both. Why choose? ;)