50 Japanese Foods to Make at Home

The cuisine of Japan is known around the world for its fresh dishes that combine seasonal ingredients with refined technique. Looking to try your hand at sushi or make your own ramen from scratch? You'll find everything you need here, plus recipes for katsu, curry, donburi and more.

Curated by Ethan Johns

Minado's Perfect Sushi Rice

Short grain rice is so essential to Japanese cuisine that the Japanese word for "cooked rice" (gohan) is the same as the word for "meal." When it comes to making sushi—the traditional Japanese dish of lightly vinegared rice—the two most common forms are makizushi (rolled sushi) and nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi), but it can be found in a wide variety of forms.

How to Make Makizushi

"These are wonderful step-by-step instructions. My family had so much fun rolling and eating sushi tonight and we can't wait to do it again."


Pork Gyoza

These fried pork and cabbage dumplings have their origins in China, and were brought back to Japan by soldiers following the Second World War. Unlike Chinese boiled jiaozi, Japanese gyoza are fried and then steamed to perfection. Serve them with a dipping mixture of soy sauce and rice vinegar, and don't forget the chili oil.

Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

"Had some potstickers in the freezer and so I made this sauce to go alongside with them and it was perfect! Great flavor combination and the best part was that the ingredients were easy to find!"

-Jonathan Melendez

Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce

This panko-breaded and fried chicken cutlet is an essential Japanese comfort food that's beloved around the world. With some crisp cabbage on the side and a drizzle of rich tonkatsu sauce, this one is perfect for weeknights. Try making it a katsu kare by pairing your crispy cutlets with Japanese-style curry.

Kare Raisu (Japanese Curry Rice)

Forget sushi; curry with rice is quite possibly—along with ramen—the most popular dish in Japan. While its origins are unclear—a popular legend says that it was a shipwrecked British sailor carrying Indian spices—it has become a uniquely Japanese food, mixing meat and potatoes with a spice blend redesigned to please Japanese palates. (This Japanization of western foods is known as yoshoku). Add chicken katsu to make it katsu kare.

Japanese Cheesecake

"Delicious cheesecake! It's like eating clouds, it's so light and fluffy. Just one note, the cheesecake should be left in the oven with the oven turned off after cooking for one hour for best results."


Dashimaki Tamago

Eggs are mixed with dashi, mirin and soy sauce, then fried and rolled to create this special omelette. It can be served on its own, or consumed as sushi—either as maki or nigiri.

Sunomono (Sesame Cucumber Salad)

"Fantastic side that goes with many main courses. The flavor of this dish hits all over your mouth. A salty beginning, cool, fresh middle and a good heat at the end. Definitely use rice vinegar over white."

-Hello Kitty with cu

Hayashi Rice

This western-style dish features white rice topped with Japanese-style meat stew—in this case, pork loin. The sauce comes together by mixing stock and tomato juice and reducing it with Worcestershire and soy sauce (red wine is an option as well). It's commonly consumed at home in Japan, where the prepared sauce is sold in cubes or cans in supermarkets.

Miso Soup with Dashi

Dashi—the Japanese fish stock made from katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and kombu (kelp)—is the base of many soups and stews. Try brewing your own, then make this miso soup by adding miso paste and your favorite high-quality tofu.

Unagi Kabayaki

Freshwater eel (unagi), is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking. When filleted, dipped in sauce and then grilled, it becomes unagi kabayaki. Make it a unadon (eel donburi) by serving it on a bed of rice.

Onigiri with Umeboshi Plum

"It is ESSENTIAL that you use the right rice here people or this won't work. Real sushi rice has a high starch content which makes it sticky. Really, really sticky! If you are lucky enough have an Asian grocer nearby you can find it there. If not it can be purchased online."



Yakitori is, simply put, chicken that has been skewered and grilled (normally over binchotan charcoal). From thigh meat (momo) to liver (leva), gizzard (sunagimo) and heart (hatsu), you can eat entire the chicken yakitori-style with either sweet or salty sauces.

Pork Belly Ramen

Sold in stalls and tiny restaurants in Japan, ramen is a soup that fills you up, cures hangovers and soothes the soul. Typically made with pork broth (tonkotsu) or chicken broth (torigara), there are many regional versions of ramen, but they all feature addictively chewy noodles. To preserve the miso paste's nutrients and probiotics in this recipe, do not simmer it with the broth—instead, mix it into the broth in the bowl before adding noodles and garnishes.


"My parents are both from Japan, and my dad is very much into gardening. He actually grows the edamame in the summer and prepares these fresh for us to eat. Hands down the best snack on a hot summer day!"


Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

"Yum! Very nice chicken, a beautiful color and crunchy, too. I have cooked similar recipes to this, but never used garlic—I don't know why— but I will from now on. I did go very easy on the salt because soy sauce is pretty salty by itself, but the consensus was that it's just right."



It doesn't matter which came first, because this rice bowl mixes both chicken and egg (along with scallions, onion, soy and mirin). It's a comforting favorite that's perfect any night of the week.

Crispy Tempura Batter & Tentsuyu Dipping Sauce

Tempura is more of a textural experience than western breading-and-frying. The simple batter—made with ice-cold water, flour and eggs—is meant to complement the flavors of fresh produce and fish. Try sprinkling with some salt and dipping it in tentsuyu sauce.

Japanese Mum's Chicken

"We have a Japanese girl, Tomoko, living with us, and tonight she and I cooked a Japanese dinner for her friends. She phoned her mum, Toshiko, in Japan for this, as it's her favorite recipe. It's simple and so good, and Tomoko—who is only 16—did such a good job of cooking, then translating the recipe to English."

-JustJanS (recipe contributor)


Yakisoba is a dish of stir-fried wheat noodles (ironically, yakisoba is not actually made with soba). This recipe features pork, cabbage and carrots, but you can customize to your liking with other proteins.

Simple Mochi

"The best mochi recipe out there! It is so easy to make, and very quick, too. I suggest using a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop to get the perfect round shape! You can make it look like the classic kind by adding a little pink food coloring."

-Packer O Bentos

Simplified Miso Ramen Soup

"Normally, ramen stock is made with many ingredients, but this simplified ramen using only chicken stock was very satisfying and very simple to make."



This savory, loaded-up pancake is sold in Japan is sold in stalls and restaurants throughout Japan, but it's incredibly simple to prepare at home. Just whip up the batter, add in your preferred foods (pork and ginger are good ideas, but really anything in the fridge can go into this pancake). A drizzle of sauce is essential—think mayonnaise or okonomi sauce.

Tonkatsu (Fried Pork Cutlets)

The precurser to chicken katsu, these pounded, breaded and fried pork cutlets can be paired with anything. Make katsudon by serving it as a rice bowl, or serve it between slices of soft bread to make a katsu-sando.

Shio Kombu Onigiri

Onigiri are plain rice balls that can be stuffed with anything from tuna and shrimp to pickled umeboshi plums or pork. These onigiri—made with brown rice instead of white—are stuffed with a sweet-and-salty seaweed mixture.


Nikujaga falls somewhere between a beef stir-fry and a beef stew. Filling potatoes, onions and thin-sliced beef are cooked together with a salty-sweet sauce made from reduced mirin and soy sauce.

Hambagu (Hamburger Steak)

"An excellent and easy-to-make dish! I will double the sauce next time as everyone wanted more. To my delight, my husband and mother said they prefer this recipe to the typical Salisbury steak."

-Brew City Chef

Teriyaki Sauce

This well-known cooking glaze can be used on basically anything, but fish is the protein most frequently used for teriyaki. From yellowtail to salmon, the idea is to sear the meat, then add teriyaki sauce (a mixture of soy sauce, mirin and sugar, sometimes with ginger or honey) and reduce it until it coats.

Green Tea Ice Cream

An early import from China, tea has become an important aspect of Japanese culture, in which ceremonies and even architecture have developed around its consumption. Turning green tea into ice cream may have been done since the late 19th century, but it was only with globalization in the '80s and '90s that its popularity exploded—both in Japan and around the world.

Gomae (Spinach Salad)

"I'm really hoping for a bumper crop of spinach this year, because I want to make this again and again. It's a 10-minute salad, and unlike some other gomae dressings I've tried, the sesame flavor is there, but not so strong that you miss out on everything else."

-magpie diner

Meyer Lemon Ponzu Sauce

"Ponzu sauce is traditionally made with yuzu in Japan, but I have an old Meyer lemon tree that produces fabulous lemons throughout the year. This is my own version of ponzu sauce using Meyer lemons instead of yuzu. This sauce is very versatile and you can use it top any steamed veggies, fish, meat or tofu. You can also add a bit of oil to make a salad dressing, but go easy on the oil!"


Spam & Egg Onigiri

As a result of the American presence in Japan after the Second World War, Spam crept into local cuisine—particularly in Okinawa. Much like Spam musubi in Hawaii, Spam and egg onigiri combines the American processed meat with the classic Japanese rice ball, creating a salty, savory fusion food.

Okinawa Soba with Stir-Fried Vegetables

Unlike traditional soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour, Okinawa soba noodles are made from regular flour. While soba can be eaten cold, by dipping noodles into a chilled broth, this hot soba is a soup made with stir-fried pork and veggies in a pork and dashi broth.

Okinawa Soba with Pork

"One of the things you shouldn’t miss when you go to Okinawa, Japan is their soba. It’s a tasty noodle soup served with soft braised pork slices. Different parts of pork can be used, and the most common is spare ribs—or soki—but for this recipe, I've made use of pork loins."

-Pearl Ishizaki (recipe contributor)

Tai Nitsuke (Red Snapper Simmered in Sauce)

Red snapper is technically not consumed in Japan, but it is a decent substitute for tai, or madai (red seabream), which can be fished in Japanese waters. Nitsuke is the name for a technique in which fish is simmered in a strong soy sauce. This recipe simplifies things by doing the cooking a microwave.

Chinjao Rosu

"Chinjao rosu is another Japanese dish which has Chinese origins. When cooked stove-top, it is stir-fried beef with peppers and bamboo shoots with a soy-sauce based seasoning. For this microwave recipe I have used thinly sliced beef scraps—or komagire—and Japanese green peppers called piman."

-Pearl Ishizaki (recipe contributor)

Sata Andagi (Okinawa Deep-Fried Doughnuts)

With a crispy, golden-brown exterior and a fluffy center, these simple, deep-fried doughnuts don't need powdered sugar or any other toppings; they're perfect just the way they are.

Goya Chanpuru (Bitter Melon Stir-Fry)

This stir-fry of bitter melon, eggs, tofu and pork—and even sometimes Spam—is quintessentially Okinawan. Bitter melon (goya) is a curious-looking vegetable that looks like a bumpy cross between a pepper and a cucumber. It is consumed while still green, and its nutritional properties make it something of a superfood.

Chahan (Japanese Fried Rice)

"My friend's mom owns a yakiniku restaurant but she also cooks various other foods. This is her chahan recipe. She really uses chashu, but she said bacon is okay too. If you like green peas, you can add two tablespoons."



"OMG, so good! We enjoyed this sprinkled with a little nama shoyu and some pickled ginger on the side. Slightly sticky but not gummy with the wonderful almost meaty flavor of the azuki beans."



French croquettes were brought to Japan near the end of the 19th century. Korokke, as it has become, is a potato croquette that's packed with meat and onions, then breaded and fried.

Gyudon (Beef & Rice Bowl)

Gyudon or gyumeshi is a very simple concept: beef and onions simmered in a flavorful, slightly sweet sauce, arranged over top of white rice. It's comforting, delicious and super easy to make. Make sure to serve it with pickled ginger for an acidity that cuts through the sweetness.


This Japanese is a form of nabemono cooking, in which ingredients are cooked at the table in a communal pot (think hot pot). Start by frying up the meat (normally beef), then add liquid and vegetables to create the broth. Some will dip the ingredients in a bowl of raw egg before eating them, but this isn't necessary.

Kani Zosui (Crab Rice Soup)

Zosui, similar to congee, is somewhere between soup and risotto, with chewy rice and broth. This recipe features crab, but you can also make zosui with other meats, seafood and vegetables.

Tsukimi (Full Moon) Udon

"Literally translated, tsukimi means 'viewing the moon.' The egg in this dish represents the full moon surrounded by clouds of noodles. It is traditionally served in the autumn but I love it all year long."


Taiyaki (Fish-Shaped Pancake)

"This Japanese treat loved by children and adults alike is easy once you get a fish iron. It will work with any of your favorite pancake or waffle recipes. I like to put apple, raisins and nuts into mine and they taste even better the next day plain because of the moisture of the apple and raisins. You can also try your own variations."


Ochazuke (Green Tea Rice)

"I make this often; it's comfort food to me. Great for lunch on a cold day. Sometimes I will use a flavored green tea. Mandarin orange-flavored tea is nice with a piece of fish that was steamed with mandarin orange slices, for example."


Dango (Sweet Mochi Dumplings)

These dumplings are made from glutinous rice flour, making them similar to mochi. Here, they're cooked with red azuki beans in syrup, giving them a rich, sweet flavor.