Amazake is a traditional Japanese rice 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!
Amazake is a traditional Japanese drink made by fermenting rice.
Would you say that fermented food sounds strange to your taste? But don't worry, it's nothing weird! Amazake is a lovely sweet drink.
There are two types of Amazake and I will show you how to make Koji rice amazake in this recipe.
I will show you how to make your own amazake at home with great details.
- This recipe is for you if:
- You want to make homemade Amazake.
- You are looking for Amazake recipes.
- You want to know how to drink amazake.
- You are curious about Amazake benefits.
Ready to start making your own healthy rice drinks? Let's get started!
About This Recipe
- What is Amazake?
- Type of amazake
- Health benefits
- How to make Amazake from koji rice
- Use yogurt maker for fermentation
- How to enjoy Amazake
What is Amazake?
Amazake is a traditional Japanese rice drink, and it means sweet sake (ama: sweet, zake: alcohol) in Japanese.
This healthy beverage contains lots of nutrition and is known as "Drinkable iv drip," which I will tell you more about later.
It's sweet refreshing that can be enjoyed as-is or used for cooking and making desserts.
The roots of Amazake go back to the Kofun period (1300 years ago), and it became so popular that many people widely consumed it in the Edo period (400 years ago).
It has been said that people drank during the summer heat to stay active and also started using it for cooking, making sweets, and making seasonings such as soy sauce in that period.
Although it used to be a drink for special occasions such as Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) and Osyogatsu (New year), the popularity of Amazake has increased in recent years, and people enjoy it for its health benefits all year round.
What does it taste like?
Amazake is a sweet drink.
There are two types of Amazake, and the sweetness will depend on the type.
If it's made from koji rice, it has a natural sweetness from rice. If it's made from Sakekasu, then the sweetness is added by sugar.
Let me tell you more about these two types of Amazake in the following section.
Type of amazake
There are two types of Amazake made from different ingredients. One is made from Sakekasu (Sake lees), and another is made from Koji rice.
- Sakekasu (sake lees) Amazake
- Koji rice Amazake
How to make, the taste and alcohol content are different.
What is Sakekasu (Sake lees)?
Sakekasu is a pulp created to make Japanese sake and includes 8% alcohol.
It is made from rice, koji rice, and alcohol and has a soft texture like play-dough.
How to make it
Mix Sakekasu, sugar, and water in a pot and warm up.
About Sakekasu Amazake
- It has a very high nutritional value
- Contains alcohol: Store-bought one says less than 0.5 % but homemade one would be about 5 % even though the alcohol evaporates by boiling.
- It's sweet as sugar is added
- Contains the smell of sake.
Koji Rice Amazake
What is koji rice (kome koji in Japanese)?
Koji rice is made by fermenting rice using a fungus called koji mold. It has a dry texture and is easy to take apart.
It's an essential Japanese ingredient used in traditional seasoning like miso, mirin, and sake.
How to make it
Mix koji rice and water and ferment for 6 hours.
About Koji rice Amazake
- It has a very high nutritional value
- Non-alcoholic drink
- Natural gentle sweetness of the rice
What is the difference between the two?
Here is the comparison table between Sakekasu amazake and Koji rice amazake.
Both Amazake has healthy benefits.
Koji rice Amazake doesn't include alcohol, even though it means sweet alcohol in Japanese, so it is safe to drink for anybody like small children pregnant women.
Sakekasu Amazake is quick and easy to make, but I don't recommend somebody like me who is not good at the unique smell of sake.
I only focus on making Kojir Rice Amazake in this recipe.
Ok, let's talk about the health benefits of Koji rice Amazake.
- B vitamins such as vitamin b1, vitamin b6, folic acid
- Dietary fiber
- Enzymes such as digestive enzymes (Protease:breaks down proteins, Amylase :breaks down complex carbohydrates) and more than 300 enzymes
- All essential amino acids
- Good bacteria
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."
Since it contains a high nutritional value, it has various health benefits.
Here are significant benefits of Amazake:
- B vitamins is good for maintaining healthy skin
- Glucose is ideal for relieving fatigue
- Dietary fiber and good bacteria 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, your blood sugar levels may rise when you drink too much. That's why it is vital that 100mls per day should suffice as a recommendation.
Homemade "Nama Amazake" is the best!
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), it is best to buy the one without heat treatment, but it's hard to find it.
Don't worry. If you make it at home, there is no need for sterilization so that you can take all the great benefits.
By the way, Amazake without sterilization is called "Nama Aamazake" (Nama means raw) to separate from the one with sterilization.
And you will learn how to make it in the following section.
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
*These are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase items using these links.
- Koji rice : Iseso Miyako Koji. It'smade by fermenting rice using a fungus called koji mold. It has a dry texture and is easy to take apart.
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.
It might be hard to find it at local grocery stores if you live outside of Japan.
So, if you live in the US, you can find it here, and if you live in Canada, you can find it here.
If you have trouble finding koji rice or deciding which one to choose, please let me know. I would love to help you.
How to Make Amazake at home
Mix koji rice and water and ferment to make Amazake.
We will need a tool to keep temperature and time, 60C/140F, for 6 hours for the fermentation process.
The best temperature to make a tasty Amazake with natural sweetness is 55C-60C/131F-140F.
Depending on the temperature, Amazake taste changes.
There is no sweetening effect at low temperatures like 50C/122F, and high temperatures like 70C/158F, sourness substitutes for flavor.
Enzyme dies if the temperature is over 60C/140F, so it is crucial to control the suitable temperature.
You could use either one of them as an Amazake maker:
- Rice Cooker
- Food Jar
- Yogurt Maker
I recommend using a yogurt maker which can set the temperature and time.
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.
So, a yogurt maker (or Instant pot) is the best choice if you want the same result every time you make it.
I know, some people don't want to get it only for making Amazake, but you can make:
- Bread dough
- Instant miso
- Shio koji (Japanese seasoning made from salt and koji rice)
and more other ways to use.
Somebody like me makes it all the time and makes soy milk yogurt every week, and a yogurt maker is a must-have kitchen tool.
It's easy to control the temperature and time. Once you set it and you can forget about it.
This recipe will show you how to make Amazake with a yogurt maker.
Let me tell you a bit about a Yogurt maker if you consider buying it.
This TANICA Yogurutia is my favorite Yogurt Maker: It covers a wide range of temperatures and is easy to set up.
- Temperature from 25C to 65C/77F to 149F
- Timer from 1 to 48 hours
If you can find a tool like this at your local store, then perfect for making an Amazake.
The following is a list of equipment used in this recipe.
We will use these three types of equipment:
- Yogurt Maker: TANICA Yogurutia for fermentation
- Thermometer: TANITA Digital Thermometer for check the temperature
- Small pot for boiling water
Ok, finally, let me walk you through making it step by step. Also, you can watch it in this video.
First, you have to clean your yogurt maker's container and sterilize it. If it contains any germ, it doesn't ferment.
- Clean and sterilize your container
- Separate rice grains of koji rice
- Boil water to 63C-65C (145F-149F) by using a thermometer.
- Mix water and koji rice
- Fermentation for 60C (140F) for 6 hours
- After fementing
- Transfer in a glass jar and keep it in the fridge
Please see detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
How to store
I like to keep it in a glass jar like the photo above. You can store any container you have 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.
Also, if you don't use 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 drink amazake
You can drink as it is, but here are some quick recipes/ideas that you can enjoy more with homemade Amazake.
This Amazake milk is my favorite drink, which is made by blending Amazake in a blender and mixing 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.
Another idea is blending with your favorite fruits and green leaf.
It's a super healthy drink that gives you so much energy!
Amazake smoothie recipes:
- Green Amazake Smoothies
- Persimmon and Tangerine Amazake Smoothies
- Blueberry Amazake Smoothies
- Apple Ginger Amazake Smoothies
- Cacao Amazake Smoothies
- Avocado and Kiwi Fruit Amazake Smoothies
Check the recipe here: 6 Amazake smoothie recipes.
How to use Amazake
There are other ways to enjoy Amazake besides drinks.
With a subtle sweetness, Amazake is the perfect alternative to traditional sugar. You can add some Amazake to pancakes or muffins.
Amazake is great for making the marinade.
You can use it as an ingredient in marinades to help tenderize meats or fish before they are cooked on the grill.
You can also make Amazake miso by mixing 3Tbsp of Amazake and 3 tablespoon of miso paste.
This flavorful paste would suit a vegetable dip, salad dressing, and marinated tofu.
Do you get some idea how you can enjoy Amazake more than drink? I hope you try them, and please let me know what you think!
Amazake at a store
You can find a variety of Amazake at a grocery store in Japan, such as:
- Brown rice Amazake
- Amazake with lactic acid bacteria
- Salted Amazake
- Amazake with ginger flavor
- Amazake with Kanten (agar) and more....
I love homemade Amazake so much, but it's fun to discover new flavors!
No in Koji rice Amazake, Yes in Sakekasu Amazake but the alcohol content is less than 5%.
Amazake is sweet. Koji rice Amazake: Natural mild sweetness from rice, Sakekasu Amazake: sweetness from added sugar.
Koji rice Amazake is good for maintaining healthy skin, relieving fatigue, your digestive system, etc.
Koji rice Amazake lasts 7 to 10 days in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
Yes, you add it as a sweetener.
Yes, it is good for a green smoothie or any other drink. It's one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.
Yes, it's vegan. Ingredients are only koji rice and water.
Kids can drink Koji rice Amazake as It's a healthy, non-alcoholic energy drink that will give them all the power to get through the day. On the other hand, Sakekasu Amazake would contain a small percentage of alcohol so I wouldn't recommend for them.
Thanks for stopping by
It's a lot of information related to making Amazake, but making it is so simple and easy.
I hope you are excited to make it at home and enjoy this healthy but tasty, nutrient-rich drink.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you've tried this recipe(or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares healthy and straightforward Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
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How To Make Koji Rice Amazake with Yogurt MakerPrint Pin SAVE SAVED!
- 7 oz Koji rice, 200g
- 1⅔ c Water, 400ml
- 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.
- 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.
Hi may I know why some recipes call for additional rife but this doesn’t? Thank you!
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!
Looking fwd. to trying. Very good👀recipe ideas😀
Hi Charr, thanks for your comment! Hope you love the recipe:)