Amazake (甘酒, Amazake is a traditional sweet, low-alcoholic Japanese drink made from fermented rice. It is part of the family of traditional Japanese foods made using Aspergillus oryzae (麹, kōji that includes miso, soy sauce, and sake.

The basic recipe for amazake has been used for hundreds of years. Koji is added to cooled whole grain rice causing enzymes to break down the carbohydrates into simpler unrefined sugars. As the mixture incubates, sweetness develops naturally.

Amazake can be used as a dessert, snack, natural sweetening agent, baby food, salad dressing or smoothie. The traditional drink (prepared by combining amazake and water, heating to a simmer, and often topped with a pinch of finely grated ginger) was popular with street vendors, and it is still served at inns and teahouses. Many Shinto shrines provide or sell this in the New Year. In the 20th century, an instant version became available.

How To Make Amazake

by Sandor Ellix Katz

From His Book, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.

The Recipe For Making Amazake

Amazake is a rich, sweet Japanese pudding or drink that is one of the most dramatic fermentations I've seen. Plain rice (or any other grain) is made intensely sweet in a matter of hours by the action of a mold, It astounds me that a grain could be so sweet without any added sugar or other sweetener. The rapid digestion of the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars is the work of Aspergillus oryzae, the same mold used to ferment soybeans.

We offer naturally fermented miso aged in wooden casks using a traditional koji culture and time-honored production methods. Soybeans in their original form are very difficult to digest and assimilate. The fermentation process enables the superior nutritional characteristics of the soybean to be assimilated readily by the system. Miso is ideal for vegetarians who need high quality protein in their diets. The different kinds of miso, i.e. rice (genmai and kome, barley (mugi) and soybean (hatcho) refers to the grain that has been inoculated\'with koji before it is blended with the soybeans. The use of whole, premium ingredients and unhurried, natural aging in seasoned wooden casks give Mitoku misos and soy sauces depth of character and health benefits that cannot be duplicated by accelerated, high temperature incubation in plastic, stainless steel or fiberglass tanks.


Miso is a delicious and versatile soy food. Miso soup, sauces, baked and simmered dishes, vegetable soups, stews, salad dressings and spreads.

Aspergillus is most readily available in the form of koji, grain inoculated spores of Aspergillus. We sell Koji right here and also sweet rice too.

Traditionally, amazake is made sweet rice, a variety of rice that is not actually sweet, but high in gluten and thefore sticky when cooked. Amazake can be made from any grain, though. I especially enjoy amazake made from millet.

TIMEFRAME: Less than 24 hours


INGREDIENTS (for about 1 gallon / 4 liters):


  1. Cook the grain in about 6 cups (1.5 liters) of water. Use a pressure cooker if you have one. This high proportion of water (3:1) will result in somewhat softer than usual grain.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the insulated cooler and the gallon jar by filling both with hot water.
  3. When the grain is cooked, remove from the heat, uncover the pot, and allow the grain to cool for a few minutes, stirring from the bottom to release heat. Don't let it get too cool. Koji can tolerate heat as high as 140°F (60°C). Cool to this temperature or, if you are without a thermometer, until you can hold a finger to it for a moment but it is still steaming hot.
  4. Add the koji to the cooked grain and stir well.
  5. Transfer the cooked grain and koji mix to the preheated gallon jar. Screw the lid on the jar and place it in the preheated insulated cooler. If the cooler is much larger than the jar, add additional jars of hot water (not too hot to touch), to help maintain the heat. Shut the cooler and place it in a warm place.
  6. Check the amazake after 8 to 12 hours. Amazake takes about 8 to 12 hours at 140°F (60°C), or 20 to 24 hours at 90°F (32°C). If the amazake is very sweet, it's ready. If not, heat it up with gentle heat: If your cooler is big and you added extra bottles of water, replace these with fresh hot water; if your cooler is small, add hot water directly to the cooler to surround the jar of amazake. Leave it to ferment for a few more hours.
  7. Once your amazake is sweet, gently bring it to a boil to stop fermentation. Amazake left to ferment after it becomes sweet becomes an alcoholic grog (the first step in the process of making sake, the strong Japanese rice wine). Be careful not to burn the amazake when you boil (pasteurize) it. The way I do this is to first boil about 2 cups (500 milliliters) of water in a pot, then slowly add the amazake, stirring constantly to avoid burning the bottom.
  8. You can serve amazake as a pudding at this point, thick and with the grains intact, or you can thin it with more water and run it through a food processor to break down the grains into a liquid consistency. Amazake is delicious either hot or cold and can be stored for a few weeks in a refrigerator.
  9. Plain amazake has a very distinctive sweetness, or you can season it. Amazake seasoned with a little nutmeg (and perhaps even rum) makes a nice eggnog alternative. Vanilla extract, grated ginger, slivered toasted almonds, and espresso are other flavorings I've enjoyed in amazake. Amazake can also be used as a sweetener in baking.


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