Steamed Rice Cake Recipe (Bánh Bò Hấp)

Steamed Rice Cake Recipe (Bánh Bò Hấp)
Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò)
Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò)

Growing up in Vietnam, like any other kids, we loved to have snacks. One of them is Steamed Rice Cake, (Banh Bo Hap). Some people would call it Cow Cake, Sponge Cake. This dessert is very similar to Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes, Puto. It’s slightly sweet and has coconut flavor. This dessert also has colorful look. It’s always helpful to have gorgeous looking dessert so that our kids would give it a try. However, food coloring is entirely optional. If not using coloring, the cake would have an off white color. Main ingredients include rice flour, tapioca starch, coconut milk, active yeast. We know the cake is successful by looking numerous honeycombs appearing inside the cake when we break it apart.

Making this easy dessert recipe, you will need a steamer, a mixing bowl and some small bowls (or cake molds). It will take about 2.5 hours to complete including 2 hours of waiting for the yeast to do its magic.

We hope that your kids or the little kid in each of us would enjoy these cakes like ours did as they always asked for more. They also enjoyed lending a hand making this colorful dessert. You can also check the cost of main ingredients at the end of this recipe.

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Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò)

Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò Hấp)

Easy recipe for Steamed Rice Cake, Bánh Bò Hấp, a spongy, sweet, and gorgeous looking dessert. It costs next to nothing to make and fun to make as a family.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 24 cakes


  • 4 cup rice flour
  • 4 tsp tapioca starch
  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 1 1/2 tsp active yeast
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cup warm water
  • food colorings (optional)


  • Ingredients that we used
    Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò)
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients above, except food colorings until smooth. (The water should be warm to the touch so that it won't kill the yeast.)
    Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò) -
  • Cover with a lid. Let the batter rest for 2 hours or more (The more time you let the batter rest, the more fluffy the cakes will come out.) If it is a winter season, place the batter in the oven or any warm place. In the summer, place the batter at room temperature.

  • After 2 hours, You will see air bubbles raise on the surface of the batter.
    Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò) -
  • Give the batter a good stir and divide it into 3 equal portions. Then add your favorite colors into each portion. Stir well. (You can skip this step if you don't use food coloring.)
    Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò) -
  • Grease cake molds or small bowls with oil. Place them into the boiling steamer. Pour in the batter until 3/4 of each bowl (so that it will have room to rise.) Cover and steam for 10 minutes on medium heat or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò) -
  • Enjoy!
    Steamed Rice Cake (Bánh Bò)


Enjoy and Good Luck!
Please let me know your result!
Main Ingredient Cost
Rice flour                      $1.69
Coconut milk                    $1.19
                                $2.88 ̣($0.12/cake)

16 Replies to “Steamed Rice Cake Recipe (Bánh Bò Hấp)”

  1. I tried this recipe but did change it up a bit to keep sugar, fat, and calories down….came out beautiful, tasty…Hugs hit…Thank you

  2. I try making this twices but when I steam it, it wouldn’t rise up like the picture. I added 2 tsp of yeast to active. Could it be my steamer cover because it wasn’t the correct lid. The lid was a little bigger than the steam pot I was using?

    • Hi MaryChan,

      Depending on the ambient temperature, you can let the dough sit a little longer until there’s a lot of bubbles. Also when you steam the cakes, try to prevent any water from the lid from dripping onto the cakes (by covering the lid with cloth to absorb water or wipe the lid often to remove water).

      Good luck!

  3. Pingback: Steamed Rice Cake Recipe (Bánh Bò Hấp) - NPFamily Recipes - Cake Recipes 2019

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