Guide to Make Epic Pancakes in a Japanese Rice Cooker


Japanese pancakes are as ubiquitous as ramen or miso.

Aside from heading out for pancakes in Tokyo, probably the most popular method of whipping them up at home is with a rice cooker. These dinky appliances are ideally designed for use in the small kitchens common in Tokyo homes.

Sure, these delicate pancakes might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about what you can rustle up in a rice cooker. Once you try these classic savory pancakes in your Japanese rice cooker, you likely won’t return to making them any other way.

First thing’s first, what are these pancakes, exactly?

What Is a Japanese Pancake?

In Japan, pancakes called okonomiyaki are made from flour and egg along with cabbage and other ingredients.

You can find oyaki, pancakes brimming with eggplant, nozawana, and anko.

With dorayaki, you’ll get a western-style sandwich of anko and pancakes.

Although typically savory, you can also find plenty of sweet pancakes.

You can also discover souffle-style ring pancakes. These are very tall and fluffy. You find this type of Japanese-inspired pancake in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Singapore.

How To Make Rice Cooker Pancakes

Given the limited space in most Japanese kitchens, compact and multipurpose appliances like rice cookers are remarkably popular.

Here’s what you need if you fancy whipping up some pancakes for supper…

What You Need

  • Pancake mix
  • Whipped cream
  • Fruit (strawberries, raspberries, kiwi…)
  • Syrup

With those basis ingredients in place, here comes the good news…

Making pancakes in your rice cooker involves almost no effort on your part so here’s what you need to do…

What To Do

  1. Make up the pancakes in a bowl using the mix. Follow the instructions on the package closely
  2. Ladle the pancake batter into the rice cooker
  3. Cook your pancakes for between 45 minutes and 75 minutes. You should monitor your rice cooker as the pancakes cook. It might power down before they are done
  4. When you can see the pancake is fully domed, it’s ready to serve
  5. Upend the pancake on a plate
  6. Top with whipped cream and your fruit of choice. Pour some syrup over before serving

If you don’t have any syrup available, you could always use some sweetened condensed milk instead.

What Else to Add for Epic Pancakes

Now, we’ve given you some suggestions for making a great foundation for pancakes the easy way, how else can you jazz up your breakfast or supper to make it a real treat?

Well, imagination is your only limitation.

From hunks of chocolate and bananas for an approximation of the classic sweet French crepe.

Still not sweet enough? Try loading your pancake mix with some cocoa powder for a super-luxe mound of chocolate delight.

Anyone who enjoys cheesecake can rack up something close in a Japanese rice cooker. Add some cream cheese, lemon juice, and sugar to your pancake mix. The resultant pancake is an eastern version of the American staple.

If you fancy sticking more closely to traditional Japanese pancakes, roll with some sweet black beans.

If all the above sounds like it would be bad for your waistline and your health goals, there’s plenty of scope to make savory and healthy pancakes, too. Potato and sweet potatoes both work wonderfully.

Like the idea of harnessing the many health benefits of green tea? Throw some matcha powder in with your pancake mix for a dessert packed with antioxidants.

Why Cook Pancakes in a Rice Cooker?

Ease of use and lack of user input are perhaps the two largest selling points of rice cookers. Whether you’re opting for an induction heating rice cooker, a sushi rice cooker, or a rice cooker for brown rice, you can whip up a range of recipes without needing to do much more than push a button then wait.

If you want more to take care of the creative element of the meal and less spent taking care of labor-intensive rice, investing in a rice cooker is the smartest thing you could do.

Also, if you think of making pancakes the conventional way, you’ll be forced to do a lot of dishes. This way, instead of being faced with stacks of soiled utensils, all you need to clean up is the pot and the spoon you used for mixing.

One of the most delightful things about using a rice cooker for pancakes is the way you can wake up to perfectly prepared pancakes. All worthwhile rice cookers come with a timer baked in. Mix up your batter the night before then hit start just before you head to bed. The rice cooker will keep your mixture warmed once it’s cooked up allowing you to enjoy pancakes the moment you wake with absolutely no effort required.

Before we round out today, a quick word on what you should not do when you’re cooking pancakes in a rice cooker…

What To Avoid When Cooking Pancakes in a Rice Cooker

You should make certain not to overfill the pot. Do this and you’ll likely find the top of your domed pancake will fuse with the lid. This is not only awkward to open, but will also spoil the finished effect of your creation.


If you mistakenly believed making pancakes needed to be a labor of love that takes all day, you can hopefully see clearly that needn’t be the case.

So, next time you fancy cooking something more inspiring than brown rice in your rice cooker, give the above recipe a try. Feel free to get in touch and let us know how you got on. We love to share our readers’ experiences.

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