Soft and chewy on the inside and tasty all around, these cheesy Korean mochi QQ balls are easy to make and easy to eat! It’s another delicious gluten-free baked treat you’re going to love!
You may be wondering, what in the world is a mochi QQ ball?
Judging by the photo, they're clearly baked balls of some sort.
But mochi? QQ?
A distant relative to the Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo), these cheesy QQ balls are soft, chewy, and incredibly tasty. I love eating them with a soup or salad, and one ball is usually enough to satisfy...but then they taste SO GOOD that it's hard to resist a second!
It's All About the Dough
QQ balls are made from mochi dough, which is made from glutinous rice flour, sometimes referred to as sweet rice flour. Despite the names, this rice flour is not sweet, nor does “glutinous” refer to gluten.
Glutinous rice flour is made from short grain rice which is sticky when cooked. So this flour makes sticky or chewy bread. As a bonus, because they are made from rice flour, they are also gluten-free!
Mochi can also refer to Japanese mochi flour, but you do not specifically need Japanese mochi flour to make these balls. Any glutinous rice flour from your Asian food store will do.
What about the QQ? I discovered QQ is the sound of the Taiwanese word for “chewy”. I had originally thought that it was a sound that referred to a Korean word for "chewy", but luckily, a reader enlightened me and I stand corrected! So these are still, technically, Korean mochi balls...with the Taiwanese QQ "chewy" reference thrown in for good measure.
Either way...mochi QQ balls = glutinous rice flour chewy balls = DELISH.
You need just 7 ingredients to make QQ balls: whole milk, oil, salt, glutinous rice flour, an egg, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese. If you really want, you can use just one type of cheese and then it's even easier!
Making the dough starts with heating up the milk, oil and salt. Combine the hot milk with the glutinous rice flour and mix it until you get little rice balls the size of pellets. Then you add in an egg to glue it all together and mix until you get a cohesive dough.
From there it’s time for the cheese! Add the cheese to the bowl and use a spoon or spatula to blend it into the dough until it's all nice and happy.
At this point, this dough can easily be handled and shaped into a ball.
With a sharp knife, cut the dough ball into 8 equal pieces, shape into balls and space out evenly on a parchment-lined pan.
Bake and you’ve got mochi QQ balls!
These may not look like much, but seriously, they are SO GOOD! They are crisp on the outside, and incredibly soft and chewy on the inside. And you can’t go wrong with the cheesy flavor.
I first saw QQ balls at a grocery store bakery here in Hong Kong. I had no idea what they were or what exactly they were made from, but they looked good enough to buy some to try...and I was so glad I did! They came in different flavors like cheese, chocolate, green tea, and pumpkin...but cheese was the obvious choice for us and they ended up being the overall favorite! I had to figure out how to make them myself and after several tries, I was super pleased when we all took a bite and said, "This is it!"
I haven't tried making any other flavor variations yet, like the chocolate or pumpkin or green tea, but those may be experiments worth trying! I have, however, made the cheesy balls with a generous helping of chopped green onions and they are so good!
I'm thinking the chocolate version may be a good experiment to try next. What do you think? Would you like to see this recipe with different flavors? Let me know in the comments below!
In the mean time, definitely get to making basic cheesy version because you are going to LOVE. THEM. Crisp. Chewy, Cheesy. Gluten-free. It will be hard to stop at just one!
Watch How To Make It!
Cheesy Korean Mochi QQ Balls
- Preheat oven 375 deg F (190C).
- Add glutinous rice flour to a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a small pot, heat whole milk, oil, and salt over medium heat until just steaming.
- Add the hot milk to the glutinous rice flour and beat with a mixer until mixture resembles small pellets. Let cool slightly for about 5 minutes.
- Add the egg to the bowl and beat again with a mixer until well-incorporated. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mash it all into a cohesive mass.
- Add grated cheeses and chopped green onions (if using) and stir well into the dough with a spatula or spoon.
- Dust your work surface and your hands with glutinous rice flour and shape the dough into a ball or disc.
- Cut the dough into 8 pieces, rolling each piece into a ball.
- Place dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until you see cracks in the surface of the balls.
- Let cool slightly before serving.
- Look for glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour in your local Asian market. The brand does not matter as long as it's the correct type of rice flour.
- 200g of glutinous rice flour is approximately 2 cups + 5 tsp.
- This recipe, as with most gluten-free baking recipes, works best with weight measurements because they are more accurate.
- These volume measurements were made from spooning each of the flours into the measuring cups/spoons (so they are not packed) and leveling them off.
- If you have any leftovers, store in a sealed container or bag for a day.
- Heat up any leftover mochi qq balls for 5-10 seconds in the microwave to soften.
**Post was updated July 21st, 2020 with a correction being made about the "QQ" term being a Korean term for "chewy", when it is, in fact, a Taiwanese term.