Chewy and moist baked chocolate mochi donuts with a crisp buttery exterior. These naturally gluten-free butter mochi donuts are so easy to make and have chocolate glaze or matcha glaze options. Don't have a donut pan? Don't worry! You can bake these as muffins too!
While meal planning for our ladies' retreat in Nevada City this past spring, Emma asked me to make mochi cupcakes. Alanna requested they be in donut form and that chocolate and/or matcha be involved. Check, check, and check!
As much as we try to pretend this retreat was a relaxing weekend away from it all, it was 100% a working retreat, but in the best way possible. Together with Amanda, Alanna, Emma, and Erin, we spent three nights and days cooking and baking from sun up to sun down (and later even...), bouncing ideas and inspiration off one another. That's where I finally perfected these chocolate mochi donuts...three batches later.
Chocolate Mochi Donuts
I knew butter mochi bakes up beautifully into donuts, as my friend Dana tested, but I wanted to try flavoring the batter with dark melted chocolate. With inspiration from Lady & Pups' mochi donuts, I also had my heart set on deep frying the donuts.
The first batch - a deep-fried chocolate mochi donut - was a complete flop. They looked a pale brown-grey color and tasted just as bleh. To be clear: this most definitely was because I didn't have a stand mixer to properly knead the starter dough and not because of the recipe method. I will try Lady & Pups' fried mochi donuts with proper equipment.
For the second batch, I developed a baked chocolate mochi donut, baking them just as long as butter mochi. After all, I'd used a classic Hawaiian butter mochi recipe as the base recipe for this version. They were great for about 5 minutes then turned to tooth-breaking inedible ROCKS as they cooled.
Set on redeeming myself, I woke up early the next day to bake another batch of chocolate mochi donuts, tweaking the recipe, and baking for much less time. These are baked donut perfection.
Here are a few other recipes to come out of our ladies' retreats:
- Sugar Snap Pea Mojito Mocktail
- Chickpea Beet Ravioli
- Teff Flour Waffles from Heartbeet Kitchen
- Vegan Tahini Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce from The Bojon Gourmet
- Spring Vegan Miso Soup from The Bojon Gourmet
How to Make Mochi Donuts
Baked donuts are one of the easiest most foolproof ways to make mochi donuts. Start with a solid butter mochi recipe and divide it into generously buttered donut pans. Shallower and with more surface area than their muffin or cake counterparts, mochi donuts finish baking in much less time. The best part about mochi donuts is that they use sweet rice (sticky rice) flour so they're naturally gluten-free!
I'm a strong hater of baked donuts - I've said it before: donuts need to be fried or else they're just disappointing cake. I stand by that statement (fight me) with one exception: MOCHI DONUTS. Baked mochi cake donuts have the most incredible texture - crisp on the outside while also chewy and moist on the inside. It's textural paradise. I no longer regret my donut pan impulse buy.
Once you have a good butter mochi donut base recipe, you can experiment with flavor add-ins and unique glazes.
Chocolate Mochi Cake
For these mochi donuts, I've flavored the donut batter with chocolate. To make chocolate mochi cake donuts, mix in melted chocolate and baking cocoa to the batter. The combination of both allows for deep chocolate notes without compromising on the chewy mochi texture or moisture. These donuts have a gooey chewy chocolate center that's hard to resist.
Keep them softer by baking for just 30 minutes or bake just a little longer for 35 minutes to crisp up the outside a little bit more. Whatever you do, don't bake them for any longer than 35 minutes or your donuts will be rock hard on the outside once they cool!
Chocolate Black Sesame Mochi Donuts Variation
Right before the ladies' retreat, I'd just finished baking this chocolate black sesame loaf cake from my friend Cynthia from Two Red Bowl's cookbook. Inspired by her flavor combo, I also baked up a version with ground-up black sesame seeds in the batter in place of the cocoa powder. With a combination of rich chocolate mochi and smoky notes of black sesame, this version is my favorite. Grind up black sesame seeds in a coffee grinder until they become powdery like flour.
Chocolate Matcha Mochi Donuts
While the chocolate mochi cake donut base is delicious on its own, the donut glaze takes it to a whole new level. The glaze is what makes these taste quintessentially like a donut against their crisp shell.
For these donuts, I've used two different glaze options so you can choose if you want chocolate matcha mochi donuts, double chocolate mochi donuts, or a combination of both. Donut glaze is incredibly easy to make by combining powdered sugar with milk, so feel free to get creative with your flavor mix-ins.
More Mochi Recipes
- Black Sesame Pumpkin Mochi Cake
- Sesame Peach Mochi Cookies
- Chocolate Mochi Mug Cake
- Ginger Tofu Pudding with Soy Milk Mochi
- Mochi Brownies from Fix Feast Flair
Chocolate Mochi Donuts
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pans
- 2 cups (320 grams) mochiko sweet rice flour (different from "white rice flour" or "brown rice flour")
- 1 cup (200 grams) organic dark brown sugar (see note)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (or sub in ¼ cup ground black sesame seeds for a chocolate black sesame version! See note.)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 13.5-13.66-ounce can full-fat coconut milk (see note)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-70%), melted and cooled
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract (or replace ½ teaspoon with chocolate extract if you have it)
- Optional, for garnish: flaky salt, black sesame seeds, shaved chocolate
Chocolate Glaze, for 12 donuts
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-74%), melted and cooled
- 2-2½ tablespoons milk or coconut milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Matcha Glaze, for 12 donuts
- 1½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon high-quality matcha powder (I use Encha Organic Latte Grade)
- 2½-3 tablespoons milk or coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Generously grease the sides and top of two non-stick donut pans with soft butter. (Alternatively, you can bake these as muffins - the batter for 1 muffin is the same amount as for 1 donut).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder or black sesame powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and, if using, chocolate extract. Pour in the melted cooled chocolate and mix until smooth.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until completely combined.
- Divide the batter among the 12 donut cavities of the prepared donut pans, filling each one all the way to the top or even a little bit taller than the edge, swiping around the center each donut mold with your finger or a paper towel to leave it uncovered. Note: You may have about a tablespoon of leftover batter, or you can fill the donut cavities a little less and make 13 donuts instead of 12. You can also bake these as muffins! The batter for 1 muffin is the same amount as for 1 donut – if baking as muffins, bake for 55 minutes.
- Bake 32-35 minutes until the top is set and the donut gently springs back when poked with a finger. It might not spring back as much as a muffin, but trust me: do not bake any longer than 35 minutes. The donuts crisp up as they cool and if you continue baking them, they'll get ROCK HARD on the outside.
- Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
- Prepare the glaze just before you're ready to glaze the donuts because it will firm up as it sits.
- Chocolate glaze: Combine melted and cooled chocolate with 1 tablespoon milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Add remaining milk, a splash at a time, just until it's smooth enough to glaze. It should be thick enough that when you swirl it, the swirl stays for a few seconds then collapses back into itself. It will firm up as it sits, so if it's too thin, let it sit for a few minutes and give it another stir. If it's too thick, add a bit more milk or zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up.
- Matcha glaze: Combine powdered sugar, matcha powder, vanilla extract, and 1.5 tablespoons of milk. Add more milk, a splash at a time just until it's smooth enough to glaze. It should be thick enough that when you swirl it, the swirl stays for a few seconds then collapses back into itself. If it's too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.
- Dunk your cooled donuts upside down in the glaze, lifting and pressing down/swirling the donut, until the top is covered. Immediately sprinkle with shaved chocolate, black sesame seeds, or flakey salt as desired. Transfer upright to a wire rack to set the glaze. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Organic dark brown sugar is richer and more caramel-y than conventional, but you an use conventional in a pinch! Your donuts will turn out with a bit less caramel/toffee notes.
- For coconut milk, I prefer 365 brand, Native Forest, or Thai Kitchens. I do not recommend using the coconut cream from Trader Joe's as they seem to have updated their supplier and the new consistency is a bit oily and grainy.
- For the chocolate black sesame version, sub in ¼ cup ground black sesame seeds instead of cocoa powder. Grind up the black sesame seeds in a coffee grinder, small blender jar, or small food processor until fine like a powder.
- The glaze ingredients above are for all 12 donuts, so if you're doing half chocolate and half matcha, divide these quantities in half.