Nian Gao Recipe (Chinese New Year Cake)

By Jessica Parsons--Macaroni Kid-Calvert-St. Mary's Publisher February 5, 2024

Nin Gao (pronounced Neen Go) is a steamed cake usually made a few days before the new year and then eaten when desired. It is usually cut into slices about 1cm thick, coated in beaten egg, and then fried lightly until soft. 

This recipe comes from our friends at, and was the easiest to master (for me!) It requires minimal ingredients and tools (and minimal skill--again best for me!) I found all ingredients in Walmart and on Amazon. 


1 1/2 Cups glutinous rice flour 

1/2 Cup rice flour

2 bars of brown sugar (about 118 g)

3/4 Cup hot water

1 egg beaten

Tools you need:

Electric steamer or pressure cooker

A cake pan or bowl about 10-11 cm in diameter

Wax paper to line the bowl or pan


1. Start the steamer and heat to a fast boil

2. Line your pan or bowl with wax paper and lightly brush a drop of oil on top to prevent from sticking

3. Put the brown sugar bars in a pan with the hot water and heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Let sit until cool.

4. Add the flours to mixing bowl and with a wooden spoon start adding the cooled sugar water and stirring until well combined. (*Tip: if it gets too thick to mix, add a drop of hot water to loosen it).

5. Transfer mixture to your dish and add to the steamer.

6. Steam for 50 minutes on high, taking care to make sure the steamer does not run out of water.

7. Leave to cool. Then turn out. remove the wax paper, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge until ready to eat.