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Local Sweets: Butter Mochi

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Butter Mochi is a local treat (like a cross between cake and mochi) that you can find in Hawaii. See below for our favorite butter mochi spots (including places for chocolate butter mochi and lilikoi butter-butter mochi!) and a recipe you can make at home.

A stack of butter mochi squares on a plate.
Butter Mochi, ready to eat ^_^

Today we're talking about one of my favorite subjects: Butter Mochi!

We grew up with Butter Mochi everywhere in Hawaii. At the school cafeteria/snack bar. You'll see butter mochi at potluck parties and bake sales. Someone's mom/aunty/grandma always had a fresh tray of butter mochi at home. It's available at local bakeries. It's easy to make and super delicious.

Butter mochi offered at a market stand.
Butter Mochi for sale in Kauai (alongside other great local sweets and snacks).

What is Butter Mochi?

Think of Butter Mochi as Hawaii's version of the blondie/brownie. It has a deep golden top, and is just a bit chewy and sweet. Imagine vanilla butter cake crossed with mochi. So ono!

Butter Mochi is usually baked in a 9x13 tray and cut into squares for snacking. It's meant to be shared and eaten at room temperature.

The two main ingredients in Butter Mochi are mochiko flour and coconut milk...

Butter mochi cut into tiny squares.
Butter Mochi to share.

What is Mochiko Flour?

Mochiko flour is what gives Butter Mochi that chewy mochi-esque texture. Mochiko flour also goes by the name "sweet rice flour" and "glutinous rice flour."

There are many different brands of mochiko flour, but the one most common in Hawaii is mochiko flour from Koda Farms. (If not in Hawaii you can usually find mochiko flour at a Japanese market.)

Butter mochi from Diamond Head Bakery
Butter Mochi from Diamond Head Market and Grill.

Where to get Butter Mochi

If you're in Hawaii...anywhere! Bakeries, the local farmer's markets, a friend's house, potluck parties, soccer games, you name it. There's no single place that has "the best" butter mochi (mainly because everyone also makes it at home).

Here are a few places where I like to buy butter mochi:

Butter mochi from Diamond Head Bakery
Butter Mochi from Diamond Head Market and Grill.

Diamond Head Market and Grill (Oahu)
Look for the giant rack of baked goods next to the cash register. A nice 3x3" square of butter mochi (pictured above and top photo in this post) is just $3.75. Get other great desserts and a plate lunch while you're there.

A square of butter mochi.
Butter mochi from the farmers market.

Local Farmers Market (All Islands)
The market vendors are always changing, but you'll find at least 1-2 vendors offering butter mochi. Try them all and compare! On Oahu I like to visit the KCC Farmer's Market and the Kaka'ako Farmers Market.

Lilikoi Butter-Butter Mochi from Kahuku Farms.
Lilikoi Butter-Butter Mochi from Kahuku Farms.

Kahuku Farms (Oahu)
Once you've tried classic butter mochi, you'll want to branch out and try the many variations found in Hawaii. I really love the Lilikoi (passion fruit) Butter-Butter Mochi from Kahuku Farms! It comes in a four pack, individual butter mochi rounds with a dollop of lilikoi butter on top. There's also lilikoi butter mixed into the batter.

(Pro tip: Kahuku Farms is right across the street from Romy's Kahuku Prawns and Shrimp, so get a garlic shrimp plate while you're there.)

Chocolate Butter Mochi from Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Chocolate Butter Mochi from Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Former Butter Mochi

Just want to give a shoutout to a few great butter mochi options that no longer exist (though here's hoping that they bring it back on day ^_^)

Hilton Hawaiian Village (the hotel snack shop)
The chocolate butter mochi at the hotel snack shop was SOOO good! They sold it by the giant square. Take home, slice up and share. Man I loved this butter mochi. Perfect balance, just enough chocolate to make you happy. This one was a gem.

Butter Mochi from Whole Foods.
Butter Mochi from Whole Foods Hawaii.

Whole Foods Hawaii (Kahala Mall location)
Unexpected but yes! The bakery section sold containers butter mochi by the pound. I only ever saw it at the Kahala Mall location. It's really good and they also made chocolate butter mochi.

Butter Mochi from LihoLiho Yacht Club.
Butter mochi at Liholiho Yacht Club in SF.

Butter Mochi Outside of Hawaii

I love seeking out Hawaii food outside of Hawaii! You can find butter mochi in many other cities.

In San Francisco, Liholiho Yacht Club makes a butter mochi that comes with a top layer of coconut custard. It comes out warm ^_^ So good. It's an off-menu item but all you have to do is just ask for it.

Butter Mochi from Ono Bakehouse.
Butter mochi from Ono Bakehouse in Berkeley.

Ono Bakehouse in Berkeley has individual rounds of butter mochi topped with toasted coconut. Don't forget to try their other local desserts.

Butter mochi from Porridge and Puffs in Los Angeles.
Brown Butter Mochi from Porridge and Puffs in LA.

In Los Angeles, Porridge and Puffs makes an amazing brown butter mochi (thin slices of butter mochi are pan-fried) that comes to the table hot and crisp with miso caramel.

What if you just want to make butter mochi at home? You're in luck. Butter Mochi is easy to make...

Ingredients for butter mochi: mochiko flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and eggs.
Ingredients for Butter Mochi.

Ingredients

Mochiko flour is the most important ingredient! The coconut milk gives it that rich and nutty undertone. The rest of the ingredients are pantry staples like butter, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, and sugar. Mix everything in one bowl and bake away. It couldn't be easier.

A stack of butter mochi squares on a plate.
Butter Mochi, ready to eat!

Step by Step Directions

Here's how:

Combine.
Using a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.

Mix.
Mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.

Pour and Bake.
Pour into a lightly greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 375F for one hour.

Cool and Eat.
Cool to room temperature and cut into squares for snacking. Enjoy!

FAQs and Tips

What brand of mochiko flour to use?

Make sure to use mochiko flour from Koda Farms.

What kind of coconut milk?

You want the full fat coconut milk from a can.

How to store butter mochi?

Keep it in a sealed container, no need to refrigerate. It's perfect at room temperature (that's how we eat it 99% of the time), but also so onolicious when it's still slightly warm.

Butter Mochi Recipe

See below, this is the Butter Mochi recipe we've been using for decades. It's been adapted from a popular local cookbook called Hawaii's Best Local Desserts by Jean Hee ^_^

A stack of butter mochi squares on a plate.

Butter Mochi

Yield: 9x13 tray, snack/dessert for a dozen people
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Butter Mochi is a local Hawaii sweet (Hawaii's version of the blondie/brownie) made of mochiko flour and coconut milk. Fast and easy to make. Great for sharing.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Using a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13" pan.
  4. Bake at 375F for one hour.
  5. Cool to room temperature and cut into squares for snacking. Enjoy!

Notes

Adapted from Hawaii's Best Local Desserts by Jean Hee.

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