Vegan wagashi (with shaping tutorial)

vegan wagashi

As I promised a while ago, I improved my skills in vegan wagashi shaping. The only difference is that I managed to order some white bean paste online, so I didn’t have to make it myself.

In Japan, wagashi are often made to simbolize different seasons and times of year. So they make them in forms of different flowers, leaves, or anything they want really (the most popular one is probably the pink cherry blossom wagashi).

This time around I decided to make them in autumn fashion. Like the last time, I left the links to some helpful shaping tutorials below. If you are interested in this bean marzipan dessert that is also kind of an art form, I suggest you watch those.

I feel like I’m getting better at this already and I am planning on making some for winter. If you want to see how I did the first time, I also left a link to that below.

A piece of advice

The only somewhat complicated thing about this recipe is shaping. But when you watch a few videos from wagashi artists, you will see that it is much more simple than it looks.

They use special shaping tools, however, you can improvise these as I did. I used the back of a butter knife to form individual leaf/pumpkin segments, chopsticks to make a center of the pumpkin, and a sharp knife to draw the finer lines. I squeezed the yellow colored wagashi dough through a sieve to get the yellow flower center.

The red bean paste is not mandatory. You can use balls of white bean paste instead. You can make your own bean paste at home, and I left a helpful recipe link down below. DO NOT use regular rice flour instead of glutinous rice flour. You will not be able to form mochi dough with the regular one.

For the green color you can use some matcha powder. But if you don’t have it, feel free to use regular (vegan) food color.

I have left a few video links that inspired me below in the recipe, but you can shape and color your wagashi any way you want. There are hundreds of tutorials and pictures out there. If you decide to get creative with it, I would like to see your final results.

Vegan wagashi (with shaping tutorial)

Recipe by Margo Drobi


  • 250 g of white bean paste*

  • 12 g of glutinous rice flour

  • 10 g of sugar

  • 20 ml of water

  • Orange food coloring

  • Matcha powder or green food color

  • Red food coloring

  • Yellow food coloring

  • Black food coloring

  • 100 g of red bean paste (or additional white bean paste)


  • White bean paste is something you can make at home. Whether you’re using store-bought or homemade paste, you will need to get rid of some moisture in it. Put the white bean paste in a non-stick pan and heat it on medium heat while stirring constantly. Mix on low heat until the water has evaporated and the moldable dough/paste is formed. Remove from heat, transfer into a dry bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the glutinous rice flour, water and sugar. Put them in a non-stick pan or a pot and heat them on low heat while constantly mixing. Do this until a sticky mochi dough is formed and the mixture is no longer watery.
  • Put a small amount of the mochi dough in the white bean paste. Mix and knead. Add the rest of the mochi dough and knead again. Pull it apart into many different pieces and then knead together again.  Wrap it in a plastic wrap and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve each food color in a small amount of water in separate small containers. If you do not own the wagashi shaping kit, prepare some chopsticks, a butter knife, and a regular knife.
  • Roll the red bean paste (or white paste) into small balls, depending on how many wagashi pieces you’re making. When the wagashi dough has cooled down, divide it into several pieces (depending on how many you are making).
  • Roll white wagashi dough pieces into small balls that you are going to color yellow, red and orange. Take smaller amounts of dough in order to color it green and black. Dip a toothpick in a food color of your choice and drag it across the white piece of wagashi dough. Knead it with your hands until it is colored evenly. It is better to end up with lightly colored pieces than with heavy color, so add it gradually in small doses.
  • Since the shaping process is kind of complicated and difficult to write down comprehensively, I am going to leave a few videos that inspired me and taught me how to do this:
    Wagashi shaping video 1
    Wagashi shaping video 2

  • Make sure to cover the pieces you are not using, so they don’t dry up. Use a plastic wrap or small plastic containers. Serve the vegan wagashi with some matcha tea.


  • *You can make your own white bean paste at home using 300g of butter beans (or lima beans) and 120 g of sugar. I will leave a recipe right – here.

If you liked this recipe, make sure you check out my other recipes like:

– vegan wagashi

– vegan savory rice cakes

– vegan tang yuan

Feel free to tell me what you think about this in the comments below, or send me the pictures of your own vegan wagashi. If you did something differently, I would also like to hear that, I’d love to see the things you come up with. 

P.S. for more recipes like this and a bunch of other stuff, follow me on Instagram, @margo_drobi.

Also, I recently started a Patreon page, where you can subscribe and help me create more/better content. In return, you will get an exclusive piece of content (recipe) each month. My plan is to increase the amount of that content if I gain a few subscribers. If you are interested and you want to find out more, I will leave the link to my Patreon right – here.

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