Gluten-Free Sweet Sticky Rice Cake

Sweet sticky rice cake recipe

The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings

This recipe for glutinous rice cakes—also known as sweet sticky rice cakes—is simple to make and easier if you leave off the Asian-style 'icing', although that's yummy too. Sticky rice is a true Asian culinary experience, one that shouldn't be missed, and so satisfying in its chewy-yummy texture.

Wonderful as a dessert or with tea or coffee, this simple glutinous rice cake can be served to company or made just for yourself as a true Asian comfort food treat. It's healthier than most Western desserts, too.


  • For the Sticky Rice Cake(s):
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil (for greasing pan/ramekins)
  • 1 cup sweet rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (preferably not ‘lite’)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • For the Optional Topping:
  • 4 tbsp. rice flour (available in any baking aisle)
  • 1/2 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sweet sticky rice cake
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  2. Cover rice with water and soak at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

    Rice in pot
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  3. Grease 6 to 8 ramekins OR an 8-inch square cake pan with a little vegetable oil (if you happen to have coconut oil, use that).

    Greased pan
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  4. Drain rice and distribute among ramekins or in cake pan. Rice should be at least 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep in each ramekin. Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Rice in pan
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  5. Place coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs and stir everything together until sugar dissolves. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. Pour over rice in the pan/ramekins (if using ramekins, distribute it as evenly as you can), stirring to combine.

    Cover in oil
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  6. Bake 35 to 40 minutes (an inserted fork should come out clean or nearly clean). If you're adding the topping, the cake(s) can remain a little undercooked at this stage, as they will be going back in the oven. While baking, prepare topping (if using).

    Bake rice cake
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  7. For the topping (optional): Place topping ingredients in a pot or saucepan. Stir with a whisk over medium heat until mixture begins to lightly bubble. Reduce heat to low, whisking continuously for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and continue whisking until it thickens and most of the lumps are gone. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

    Blend topping
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  8. When rice layer is done baking, spread on the topping. Take another baking dish and fill at least 1 inch deep with hot water from the tap. Place this on a lower rack and set cake(s) on a higher rack. Bake 15 minutes, until topping feels firm when lightly touched. Serve either warm or at room temperature. This cake is best stored outside the refrigerator and eaten within 3 days.

    Baked cake
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic