kabocha squash japanese pumpkin oyaki recipe toddlers babies

Recipe: Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin) Oyaki for Babies and Toddlers

Last Updated: September 21, 2021

Recently, I’ve gotten a few requests on my Instagram account for the recipe for kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) oyaki. And of course, if you ask, I will do my best to deliver!



Oyaki (おやき) is a type of Japanese dumpling that is usually filled with savory vegetables and meat, but the two oyaki recipes that I’ll be sharing are more friendly for babies and toddlers. These are also really quick and easy to make, especially if you already have frozen kabocha squash at home, and can be frozen. I think kabocha oyaki is the perfect way to introduce a Japanese autumn side dish to your little one, not to mention both recipes have tofu in them, so you can sneak some protein into their meal as well.

Prepping Kabocha Squash

Before we start, I’ll like to talk a bit about prepping the kabocha. Kabocha can be quite difficult to cut, especially if you’re a weakling like me. For this reason, I recommend three different ways to buy and prep kabocha that will make your life a bit easier (especially when you have a tiny human to look after!):

  1. Use frozen strained kabocha
    If you live in Japan, you can get this easily from grocery delivery services like Pal System and Co-op Deli. The pureed kabocha is usually divided into 15-gram disks so all you have to do is take one out of the package, heat it for a few seconds in the microwave, and you’re good to go! This is what I used when my daughter was starting out with solid food and it was such a lifesaver!
  2. Use frozen cut kabocha
    Similar to the frozen strained kabocha disks, all you have to do is heat it up in the microwave (although it takes a few minutes). After it cools down, remove the skin and then mash the kabocha.
  3. Buy pre-cut fresh kabocha from the supermarket
    These come in various sizes, such as a one-quarter chunk of kabocha, sliced kabocha, or chopped kabocha. I like to use the quartered kabocha because it’s cheaper. I scoop out the seeds and pulp inside, wash and dry it, and then either microwave it for about 6 minutes after pouring about a tablespoon of water inside and wrapping it in saran wrap, or I chop it in half and then steam it for about 15 minutes. I prefer the microwave method but I also understand concerns around having saran wrap touching food while it’s microwaved. Also, microwave settings vary so finding out the right amount of time to microwave the kabocha may take some trial and error.

(If you’re strong enough to tackle a whole kabocha and have a very large, sharp knife, check out the video below by Just One Cookbook on how to cut it.)


Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin) and Tofu Oyaki Recipe for Babies

kabocha squash japanese pumpkin oyaki recipe toddlers babies

This recipe is recommended for babies 7 months (中期) and up.

Yield: ~3 oyaki

Prep Time: ~5 minutes*

Cook Time: ~2 minutes

Total time: ~7 minutes*

(Note: add an extra ~20 minutes if you are using fresh kabocha that needs to be prepared)


  • 1 tablespoon or about 15 grams of strained or mashed kabocha
  • 20 grams of soft tofu
  • 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch or 片栗粉
    (I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch/片栗粉 and try a dumpling after it’s cooked to see whether you think it’s soft enough for your baby to eat easily. One teaspoon ensures that the dumplings have a bit of form but are still very soft… and yes, albeit a bit messy when your baby is eating them, but hey, messes are unavoidable when a tiny human is learning how to eat! Adding more cornstarch/片栗粉 will make the dumplings harder and easier to handle, but also chewy and possibly a choking hazard. This is why it’s always important to try a dumpling yourself before giving one to your baby.)


    1. Mix all three ingredients together in a bowl.
    2. Heat a very lightly oiled frying pan over medium-low heat.
    3. Drop a tablespoon of the mixture into the pan. Repeat for the rest of the mixture. You should have about three little “dumplings” in the pan. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty or round!
    4. Heat the dumplings for about 30 seconds or until the bottom is lightly golden and then flip. The dumplings may be a bit sticky and a little hard to flip, so try to use a spatula instead of cooking chopsticks.
    5. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds. I like to give the oyaki another quick flip before taking them out of the pan.
    6. Let them cool down and enjoy! These dumplings can also be frozen and then reheated in the microwave or in a pan.

Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin), Tofu and Cheese Oyaki Recipe for Toddlers

kabocha squash japanese pumpkin oyaki recipe toddlers babies

This recipe is recommended for toddlers one year (パクパク期) and up. (It’s also delicious for parents!)

Yield: ~8-10 oyaki

Prep Time: ~5 minutes*

Cook Time: ~5 minutes

Total time: ~10 minutes*

(Note: add an extra ~20 minutes if you are using fresh kabocha that needs to be prepared)



  • 150 grams of strained or mashed kabocha
  • 25 grams of soft tofu
  • 30 grams of shredded cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or 片栗粉


  • 5 grams of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil


  1. Mix Ingredients A (kabocha, tofu, shredded cheese, cornstarch/片栗粉)  together in a bowl.
  2. Take a spoonful of the mixture and roll it into a small ball, then lightly flatten it to make a round dumpling. Repeat for the rest.
  3. Add Ingredients B (butter and olive oil) to a pan over medium-low heat. After the butter melts, add the dumplings to the pan.
  4. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the bottom is nicely browned. Flip and repeat.
  5. Once the oyaki are cooked, place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil/butter and then serve. (It might need to be cooled for a bit before your toddler can have it but if you’re having one, try it right away to get that stringy, hot cheesy goodness with the kabocha!)
  6. These dumplings can be frozen and then reheated in the microwave. Heat it for a few seconds on a hot pan so that the outside is slightly crispy.



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Hi! I'm Kay

I’m a long-term Japan resident and parent who loves writing and traveling. My goal is to help parents from around the world navigate living and traveling with kids in Japan.

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