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a plate with white glutinous rice balls in a pyramid with two orange balls on top.

Tsukimi Dango (vegan, gluten free)

  • Author: Remy Park
  • Total Time: 25 minutes


Make this delicious homemade Tsukimi Dango recipe with gluten-free rice flour and pumpkin to celebrate the Japanese mid-autumn festival with an easy and sweet treat. All you need is 4 simple ingredients and 25 minutes.


Units Scale
  • 2/3 cups sweet glutinous rice flour (use shiratamako or joshinko for best results), more as needed
  • 1/2 cup warm water, more as needed
  • 1 small slice of kabocha pumpkin, or orange sweet potato
  • 2 tsp organic cane sugar (optional)


  1. Start by steaming your kabocha or orange sweet potato. Cook until tender, then push through a sieve to achieve a smooth purée. Let sit aside and cool.
  2. Next make your dango. Gradually add water as you mix your flour in a large bowl with chopsticks. Once all of the water is added to the bowl and the dough thickens, you should be able to start to use your hands. Add more flour or water as needed (brands tend to vary, and the amount you may need also depends on the humidity!). The dough is ready when it’s firm, smooth and easily workable.
  3. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and roll into tight balls.
  4. Set aside 2 of the balls of dough and knead in your pumpkin purée (about 1 tbsp) to add colour. You may need to add additional flour depending on how moist your pumpkin is.
  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add all of your dango to the pot. Stir with chopsticks occasionally to avoid sticking. The dango is ready when they start to float to the top.
  6. Prepare an ice bath and drop your cooked dango gently in to cool and firm up. Strain, and transfer onto a plate or tray.
  7. To assemble, arrange dango in layers of 9, 4 and top with 2 orange dango!


Secrets to Success

Here are a few tips for making this dango recipe:

  • Start by steaming the sweet potato or pumpkin. You want it to be completely tender and fully pureed so it will work into the rice flour well.
  • Add as much flour or water as you need to make a slightly sticky but smooth dough. It should hold together well but not stick to your hands too much as you work.
  • You can flavor as many rice balls as you like with pumpkin. The plain ones will also be tasty!

Serving Tips

  • The traditional way to serve Tsukimi dango is in a pyramid shape. Arrange nine rice balls on a plate, then top with a layer of four, and place two pumpkin/sweet potato balls on top.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: Dango Recipe, vegan, gluten free