8 Traditional Japanese Dishes to Bring to Your Next Potluck

If you're looking for something different to bring to your next potluck, why not try some traditional Japanese dishes? Onigiri rice balls, Japanese potato salad, and karaage are all popular homemade dishes that will be a hit with your friends and family. In this blog post, we'll give you recipes for these dishes so you can impress your guests with your culinary skills! 


Temari Sushi  


This popular type of sushi is made with small balls of Japanese-style rice wrapped in nori seaweed. You can fill them with various ingredients, such as salmon, avocado, or cucumber. Aside from being tasty, these sushi bites have a beautiful presentation, perfect for any potluck dinner table.

When making Temari, you want to use a Japanese rice variety that will hold together well. Akitakomachi has a similar taste to Koshihikari, the most popular sushi rice variety. Its stickiness, texture, and balanced flavor make it the perfect candidate for your Temari potluck plate. You may also benefit from an Ohistu tub, a traditional Japanese rice storage device made from 100-year-old Kiso straw. This ensures that your rice retains its moisture and flavor while you put your Temari together!


Onigiri (Rice Ball)

rice ball

Onigiri, or "rice ball," is a traditional Japanese dish with sushi rice and various fillings, such as umeboshi (pickled plum), tuna mayo, or salmon. They are easy to make and can be wrapped in nori seaweed for an extra crunchy texture. 

The best Japanese rice for onigiri is a sweet and glossy variety, such as Hokkaido Yumepirika. Its soft texture and flavor make it perfect for this dish. You can also add some Furikake to the rice before putting your onigiri together. Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning that typically has spices, toasted seeds, fish flakes, seaweed, and more.

Another fun alternative is Yaki Onigiri, which translates to "grilled onigiri." This version uses the same ingredients as regular onigiri, but you give them a nice exterior crisp by grilling them in a pan or over an open flame.


Tsukemono (Healthy Japanese Pickles)

pickled vegetables

Tsukemono is a Japanese side dish made with pickled vegetables. It can be made with various vegetables, such as cucumber, eggplant, radish, lotus root, and more! They are incredibly versatile and easy to make. While there are many ways to pickle tsukemono, the easiest way to get started is with salt and water. If you're running short on time, you can also get some pre-made Tsukemono from a Japanese shop near you!

The best Japanese rice for Tsukemono is short-grain and sticky. Yamagata Tsuyahime is the most popular choice for this traditional dish, as its texture and flavor work well with pickles. If you decide to make your own, rice bran is a popular ingredient of Tsukemono that enriches its flavor.


Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

japanese fried chicken

Karaage is Japanese-style fried chicken and one of Japan's most popular dishes. The chicken pieces are lightly coated with potato starch, giving them a crispy and light texture. They are usually seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger—the perfect combination of flavors for any potluck dinner!

When making Karaage at home, you want to use Japanese-style chicken that's been processed to remove the bones. This way, you get the same light and crunchy texture as traditional Karaage. 


Spicy Edamame


This vegan dish is incredibly easy to make and perfect for any potluck. Edamame is a young soybean that can be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried. The most popular way to prepare it is by boiling the edamame with chili powder, garlic, ginger, and other spices. You can also add sesame oil or soy sauce for an extra punch of flavor. Finally, add some Furikake or Japanese rice seasoning for an extra salty or umami flavor.


Tonnjiru (Pork and Vegetable Miso Soup)

miso soup

Tonjiru is a warming Japanese soup with pork and vegetables, usually daikon or carrots. It's usually seasoned with miso and other Japanese ingredients, such as sesame oil or shoyu (soy sauce). To make a killer tonjiru, you will need some dashi (a flavorful fish and seaweed soup stock), pork belly slices, and at least 3 root vegetables. This hearty dish is perfect for any potluck dinner and can be served either hot or cold.


Ebi Mayo (Fried Shrimp with Mayonnaise) 

ebi mayo

Ebi Mayo is a popular Japanese appetizer with fried shrimp, mayonnaise, and various seasonings. It's light and crunchy, perfect for any potluck as easy finger food. To make this dish at home, you need to deep fry the shrimp in oil until crispy before seasoning them. You can also use a Japanese-style panko, which creates a crunchy texture with little to no oil. After that, you only need some Japanese-style mayonnaise and your favorite seasonings! 


Japanese Potato Salad

potato salad

Japanese potato salad is a classic dish served at almost every potluck. It's a simple mix of potatoes, eggs, and mayonnaise with various other ingredients, such as onion, celery, carrots, cucumber, and ham, to give it more flavor. To make this dish even more flavorful, you can add some Japanese seasoning like Furikake or dashi powder.

This dish is usually served chilled, but you can also serve it warm. To create an authentic Japanese-style Potato salad, make sure to use some Japanese-style mayonnaise


Surprise Your Friends and Family With a Japanese Dish at the Next Potluck

Japanese cooking is full of delicious and flavorful dishes that are perfect for any potluck. From traditional rice dishes to vegan-friendly options, these 8 Japanese dishes will surely be a hit at your next gathering. Whether you're making onigiri rice balls or spicy edamame, these dishes will bring joy and flavor to the table! So don't hesitate—give one of these a try!