These edible eyeballs are made from a popular traditional Japanese snack called shiratama. They’re fun and spooky and also not too gross looking, perfect for Halloween! Why should you make them? Hey, they’re cheap, easy to make, and something fun to do with kids.

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All you need is shiratama flour, soft tofu, and food coloring. Shiratama flour is available on Amazon, or at Walmart and Target. It’s also called shiratamako or shiratama powder. Be careful, because there’s a difference between shiratama flour, mochi flour, and glutinous rice flour. These are similar, but they cannot be substituted for each other.

Normal shiratama is just shiratama flour and water, but I use tofu because it keeps the shiratama softer much longer. They turn hard faster when using water.

Cost: $5-$10

Written and photographed by Bryan Harper

Project Steps


• Put 400g of shiratama flour in a bowl, then add 560g of soft tofu, and mix with your fingers. No utensils required.

• Form a ball, or dango in Japanese, for the main eyeball. You should be able to make 30 balls, each about 3cm–4cm in diameter.

• Using the rest of the mixture, separate pinches of dough for the irises and smaller pinches for the pupils. You’ll want an equal number of eyeballs, irises, and pupils.


It’s best to roll out all the eyeballs, irises, and pupils before adding color, so you have an exact count. Then you can combine the food coloring into the iris and pupil balls to color them. Add a bit of coloring to each iris and pupil and reroll in your hands until the coloring is thoroughly mixed .

Tip: Wear gloves when you color the shiratama. Some food coloring is difficult to wash off.


Once the shiratama are dyed, you can take off your gloves to make the eyeballs.

• Flatten out an iris in the palm of your hand using a finger.

• Place the flat iris on the eyeball.

• Place the pupil on the iris.

• Gently press and roll all the pieces together
to make an eyeball.


• Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

• Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

• Gently drop the shiratama into the boiling water. They will sink to the bottom of the pot.

• When all of the shiratama are floating,
continue to boil for another 2 minutes.

• Strain the shiratama and then transfer
them to the ice water to cool.

• Once they are firm and not hot, you can
eat them or freeze them for later.

Note: Freeze them in a way that they’re not touching, otherwise they’ll fuse together permanently. this is very important!/p>


Now let’s make some drinks!

MOCKTAIL: Add 3 frozen eyeballs to a wine glass, and fill with cider or a clear soft drink. Add a few drops of grenadine and 1 drop of red liquid food coloring.

COCKTAIL: Same as the mocktail, but add vodka! Blueberries complement shiratama well, too.