Chinese Baked Sticky Rice Cakes (Nian Gao)

Nan Gao – This Lunar New Year staple traditionally takes at least a day to steam and properly cool. Cut cooking times to under an hour by baking in a western oven and you can keep the desert’s beautiful sticky sweetness untouched and the taste just like grandma used to make.

Sichuan Baked Sticky Rice Cakes

Sichuan Baked Sticky Rice Cakes

You don't have to wait for Chinese to make these luscious sweet bites. There really easy to make and are equally great for a weekday desert or afternoon snack. Feel free to add nuts, fruits, or red bean paste into the batter right before baking.
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Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese, Sichuan, Western China
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • 9 x 13-inch Baking pan


  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 3 large Eggs
  • cup Whole milk
  • 16 oz Glutinous Rice Flour (1 bag)
  • Oil Spray for greasing pan
  • ½ cup Sesame seeds
  • 12 oz Sweet red bean paste (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Spray the baking pan with oil spray.
  • Combine sugar, salt, baking powder, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Gradually mix ½ of the milk followed by ½ of the rice flour. Mix until rice flour is wet but a bit lumpy. Mix in remaining milk or rice flour. Stir until smooth like a pancake batter. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Spray baking pan and then pour batter into the pan and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. (See: Notes for red bean paste version). Bake for 50-55 minutes. Edges will have browned slightly and top should have set. Remove from oven and let pan cool on a baking rack in pan for a few hours. Slice and plate 2-3-inch squares, Serve alone or with tea or milk. Rice cakes can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for up-to 3-4 days, and frozen indefinitely.


      • To make version with red bean paste: Pour half the batter into the greased baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Dollop teaspoons of bean paste all around the partially baked batter. Cover with remaining batter and sprinkle top with sesame seeds (or other nut). Return to oven for another 40-45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3-4 hours.


Calories: 519kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 1mg

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