How To Make Anmitsu At Home (Japanese Summer Dessert Recipe)-Japanese Taste

How To Make Anmitsu At Home (Japanese Summer Dessert Recipe)

by Ayako Kidokoro

Dessert Summer Wagashi Japanese Sweets Easy Vegetarian Kid-friendly Anko Matcha Fruits

Anmitsu is a Japanese traditional summer dessert, made of small cubes of semi-translucent agar jelly. Agar is called Kanten in Japanese, and it is made from red algae, making it plant-based.

Kanten itself has no flavor. It doesn’t taste anything, but the jelly texture is enjoyable. It is well-known for having a high fiber content yet being low-calorie. It is also said in Japan that if you consume a lot of kanten, you will have healthy skin.

Anmitsu is typically served with fruits, shiratama dango, and anko (red bean paste). It is then topped with a scoop of ice cream and kuromitsu black sugar syrup is drizzled over top. The colors of the fruits placed on top of anmitsu with the ice cream and the kuromitsu make it look like an extremely appealing and tasty summer dessert. The inclusion of the cool kanten jelly also makes anmitsu a perfect dessert for escaping from the summer heat!

The way anmitsu came to be is that a sweets shop in Ginza in Tokyo started selling it during the Meiji Era (1868-1912). Ginza has been always the most famous higher-end shopping area in Japan, so anmitsu had somewhat of a luxurious image.

Anmitsu literally translates to red bean paste and syrup. There is also a similar dessert in Japan called “Mitsu Mame”. The difference between these two desserts is that anmitsu is served with red bean paste, while mitsu mame is not.

When looking for kanten in the grocery store, there are four different forms you can find it in – powder, stick, thread, and flakes. For this recipe, we are using powdered kanten, because it is the easiest one to work with for beginners. It also evenly dissolves in water.

You can make the kanten jelly and shiratama dango for anmitsu ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until needed. Once you’re ready to make anmitsu, just assemble the kanten jelly with the shiratama dango, fruits, ice cream, and kuromitsu, and done.

Anmitsu is a perfect dessert for summer, not only because it is refreshing, but also because the kanten jelly will not melt even in higher temperatures.

Some people call anmitsu a “sweet that brings coolness”. Enjoy your summer with this Anmitsu and stay healthy!


Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Total servings: 2

Difficulty: Easy

  • 2.5g Kanten Powder
  • 250cc Water
  • 10g Sugar
  • 30g Shiratama Glutinous Rice Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Water (for making shiratama dango)
  • Kuromitsu Syrup (Japanese Black Sugar Syrup), to taste
  • A Scoop of Anko (Red Bean Paste)
  • A Scoop of Matcha Ice Cream (or your favorite ice cream)
  • Fruits (kiwis, cherries, bananas, or any of your favorite fruits)

Expert's Tip

How To Make Anmitsu At Home (Japanese Summer Dessert Recipe)

Kuromitsu is a Japanese thick dark-brown sugar syrup. It is made from unrefined Kurozato (black sugar). It is quite similar to molasses, but thinner and milder in flavor. 

It has a rich flavor like Caramel and is used very often when making Japanese sweets. It is also known to have a higher amount of minerals and nutrients than other sugars. It is perfect for summer desserts because it relieves fatigue


1) Gathering the Ingredients

Gather all of the ingredients together.

2) Preparing the Kanten Jelly

Add water, sugar, and kanten powder into a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the kanten powder has fully dissolved.

3) Transferring the Kanten Jelly to a Separate Mold

Once the kanten powder has completely dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat and transfer it into a separate container. 

Allow it to cool for around 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Tip: You can make the kanten jelly ahead of time. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

4) Making Shiratama Dango

Combine shiratama glutinous rice flour and water in a bowl. Press the mixture with your fingers until it comes together and there are no loose bits of flour. Dived the dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Form each piece into a bite-sized ball. Press the center of the ball with your finger to make an indentation. This will allow the dango to cook faster. 

Note: If the texture of the dango dough is too hard or it doesn’t hold together, add water little by little until it comes together and forms a smooth dough.

5) Cooking the Shiratama Dango

Bring a small pot of water to boil and then add in the Shiratama Dango and cook them for 2-3 minutes. When they begin to float, take them out from the pot and add them directly to a bowl of ice water to cool down. 

Tip: You can also make Shiratama Dango ahead of time. Just keep it soaking in plenty of water in an airtight container until you are ready to use it. (You can store it for up to 2 days.)

6) Prepping the Fruits for Anmitsu

Cut the fruits into bite-size pieces. 

Note: we are using golden kiwis, bananas, and cherries.

7) Cutting the Kanten Jelly into Cubes

Take out the kanten jelly from the container and cut it into small cubes.

8) Assembling the Anmitsu

Add the kanten jelly to a bowl or deep dish, then decorate it with the fruits, shiratama dango, sweet red bean paste, and ice cream. (We are using matcha ice cream in this case.) 

Serve the anmitsu with kuromitsu on the side to add additional sweetness.

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