The Difference between Senbei, Okaki, and Arare rice crackers

Have you ever heard that there are broadly 3 types of traditional rice crackers in Japan? The 3 major types of Japanese rice crackers are Senbei (煎餅), Okaki (おかき), and Arare (あられ).

The Difference between Senbei, Okaki, and Arare

Senbei, Okaki, and Arare, all of them are traditional Japanese snack foods with more than several hundred years of history, but among the 3 types, I think Senbei is the most famous in the world.

At this point, you might wonder what the difference between those Japanese rice crackers is. So for those who know very little about them, this time I will talk about the features of each.

Senbei (煎餅)


Senbei is the rice cracker most commonly eaten in Japan, which is typically made by pounding non-glutinous rice, forming the rice into a big, round shape, and then baking the dough.

Senbei is traditionally flavored with soy sauce and/or salt, but in modern times, it is available in many varieties and flavors like this.

Although some traditional Senbei are made with wheat flour and/or starch, the majority of Senbei rice crackers available in Japan are made from non-glutinous rice, the staple food of the Japanese.

Okaki (おかき)


Unlike Senbei, Okaki is made from glutinous rice. More precisely, this Japanese rice cracker is traditionally made by drying relatively small pieces of “Mochi (餅)” glutinous white rice cake, and then baking them.

Arare (あられ)


Arare is made from dried small pieces of Mochi, in other words, from glutinous rice, in the same way as Okaki. Therefore, it is said that Arare is a kind of Okaki. However, as you can see from the above 2 photos, in general Arare is small in size as compared to Okaki.

In Summary

In summary, Senbei, Okaki, and Arare are different mainly in size and main ingredient from one another. Last, here is the comparison table of the primary difference between them.

The Primary Difference between Senbei, Okaki, and Arare
Type Size Main Ingredient
Senbei Big Non-Glutinous Rice
Okaki Relatively Small Glutinous Rice
Arare Small Glutinous Rice


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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