15 Easy Japanese Appetizer Recipes

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  • Recipes Roundup: Here’s a scrumptious selection of Japanese appetizers to wow your guests at a party!

    Yakitori on a plate.

    Looking for delicious appetizer ideas to delight your next gatherings of family and friends?  Here are some easy, crowd-pleaser Japanese appetizer recipes you can make at home.  From izakaya-style (Japanese tapas) appetizers to home-cook favorites, many of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time before your guests arrive.  Hope they inspire you!

    Easy Japanese Appetizer Recipes

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    Gyoza on a plate.

    1. Gyoza 餃子

    Everybody loves homemade Gyoza!  Make them ahead of time and store in the freezer until you are ready to use for your gathering.

    Spicy Edamame in a small bowl.

    2. Spicy Edamame スパイシー枝豆

    Coated with spicy garlic miso, this Spicy Edamame recipe brings the popular Japanese snack up a notch with its perfect mix of peppery spice and aromatic garlic flavor.

    Agedashi Tofu in a small bowl.

    3. Agedashi Tofu 揚げ出し豆腐

    Soaked in a sweet savory sauce, this deep-fried Agedashi Tofu makes an impressive appetizer for your vegetarian guests.

    Yakitori on a plate.

    4. Yakitori: Chicken & Scallion Skewers (Negima) ねぎま

    Transport your guests to izakaya dining (Japanese tapas) experience with this Chicken & Scallion Yakitori dish. You can of course grill outside, but this recipe shows how to use your oven to achieve the nicely charred meat skewers.

    Japanese Chicken Meatballs on a plate.

    5. Yakitori: Tsukune つくね

    For those who live in year-round temperate climate, you can serve Tsukune over the outdoor grill anytime. Otherwise, you can also set out your indoor grill and have a cozy Yakitori party indoor. Enjoy these Japanese skewered chicken meatballs with cold beer or sake!

    Harumaki with dipping sauce on a plate.

    6. Harumaki 春巻き

    To prep ahead for your party, you can make the fillings the night before.  These crispy Japanese Spring Rolls make the perfect finger foods.

    Shumai in a bamboo basket.

    7. Shumai シュウマイ

    You’d be surprised how simple it is to make your favorite dim sum at home! Pull the steamer out and make these Shumai together with your party guests.  Eat them right away after they are steamed.

    Japanese Salted Chicken Wings on a plate.

    8. Teba Shio (Salted Chicken Wings) 手羽先の塩焼き

    These Salted Chicken Wings only require a few ingredients to achieve the perfect flavor.  The key is to soak the chicken wings in sake for 15 minutes.

    Chawanmushi with Shrimp in cups.

    9. Chawanmushi with Shrimp 海老の茶碗蒸し

    Commonly served as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants, this recipe shows you how you can make the delicious Savory Steamed Egg Custard dish at home.  You can simplify the ingredients as you like.

    Hiyayakko in a blue plate.

    10. Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiyayakko Recipe) 冷奴

    I love serving this Japanese Chilled Tofu appetizer during the summer time.  It’s a versatile dish and incredibly easy to prepare. Be creative with your toppings and seasonings.

    Chicken Karaage in a bowl.

    11. Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) 唐揚げ

    A popular Japanese appetizer, Karaage is bite-size fried chicken that everyone enjoys. For crispier texture, I recommend using potato starch if you can find them.

    Tuna Poke in a bowl.

    12. Tuna Poke

    This wildly trendy Hawaiian dish Tuna Poke is a raw salad that consists of cubed ahi tuna/yellowfin tuna marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, sea salt, & seaweed.  If you are vegetarian or don’t eat raw fish, you can easily substitute the tuna with tofu.

    Japanese Sake Steamed Clams in bowls.

    13. Japanese Sake Steamed Clams あさりの酒蒸し

    You can find Japanese Sake Steamed Clams being served everywhere in Japan and Japanese tapas-style restaurants in the US.  To serve this as an appetizer at a home party, you can start preparing it after the guests arrive.  It only takes minutes to cook.  Just make sure to de-grit the clams beforehand (and here’s how to).

    Miso Glazed Eggplant on a white plate.

    14. Miso Glazed Eggplant 茄子の味噌焼き

    Elegant and easy to prepare, this Miso Glazed Eggplant is a healthy appetizer choice for a small gathering with friends.

    Lotus Root Chips in a bamboo basket.

    15. Renkon Chips (Lotus Root Chips) れんこんチップス

    Home parties are a good time to introduce your guests to something new. Instead of regular potato chips, serve these Lotus Root Chips instead. They are airy & crispy, and may well be your guests’ new favorite snack.

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    Easy Japanese Appetizer Recipes

    I hope you enjoy making these Japanese appetizer recipes!  If you make one of these recipes, snap a picture and hashtag it #JustOneCookbook. I love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter! Thank you so much for reading and till next time!

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 12, 2014.  The content has been updated with more information.

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