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Sweet Potato Manju Recipe

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Buttery, flaky dough encasing a sweet potato filling and baked to golden brown perfection is what makes this Japanese sweet potato manju recipe so amazing.

3 stacked sweet potato manju

Where do I start with manju? It’s like a single serving portion of pie packaged up perfectly for a grab and go sweet treat.

One of the first places that I remember trying manju at was Homemaid Bakery. It’s a little mom and pop bakery on Maui that makes delicious baked goods. If you’re ever on Maui stop by and give them a try.

What is manju?

Manju is a popular Japanese confection that originated in China. It is called matou in Chinese, however once making its way to Japan the name was converted to manju. It can be found in many Japanese sweet shops and its low price point makes it a great choice for many.

sweet potato manju on a cutting board in different stages of the making process

Ingredients for manju

  • For the shell
    • 2 ⅔ cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter
    • 6 tablespoons milk
    • 4 egg yolks
  • For the filling
    • 1 ½ cup Okinawan sweet potatoes
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • ¼ cup water
  • For the egg wash
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon water
sweet potato manju ingredients

There are two classic ways of making manju: baked and steamed. I like the baked method and will be sharing it in this recipe.

What’s the difference between mochi and manju?

Mochi is made from pounded glutinous rice or the homemade version uses glutinous rice flour. On the other hand, classic manju is made from rice powder, flour, and buckwheat flour. Both can be steamed or baked.

If you like mochi check out my other mochi recipes: butter mochi, poi mochi, ube mochi.

What type of fillings are used in manju?

This is where the possibilities are endless. The classic Japanese recipe uses anko (red or white bean paste). Here in Hawai’i a popular filling is Okinawan sweet potato. You can also use apples, coconut, custard, peach, peanut butter, black bean, chocolate, etc.

close up of the center of sweet potato manju

What is red bean paste?

Red bean paste is made from azuki beans, sugar, water, and salt. It is a popular ingredient in Japanese sweets.

What is white bean paste?

White bean paste is made from lima beans, sugar, and salt. The taste is milder than that of red bean paste and a good alternative if you do not care for azuki beans.

sweet potato manju on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet

How to store manju?

Manju are best eaten fresh, however can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

Can you freeze manju?

As mentioned earlier these are best eaten fresh, but if you have extra you can freeze. Place in a zip top bag before freezing. This will keep for 4-6 months.

close up of sweet potato manju

How to reheat manju?

When ready to eat you can remove from the freezer and defrost at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You can also defrost in the microwave. To get the crunch back you can toast in the toaster oven for a few minutes once defrosted.

How to make manju?

For the dough: Add flour, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then add butter. Using a dough cutter or by hand gradually incorporate butter to flour mixture. Mix until the dough resembles crumbly sand. Try to work quickly to keep the butter as cold as possible.

Next add milk and egg yolks. Mix until well combined and a dough ball can be formed. Roll dough into a log and place in plastic wrap or the plastic alternative of your choice and put in the refrigerator for an hour to set.

While the dough is in the refrigerator start your sweet potato filling. Place a small pot of water on the stove over medium high heat and heat to a rolling boil. Peel and cube up sweet potato and add to boiling water. Boil until fork tender or about 10-15 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling start the simple syrup. To another small pan over medium high heat add sugar and water. Boil until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear or about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Once potatoes have finished mash until a smooth consistency is reached. Then add your simple syrup and mix until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Once the dough has set you can begin to assemble the manju. Cut the dough log into 18 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a round disc keeping the center thicker and the edges thinner. Scoop about a tablespoon of the sweet potato mixture into the center of the dough and bring the edges to the center and smooth together. Shape dough into a round ball with a slightly flattened top.

Place manju on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

For the egg wash: whisk egg and water together. Brush the tops of the manju with the mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and ENJOY!

3 stacked sweet potato manju

Sweet Potato Manju

Yield: 18-20 pieces
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Buttery, flaky dough encasing a sweet potato filling and baked to golden brown perfection is what makes this Japanese sweet potato manju recipe so amazing.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 6 tablespoon milk
  • 4 egg yolks

For the sweet potato filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds Okinawan sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

For the egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. For the dough: Add flour, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then add butter. Using a dough cutter or by hands gradually incorporate butter to flour mixture. Mix until the dough resembles crumbly sand. Try to work quickly to keep the butter as cold as possible.
  2. Next add milk and egg yolks. Mix until well combined and a dough ball can be formed. Roll dough into a log and place in plastic wrap or the plastic alternative of your choice and put in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
  3. While the dough is in the refrigerator start your sweet potato filling. Place a small pot of water on the stove over medium high heat and heat to a rolling boil. Peel and cube up sweet potato and add to boiling water. Boil until fork tender or about 10-15 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are boiling start the simple syrup. To another small pan over medium high heat add sugar and water. Boil until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear or about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Once potatoes have finished mash until a smooth consistency is reached. Then add your simple syrup and mix until well combined.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Once the dough has set you can begin to assemble the manju. Cut the dough log into 18 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a round disc keeping the center thicker and the edges thinner. Scoop about a tablespoon of the sweet potato mixture into the center of the dough and bring the edges to the center and smooth together. Shape dough in to a round ball with a slightly flattened top.
  8. Place manju on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  9. For the egg wash: whisk egg and water together. Brush the tops of the manju with the mixture.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and ENJOY!

Notes

* You can use any filling you wish for this recipe. The possibilities are endless.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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sweet potato manju

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By on May 20th, 2020

About Relle

Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

More posts by this author.

48 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Manju Recipe”

  1. I am not familiar with manju but sweet potato is one of my favorite vegetables. Any recipe using sweet potato will certainly be delicious. I look forward to make one.

    Reply
  2. How lovely! I have some purple sweet potatoes ready from my garden now and can’t wait to try these. Hope GF flour will work for them. Will let you know for sure.

    Reply
  3. I had never known what manju is. Glad to learn about it and I must say the purple color makes it look really beautiful

    Reply
  4. I haven’t had this since I lived in Japan. How wonderful that it is in English too. Thank you for posting. Now I will be reminiscing all day.

    Reply
  5. I love sweet potato manjui and had it frequently in Japan but I’ve never tried making it. This recipe looks so amazing and I can’t wait to try it out!

    Reply
  6. I’ve never made manju, though I’ve got the sweet potatoes growing in my Hawaii yard. Will try with gluten-free flour, will let you know.

    Reply
  7. Made your delicious manju today with coconut filling it came out really yummy 😋😋 Sorry you didn’t see the picture. Yesterday I made the pork hash and we had it for dinner with Saimin. It was so good. Something different. Mahalo for your onolicious recipes👍👍😋😋

    Reply
    • Born and raised on Maui I grew up eating Baked Manju. Now living on Hawaii Island I often go to the Homemaid Bakery when visiting family to buy some to share with my coworkers. My favorite is the baked manju with the coconut filling. Please share with me how you made your coconut filling. And I would also love Relle’s idea on how to make the coconut filling. ~Mahalo

      Reply
  8. I made your manju today but it was way too sticky to form into nice ones. The dough before putting into the fridge wasn’t hard enough to roll (and I swear the butter was still cold). I wrapped it in cling wrap and could roll it that way. After the fridge, it was harder, but cutting and forming, it stuck to everything and was hard to make a nice shape. Should I add more flour?

    Reply

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