What is Dorayaki?

What is Dorayaki?

Dorayaki  どら焼き is a traditional wagashi (Japanese sweets) that is prominent in the land of the rising sun. It is one of the numerous Japanese delicacies that is finger-licking good. What's great about it is it's delicious, yet not overly sugary. The combination of the honey pancake and red bean paste is a mouth-watering treat no one can refuse.

Dorayaki is a combination of soft honey pancakes with delicious azuki bean paste as a filling. However, the Dorayaki pancakes are a little different from the usual ones. The batter of Dorayaki is made from honey and sometimes mirin, giving it that castella cake sponginess.




This snack is also known as Mikasa (in the Kyoto dialect), and it is particularly popular amongst the old and young in Japan. Another cool thing is that the texture of a dorayaki with fresh cream filling feels like ice cream. I bet you're wondering about the proper temperature to eat dorayaki. You're in luck because this snack can be enjoyed hot in all seasons and can be taken when it's cold too! 


What Do Dorayaki Taste Like? 


This confectionery is the ideal dessert when craving something sugary but not too sweet. Although it has an even balance between sweet and savory, the red bean paste has its delicate earthly flavor that contributes to the sweetness embedded in the snack.

When eaten, it is similar to pancakes with jam or whipped cream but much better because it is moist, springy, and soft, which makes every bite worth the effort put into its making.


When Was Dorayaki Invented? 


Dorayaki with Filling


Dorayaki has its origins in Japan, and it dates back to the early 1900s and many people believe that its shape was inspired by a gong (which means “dora” in Japanese). The long existence of the snack simply shows how sumptuous this traditional sweet is.

"Dora" in Japan means gong while "yaki" means cooked on dry heat, which literally means gong cooked on dry heat. Based on the similarities between the snack and the gong shape, it has been said to be the reason the snack was named Dorayaki.

Contrary to popular belief, it was not named after the anime character Doraemon, the names sound similar, but Doraemon really loves to eat Dorayaki. 


Why does the Dorayaki crust brings good luck?


To be precise, the hint of good fortune lies in the shape of the dorayaki skin rather than in the dorayaki skin itself.

The shape of the dorayaki, in which two pieces of dorayaki skin sandwich a single bean paste from both sides, can be imagined as encompassing the couple's love for each other, their family ties, and their relationship with their children, the couple's parents, etc.

Therefore, when the would-be groom greets the bride's house for the first time (and vice versa, of course!) It is believed that if the groom-to-be brings a dorayaki as a souvenir, the greeting will end amicably and lead to a happy home life.


Why does the red bean paste in Dorayaki bring good luck?


In Japan, azuki beans have long been believed to ward off bad luck because of their shape and red color.

The fact that azuki was incorporated into both Shinto and Buddhist celebrations also led to the custom of eating azuki dishes on unusual and special occasions. Cooking sekihan (red rice) by mixing azuki with rice, zenzai (sweet red bean soup) during the New Year, and ohagi (rice cakes) during the Ohigan period are also associated with this custom.

Therefore, dorayaki filled with azuki is considered to be a confectionery of good luck.


How to Make Dorayaki


Japanese Dorayaki


Making Dorayaki is not very hard, but before that, let’s talk about the ingredients needed to make Dorayaki.


Dorayaki Ingredients


Most of these ingredients can be purchased in a local store. 

  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon mirin 
  • ⅔ Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • Honey
  • Water
  • Oil for frying
  • Azuki bean paste (also known as sweet red bean paste). 




Types of Dorayaki fillings


Dorayaki with filling


You can switch up the ingredients for your filling while making dorayaki at home. If you have a sweet tooth and know your favorite flavors, use them to make your dorayaki just perfect. 

  • Red bean (anko) dorayaki: one of the oldest fillings used for a lot of Japanese snacks is anko. It is the exact definition of if it isn't broken, don't fix it. This can be said to be the best filling for this tasty honey snack. Anko is considered to be Japan's heaven because of its distinct taste.  
  • Sakura: This one is filled with pickled cherry leaves and white bean paste.
  • Matcha Dorayaki: it can be made in 2 ways, you either use matcha powder while making the dorayaki pancake, or you fill it with powdered green tea (matcha) paste with red bean paste as a second layer. The distinct taste of matcha matches the sweetness that comes with fluffy pancakes. 
  • Custard cream dorayaki: This is the second best filling that the Japanese use for dorayaki because it is delicious when used for fillings. It is also used with snacks like croissants, and cream puffs. 
  • Oreo dorayaki: if you love Oreos, then you can crush the cookies, mix them with cream and use it as a filling. 
  • Chocolate dorayaki: Chocolate is a filling because it goes well with almost anything.
  • Ice Cream Dorayaki: I meant it when I said you can use any filling. Because dorayaki can be taken cold, you can even sandwich any ice cream flavor between the dorayaki cakes. 


How to prepare Dorayaki step by step


Dorayaki with Ice Cream


Before you start preparing Dorayaki, remember to wash your hands. 

  1. Make the batter: mix the dry ingredients by mixing the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Next, put the egg, sugar, honey and mirin into another bowl and whisk until it is smooth. The color becomes pale and it is slightly fluffy. Add the flour to the mixture and turn until it is smooth. Cover the bowl with a wrap sheet and leave it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  2. When it is out of the refrigerator, it should look smoother. Add a little water, then mix it until it is smooth. Do this repeatedly until it has a runny texture similar to pancake mix. 
  3. Fry the batter: heat your non-stick frying pan and add a little oil. Clean off the oil before adding a scoop of the batter onto the frying pan. Cook one side for a couple of minutes or until bubbles form. Flip it over and cook the other side for another minute. Turn off the heat and put the dorayaki on a plate to cool down.
  4. Add the azuki bean paste filling: Spread the azuki bean paste on one dorayaki cake and place another dorayaki cake on top of it to sandwich the azuki bean paste filling.

Your sweet and mouth watering Dorayaki are ready to be devoured.


What to Have Dorayaki with?


Dorayaki is traditional wagashi that can be eaten with your hands. It is delicious and can either be eaten as a picnic snack or taken to work or school as lunch. You can enjoy Dorayaki with a Matcha latte or Japanese green tea for a relaxing breakfast or an afternoon snack.


Tips to Make a Perfect Dorayaki


Japanese Dorayaki with Filling


Remember to let the pancake batter rest in the fridge and also add water to the batter to make it smooth.
Use an ice cream scoop to ensure that each pancake is the same size.


Is Dorayaki Long Lasting and How Do You Store it?


Dorayaki can still stay fresh for up to two days if kept in an airtight container. However, if you have the intention of making them in bulk so you can store them longer and enjoy it as dessert every day, fear not, because Japanese sweets can be stored frozen. Wrap each Dorayaki with cling wrap and put them in a ziplock bag. It can stay in the refrigerator for up to a month.


FAQs about Dorayaki


Q: Is Dorayaki healthy? Is it good for you?

A: Dorayaki is a treat you can indulge in once in a while just for dessert.

Q: Is Dorayaki Gluten-Free?

A: No, since this recipe uses flour. However, it is possible to use gluten-free flour as a substitute.

Q: Is Dorayaki Vegan?

A: No, Dorayaki batter contains eggs, therefore it is not vegan. However, you can make a vegan version by substituting eggs for oil. 

Now that you know all about dorayaki, you can check out our ZenPop monthly snack pack to get that taste of Japan. 


This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem, and edited by us.