Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins
Zongzi is a traditional food for the Chinese Duanwu Festival. It is also known as Chinese rice dumpling or Chinese tamale.
Course: staple
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: zongzi
Calories: 126 kcal
Author: Elaine
  • 500 g sticky rice
  • red bean paste as needed ,around 1 tablespoon for each zongzi
  • large bamboo leaves ,each around 10cm wide and 45cm to 50cm long or overnight soaked dried ones
  • cotton line ,twine works better than string for me
  • kitchen scissor
  1. Rinse sticky rice 2 or 3 times and then drain. For a softer texture, you can pre-soak the rice for half an hour.
  2. If you are using dried bamboo leaves, soak them overnight until softened. The bamboo leaves can be quite dirty, so carefully wash them with a kitchen cloth 2 or 3 times. Then soak for around 30 minutes until softened and cut the tough ends off.
  3. Prepare everything and ready to wrap (I owe this method to my mother-in-law)
  4. For larger leaves (around 8-10 cm wide and 45 cm long), fold 1/3 of the leaf into a cone, making sure not to leave an opening at the bottom. Fill the cone up half-way with sticky rice and then scoop around 1 tablespoon of red bean paste (or more if you prefer). Then cover the red bean paste with another layer of rice.
  5. Holding the closed cone in one hand , wrap the remaining length of bamboo leaf around the top to form a lid. Hold the lid down and then fix one end with one hand, wrap the extra leave around the other end. Seal the sticky rice dumpling and tie with cotton line. Repeat to finish all of the zongzi.
  6. Transfer all the rice dumplings to a large pressure cooker or regular pot and add enough water to cover. Set aside to soak for 1 hour.
  7. If you are using a high pressure cooker, cook for around 1.5 hours. For a regular pot, bring the water to boil for 15 minutes and then turn down the heat and simmer for 3 hours. Then turn off the heat with the lid removed and let the rice dumplings cool down naturally in the pot.
How to serve Zongzi
  1. The traditional Chinese serving way is to dip the zongzi in sugar, but you can also drizzle honey on surface.
How to store Zongzi
  1. For a smaller batch, you can place them fridge for 2 days. For a larger batch, freeze them after boiling and then re-heat before serving. With this method, the rice dumplings can be kept for two weeks.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

I highly recommend you make smaller ones and do not eat too many in one setting, as sticky rice might need a long to digest.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Sodium 2mg 0%
Potassium 25mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 27g 9%
Protein 2g 4%
Calcium 0.4%
Iron 3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.