Quick and Easy Nian Gao Recipe and Tutorial

Ayden’s school gave their students an assignment. The assignment is to record a video of them baking / making any Chinese New Year goodies (cookies / cakes / meals ) with their family member(s).

Obviously we are excited to do that as cooking / baking is our forte. We decided to make Nian Gao using our pressure cooker so that I can also upload it onto our YouTube channel as I haven’t recorded a tutorial for it yet. Killing two birds with one stone here :) 

We had a lot of fun recording this video with the help of Daddy as the video man. 

We need 3 basic ingredients to make nian gao – glutinous rice flour, sugar and water.

Traditional way vs the Modern way

The traditional way of making nian gao is to mix glutinous rice flour, water and sugar and steam it for hours until the sugar is caramelised, resulting in a beautiful golden sticky texture.

The modern way, however, cuts down the steaming time to only 45 minutes in the pressure cooker, as sugar is caramelized before adding flour, hence saving time and energy in steaming it for long.

Before making nian gao, we need to prepare the mould. Clean banana leaves and blanch in boiling water for about 5 minutes to soften it. The leaves are ready when they don’t break when folded. Pat dry and set aside.

Line the mould with the banana leaves. Watch the tutorial video to see how we do it.

  • 350 ml water boiled with pandan
  • 250 g glutinous rice flour
  • 150 g brown cane sugar
  • 70 g gula melaka
  • 1 tsp oil


  • Boil 350ml water with pandan leaves until fragrant.
  • Pour through strainer to remove pandan leaves and set aside.
  • In a clean pot on low heat, melt 150g brown cane sugar with 70g gula melaka.
  • Pour pandan water bit by bit into the caramelised sugar.
  • Keep adding pandan water until all caramelised sugar is diluted.
  • Turn off the heat and pour through strainer.
  • In a mixer, gradually pour sugar mixture into 250g glutinous rice flour and mix until smooth.
  • You can also use a hand whisk instead of an electric mixer to mix.
  • Once batter is smooth, add a teaspoon of oil and continue mixing.
  • Pour batter through strainer.
  • Pour batter into prepared mould.
  • Cover mould with banana leaf and aluminium foil.
  • Steam for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the top cover (aluminium foil) after steaming but cool completely before unmoulding.

Pour batter through strainer.

Pour batter into prepared mould

Important note:

Nian gao will appear pale and soft at the end of cooking time, but that is normal. It will darken and firm up once cooled.

Cool nian gao overnight before unmoulding. Homemade nian gao without preservatives stays fresh for up to a week in room temperature, and up to months if refrigerated.

Watch this video to see:

– how to wrap/line the mould with banana leaves
– how to cook nian gao in just 45 minutes
– how to unmould nian gao

How do you like to eat your nian gao?

My boys love eating it on its own when it is fresh and soft. Darling loves it with shredded coconut while all of us super love it in fried potato balls (watch the attached video for recipe and tutorial). 

About the Author: Merryn Tan

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • //

    Thank you for the tutorial on how to make nian gao. You didn’t include deep frying nian gao in batter sandwiched between a piece of yam and a piece of sweet potatoes? That is how I like to eat nian gao. Almost similar to your sweet potatoes balls but the sweet potatoes is firmer as it is not mashed up.

  • //

    Wow! Thanks for the recipe. :D

Leave a comment

Join ME for updates & giveaways!

About Me

MeHome is where MY heart is.
I am a mother to two boys; Ethan and Ayden and a wife to Darling William. I'm a stay at home mum who blogs to break the monotony of life and to avoid feeling jaded. Would love to get to know all the Super Mommies and Daddies and Babies or Singles out there with the hope that we can learn more from each other. Most of all, I am a happy person, and I hope YOU are too.

Click here to learn more about me ^_^

My Latest Video

Watch my videos      

Easy Tong Sui Recipes

Resipi Kuih Muih Tradisional

Our Hotel Reviews Collection



Ayden and Mummy demo making CNY snacks


Submerryn and Mummy doing LIVE Peranakan Cooking Demo

Submerryn NTV7 Breakfast Show

Submerryn talks about coping with physical changes during pregnancy

Submerryn ON TV3, MHI

CNY Ang Pow lantern making demo and playing with snakes

Submerryn ON TV2 Hello On Two

CNY Ang Pow lantern making demo

Submerryn On TV3 KidsNews

Crafting with Ethan on KidsNews

Submerryn On Bernama Radio24

Submerryn In The Star Metro

Submerryn In The Star, In.Tech

Moms who’ve banked on their hobbies and build successful businesses

Submerryn In The Star, Metro

Tossing Lou Sang

Submerryn In Sin Chew

Family holiday trip

Thailand: Impiana Kata Noi

Thailand: Impiana Patong

Thailand: Novotel Hua Hin Cha-Am

Thailand: Swissotel Kamala

Thailand: Novotel Sukhumvit

Thailand: Novotel Ploenchit

Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit

Thailand: Novotel Karon

Thailand: Novotel Surin

Thailand: Holiday Inn Mai Khao

Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao and Activities for the Family

Thailand: Vana Nava Water Jungle

Thailand: Plearnwan Hua Hin

Thailand: Santorini Park Cha-am

Thailand: Asiatique Sky Bangkok

Indonesia: Holiday Inn Bali

Holiday Inn Resort Bali and Activities for the Kids

S’pore: Shangri-La Singapore

S’pore: Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa

S’pore Skyline Luge Sentosa

S’pore Universal Studio

Universal Studio Singapore

S’pore River Cruise

Singapore River Cruise

S’pore S.E.A Aquarium

S.E.A Aquarium, Sentosa, Singapore

S’pore Hotel Jen Tanglin

Klang Valley: Impiana KLCC

Port Dickson: Lexis Hibiscus

Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson and Activities for the Family

Port Dickson: Thistle

Thistle Port Dickson

Penang: Golden Sands Resort

Golden Sands Resort, Penang

Penang: Holiday Inn Resort

Holiday Inn Resort Penang and Activities for the Kids

Penang: Shangri-La Rasa Sayang

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang

Pahang: Swiss-Garden Kuantan

Pahang: Bukit Gambang Safari Park

Bukit Gambang Resort City

Melaka: Holiday Inn

Melaka: Hotel Equatorial

Equatorial Hotel Melaka

Melaka: Estadia by Hatten

Estadia by Hatten

Melaka: Novotel

Novotel Melaka

Melaka: Philea Resort & Spa

Johor: Pulai Springs Resort

Pulai Springs Resort, Johor Bahru

Johor: The Crystal Crown Arch

Johor: Dinosaur Alive Water Park

Johor: Legoland

Legoland, Johor

Johor: Hello Kitty

Sanrio Hello Kitty Town, Nusajaya Johor

Perak: The Haven Resort Hotel, Ipoh

Perak: Lost World of Tambun

Perak: Swiss-Garden Beach Resort

T’ganu: Resorts World Kijal