This article was updated on 11th September 2023 for freshness and to incorporate new insights.
If you’re new to the world of mochi (welcome, it’s a great world!) you’re probably wondering how to preserve your treats.
Fresh mochi is best kept in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. It will go moldy at room temperature and will harden very quickly in the fridge. Dessert mochi (daifuku) has more sugar in the dough, so will last for 1-2 days at room temperature, but after that, you should freeze it.
How to store fresh mochi
Fresh homemade mochi is best consumed right away. If that’s not possible, the best place to store it is in the freezer where it will last for 2-3 weeks. The mochi will lose some of its chewy texture after being frozen but will still be delicious.
Fresh mochi’s soft texture quickly changes to hard and dry if you leave the mochi out. And 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 temperature. The cold temperatures cause the starch to retrograde, which hardens the mochi and gives it a grainy texture. Never put fresh mochi in the fridge (despite what you might read on other blogs!).
How to freeze 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.
- Put the mochi pieces on a baking tray so they’re not touching and put them in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
- Transfer the partially frozen mochi into a larger freezer-proof bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing (to protect against freezer burn).
- The fresh mochi will last for 2-3 weeks in the freezer.
Note: If you don’t want to flash freeze the mochi, you can wrap each individual portion in plastic wrap instead.
To defrost fresh mochi, 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.
Pro tip: The above storage 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.
How to store fresh daifuku (dessert mochi)
The mochi used for making daifuku tends to have quite a bit of sugar in so won’t harden as quickly as plain mochi. The more sugar in your mochi dough, the softer it will stay.
You can store 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 daifuku by wrapping it in plastic wrap for 2-3 weeks.
How to store mochi ice cream
Due to the ice cream, you have no choice but to freeze mochi ice cream.
Coat the individual balls in cornstarch 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, transfer the mochi to a zip-loc bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
Allow the mochi to come to room temperature before you eat it.
How to store butter mochi (a Hawaiian mochi cake)
Store leftover butter mochi in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also wrap portions in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 1 month.
How to soften hard mochi
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. Here are some easy ways to soften it.
Steam the mochi
You can try gently steaming the mochi for 2-3 minutes to soften it. This method works for all types of mochi, but it’s especially good for filled mochi because the outside layer heats first and provides some protection for the inside.
Microwave the mochi
Alternatively, you can use the microwave to soften the mochi. Wet the mochi all over and microwave it in 10-second intervals until it’s soft enough. Be careful not to overdo it because mochi can melt or, even worse, explode if microwaved for too long!
Bake the mochi in the oven
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) 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.
Psst… 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.
What can I 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 on 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.
Related: Best Way To Reheat Tteokbokki (rice cakes)
How To Store Mochi And Soften Hard Mochi
- 1 portion mochi
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