Dorayaki (Japanese Pancakes Filled with Soft Custard)


If you’re a fan of Japanese sweets or simply looking to expand your culinary repertoire, Dorayaki is a must-try. These fluffy pancakes filled with luscious soft custard are not only a treat for your taste buds but also a fascinating exploration of traditional Japanese confectionery. In this article, we’ll dive into the history, ingredients, and step-by-step recipe to make these delightful treats at home.

Ingredients for Dorayaki:

To create the perfect Dorayaki, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the Pancakes:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Soft Custard Filling:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step-by-Step Recipe:

1. Prepare the Custard Filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth and pale.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
  3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and comes to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let it cool completely.

2. Make the Pancake Batter:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and honey until the mixture is thick and pale.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Gradually sift the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, folding gently to combine.
  3. Add water a little at a time until the batter reaches a smooth, pourable consistency. Let the batter rest for about 30 minutes.

3. Cook the Pancakes:

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Lightly grease the surface if necessary.
  2. Pour small circles of batter (about 3-4 inches in diameter) onto the skillet, ensuring they are evenly sized. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and the edges begin to set, about 2 minutes.
  3. Flip the pancakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

4. Assemble the Dorayaki:

  1. Once the pancakes have cooled slightly, take one pancake and spread a generous spoonful of custard filling on the underside.
  2. Place another pancake on top, pressing gently to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and custard.

Serving and Storage Tips for Dorayaki (Japanese Pancakes Filled with Soft Custard):

Serving Tips:

  1. Warm or Room Temperature: Dorayaki can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. If you prefer them warm, you can lightly reheat the pancakes in a microwave for about 10-15 seconds before serving.
  2. Accompaniments: Serve Dorayaki with a side of fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or kiwi to add a refreshing contrast to the sweet custard filling. A dollop of whipped cream can also enhance the indulgence.
  3. Tea Pairing: Dorayaki pairs wonderfully with green tea or matcha. The slight bitterness of the tea complements the sweetness of the pancakes and custard, making for a balanced and delightful snack or dessert.
  4. Presentation: For a beautiful presentation, dust the top of the Dorayaki with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar or cocoa powder. You can also drizzle a bit of honey or maple syrup over the top for added sweetness and visual appeal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have leftover Dorayaki, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to two days. Make sure the custard filling is properly sealed within the pancakes to prevent drying out.
  2. Freezing: Dorayaki can also be frozen for longer storage. Wrap each Dorayaki individually in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to one month. When ready to enjoy, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat lightly in the microwave if desired.
  3. Preventing Dryness: To prevent the pancakes from becoming dry, you can place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between each layer of Dorayaki when storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. This helps maintain their moisture and keeps them soft.
  4. Custard Freshness: The custard filling is best when fresh. If you plan to store Dorayaki for more than a day or two, consider making a fresh batch of custard and assembling the pancakes as needed to maintain the best texture and flavor.

Variations for Dorayaki (Japanese Pancakes Filled with Soft Custard):

Dorayaki is a versatile treat that can be customized in various ways to suit different tastes and preferences. Here are some delicious variations you can try:

1. Chocolate Custard Dorayaki


  • Replace the vanilla custard filling with chocolate custard.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the pancake batter for a chocolate twist.


  1. Prepare the chocolate custard by adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the custard mixture before cooking it.
  2. For the pancakes, sift 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder with the flour and baking powder to create chocolate pancakes.
  3. Assemble as usual, filling the chocolate pancakes with the chocolate custard.

2. Matcha Dorayaki


  • Add 1 tablespoon of matcha (green tea) powder to the pancake batter.
  • For the filling, use red bean paste (anko) instead of custard.


  1. Sift matcha powder with the flour and baking powder to create green tea-flavored pancakes.
  2. Spread a layer of red bean paste between the pancakes instead of custard.
  3. Assemble and enjoy the unique combination of matcha and anko.

3. Fruit-Filled Dorayaki


  • Fresh fruit pieces (strawberries, bananas, or blueberries).
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream or custard for the filling.


  1. Prepare the pancakes as per the original recipe.
  2. For the filling, mix fresh fruit pieces with whipped cream or custard.
  3. Fill each Dorayaki with the fruit mixture for a refreshing and fruity twist.

4. Nutella Dorayaki


  • Nutella or any chocolate-hazelnut spread.


  1. Prepare the pancakes as per the original recipe.
  2. Spread a generous layer of Nutella between two pancakes.
  3. Assemble and enjoy the rich, chocolaty flavor.

5. Cream Cheese and Berry Dorayaki


  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened.
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.
  • Fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries).


  1. Prepare the pancakes as per the original recipe.
  2. In a bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Spread the cream cheese mixture on one pancake and top with fresh berries.
  4. Assemble and enjoy the creamy and tangy flavor.


Dorayaki, with its fluffy pancakes and creamy custard filling, is a delightful treat that brings a taste of Japan to your kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice, this recipe is straightforward and rewarding. So why not give it a try and enjoy the sweet, comforting flavors of Dorayaki today?

FAQ’s About Dorayaki (Japanese Pancakes Filled with Soft Custard):

1. What is Dorayaki?

Dorayaki is a traditional Japanese confection consisting of two small, round pancakes filled with sweet fillings, such as custard, red bean paste, or other variations. It is known for its soft, fluffy texture and sweet flavor.

2. Can I use different fillings for Dorayaki?

Yes, Dorayaki can be filled with various sweet fillings. While custard is popular, you can also use red bean paste (anko), chocolate custard, whipped cream with fruits, Nutella, peanut butter, or cream cheese mixed with berries.

3. How do I store leftover Dorayaki?

Store leftover Dorayaki in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can also freeze them for up to one month. Wrap each Dorayaki individually in plastic wrap before placing them in a freezer-safe bag or container.

4. Can I make the batter in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the batter in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Just make sure to give it a good stir before cooking the pancakes.

5. How do I prevent the pancakes from sticking to the pan?

Using a non-stick skillet or griddle is recommended. If necessary, lightly grease the cooking surface with a small amount of oil or butter before pouring the batter. Cook over medium-low heat to prevent sticking and burning.

6. Can I make Dorayaki gluten-free?

Yes, you can make Dorayaki gluten-free by using a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend instead of regular flour. Ensure that the baking powder you use is also gluten-free.

7. How do I achieve the perfect pancake consistency?

The batter should be smooth and pourable but not too runny. Let the batter rest for about 30 minutes before cooking to achieve fluffier pancakes. Adjust the water quantity if needed to get the right consistency.

8. What can I serve with Dorayaki?

Dorayaki pairs well with green tea or matcha. You can also serve it with a side of fresh fruits, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for added sweetness.

9. Can I add flavors to the pancake batter?

Yes, you can add various flavors to the pancake batter. Common additions include matcha powder for a green tea flavor, cocoa powder for chocolate pancakes, or vanilla extract for a hint of vanilla.

10. Is Dorayaki difficult to make?

Dorayaki is relatively easy to make, even for beginners. The key is to ensure the batter consistency is correct and to cook the pancakes over medium-low heat for even cooking. Following the recipe step-by-step will help you achieve delicious Dorayaki with minimal difficulty.


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