How are mochi donuts different from regular donuts?

Mochi donuts are a popular Japanese-inspired dessert that have recently gained popularity in the United States. They are made from mochiko rice flour and have a uniquely soft, chewy texture that sets them apart from traditional donuts. There are several key differences between mochi donuts and regular donuts in terms of ingredients, texture, taste, and preparation method.


The main ingredient that distinguishes mochi donuts is mochiko flour, also known as sweet rice flour. This flour is made from mochi rice, a short-grain Japanese rice that has a high starch content. Regular donuts, on the other hand, are typically made with all-purpose wheat flour or cake flour. While the base for mochi donuts is rice flour, regular donut dough relies on wheat flour for structure and rise.

In addition to mochiko flour, mochi donuts also utilize potato or corn starch to achieve their stretchy, gluey texture. Potato or corn starch gives the dough more structure than typical wheat flour alone. Regular donut recipes do not include these extra starches. The potato/corn starch works together with the mochiko flour to create the uniquely soft, chewy mochi texture.

Another ingredient that sets mochi donuts apart is rice milk, which hydrates the rice flour in the dough. Regular donuts are usually made with regular milk or other dairy products. The rice milk complements the mochiko flour nicely in mochi donuts.


The most noticeable difference between mochi donuts and regular donuts is the texture. Mochi donuts have a soft, sticky, and delicately chewy texture that comes from the mochiko rice flour and starch. They are stretchy and custard-like, with a distinctive mouthfeel.

Regular donuts have a cake-like or bread-like texture depending on the recipe. Yeast-raised donuts will be airier and fluffier, while cake donuts will be denser and finer-crumbed. Both types of regular donut use wheat flour, which contributes to a cakey or bready texture. They do not mimic the soft, jelly-like texture of mochi donuts.

The chewiness and stretchiness of mochi donuts comes from the unique properties of mochiko rice flour. The rice flour hydrates and gelatinizes differently compared to wheat flour, giving it a gumminess that is not achievable with regular flour alone.


While regular donuts offer familiar flavors like chocolate, glazed, sprinkled, and jelly-filled, mochi donuts have some common flavors drawn from Japanese cuisine. Popular flavors include:

  • Matcha – Sweet green tea flavor
  • Black sesame – Nutty black sesame seed flavor
  • Ube – Sweet purple yam flavor
  • Strawberry – Fresh strawberry flavor, often with strawberry jam filling
  • Mango – Tropical mango flavor
  • Coffee – Rich coffee flavor

While the flavors differ, mochi donuts and regular donuts are similarly sweet desserts. However, the chewy mochi texture provides a contrast to the soft crumb of regular donuts. Some mochi donuts are filled with sweet bean paste or fruit jam for more variety.


Mochi donut recipes require a few more steps compared to typical donuts. The mochiko rice flour must be hydrated adequately to achieve the right texture. This involves cooking the rice flour with water or rice milk before adding it to the dry ingredients.

The cooked rice flour mixture is then incorporated into the wet dough ingredients like eggs, oil, sugar, and flavors. The dough has to be kneaded thoroughly to develop the gluten. Then it is rolled out, cut into rounds, and fried or baked.

Regular donut recipes simply combine wet and dry ingredients, roll out the dough, cut the donuts, and fry or bake. The main steps of mixing, cutting, and frying/baking are the same, but mochi donuts require the extra rice flour hydration step.


Visually, mochi donuts have a distinct appearance as well:

  • Smaller and denser – Mochi donuts are typically smaller, around 2-3 inches wide versus 3-4 inches for regular donuts.
  • Cheaper holes – The holes in mochi donuts are usually very small or non-existent.
  • Craggy exterior – Due to the rice flour, mochi donuts have an uneven, craggy-looking exterior compared to regular donuts which are smooth.
  • Soft sheen – Mochi donuts have a soft shine to them from the rice flour, whereas regular donuts look more matte.
  • Crackled surface – The surface can have small crackled indentations, unlike regular donuts which are smooth.

While glazes and toppings can mask some of these differences, the small size, dense interior, and irregular shape help identify mochi donuts.


There are some notable nutritional differences between the two types of donut:

Nutrition Facts Mochi Donut Regular Donut
Calories 200-300 190-400
Carbs 30-50g 25-55g
Protein 3-5g 2-5g
Fat 7-15g 8-22g
Sugar 10-18g 10-35g

As you can see, mochi donuts and regular donuts have comparable amounts of carbs, protein, fat, and sugar. They are both high in calories and carbohydrates as indulgent desserts. However, mochi donuts tend to be slightly lower in fat and sugar due to their main ingredient being rice flour rather than wheat flour.

Rice Flour Nutrition

The rice flour in mochi donuts gives them a nutritional advantage over wheat flour donuts. Rice flour contains fiber, protein, iron, and some vitamins and minerals. Mochiko flour specifically provides:

  • Vitamin B – Niacin, thiamine
  • Minerals – Iron, calcium
  • Fiber – 2-3 grams per serving
  • Protein – 4 grams per 1/4 cup

So while both types of donuts are high in refined carbs and sugar, mochi donuts made with mochiko rice flour provide more micronutrients and fiber than traditional wheat flour donuts.


Due to the special ingredients required, mochi donuts tend to be more expensive than regular donuts. Mochiko rice flour and potato/corn starch are more costly than basic wheat flour.

Expect to pay:

  • Mochi donuts – $1.50 – $3 each
  • Regular donuts -$0.50 – $1.50 each

Of course, prices vary greatly by region, bakery, and ingredients. Gourmet donuts from boutique bakeries will be pricier. But in general, the specialty rice flour and extra steps mean mochi donuts cost more than traditional recipes.


Availability is another key difference between mochi donuts and regular donuts. Mochi donuts originated in Hawaii as a Japanese-inspired hybrid dessert. They have spread to select bakeries on the west coast and larger cities, but are still relatively hard to find compared to ubiquitous regular donuts.

Regular donuts can be purchased across the country at:

  • Donut shops
  • Bakeries
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Coffee shops

Mochi donuts will generally only be found in specialty bakeries and Asian markets. The availability is concentrated on the coasts and in Hawaiian speciality shops. Mochi donuts are just beginning to expand across the US, while regular donuts have been popular nationwide for decades.

Ease of Preparation

At home bakers will find mochi donuts more difficult to make than typical donuts. Mochi donuts require:

  • Harder to find ingredients like mochiko flour and potato/corn starch
  • Kneading the cooked rice flour properly
  • Rolling the dough when still warm and soft
  • Frying at just the right temperature and time

In comparison, regular donuts are easier for home cooks to whip up. The ingredients are simple to source, the mixing process is straightforward, and frying regular donut dough does not require as much finesse. Beginner bakers may struggle with the unique properties of mochi donut dough.


Both varieties of donut have passionate fans, but regular donuts remain far more popular overall. According to Market Research Reports, the global donuts market size was valued at over $31 billion USD in 2021. In contrast, mochi donuts were valued around only $7 million USD in 2018. While mochi donuts are rising in popularity, traditional donuts still dominate the market.

However, mochi donuts may begin closing this gap as they gain more exposure. Their novelty and artisanal qualities make them attractive to specialty food trends. Their small size and chewy texture appeal to consumers looking for an alternative to regular donuts.


While both delicious, mochi donuts have distinct differences from regular donuts that give them a unique appeal. Their key assets include:

  • Chewy, stretchy texture from rice flour
  • Trendy fusion of Japanese and American flavors
  • Whimsical, artisanal appearance
  • Slightly healthier nutrition profile

However, challenges like cost, availability, and difficulty of preparation mean mochi donuts have not yet caught up to regular donuts’ widespread popularity and familiarity. As more people discover their pleasures, mochi donuts have opportunity to carve out a special niche in the donut world.

Their moist, sticky texture and exotic flavors create an eating experience unlike any regular donut. While traditional donuts will always have a place in American culture, the rise of mochi donuts brings exciting new possibilities to the dessert table.

Leave a Comment