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How To Store Mochi & Stop It Going Hard

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake that has become popular in western countries for being a small ball of sticky rice dough that’s stuffed with ice cream.

More traditional fillings include red bean paste (Anko) and whole strawberries. In Japan, the desert version of mochi is called Daifuku. 

Mochi can also just be eaten as it is without being stuffed. My favorite way to enjoy mochi is to grill it in the oven and dip it in soy sauce.

So how do you store mochi? Fresh mochi is best kept in the freezer because it will go hard very quickly at room temperature or in the fridge. Wrap the individual mochi in plastic wrap and put it in an airtight container in the freezer. It will last for two weeks.

Daifuku (stuffed mochi) dough contains more sugar so will stay softer for longer in the fridge. You can keep dessert mochi out for 1-2 days.

How to store fresh mochi

Fresh homemade mochi is best consumed right away. Fresh mochi has a soft, chewy texture, but the texture quickly changes to hard and dry if you leave the mochi out.

At room temperature, mochi will mold quickly, sometimes within a day if you live in a humid environment. In less humid environments, mochi might last for two or three days without molding, but it will become harder by the day.

In the fridge, mochi dries out even quicker than at room temperatures. The cold temperatures cause the starch to retrograde, which hardens the mochi.

If you can’t eat the mochi straight away, the best place to store it is in the freezer. The mochi will lose some of its soft, chewy texture after being frozen but will still be delicious.

To store mochi or daifuku in the freezer:

  1. Portion the mochi out into individual-sized pieces
  2. Coat the mochi portions in corn or potato starch. This will help keep the mochi soft and stop the portions from sticking together or to the container
  3. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap. The plastic wrap helps to stop the mochi from drying out. If you’re trying to cut down on plastic waste, you can skip this step and flash freeze the coated mochi balls instead. To flash freeze, put the mochi pieces on a baking tray so they’re not touching and put them in the freezer for 2-3 hours
  4. Put the wrapped or partially-frozen mochi into a larger freezer-proof bag or airtight container
  5. Label the container and put it in the freezer
  6. The fresh mochi will last for two weeks in the freezer

If you decided to skip step three and not wrap the mochi balls in plastic, I would suggest using a Ziploc bag rather than an airtight container. The reason being that you can squeeze all the air out of a zip-loc bag, whereas this is impossible with a container.  As the mochi doesn’t have the plastic layer for protection, it’s important to minimize air contact as much as possible.

A trick I like using is to suck all the air out with a straw. Of course, if you have a food saver vacuum machine, this does all the hard work for you!

The above method will also work for mochi dough. If you’re finding the dough really hard to work with then freezing can actually help because it will make the dough much less sticky.

Two weeks isn’t that long. If you want mochi that lasts longer than you’re best off buying dried mochi from the store. This type of mochi can last for up to a year in the freezer.

How to store fresh daifuku

The mochi used for making daifuku (desert mochi) tends to have quite a bit of sugar so won’t harden as quickly as plain mochi. The more sugar in your mochi dough, the softer it will stay.

Therefore, it’s okay to keep fresh daifuku in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Keep them tightly wrapped in plastic wrap to keep in moisture. I also tend to keep them in a ziploc bag wrapped in a towel. The towel helps to make sure they don’t get too cold and harden prematurely.

You can also freeze the daifuku using the process I outlined above in the section on how to store mochi.

How to defrost mochi

To defrost fresh mochi that you’ve frozen, simply take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. Once it’s reached fridge temperature, you can take the mochi out and let it come up to room temperature. The mochi should soften up once it reaches room temperature.

There’s no need to defrost hard mochi – you can just cook it straight from frozen. 

How to soften fresh mochi that’s gone hard

Suppose you’ve gone to eat your mochi or daifuku and discovered that its glutinous chewy texture has disappeared, even though you’ve warmed it to room temperature. Don’t worry. All hope is not lost.

Steam the mochi

You can try gently steaming the mochi to soften it. Steam will soften the mochi without cooking it or melting it. Place the mochi on a plate, and put that plate over a bowl filled with boiling water. Let the mochi sit in the steam for a few minutes until it’s softened up enough for your tastes.

Microwave the mochi

Alternatively, you can use the microwave to heat the mochi up. Wet the mochi or daifuku all over and place it on a microwaveable plate. The wetting will stop the mochi from sticking to your container, as well as helping in the softening process.

Set the microwave to 30 seconds and then check on the mochi. If it’s softened up, go ahead and eat it. If it’s still too hard, then put it back in the microwave for a further 30 seconds. Be careful not to overdo it because mochi can melt or, even worse, explode if microwaved for too long!

If you have ice-cream-filled mochi, steaming it is the best option since the microwave will quickly melt the ice-cream. With steaming, the outer layer of mochi provides some protection against the heat for the ice-cream, so it doesn’t melt as quickly. 

If the mochi is so hard that you don’t think it can be softened, check out my suggestion below of what to do with leftover mochi.

How to reheat mochi

If you have blocks of plain mochi that you want to be heated (rather than filled daifuku), you can get a bit more creative. Here are the three main ways to reheat mochi. These methods will work with both frozen mochi and dried mochi.

Note that once you’ve cooked the mochi you have roughly half an hour max before it becomes hard and inedible, so make sure to only cook it when you’re ready to eat it.

Bake the mochi in the oven

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the mochi in the oven on a parchment-lined tray. Leave the mochi for around 5 minutes. The mochi will puff up and get crusty on the outside while becoming soft and chewy on the inside. 

I tend to watch my mochi as it cooks so I can take it out at just the right time. They will burn easily. The mochi’s done when the top has turned golden brown.

Baked mochi is perfect wrapped in nori and dipped in soy sauce.

Boil the mochi

Place the mochi in a saucepan with cold water. Make sure the water completely covers the mochi. Heat the mochi until the water is boiling. Gently stir the mochi as the water is heating to stop it from sticking to the pan.

Once the water has started boiling, lower the heat and let the mochi simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. The mochi should be really soft, but if you notice it start to melt, take it out. 

One of the best ways to enjoy boiled mochi is in soup. Ozoni is the traditional New Years’ soup made with vegetables, a protein, and mochi.

Fry the mochi

Heat the pan with a medium flame and when it’s hot, put the mochi in the pan.

Leave the mochi to fry for a few minutes until the bottom is puffy and brown. Then flip the mochi and heat the other side.

I like frying my mochi in butter for a deliciously rich flavour.

Microwave the mochi

This is the fastest way of cooking mochi. It’s also a good method if you don’t want a crusty outside. Mochi cooked in the microwave is soft and stretchy.

Wet the outside of the mochi to keep it from sticking to your container and microwave it for 30 seconds. Check on the mochi and microwave for another 30 seconds if required. 

What’s the shelf life of mochi?

Fresh homemade mochi has a shelf life of 24 hours unless frozen. After 24 hours, the mochi may start to mold or harden so much it won’t be edible. In the freezer, fresh mochi can last up to 2 weeks.

Daifuku mochi tends to have more sugar in the dough than mochi dough, which helps it stay softer for longer. Therefore, daifuku will have a slightly longer shelf life in the fridge than plain mochi dough. Daifuku will last 2-3 days in the fridge.

Store-bought dried mochi has a much longer shelf life than fresh mochi. It will last a few months at room temperature and up to a year in the freezer. Because it lasts so long at room temperature, there’s no need to refrigerate packaged mochi.

As with any shop-bought food, always check the expiration date on the packet and follow the manufacturers’ storage guidance.

What can I do with leftover mochi?

If you have some spare mochi that you’re not sure what to do with, here is my suggestion for what to do with leftover mochi.

The most traditional thing to do with leftover mochi is to deep fry it and make Okaki (crackers). 

Thinly slice the mochi and make sure it’s completely dry. Very dry mochi will have small cracks in its surface.

If the mochi isn’t completely dry, then leave it out to air dry. Sometimes you will have to air dry the pieces for up to a week, but it’s essential to make sure there’s no water left in the mochi.

Water and deep frying don’t go well together!

Break the dried mochi into tiny pieces and deep fry them at a low temperature to prevent burning. The mochi pieces will brown and puff up. When they’ve turned a golden brown color, remove them from the oil and season them with whatever you like.

My personal favorite is curry powder, but soy sauce and salt are more traditional.

To store the crackers, you can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. I always line my container with a paper towel to absorb any moisture that might soften the crackers.

How to store mochi ice cream

Storing mochi ice-cream is very similar to freezing mochi in general. Due to the ice cream you have no choice but the freeze the ice-cream balls.

Coat the individual balls in corn starch or wrap them in plastic wrap to stop them from sticking together. Then flash freeze them on a baking tray for a few hours. Once they’re frozen you can transfer them to a bigger container and a zip-loc bag.

Try to minimise air contact by choosing an appropriately sized container, or squeezing all the air out of your plastic bag.

Allow the mochi to come to room temperature before you eat it.

How long does mochi ice-cream last in the freezer?

Homemade mochi ice cream can last two weeks in the freezer. Store-bought varieties may have added preservatives, so they’ll last longer. But always check the expiration date on the packet.

How To Store Mochi

Fresh mochi is best kept in the freezer because it will go hard very quickly at room temperature or in the fridge. Wrap the individual mochi in plastic wrap and put it in an airtight container in the freezer. It will last for two weeks.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 1 portion
Calories 350 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion mochi

Instructions
 

How To Store Fresh Mochi

  • Portion the mochi out into individual-sized pieces
  • Coat the mochi portions in corn or potato starch. This will help keep the mochi soft and stop the portions from sticking together or to the container
  • Wrap each portion in plastic wrap. The plastic wrap helps to stop the mochi from drying out. If you’re trying to cut down on plastic waste, you can skip this step and flash freeze the coated mochi balls instead.
  • To flash freeze, put the mochi pieces on a baking tray so they’re not touching and put them in the freezer for 2-3 hours
  • Put the wrapped or partially-frozen mochi into a larger freezer-proof bag or airtight container
  • Label the container and put it in the freezer
  • The fresh mochi will last for two weeks in the freezer

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

1 thought on “How To Store Mochi & Stop It Going Hard”

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you For sharing all of this info. This is the most thorough explanatioN on the storage Of mochi i have found. I appreciate the suggestions on the leftover or hard moChi as well.

    Reply

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