47 In Appetizer/ Egg/ Video

Chawanmushi (Savory Egg Custard)Recipe

Chawanmushi is a Japanese hot appetizer.  It is a type of egg custard, but not sweet. You might find it at sushi restaurants or a little more formal Japanese restaurants in Japan.  “Chawan” means tea cup or rice bowl and “mushi” means steamed in Japanese, and it is indeed steamed food in a cup.   Chawanmushi’s flavor comes mainly from Dashi, soy sauce and mirin, and even though Chawanmushi is a savory dish, the texture is similar to egg flan.

Chawanmushi is relatively simple to make, so it is a home cooking dish, too.  When you eat Chawanmushi at home, it is more like one of the side dishes rather than an appetizer.  Still, Chawanmushi can add a special feeling to a mundane meal.  It is traditional to add ginkgo seeds and lily roots in Japan, but it is hard to find even in Japanese markets in the US.  So we typically omit them, but if you can find them, go for it.  They make the dish more authentic.  Other ingredients such as Shiitake mushroom, shrimp and chicken gives complex and delicious flavor to this dish.  In some parts of Japan, people put Udon noodles in this custard, and that’s called Odamakimushi.

If you have a small cup with a lid to use, that would be perfect, but if not, don’t worry.  Just use ramekins or other small bowls and cover with aluminum foil.  If you cook too long, there will be little holes on the custard, so check it after 7-8 minutes.

Add Chawanmushi to your Japanese meal, and your family and friends will be very impressed.  And they don’t have to know it is not so hard make it.

Chawanmushi Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (480ml) Dashi
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sake
  • 1 tsp Mirin
  • 2-4 shrimp, sliced into 2 pieces each if big
  • 1/2 chicken thigh, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 shiitake mushroom, sliced
  • Mitsuba leaves or green onion, chopped


  1. Preseason chicken and shrimps. In a small bowl, mix chicken pieces with 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp Sake. In another bowl, mix shrimp and 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp Sake. Let them sit for a couple of minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix eggs, Dashi, salt, 1 tsp soy sauce, and Mirin together. Strain the egg mixture through a sieve. Let as much egg as you can go through the sieve.
  3. Place 1/4 amount of chicken, shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms in each of 4 small cups (such as ramekins), then pour egg mixture over them to fill 3/4 of a cup. Cover with aluminum foil and put the covered cups into a steamer.
  4. Steam at medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer to see if it's done. If clear broth comes out when poked, take the cups out from the steamer.
  5. Sprinkle Mitsuba leaves and cover again for 2-3 minutes.

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  • J. Kiyomi Okano
    September 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    “OMG!” My Bachan use to make this, when I was a little girl. I remember her making these and putting them in a big roaster pan with hot water and steaming them on the stove.

    • Noriko
      September 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Kiyomi san,
      Bachan’s recipe is the best, but this might be next to the best.

  • Flora
    November 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    My mom made me an Americanized version of this when I was young and I still eat this as comfort food. She moved to the US in 1952 and it was difficult getting Japanese ingredients in the US at that time. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

    • Noriko
      December 1, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      thanks for your comment! Hope our recipes help you to make what your mom made for you.

  • foremeraldx
    January 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I made this chawanmushi according to your recipe today and it was a super success! So tasty! Thank you very much for sharing all these recipes.

    • Noriko
      January 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      glad you liked the recipe!

  • toeminemine
    January 9, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Tried chawan mushi at home tonight by own recipe for the first time. Half successfully done. Found this recipe after that and hope this will help my next chawan mushi become tasty. Thanks for sharing.

    • Noriko
      January 12, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      let us know what you think about our recipe!

  • Mikka
    February 27, 2014 at 4:50 am

    How many portion is this for? Did you make your own dashi or did you use those ready made ones from the supermarket?

    • Noriko
      March 2, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      4 servings. We have Dashi recipe both on Youtube and website Japanesecooking101.com.

  • Ningning
    March 26, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Great recipe! I used the store-bought powdered dashi and I used 13 espresso cups for this. Everyone loved the small serving…making them want more!

    • Noriko
      March 26, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      Very clever!

  • Kaehline
    April 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I cant find a Dashi…
    What’s the Best Alternate for Dashi??

    • Noriko
      April 14, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      we have dashi recipe on our sites.

    • Helen
      August 31, 2016 at 1:56 am

      Chicken stock

  • Lisa
    May 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Can i omit the sake? Or, is there substitute for sake?
    Thank u and have a good day.

    • Noriko
      May 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      yes, you could.

  • Soo
    June 8, 2014 at 9:54 am


    When you said mix the egg with dash and other ingredients, do we just fold thru the seasonings or give it a good whisk to incorporate everything? And why do we need to strain the egg mixture thru a sieve ?


    • Noriko
      September 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      you need to mix the mixture well with seasonings. Also you need to let the egg mixture through sieve so it reaches smooth texture.

  • thewingedpalate
    June 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    May i ask what’s the size of the egg? Would love to try this tonight. Thanks for sharing.

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      large eggs.

  • Sophie
    July 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I am so so happy to have found this recipe! So so easy and can now gorge myself on this delight I rarely find in Japanese restaurants in London, apart from the most traditional . Very tasty

  • Alina
    July 16, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Thanks! I just love Japanese food and I really want to try cooking Chawanmushi!

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Chawanmushi is pretty easy to make, but very tasty!

  • Karenchan
    July 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    When I lived in Japan, I was told this was very difficult to make. I love it, but was always afraid to make it. Now that I have found your recipe, I will make it!! I miss it so much! I can’t wait for my children to try it.

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      Chawanmushi is not hard to make at all, but it seems like you put a lot of time and effort in it. Good to serve it to family and friends to impress:)

  • bob @ jugernauts.com
    July 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Hi, somebody on instagram just posted pics of a chawanmushi and I wanted to learn how to make one. will post back if/when that happens. Looks great!!

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      hope you liked our Chawanmushi recipe!

  • Susan
    July 28, 2014 at 12:36 am

    Hello I bought powdered dashi instead of liquid dashi so I am not sure of the amount to use. May I just know how much powdered dashi must I use for the same number of servings and am I supposed to mix the powdered dashi with water first before using? Thanks so much!

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      I don’t use powdered dashi, so I don’t know, but there must be instruction on the box. If you don’t have that, dissolve a little in hot water and taste it.

  • John
    July 28, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Why after I do it, it become very watery it’s not taste good at all!
    I think the egg ratio was not correct! Mine just a normal egg I’m not using dinosaur egg why needed so much of water?! 480ml! Omg!

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      it was too bad you didn’t like our Chawanmushi recipe. It is soft custard with a little soup around it. Our ratio for water to egg is right. We do try our best to test the recipes before putting up on our sites.

  • bendict
    August 28, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Can I substitute the chicken tight with chicken breast?

  • Wan-Ching
    September 9, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I bought 3 savory egg custards from a Japanese supermarket today by accident, thinking they were puddings (It was a shock when I took the first bite!). Should I microwave it before eating? I suppose it is to be eaten hot. Thanks!

    • Noriko
      September 12, 2014 at 1:27 am

      you can do either way. Great in cold during summer!

  • Janie
    October 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This recipe is just too awesome! I love chawanmushi and had no idea that it is so easy to make at home. Too perfect texture, I knew instantly at the first bite that I have found the right recipe! For people who criticized the texture, you obviously do not know what is chanwanmushi.
    Thank you!

    • Noriko
      October 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      glad you liked our Chawanmushi recipe! Isn’t it easy to make? And it is very authentic Japanese!

  • Janie
    October 16, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Chawanmushi I mean. Sorry for the wrong spelling.

  • Rosalie
    October 26, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I love your recipe…my mother used to make this after we had a touch of the stomach bug. It was always delicious and soothing. She would add other items like thin sliced beef or what I call pink fish cake. Thank you!

    • Noriko
      October 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      you have a very nice mom! Mom’s Chawanmushi is the best!

  • Karen
    January 11, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Made this last night, it was delicious, like all of your recipes that I have tried. I only had a small issue. I used Japanese tea cups and there was enough to fill over 5 of them. I may have filled them too high because I didn’t want to waste any of it. It took much longer for mine to set up – and that may have been why. I think maybe next time I will decrease the Dashi to 1.5 cups instead of 2. At any rate, I will be making this again and I’m looking forward to last night’s leftovers for my lunch today. Thanks for another great recipe.

    • Noriko
      January 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Chawanmushi is actually pretty forgiving. You can adjust Dashi to achieve the softness you like. So you are thinking right!

  • Seah
    March 12, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Can we keep them in the fridge? If yes, how long can i keep?

    • Noriko
      March 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      it is best when fresh and hot, but can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

  • Jamie
    April 12, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Can we mix everything together beforehand like one day in advance or does it need to be steam immediately ? If so, do we have to place it in the fridge ?

  • Emma
    September 12, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for sharing recipe. I tried to share a photo of my version, but not sure it works.

    Couldn’t find any dashi at my local store, so used fish broth (well diluted, to avoid making it too salty). Since I don’t do meat, I replaced the chicken with smoked (hot) salmon. The salmon worked surprisingly well, and made up a bit for the lack of katsuobushi, since it also have a salty slightly smoked quality to it. Next time in Japan I will stock up on basic ingredinses. Thank for a very inspiring web page!

    #dinner #chawanmushi #japanese #food #homemade A photo posted by Emma Bonde (@emmabonde) on Sep 12, 2016 at 9:11am PDT

  • Jane
    December 6, 2016 at 1:21 am

    Thank you so much!!
    We were able to create a chawanmushi easily thanks to your blog! <3
    Chawanmushi has always been my favorite so I'm extremely grateful to you and your blog!