Japanese Melon Pan is a sweet roll covered in a layer of thin sugar cookie dough. Surprisingly simple to make, this scrumptious dessert is a must try!
I was lucky enough to be able to go to Japan for a week in March and fell in love. Not with a person, but with all of the food. The food was life-changing from the ramen to the udon to the pastries. Everything was made with so much care, it was truly incredible. My sweet-tooth led me to the bakeries every morning so I could pick up two to three pastries to have on hand for the day for breakfast/lunch and I was not disappointed with any that I got! By far, my favorite was Japanese Melon Pan, a treat I had first tried back in the USA at a local Japanese bakery and adored.
Melon pan is a sweet roll covered in a layer of thin sugar cookie dough. After getting home, I set out on a mission to learn how to make melon pan on my own and the results were fantastic! They take a while to make as the dough has to rise a few times, but it is worth the wait! They are perfect for both dessert and breakfast with a nice bowl of fresh fruit on the side. Although the name can be misleading, traditional melon pan does not actually have any melon in it. It actually is called that because the rolls end up looking like melon. I did try melon pan that had a melon filling in it, but I honestly enjoyed the classic melon pan best.
Japanese Melon Pan Recipe
Since getting home and looking into how to make melon pan, I came across some really fun variations from adding in different flavors to the dough or making a filling to go inside, but my favorite is definitely making turtle-shaped melon pan! To make it turtle shaped, cut an additional four quarter-sized balls of dough and one larger one for each roll. Use the larger one as a head and the others as feet and place accordingly. You can even add in a bit of cocoa powder to the cookie dough and a bit of matcha powder to the bread dough so it looks even more like a turtle.
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 1/4 cup water (warm)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
- 7/8 cups water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes for yeast to activate.
- In a large bowl, combine all other bread ingredients. Add in yeast mixture and stir until combined.
- Knead the dough and then place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
- While dough is rising, combine all ingredients for cookie dough in a medium bowl.
- Roll cookie dough into 16 even balls and refrigerate until the bread dough is ready.
- Knead the bread dough a bit more and let rise for 10 more minutes.
- Cut bread dough into 16 even pieces, rolling to make sure each piece is round.
- Take the cookie dough out and flatten each ball with a rolling pin, making sure that the flattened cookie dough is about the same size as the bread dough.
- Place flattened cookie dough on top of bread dough. Wrap together using cling wrap.
- Remove from cling wrap and score the top of the cookie side with 3 horizontal lines and 3 vertical lines that intersect (it looks like a tic-tac-toe board).
- Roll in granulated sugar before placing on a non-stick cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F.
- Let cool and enjoy!
Home Chef Tip: Want to make it Matcha (green tea) Melon Pan? Add 2 tbsp matcha powder to the bread dough and 1 tsp to the cookie dough!
We hope you enjoy this Japanese Melon Pan recipe from SoFabFood Contributor, Madi from Mildly Meandering, as much as we do. If you love this recipe, you can find more like it by visiting our Dessert Section. For daily recipe inspiration, like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!