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Yuzu Cilantro Spheres

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These spheres burst in your mouth releasing a refreshing taste of yuzu, orange peel and cilantro. Yuzu and cilantro pair perfectly as they have similar molecular compounds in common. (check “Food Pairing in Molecular Gastronomy”). The spheres are garnished with cilantro leaf, orange zest and popping sugar, adding an extra pop and crackling.

In this recipe we’ll be using Frozen Reverse Spherification to create the spheres. Instead of using a spoon to pour the main ingredient into the alginate bath, a hemispheric mold is used to freeze the calcium mixture and then the frozen hemispheres are popped into the bath. All the spheres will be the same size and perfectly round. You will need hemispheric silicone molds for this recipe (buy silicone mold).




- 60 g (2.1 oz) yuzu juice

- 30 g (1.1 oz) orange juice

- orange peel

- 2 g cilantro

- 30 g (1.1 oz) simple syrup

- 2 g orange zest

- small cilantro leaves for garnish

- unflavored popping sugar (buy popping sugar)

- 2.4 g calcium lactate gluconate (buy calcium lactate gluconate)

Alginate Bath

- 1000 g (35 oz) of filtered or low calcium water

- 5 g sodium alginate (buy sodium alginate)

- 50 g (1.8 oz) sugar


Alginate Bath

1- Start by preparing the alginate bath. Mix the sodium alginate and sugar in the water using an immersion blender until the sodium alginate is completely dissolved. If this is your first time doing this, be aware that this may take longer than expected.

2- Let it rest for 24 hours in the fridge so that the air that has entered the mixture disappears and the sodium alginate is completely rehydrated.

Yuzu Mix

1- Mix Yuzu and orange juice with the Calcium Lactate Gluconate until it dissolves completely.

2- Add orange peel and cilantro and let it rest in a covered container in the fridge for 1 hour.

3- Pass the mix through a fine sieve.

4- Add simple syrup to taste and mix.

5- Place hemispheric silicone mold on a cutting board, flat pan or plate so you can keep it flat while you place it in the freezer. Fill the hemispheric mold with the yuzu mix and let if freeze overnight.

Making Yuzu Spheres

1- You are now ready to start the spherification process! Warm the alginate bath in the microwave (around 65 °C / 150 °F).

2- Pop a few frozen Yuzu hemispheres into the warm alginate bath. It is important that they don’t touch or they will stick to each other.

3- Leave the spheres "cooking" for about 2 minutes in the alginate bath. Try with one sphere first until you find the right timing which depends on how fast the frozen hemisphere thaws. If the membrane is too weak, leave it a little longer in the bath. If it is too thick, reduce the time. After you practice with a few spheres, you’ll be able to tell if they are ready by just lifting the spheres just above the surface of the bath using a slotted spoon.

4- Carefully remove the Yuzu spheres using a slotted spoon.

5- Rinse them very gently in a bowl with warm water.

6- Transfer them to a container with water or Yuzu juice while you make more spheres.

7- Store the Yuzu spheres in the fridge until serving time.

Optional: Carbonating the Spheres

8- To carbonate the spheres, place them carefully in an ISI Whip (buy ISI Whip) container and cover them with Yuzu juice.

9- Charge the ISI Whip with a CO2 cartridge (not N2O or they won’t be fizzy!).

10- Place them in the fridge for about 2 hours.

11- Discharge the canister by holding it upright and squeezing the trigger to release the pressure. DO NOT open the canister before discharging it completely.

12- Unscrew the top and remove the spheres. Serve immediately.

Assemble and Serve

1- Remove Yuzu spheres from the fridge and place them on appetizer spoons.

2- If spheres were stored in water, add a few drops of Yuzu mix to each sphere.

3- Decorate with small cilantro leaves, orange zest and pop rock.

  • Eric_druckmann

    The acidity Lvl will not affect the formation of the sphere??? you dont need to add like xantham gum??? or something for neutralize the ph??

    • UK3

      xanthan is for thickening and making the solution more viscous and dense so it can sink in the alginate bath. sodium citrate would be the think you’re looking for the balance pH levels.

  • rrkrose

    I tried making something with reverse spherification and it was awful. It melted in the water and turned into goo. I didn’t heat the sodium alginate bath before putting the spheres in but i have seen other recipes were the sodium alginate bath wasn’t warm. What did I do wrong?

    • QuantumChef

      Acidity is a problem with basic spherification but not with reverse spherification, which is the technique used in this recipe.

  • Slehr2

    Can you make the two separate solutions, then drop the spheres in at the last minute?. Should they remain in the fridge while I wait?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you can. There is no need to keep the calcium bath in the fridge. Just keep the silicone mold in the freezer until you want to make the spheres.

  • Slehr2

    So… I made these and also spherical tzatziki for my dinner party tonight, can I store the sodium align ate mixture for about 8 hours, then make my appetizer later in the day. Can I keep the spheres in the fridge? Can I use the SA for other spheres?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you can store the alginate mixture in the fridge for several hours, even days without any problem. Just make sure the water you use has absolutely no calcium content or the bath will start to thicken. You may want to use distilled water. You can reuse the alginate bath multiple times.
      Once the spheres are done, you can store them in the fridge in a bath. For the bath, it is better to use a liquid based on the same ingredients (e.g. yuzu juice) rather than water to prevent dilution if you are going to store them for a long time.

      • Slehr2

        Thanks so much,, I can hardly wait to see what my guests say!

  • Felixmferreira

    HI I tried ,doing the spheres last night wit coconut milk.I am bad with calculating the grams into tsp.and you give pls give me an idea to be exact.What happen was I used a plastic measuring spoon amd when I turend it did not turn into spheres but a gluey substance and falls into the bottom of the glass also what I found out with a few attempt I got the spheres abit working I paced it into a plate it start to leak out the substance.Pls let me know million tks !.

    • QuantumChef

      Many things could be happening so it is hard to say with the information you are giving me. If the mixture is not converting into gel (with any shape, even if it is flat) in the bath, then you may not have enough alginate or calcium content. If it is converting into gel but the shape is not correct (e.g. flat), then the density of the mixture or the bath needs to be adjusted. The tips on this page should help:

      Hope this helps! Good luck!

    • Ezme Green

      Recipes like this you need to have exact quantities and use scales to measure…. tsps and tbsps are mot as accurate…

  • Erdbeereis

    Can I use calcium lactate instead of calcium lactate gluconate? If so, what is the substitution ratio approximately? Thanks!

    • QuantumChef

      yes, use half the amount of calcium lactate to replace calcium lactate gluconate.

  • Loren Crannell

    Where in the recipe does the orange juice get added? I’m looking forward to making these spheres this weekend.

    • QuantumChef

      Together with the Yuzu juice. Sorry about that! The recipe instructions are now fixed.

      • Loren Crannell

        Thank you very much. I did the spheres with Calcium Lactate and they turned out great.

        • QuantumChef

          That’s great to hear!!

  • Nuri

    if I multiply the measurements into a bigger yield… Do I need to multiply the Calcium lactate added to the mix as well?

    • QuantumChef


  • Nuri

    On the Yuzu Cilantro Spheres Recipe. If I wanna multiply it into a larger batch, the 2.4 g calcium lactate gluconate do I have to multiply it as well?

  • MilkBone

    What is the purpose of the sugar in the alginate bath? I haven’t seen this anywhere else.

  • Ray Estrada

    I want to do a “chips and salsa”. How do i go about replacing the Yuzu with avacado, to give it a guacamole resemblance in taste but maintaining the sphere texture

  • Zach

    How long will the Alginate bath last? Will it over time lose it’s potency?

    • QuantumChef

      You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days without problem.

  • D’Vine Pastry Bar

    Am I able to transport these or is that crazy talk?

    • QuantumChef

      No problem. Just place them in a sealed container with the same liquid you used to make them.

  • DK

    Very basic question, but are you using the same units to measure out the liquid/water (in grams) as you are the dry alginate (and the calcium lactate)…as most kitchen scales measure ml/g units the same, but technically they don’t have the same 1:1 conversion with water…
    Is this an issue or is it pretty standard that if you need “a 2% solution” bath, then you’d use 2 units (g/ml) per 100 units (g/ml) of water?
    Just curious, as I see this all the time and wanted to know if I needed to take into consideration each items particular molecular weight as it related to water…

    • QuantumChef

      Good question! Practically speaking you can assume a 1:1 conversion.

  • Sikishrory

    What is “simple syrup”?