matcha powder and tray matcha powder and tray Matcha has actually been around for centuries, but it's only recently become trendy. (Photo: Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock)

What is matcha, and why should you cook with it?

This trendy powdered tea makes more than just a sippable hot drink. Here are some creative ways to cook with matcha.

Food trends are a funny thing. One day you look around and everyone's eating, sipping, drinking or talking about the same thing. The new everybody's-doing-it-so-why-aren't-you moment in food is ... matcha.

So what is it? It's a powdered tea that has Japanese origins, and it's actually been around for centuries, despite its relatively recent emergence into foodie culture. And it's become a darling of the wellness movement for good reason: it's loaded with antioxidants. One, in particular, is something called a catechin, which is thought to fight against a certain type of bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Mug of matcha A warm mug of bright green matcha. (Photo: Kirinohana / Flickr)

So now that you're primed on the magic of matcha, here's a tip: You can use it for more than just a hot drink. There's all manner of matcha-driven recipes, from popsicles to cookies to brownies to ice cream. It's kind of everywhere. Here are our own suggestions:

Cacao nib brownies with matcha frosting

roasted cacao nib brownies with matcha frosting Cacao nibs and matcha in one amazing brownie? It's so very now. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

There’s something about that gorgeous bright green color of matcha that makes anything you use it in look like a work of modern art, complete with a splash of neon. But these brownies are not just about looks – as they say, it’s what’s inside that counts! They’re packed with flavors and textures that’ll excite your palate.

Here's our recipe.

Green earth mint matcha cookies

green earth matcha mint cookies These are fun to make with the kids. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

It looks like green play-dough, but make no mistake: these are very mature treats. They're sure fun to make with little ones, who will undoubtedly be wowed by the vibrant color.

Here's our recipe.

And elsewhere on the interwebs, here are some recipe gems we found that use matcha to its finest potential:

Matcha popsicles

matcha popsicles Matcha makes a great popsicle ingredient. (Photo: zarzamora/Shutterstock)

Also known as paletas, these fancy, fun grown-up popsicles have a fresh, vibrant flavor, with one big difference: they're made with all-natural ingredients. Add a liberal helping of matcha, and it's all the refreshment you need, any time of year.

Here's the recipe from the Oh How Civilized food blog.

Matcha pancakes

matcha pancakes with butter Morning done right with matcha pancakes. (Photo: Diane, A Broad)

A little twist on your morning hot cakes, you say? These matcha pancakes have, in the words of recipe author Diane Yoon, "a hint of floral bitterness that was the perfect foil for creamy butter and a big drizzle of syrup."

Here's the recipe from Diane, A Broad.

Matcha ice cream

matcha ice cream in bowl Adding matcha to ice cream gives an extra boost of cool. (Photo: SAKARET/Shutterstock)

Of course, if you can make matcha popsicles, you're halfway to making matcha ice cream. You don't even need an ice cream maker! You can just mix it up, store it in an air-tight container and freeze until solid.

Here's one technique from The Spruce.

Matcha smoothie bowl

matcha green tea smoothie bowl Smoothie bowls allow for a generous topping of fruit, nuts or granola. (Photo: Magdanatka/Shutterstock)

Matcha and smoothie bowls in one? It's like a food trend playground! This one's great because you can eat it in the morning in place of your coffee, since matcha contains a little bit of caffeine. And it'll give you just the energy boost you need to get you through the day.

Here's the recipe from The Minimalist Baker.


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Related Topics: Healthy eating, Recipes

What is matcha, and why should you cook with it?
Here are some creative ways to cook with matcha, a Japanese green tea loaded with antioxidants.