50 Traditional Japanese Recipes You Can Make At Home

Miso Ramen

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Have you ever wanted to try making real Japanese food at home in your kitchen, but didn't know where to start? We've got you covered with our collection of traditional Japanese recipes that home cooks can actually tackle. From sushi rolls and other bento box favorites to perfectly-crispy tempura, rice bowls, ramen, and other noodles, you'll find delicious recipes here to wow your family and friends.

  • 01 of 50

    Tonkatsu (Deep-Fried Pork Cutlet in Sauce)

    Pork Tonkatsu

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    If you enjoy pork barbecue and coleslaw, you'll love tonkatsu. A popular bento box item, it is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet topped with a tangy, ketchup-based sauce (basically, the Japanese version of barbecue sauce). The traditional side dish is shredded green cabbage.

  • 02 of 50

    Japanese-Style Steamed Rice

    Steamed rice recipe

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    From breakfast to late-night suppers, no meal in Japan is complete without steamed rice. (In fact, the Japanese name for steamed rice, gohan, literally means "meal"). Our essential recipe walks you through how to make perfect steamed rice every time using a rice cooker or a pot on the stove-top.

  • 03 of 50

    Quick Shoyu Ramen

    Quick Shoyu Ramen

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Shoyu (or soy sauce) ramen is a delicious and filling noodle soup. It's easy to cook up in less than 30 minutes for a satisfying weekday lunch, especially when you top it with a soft-boiled egg. Use store-bought chicken stock, kombu dashi soup stock, and a few other Asian pantry basics to create the signature broth.

  • 04 of 50

    Spicy Tuna Donburi Rice Bowl

    Spicy Tuna Donburi Rice Bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    Fans of spicy tuna rolls will love this delicious mash-up of the popular makizushi (rolled sushi) with the classic donburi (a rice bowl topped with protein). Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, and chili oil combine to create the unbelievable, creamy-meets-spicy sauce for top-quality tuna in this yummy, one-bowl dinner.

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  • 05 of 50

    Tamagoyaki: Japanese Rolled Omelet

    Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelet)

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Eggs are not just for breakfast in Japan. Tamagoyaki, the popular omelet made by rolling together thin layers of seasoned egg in a frying pan, is commonly added to bento lunch boxes as a side dish, used in sushi rolls, and sliced and served cold as a dessert. Make it at home in 10 minutes, with our easy, four-ingredient recipe.

  • 06 of 50

    Japanese Milk Bread

    Japanese Milk Bread

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    If you have never tasted Japanese milk bread (also called Hokkaido milk bread), get ready to meet your new favorite loaf. The world-famous bread is incredibly soft and fluffy with a cloud-like texture, buttery flavor, and enough chew to make it an ideal sandwich bread.

  • 07 of 50

    Vegetable Tempura

    Vegetable Tempura

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Vegetable tempura is a favorite vegetarian appetizer at Japanese restaurants and a cinch to make at home. Potato starch keeps our tempura batter light while baking soda and ice-cold water make it puff up nicely for a light yet crispy coating. It's a genius way to get the kids to eat their vegetables.

  • 08 of 50

    Japanese Cold Noodles (Hiyashi Chuka)

    Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese Cold Noodles)

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    While the literal translation of hiyachi chuka is "chilled Chinese," it is very much a Japanese dish. Popular at restaurants throughout the summer months, it is a cold noodle salad made with chilled ramen noodles, strips of thin egg omelet, sliced luncheon meat, fresh raw vegetables, and other colorful toppings. Enjoy it for a picnic-style lunch at your desk on days when you want to eat lighter.

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  • 09 of 50

    Spaghetti Napolitan (Japanese Ketchup Pasta)

    Spaghetti Napolitan (Japanese Ketchup Pasta)

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    One of the most popular yoshoku (Western-style food) dishes in Japan, ketchup pasta is widely available at cafes and is a favorite family meal. Its uniqueness comes down to its signature ketchup-based sauce which serves as a shortcut marinara. Other traditional ingredients are onions, green bell peppers, and ham or bacon.

  • 10 of 50

    Potato Korokke

    Potato Korokke

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    When you have leftover mashed potatoes, use them to make korokke. Crispy on the outside and creamy inside, these deep-fried mashed potato croquettes with browned ground beef and onions inside are a beloved snack among people of all ages in Japan. Make a big batch to freeze ahead for enjoying anytime with the dipping sauce of your choice.

  • 11 of 50

    Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

    Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Pork belly, a well-loved East Asian ingredient, is a boneless and fatty cut of meat from the same region of the pig where bacon comes from. The classic Japanese side dish or appetizer of buta no kakuni calls for slowly braising pork belly in traditional flavorings including soy sauce, rice wine, sake, ginger, and scallions until the meat is meltingly tender.

  • 12 of 50

    Cold Green Tea Soba Noodles (Cha Soba)

    Cha Soba (Cold Green Tea Soba Noodles)

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    Green tea adds a subtle, elegant taste and a pretty green hue to thin and chewy soba noodles. The chilled cha soba noodles are typically enjoyed during the sweltering summer months in Japan when they are served with various cold garnishes and a soy and dashi-based dipping sauce as a light luncheon dish.

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  • 13 of 50

    Kaki Fry (Japanese Fried Oysters)

    Kaki Fry (Japanese Fried Oysters)

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Crunchy, creamy deep-fried fresh oysters (kaki fry) is a popular restaurant menu item across Japan and commonly made in home kitchens. While the Japanese typically wait until fall oyster season to make them, you can fry up these tasty appetizers anytime using fresh, frozen, canned, or jarred oysters. They are great dipped in mayonnaise or tonkatsu sauce.

  • 14 of 50

    Japanese Cream Stew With Chicken and Vegetables

    Japanese Cream Stew With Chicken and Vegetables

    The Spruce / Andrew Bui

    Cream stew is a beloved Japanese comfort food dish that is easy for American home cooks to recreate. Inspired by Western cooking, it is a homey stew that combines meat and vegetables in a luscious, creamy sauce that starts with a roux and includes cream cheese.

  • 15 of 50

    Daikon no Nimono (Braised Daikon Radish)

    Daikon no Nimono (Braised Daikon Radish)

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Braised daikon radish (daikon no nimono) is commonly prepared in winter in Japan when this root vegetable comes into season. Slowly simmering daikon is an effective way to coax out its natural sweetness and mellow its peppery flavor. Save the green, nutritious leaves for adding to your miso soup or blending into green smoothies.

  • 16 of 50

    Futomaki: Fat Rolled Sushi With Vegetables

    Futomaki (Fat Rolled Sushi With Vegetables)

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Futomaki (literally "fat rolled sushi") is an essential roll to know. While you can fill it with all kinds of vegetables, our recipe uses cucumber plus cooked rice and tamagoyaki (egg omelette). Learn to make it at home, and to impress your friends at parties with our easy-to-follow recipe.

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  • 17 of 50

    Tsukune: Japanese Meatballs

    Tsukune (Japanese Meatballs)

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Tsukune are irresistible little Japanese meatballs that are boiled then skewered and grilled with a sweet, sticky, tangy sauce. Incredibly moist and tender and packed with savory flavor, they make a crowd-pleasing party appetizer or weeknight dinner dish.

  • 18 of 50

    Ebi Fry (Fried Shrimp)

    Ebi Fry (Deep-Fried Shrimp)

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

    Ebi fry (ebi means "shrimp") is a classic yoshoku dish that is is often made at home in Japan and found at restaurants. It is similar to tempura shrimp except that instead of dunking cleaned, tail-on shrimp in light tempura batter before frying, it uses the classic, three-step Western dredging method (flour, eggs, breadcrumbs) to create a thick crust.

  • 19 of 50

    Okayu (Japanese Rice Porridge)

    Okayu (Japanese Rice Porridge)

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    Okaya is a comforting rice porridge that will remind you of congee (but thicker). A soothing dish of rice cooked down until it becomes a soft and tender slurry, it is easily digestible and often served to children and the elderly in Japan. It is also a common breakfast and eaten to nurse a cold.

  • 20 of 50

    Salmon Ochazuke (Rice With Tea)

    Salmon Ochazuke (Tea Rice With Salmon)

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    Ochazuke is a warming one-bowl dish of steamed rice topped with salmon and assorted garnishes all poured over with green tea. The tea creates an instant broth, transforming the simple ingredients into a soothing seafood soup. It all comes together quickly and is a delicious use for leftover cooked rice.

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  • 21 of 50

    Okonomiyaki (Osaka-Style Savory Pancakes)

    Okonomiyaki (Osaka-Style Japanese Pancakes)

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    A popular street food in Japan, okonomiyaki is a savory frittata-style pancake. The batter is made with flour and eggs as well as shredded cabbage, scallions, and tempura flakes. The griddle-cooked pancakes are topped with protein and finished with mayonnaise and other condiments.

  • 22 of 50

    Kinpira Gobo

    Kinpira Gobo

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Kinpira gobo is often used as a bento box component in Japan. This colorful vegetarian side dish is made with gobo (burdock root, available from Asian grocers), a starchy root vegetable with a mild, earthy flavor that is valued in Asia for its detoxifying and healing properties.

  • 23 of 50

    Baked Chicken Karaage

    Baked Chicken Karaage

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Baked chicken karaage is a popular and kid-friendly menu item at izakaya (tapas-style restaurants) in Japan. While it is usually fried, our recipe calls for oven baking the diced and marinated chicken thigh meat for a lighter, less messy dish.

  • 24 of 50

    Agedashi Dofu: Japanese Fried Tofu in a Dashi-Based Sauce

    Agedashi Dofu

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

    Crispy on the outside, custardy on the inside, and seasoned with savory dashi stock, it's no wonder agedashi dofu is a popular Japanese restaurant appetizer. You need only seven ingredients to make this deep-fried tofu dish at home for a yummy dish.

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  • 25 of 50

    Asari No Sumashijiru (Japanese Clam Soup)

    Asari No Sumashijiru (Japanese Clam Soup)

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    Short-neck clams, or asari, bring an enormous amount of flavor to this classic Japanese soup. The juice from the cooking clams combines with their steaming water to create the nourishing, clear broth. A little lemon zest and parsley are all that is needed for garnish.

  • 26 of 50

    Gyudon

    Gyudon

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

    Of all the popular rice bowls in Japan, gyudon may top the list. A simple one-bowl comfort food meal of steamed rice topped with thinly-sliced beef and onions simmered in a slightly sweet, dashi-based stock, gyudon is a perfect fall and winter weeknight meal. Serve topped with a soft poached egg for a traditional presentation.

  • 27 of 50

    Vegan Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup With Rice Cake)

    Vegan Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup With Mochi)

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    On New Year's Day in Japan, families celebrate with their own special recipes. Many begin the day with a steaming pot of ozoni for breakfast. The traditional soup of vegetables and mochi (rice cake) in a soy-flavored vegan broth is wonderfully warming on colder days and a great way to kick off the new year.

  • 28 of 50

    Japanese Shrimp Gyoza

    Shrimp Gyoza

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Gyoza are plump and delicious Japanese dumplings with a variety of fillings. They are frequently served as the main course at family meals. Our tasty gyoza are filled with sweet fresh shrimp, scallions, ginger, and tender cabbage shreds and cooked potsticker-style in a pan. Serve with ponzu sauce for dipping.

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  • 29 of 50

    Kale Kobachi

    Kale Kobachi

    The Spruce / Judy Ung

    Want a different way to prepare heart-healthy kale? Kale kobachi is an easy, nutritious vegan side dish of sautéed kale lightly seasoned with mirin (a Japanese sweetened rice wine used for cooking) and soy sauce. Try making more than you need for dinner so you can add the extras to a bento lunch box the next day.

  • 30 of 50

    Hibachi-Style Steak

    Hibachi-Style Grilled Steak

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    Recreate the magic of hibachi-style steak in your kitchen with our genius recipe for grilled steak with mushrooms. All you need are a hot grill, one boneless steak per person, a bunch of mushrooms, and a few basic pantry ingredients for the sauce. Serve it for a satisfying weeknight meal with steamed rice.

  • 31 of 50

    Kabocha Korokke (Japanese Pumpkin Croquette)

    Kabocha Korokke (Japanese Pumpkin Croquette)

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Are you looking for a new fall side dish or party appetizer? You can't go wrong with these crunchy korokke with a filling of orange-fleshed kabocha squash (a Japanese cousin to the North American pumpkin). We mash kabocha with buttery onions for rolling into balls, breading, and deep-frying until golden and crispy.

  • 32 of 50

    Chicken Katsu

    Chicken Katsu

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Makeover your everyday chicken dinner with our easy chicken katsu, a twist on the classic Japanese pork tonkatsu. The crispy, crunchy chicken cutlets topped with a sweet and salty sauce will have your whole family begging for more.

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  • 33 of 50

    Japanese Rice Balls

    Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    Onigiri, a fun snack of steamed white rice balls, is a popular grab-and-go food in Japan. You will find assorted onigiri in Japanese convenience stores made with a variety of tasty fillings from tuna mayo to katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). It is a breeze to make a big batch at home in just 30 minutes.

  • 34 of 50

    Tuna Sashimi With Daikon and Ginger

    Tuna Sashimi With Daikon and Ginger

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

    Sashimi is one of the most famous dishes in Japanese cuisine. Use the highest-grade tuna you can find for this classic delicacy of thinly-sliced raw fish. Enjoy it with chopsticks and the included dipping sauce for an elevated appetizer at dinner parties.

  • 35 of 50

    Chirashizushi

    Chirashizushi

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    You can think of chirashizushi (translated as "scattered sushi") as a kind of deconstructed sushi roll dinner. It is a cheerful and filling one-dish meal consisting of cooked sushi rice, a colorful medley of vegetables, and sashimi-grade raw fish served family-style on a large platter or individually in rice bowls.

  • 36 of 50

    Omurice (Japanese Fried Rice Omelet)

    Omurice (Japanese Fried Rice Omelet)

    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

    Omurice is a Japanese-American fusion dish that is cooked in homes across Japan and served at Western-style diners. Basically an omelet made with eggs and fried rice and topped with ketchup, it is eaten by workers and students needing a quick, satisfying evening meal. Our satisfying spin on this classic breakfast-for-dinner includes diced chicken, onions, mushrooms, and green bell peppers.

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  • 37 of 50

    Daikon and Cucumber Sunomono Salad

    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

    The Spruce

    When you want a light and cooling salad for a cookout, try sunomono. A refreshing and simple medley of thinly-sliced cucumber rounds (and in this case, daikon radish slices) in a vinegary dressing, it comes together in minutes for a mayo-free salad you can leave out on the buffet table.

  • 38 of 50

    Tempura Udon

    Tempura Udon

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Tempura udon is a hearty soup of thick and chewy udon noodles in an umami-rich broth topped with crisp pieces of fried tempura vegetables and shrimp. It is an excellent use for leftover tempura from a restaurant order and makes a comforting one-bowl meal on colder days.

  • 39 of 50

    Inari Sushi (Rice Stuffed Tofu Pockets)

    Inari Sushi (Rice Stuffed Tofu Pockets)

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Deep-fried tofu pouches (aburaage) stuffed with a variety of yummy fillings are a time-tested staple of Japanese cuisine. Inari sushi stuffs prepared fried tofu pockets (available at Asian grocery shops or online) with sushi rice seasoned with a little sugar and rice vinegar. They are a great lunchbox food for kids.

  • 40 of 50

    Yakiniku Donburi (Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl)

    Yakiniku Donburi (Japanese Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl)

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    Yakiniku donburi is a substantial bowl of thinly-sliced, pan-grilled beef and vegetables in a savory sauce served over a mound of hot cooked rice. Like many Japanese rice bowls, it is quick and easy to prepare for a comfort food dinner you can enjoy all year round.

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  • 41 of 50

    Miso Ramen Japanese Soup

    Miso Ramen

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    Miso ramen is a nourishing noodle soup. With browned ground pork, fresh vegetables, garlic, ginger, and tender ramen noodles swimming in a lightly-seasoned miso broth, it is ideal for eating when you want to warm up. Top bowls with an optional soft-boiled egg for an elevated presentation.

  • 42 of 50

    Tuna Salad Sushi Rolls

    Tuna Salad Sushi Roll

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    While you may think of tuna salad as Western food, it has long been a popular filling for makizushi (sushi rolls) and onigiri (rice balls) in Japan. We used a basic tuna salad recipe for these sushi rolls but feel free to use your favorite tuna salad recipe. It takes a little practice to get the rolling technique down, but it's fun and a great skill to add to your repertoire.

  • 43 of 50

    Spicy Edamame

    Spicy Edamame

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

    Edamame (boiled soy beans in their shells) is one of the simplest, and most nutritious Japanese snacks. You will often find a small dish of lightly salted edamame served as a bar snack in Japan, much as peanuts are served in the West. Use bagged frozen edamame for our spicy appetizer recipe that makes a delicious movie-watching snack.

  • 44 of 50

    Shio Koji Salmon

    Shio Koji Salmon

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    Shio koji is an umami-bomb Japanese ingredient made from fermented salt and steamed rice. Much like Korean kimchi, shio koji is used to add a sweet, salty, and funky flavor to Japanese dishes. Here, it forms an overnight marinade for fresh salmon fillets, flavoring and tenderizing the fish.

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  • 45 of 50

    Vegetable Harumaki (Japanese Spring Rolls)

    Vegetable Harumaki (Japanese Spring Rolls)

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Fried Japanese spring rolls are always a crowd-pleasing snack. These crispy spring rolls with vegetables and noodles inside are best eaten immediately after frying either served as an appetizer or made into a meal with rice and soup on the side.

  • 46 of 50

    Natto With Rice

    Natto With Rice

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    Soybeans are steamed and then fermented to make traditional natto, a Japanese staple food that is high in protein and nutrition. Buy packaged natto from your local Asian grocery or online, and add it with a little soy sauce to steamed rice for the easiest-ever lunch or dinner in one bowl.

  • 47 of 50

    Kushiyaki (Japanese Beef Skewers)

    Kushiyaki (Japanese Beef Skewers)

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    In Japanese cuisine, kushiyaki refers to all foods that are skewered and grilled, making them a cousin to Middle Eastern kebabs. This skewered beef dish is a fantastic family entrée and makes an excellent main dish for large parties or potlucks. Your guests will go wild for the tender, savory meat bursting with bold sweet and savory flavor.

  • 48 of 50

    Sakana no Nitsuke (Japanese Simmered Fish)

    Sakana no Nitsuke (Japanese Simmered Fish)

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Fish simmered in a sweet, salty, gingery, soy-based sauce (sakana no nitsuke) is a classic seafood preparation in Japan. Common Asian pantry ingredients create a sauce for simmering fish on the stove-top so it becomes moist and tender without any over-cooking or dryness.

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  • 49 of 50

    Japanese Enoki and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

    Japanese Enoki and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    Japanese enoki and shiitake mushroom soup is heart-warming and full of earthy mushroom flavor. It makes an elegant, light starter for fall and winter dinner parties and could even be enjoyed as a light lunch in itself. The addition of glass or cellophane noodles (harusame) bulks up the thin, clear broth, but you could add cubed firm tofu for extra protein and texture.

  • 50 of 50

    Sanbaizu Tsukemono (Japanese Pickle)

    Sanbaizu Tsukemono (Japanese Pickle)

    The Spruce / Erin Archuleta

    In Japan, it is customary to serve tsukemono (pickles) along with meals. As in other cultures around the world, pickled foods are a clever way to add vegetables into the diet during the colder months when fresh vegetables may be scarce. This tasty, vinegary tsukemono uses traditional Japanese vegetables and would make a good addition to any rice bowl or appetizer platter.