Tsukimi Dango Recipe | Celebrating the Japanese “Moon Festival” Easy Rice Dumplings | Gluten-free

Tsukimi Dango Recipe | Celebrating the Japanese “Moon Festival” Easy Rice Dumplings | Gluten-free

What is Tsukimi Dango?

Japanese Tsukimi Dango is a traditional rice dumpling.
Tsukimi is a moon-viewing festival, usually at the end of September.

This festival is celebrated in Japan on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which usually falls in September or early October.  (Sep. 29th 2023)

During Otsukimi, people gather to admire the full moon and offer thanks for the harvest.

Tsukimi Dango are named after the festival because they are a popular treat enjoyed during this time, especially as an offering to the moon. These dumplings have a simple yet visually appealing appearance that is said to resemble the moon.

Difference between Mochi and Dango

Mochi is made from glutinous rice flour, and Dango is made from rice flour or a combination of both.

Rabbit on the moon

You will find rabbit-shaped Wagashi (Japanese Sweet) around this season because we see the shadows created by craters on the moon as rabbits pound Mochi.

I remember I tried finding rabbits on the moon when I was a little girl.

Tsukimi Dango

Traditional rice dumplings.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japanese


  • 1 bowl
  • 1 pot


Plain Dango

  • 120 g Rice flour
  • 80 g Glutinous Rice flour
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2/3 cup water

Pumpkin Dango

  • 2 tbs Glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbs Rice flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs mashed pumpkin
  • 1 tbs water

Rabbit Dango

  • 3 tbs Glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbs mashed pumpkin
  • ½~1 tbs water
  • a pinch of salt


Plain Dango

  • Combine rice flour, glutinous rice flour, and sugar in a bowl.
  • Whisk well and add water little by little to Distribute evenly.
  • When you add sugar to the Dango, it will keep soft longer.
  • When the dough comes together, Take it out and knead until smooth.
  • If you add too much water, The dough becomes watery and difficult to handle. So be sure to add water little by little.
    We describe this stage as an earlobe.
    It's almost like a play dough.
  • Shape into a cylinder, and mark the center; in the center of each half, And then divide into three. You have 12 equal portions.  
    Shape into balls.
  • Boil for About 2 to 3 minutes and then cook another minute to cook through when the dumplings float on the surface.
  • Transfer to icy cold water to stop cooking.
  • Cool completely, then take out onto a mesh tray greased with oil to prevent sticking, and dry out the surface a little bit before stacking.

Pumpkin Dango

  • Next, we are going to make pumpkin dumplings.
    Remove seeds and skin from the pumpkin and cook in the microwave until soft. Mash until you get a smooth paste.
  • Combine rice flour and glutinous rice flour, mashed pumpkin mix until evenly combined before adding water.
  • Add water little by little until it comes together.
  • If you add too much water, adjust with a bit more glutinous rice flour or rice flour.
  • Knead until smooth and shape into balls.
  • Boil as we did to the plain dumplings.
  • And it’s done!

Rabbit Dango

  • Now, let’s make rabbit dumplings.
  • Make a dough as we did; this is 100% Shiratamako.
  • Shipping to oval, and pinch the side to look like a rabbit.
  • Boil until cooked through, then dry out the surface.
  • Heat your skewer until hot, then apply it on the surface like this.
  • Use a toothpick and put eyes on the dumplings with red food coloring.
Keyword dango, gluten-free, glutinous rice flour, mochi, rice flour, tsukimi dango
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