Simmered Japanese Kabocha

Experience the authentic flavors of Japan with my Simmered Japanese Kabocha recipe. This traditional kabocha no nimono dish features tender kabocha cubes simmered in a flavorful broth, creating a dish bursting with umami goodness. Easy to make and packed with health benefits, it’s the perfect addition to your fall-inspired Japanese menu!

Simmered Japanese kabocha served on a white plate with a pair of chopsticks.

Why I Love This Recipe

As a lover of traditional Japanese cuisine, I can’t get enough of my Simmered Japanese Kabocha recipe! It’s a simple yet incredibly flavorful dish that celebrates the natural sweetness of kabocha, simmered to tender perfection in a light Japanese broth. Just like my beloved Mashed Kabocha Salad and Baked Maple Glazed Kabocha, this recipe showcases the versatility and health benefits of kabocha as the star ingredient!

Using my same proven simmering technique as Japanese Nikujaga, it yields a dish that’s tender, sweet, and savory—a perfect fall-inspired side dish for anyone craving warmth and comfort. If you’re eager to savor the authentic flavors of Japan in a dish that’s both easy to prepare and deeply satisfying, this Simmered Japanese Kabocha is a must-try!



  • Kabocha – Japanese pumpkin, a type of winter squash with a bright orange flesh. Kabocha can be purchased in Asian grocery stores.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine.  
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.

Japanese kabocha pumpkin cut in half.


Step 1 Start by preparing the kabocha into bite-size cubes.

Kabocha cut into cubes.

🎃 Kabocha Pro Tip

If facing difficulty cutting the kabocha, a simple solution is to place the entire kabocha in the Microwave for 20-25 Seconds to soften it up. This pro tip makes cutting the kabocha easier and safer.

Step 2 In a stove-top pot, combine water, Japanese sake, sweetener, and soy sauce. Add the cubed kabocha to the pot and bring it to a soft boil. Allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until it reaches your preferred level of tenderness. This dish can be enjoyed either hot or cold.

Kabocha being simmered in broth.

💡 Simmering Pro Tip

When simmering kabocha, Avoid Overcrowding the Pot. Providing ample space allows the kabocha cubes to simmer evenly and ensures they cook to tender perfection.

Pairing Recommendations

Complement my nimoni kabocha with traditional Japanese fall favorites like Grilled Sanma, Japanese Chicken Curry, and Japanese Chicken Soup. This combination offers a satisfying meal, showcasing the rich flavors of Japanese fall cuisine.

Simmered Japanese kabocha served on a white plate with a pair of chopsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to simmer the kabocha until tender?

To simmer the kabocha until tender, it typically takes about 15-20 minutes. You'll know it's done when you can easily stick a fork into it.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it?

Yes, you can definitely make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it later. This dish holds up well in the fridge, especially when stored in an airtight container. Simply reheat it when you're ready to enjoy it again, and it will still taste delicious.

Are there any tips for cutting and preparing the kabocha?

To make cutting kabocha easier, microwave the whole pumpkin for 20-25 seconds or consider buying pre-cut kabocha available at Japanese grocery stores.

Storage Tips

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate it. This method keeps the dish fresh for 5 to 7 days.

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Watch How To Make It

Simmered Japanese kabocha served on a white plate with a pair of chopsticks.

Simmered Japanese Kabocha

Discover a delicious Japanese pumpkin recipe with my Simmered Japanese Kabocha. This traditional Japanese kabocha recipe is easy to make and perfect for fall. Enjoy the authentic flavors of Japan in every bite!
4.93 from 14 votes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese kabocha recipe, Japanese pumpkin recipe
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 37kcal


  • 1 Cup Kabocha ~1/4 of a kabocha
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tbsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for simmered Japanese kabocha recipe.
  • Cut 1 cup worth of 1" x 1" kabocha cubes, should be around 1/4 of the whole kabocha. See pictures below on how we de-seed and cut the kabocha. Note - if you're having a difficult time cutting into the kabocha, throw the whole kabocha in the microwave for about 20-25 seconds.
    Kabocha cut into cubes.
  • In a stove top pot, add water, Japanese sake, sweetener, salt and bring to boil.
    Broth for simmered Japanese kabocha.
  • Once boiling, lower heat to medium-low and add kabocha cubes along with soy sauce. If needed, add more water until kabocha is submerged in the water. Cover stove top pot 7/8 of the way to expose a little room for evaporation. Cook for 15-20 minutes until kabocha is easily forked and then transfer to a serving plate. Best enjoyed as a warm dish but can be enjoyed cold as well!
    Kabocha being simmered in broth.


Calories: 37kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 328mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 793IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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