Eight Treasure Rice Pudding

Eight Treasure rice pudding on a serving platter

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 75 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Resting Time: 10 mins
Total: 115 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 bowl
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
231 Calories
3g Fat
50g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 231
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 166mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 166mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Eight Treasure rice pudding(八寶飯) is a traditional Lunar New Year dessert, very popular in both China and Taiwan. The name comes from the eight different kinds of dried fruits, such as raisins or candied winter melon, that are considered key ingredients. In the Chinese tradition, the number eight is a magical number: when pronounced, the word sounds like another Chinese word (發) which means to be rich or to thrive in business. Also, because this dessert is really colorful and pretty, it represents luck and sweetness for the new year.

Depending on where you are located it might be hard to get a hold of eight different kinds of dried or candied fruit, so this recipe includes five that should be easily found at your local supermarket or Chinese store. Consider also using dates, red and green shredded plums, jackfruit, or dried longan pulp.


For the Rice:

  • 2 cups glutinous (sticky) rice

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Fruit:

  • 1 teaspoon oil, for coating the bowl

  • 1/4 cup candied (sugar-glazed) cherries

  • 2 ounces raisins

  • 2 ounces golden raisins

  • 1 dried apricot

For the Filling:

  • 100 grams red bean paste

  • 2 ounces sugar lotus seeds

For the Potato Starch Water:

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon potato starch

  • 2 drops rose essence

For the Sugar Syrup:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/2 cup water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    eight treasure rice pudding ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the glutinous rice in a non-reactive bowl and cover it with cold water. Let it soak for at least 1 hour.

    rice in bowl with water

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Drain the soaking water and place the rice in a steamer basket set over simmering water. Cover and steam for 30 to 45 minutes. While still hot, gently combine it with the sunflower oil and salt.

    rice cooked in steamer with rice spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Coat the inside of a heat-proof medium-sized bowl with oil. (Make sure this bowl will fit in the steamer basket.) Cut the sugar-glazed cherries in half and put some aside for later. Place the remaining sugar-glazed cherries along with the dried fruits in a decorative pattern in the bowl.

    bowl with dried fruits arranged on bottom and one ring of dried raisins

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Once the fruit is arranged, place half of the cooked rice in the bowl and press down gently.

    half of rice pressed into bowl to cover dried fruit

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Spoon the red bean paste into the middle and smooth out the top.

    red bean paste spread on top of the rice in bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Use a little bit of glutinous rice to cover the red bean paste and place the sugar lotus seeds and remaining sugar-glazed cherries around the edge of the bowl.

    additional rice placed on top, plus more candied fruit around the rim of bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Evenly place the rest of the glutinous rice on top and press down.

    remaining steamed rice placed on top to cover and reach top of bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  9. Place the bowl with the fruit and rice in the steamer basket set over simmering water and steam for 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the amount of water underneath the basket.

    rice pudding in bowl in a steamer basket in a pot with water

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  10. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the starch water ingredients, whisking vigorously until well combined.

    starch water ingredients mixed in small bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  11. Place all the syrup ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and then add the starch water. Stir until thick.

    syrup ingredients for eight treasure rice pudding simmering in a pot, being stirred with a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  12. Remove the bowl from the steamer basket and let it rest for 10 minutes. Invert the bowl onto a plate and release the rice pudding. Brush the sugar syrup over the surface.

    eight treasure rice pudding inverted onto a plate, being brushed with sugar syrup

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


Here are some helpful tips for cooking with glutinous rice:

  • The ratio for glutinous rice is 1:1 (1 cup of rice per 1 cup of water). To steam, drain the soaking water and put the rice in a steaming basket set over simmering water (without it touching the water) for 30 to 45 minutes. Let it rest 10 minutes before serving.
  • To use a rice cooker, add 1 1/4 cups of water per cup of rice. For this technique, the rice should soak for at least 4 hours.
  • The longer the rice soaks, the better the texture it will have. Some traditions let it soak covered for up to 24 hours, but most cooks give it between 3 and 6 hours.