How To Make Amazake (Japanese Fermented Rice Drink)-Japanese Taste

How To Make Amazake (Japanese Fermented Rice Drink)

by Ayako Kidokoro

Beverage Rice Koji Easy Gluten-Free Vegetarian Vegan Healthy

Amazake is a traditional Japanese rice drink, often described as sweet sake. It's commonly enjoyed hot during New Year's and the Girls' Festival (Hina Matsuri on March 3rd), or as a refreshing cold beverage in the summer. With its white milky appearance, it resembles rice porridge. Although it shares ingredients with sake, the production process differs significantly, resulting in a thicker texture.

With roots tracing back to the Kofun period (around 250 to 538 AD), Amazake gained popularity as a nutritious summer drink during the Edo period.

There are two main types of Amazake: Koji Amazake, made with rice Koji (Aspergillus oryzae mold), and another made with lees from sake production (Sakekasu). They differ in production methods, drinking age, and nutrition content.

We'll guide you through making Koji Amazake, a rice-based version without alcohol, making it safe for children. Packed with nutrients like B6, folic acid, and dietary fiber, it's often referred to as a 'drinkable IV' for its health benefits. We'll share a version using a yogurt maker and a version using a rice cooker.

To make Koji Amazake, you only need three ingredients: cooked rice, Koji, and water. While there's a recipe without cooked rice, it's key for a sweeter Amazake.

Though the process takes 8-10 hours, the steps are simple. Maintain a temperature between 50-60°C (125-140°F) to activate the Koji mold. Below 50°C (125°F) may introduce bacteria, leading to a sour taste, while above 70°C (158°F) hinders Koji mold activity, resulting in less sweetness.

Using a yogurt maker or rice cooker simplifies the process. Give Japanese Koji Amazake a try and promote your well-being!


Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 10hrs 0mins

Total time: 10hrs 10mins

Total servings: 2

Difficulty: Easy

  • 100 g Cooked Rice
  • 100 g Rice Koji
  • 300 ml Warm Water

Expert's Tip

How To Make Amazake (Japanese Fermented Rice Drink)

This Koji is perfect for making Amazake. Various types of Koji exist, each with different methods for products like Sake, Miso, and more. Specifically crafted for Amazake, this Koji enhances the sweetness of your brew.


1) Gathering the Ingredients

Gather the ingredients together.

2) Mixing Everything Together

If there are any lumps in the Koji, break them up with your hands. Mix the cooked rice and water together, ensuring the temperature is around 50-60℃ (125-140℉).

Tip: If the cooked rice is very hot, add cold water to bring the mixture to 50-60℃ (125-140℉), and vice versa.

3) Making Amazake With a Yogurt Maker

Put the mixture into a container and turn the switch on at 60℃ (140℉) for 10 hours. Mix the amazake after 4-5 hours; it makes it easier to cook evenly.

Note: If using a yogurt maker, halve the ingredient amounts that we listed.

4) Making Amazake in a Rice Cooker (part 1)

Prepare a kitchen thermometer and kitchen cloth. 

Put the ingredients in the rice cooker, cover the pot with a kitchen cloth, and keep the lid fully open. Turn the rice cooker on to the 'keep warm' setting.

5) Making Amazake in a Rice Cooker (part 2)

Check the temperature ideally every 1-2 hours and cook for 8-10 hours. Ensure the temperature consistently stays between 50-60℃ (125-140℉). If it goes higher, turn off the heat and add some cold water.

Tip: If the temperature is too high, the koji cannot survive. This is why we monitor the temperature.

6) Checking the Sweetness of the Amazake

Taste the Amazake. The approximate time for when the Amazake is ready is when it has reached the desired sweetness. The longer it stays, the sweeter it will be. If the sweetness is not enough, leave it longer at 50-60℃ (125-140℉).

7) Blending the Amazake

Blend the Amazake with a hand mixer. This is an optional step, but the texture becomes smoother and easier to drink.

8) Enjoying the Amazake

Adjust the thickness of the Amazake by adding water (also tasty with sparkling water) or hot water. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 1 month. 

Note: If you are concerned about bacteria, we recommend simmering it in a pot once after it is done.

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