Amazake Recipe (Japanese Fermented Rice Drink)

5 from 3 votes
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Amazake is a traditional Japanese fermented drink. It’s sweet, healthy, nutrient-rich, and boosts your energy level. How to make it is so simple and easy. Let’s learn how!

Looking for easy drink recipes? Try my Amazake Smoothies, or Iced Matcha Latte!

Amazake in a mug

Why You Will Love This Recipe 

  • You will enjoy the natural sweetness of amazake as a healthier alternative to sugary drinks.
  • Easy to make with simple ingredients and straightforward preparation steps.
  • Amazake offers a healthy boost to your diet.

I’ll walk you through the ingredients and step-by-step instructions. I hope you enjoy it!

What is Amazake?

Amazake in a bowl, with comments about amazake

Amazake is a traditional Japanese rice drink that means sweet sake (ama: sweet, zake: alcohol) in Japanese. This healthy beverage contains lots of nutrition and benefits. It’s sweet and refreshing and can be enjoyed as-is or used for cooking and making desserts.

While traditionally served on special occasions like Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) and Oshogatsu (New Year), the popularity of amazake has increased in recent years, and people enjoy it for its health benefits all year round.

Type of Amazake

Sake kasu and koji rice.

There are two types of amazake: koji rice amazake and sake kasu amazake. Both are sweet drinks, but they’re made differently and have different levels of sweetness.

Sake Kasu Amazake (Sake Lees)

Sake kasu amazake is prepared by simmering sake lees, water, and sugar in a pot. Since sake kasu isn’t sweet on its own, sugar is added to enhance its sweetness. This sweet beverage has a high nutritional value but may contain a small amount of alcohol.

*Sake kasu, also known as sake lees, is a pulp leftover from the sake-making process. It typically contains 8% alcohol and has a soft, play-dough-like texture.

Koji Rice Amazake

Kojir rice amazake is made by fermenting a blend of koji rice and water. While it’s simple to prepare, fermentation does require some time. It’s a healthy beverage with its naturally mild sweetness.

*Koji rice is created through the fermentation of rice using a fungus known as koji mold. It’s an essential Japanese ingredient used in traditional seasonings like miso, mirin, and sake.

Sake Kasu Amazake vs Kojir Rice Amazake

Let’s compare the differences between two types of amazake.

Sake kasu amazake

Sake Kasu Amazake

  • Alcohol: May contain up to 5% alcohol
  • Flavor: Sweetness from sugar and has the smell of sake
  • How to make: Heat the ingredients in a pot for 10 to 15 minutes
Koji rice amazake

koji rice amazake

  • Alcohol: Non-alcohol
  • Flavor: Mild sweetness from koji rice
  • How to make: Ferment the ingredients for 6 hours

Which one would you like to try? My recommendation is a non-alcoholic koji rice amazake, perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a nutritious beverage, including children and expectant mothers, and offers a wide range of recipe possibilities. In the following section, I will dive into koji rice amazake in more detail.

Koji Rice Amazake Benefits

  • These nutritional elements are almost equal to what you would receive from an IV drip, so that’s why it’s often referred to as a “Drinkable IV Drip.”
  • Amazake contains vitamin B, dietary fiber, glucose, enzymes, essential amino acids, and good bacteria.
  • These components help maintain healthy skin, relieve fatigue, and improve your digestive system.

You can drink this highly nutritional drink every day (I like to drink it in the morning) as it gives you great energy. However, drinking too much may raise your blood sugar levels. Stick to 100ml per day to stay within recommended limits.

Amazake in a bottle

Homemade Amazake

We can easily find Amazake here in Japan at convenience stores and grocery stores. However, store-bought one is usually sterilized by heating to keep them long and kill all the goodness in Amazake like the enzymes, vitamins, etc.

Since the enzyme stops activity when the temperature exceeds 60C (140F), buying the one without heat treatment is best, but it’s hard to find it. Don’t worry. If you make it at home, sterilization is unnecessary, so you can take all the great benefits. 

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Amazake Recipe:

Rice koji and water
  • Koji Rice is made by fermenting rice using a fungus called koji mold. It has a dry texture and is easy to take apart. Iseso Miyako Koji is a well-known brand.
  • Water

Where to Buy Koji Rice

If you live in Japan, you can easily find this Miyako koji in grocery stores or online stores like Amazon and Rakuten. If you live in the US, you can find it here; if you live in Canada, you can find it here. Please let me know if you have trouble finding koji rice or deciding which one to choose. I would love to help you.

Equipment

You’ll need the following equipment to make this Amazake Recipe:

Yogurt maker, thermometer and a small pot
  • Yogurt Maker: I use this TANICA Yogurutia as it covers a wide range of temperatures from 25 to 65 deg and can run continuously for up to 48 hours.
  • Thermometer for checking the temperature of the water.
  • Small pot for boiling water

Yogurt Maker Recommended

For homemade amazake, you’ll need tools to maintain the temperature for a specific period. The commonly used tools are a rice cooker, a food jar, and a yogurt maker.

I recommend using a yogurt maker, which can set the temperature and time easily. You can also use Instant Pot, as it has the feature of a custom temperature setting. You can make amazake with a rice cooker and food jar, but it’s hard to control the temperature since there is no setting.

More Ways to Use Yogurt Maker

Yogurt makers have versatile uses beyond amazake. They can be used for making yogurt, instant miso, natto, bread dough, and more. If you’re a fan of fermented foods, you’ll find plenty of ways to make the most of your yogurt maker.

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake: STEP BY STEP 

Here are some quick visual instructions! For the video and all the detailed ingredients and instructions, go to the printable recipe card below.

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake.

Step 1

Boil water to 65C (149F). 

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake.

Step 2

Separate rice grains of koji rice

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake.

Step 3

Mix water and koji rice

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake.

Step 4

Fermentation for 60C (140F) for 6 hours

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake.

Step 5

Once done, taste the amazake to see if it’s sweet

How To Make Koji Rice Amazake.

Step 6

Transfer to a glass jar and keep it in the fridge

Koji rice amazake in a coffe mug.

If you have a yogurt maker, preparing it is a breeze – simply set it and forget it! It tastes delicious whether served cold or warm. I will show you various ways to enjoy amazake below.

Recipe Tips

  • When mixing koji rice and water, be sure to thoroughly combine them to ensure even fermentation.
  • The best temperature for making amazake is between 55°C-60°C (131°F-140°F). Lower temperatures, such as 50°C (122°F), do not enhance sweetness, while higher temperatures, like 70°C (158°F), may contribute to sourness instead.
  • If your amazake is not sweet enough, you can incorporate it into soups, blend it into smoothies, or use it to make teriyaki sauce.
  • When amazake turns sour, it can be used in dressings, as a light pickling seasoning, in yogurt, smoothies, and more. Even if it doesn’t turn out as expected, don’t discard it – there are still plenty of ways to utilize it!

Storage

Amazake in a bottle

Transfer the amazake into a glass jar and keep it in the fridge. Fermentation will continue even in the fridge, and if you leave it for a while, it will get sour, so I recommend drinking it within 7 days to 10 days.

How to freeze Amazake

Also, if you don’t consume it right away,  you can freeze it too. It will last up to one month or more in the freezer. When you freeze it, an ice cube tray is handy. Once frozen, please transfer the cubes to a freezer bag and warm them up when you drink.

How to Enjoy Amazake

Amazake milk.

Amazake milk

This Amazake milk is my favorite drink. Blend amazake in a blender and mix with soy milk or your favorite milk (like oat milk and almond milk). It’s smooth, creamy, tasty, and you can enjoy both cold and hot.

Amazake smoothie.

Amazake Smoothie

How about amazake smoothie with fruits and vegetables? The smooth, refreshing sweetness of this homemade treat is unlike anything you can find in store-bought smoothies.

Amazake miso dip.

Amazake Miso

You can also make amazake miso by mixing miso paste. This flavorful paste would suit a vegetable dip, salad dressing, and marinated tofu.

Amazake dressing.

Amazake Dressing

Mix amazake with rice vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to make a delicious amazake dressing.

FAQ

What does Amazake taste like?

Amazake is sweet. Koji rice Amazake: Natural mild sweetness from rice, Sakekasu Amazake: sweetness from added sugar.

Can I use Amazake for smoothies?

Yes, it is good for a green smoothie or any other drink. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Is Amazake Vegan?

Yes, it’s vegan. Ingredients are only koji rice and water.

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Amazake in a glass bottle.

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米麹で作る甘酒

Amazake Recipe (Japanese Fermented Rice Drink)

5 from 3 votes
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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 3 minutes
Servings: 500 ml
Author: Juri Austin
Amazake is a traditional Japanese fermented drink. It's sweet, healthy, nutrient-rich, and boosts your energy level. How to make it is so simple and easy. Let's learn how!

Ingredients

  • 7 oz Koji rice, 200g
  • 1⅔ c Water, 400ml

Instructions

  • Sterilize container: Clean your yogurt maker container, put some water, heat in a microwave for one and a half minutes to sterilize, and drain water.
  • Prepare koji rice: Separate rice grains of koji rice before opening the package and put them in the sterilized container.
  • Boil water: Pour 400ml water into a small pot and heat it to 63C-65C (145F-149F) using a thermometer. 
  • Mix water and koji rice: Pour water into the container and mix well with koji rice.
  • Fermentation: Set your yogurt maker at 60C (140F) for 6 hours, put the container in it, and start fermentation.
  • Storage: Transfer in a glass jar and keep it in the fridge.

Video

Notes

  • Equipment: TANICA Yogurutia for fermentation, TANITA Digital Thermometer for checking the temperature, and a glass jar.
  • Storage: It will last for 7 to 10 days in the fridge and one month in the freezer. Fermentation continues in the fridge, so please drink it before it becomes sour.
  • One serving is 100ml.
  • Using a yogurt maker might differ from yours, so please follow your yogurt maker’s instructions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 92kcal | Protein: 2.3g | Sodium: 94.7mg | Sugar: 18g
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: amazake, amazake recipes, how to make amazake
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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5 Comments

    1. Hi Vanessa, Thanks for asking. Adding rice increases the sweetness of the amazake. I don’t include it because I think it’s sweet enough without rice. But feel free to add some cooked rice if you want more sweetness. Also, since koji is more expensive than rice, substituting part of your koji with cooked rice may help keep costs down. I hope this helps!