Rice dessert drink

Sikhye 식혜

Sikhye is a traditional Korean beverage made with barley malt powder (yeotkiereum 엿기름) and rice. The taste is sweet and cold, with its own particular subtle flavor coming from barley malt. I love sikhye because of the flavor! Without the flavor, it will be like a bowl of sweet water and rice.

It’s known to help your digestion which is true for me! After eating lots of delicious food on festival days, I would drink sikhye for a dessert and for my digestion. I believe it cures my clogged stomach! : )


I am surprised by the fact that so many people have requested this beverage. I had thought Sikhye would be one of a few dishes not likable to people from another culture. This was my thought when I was requested this food for the first time: “Wha? Sikhye is popular to people from other cultures, too?”

I found that most people who requested this food had known about it. They say, “Maangchi, what’s the white drink served at a Korean restaurant? If you can, please post the recipe.”

“Whenever I go to my favorite Korean restaurant, they serve delicious cold rice drink, can I request the recipe?”

When I lived in Korea, one day I gave sikhye to my American friend. I remember what he said at that time after sipping a little sikhye. “oops! What is this!… it looks like cereal with sugar water and the taste is kinda weird!” : ) I thought it was very funny, I could put myself into his shoes. I may feel the same way if I taste something very new to me and I find it’s totally different from the taste that I expect!

Don’t expect the taste of a bowl of cereal with sugar water!

Here’s the recipe:


A package of barley malt powder, 2 cups of rice, 2 cups of sugar (adjust to your taste), 24-30 cups of water, and pine nuts


  1. Put 1 package of barley malted powder (1 pound) in a large basin and mix it with 24-30 cups of water. Let it sit for 2 hours until all the dregs are sunk to the bottom of the basin.3
  2. Make rice and set it aside.
    How to make rice using a pot:

    • Wash 2 cups of short grain rice. Drain and put in a pot with thick bottom.
    • Pour 1.5 cups of water into the pot. Soak it for an hour and close the lid.
    • Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
    • Open the lid and turn the rice over with a rice scoop or spoon.
    • Simmer it over low heat for another 10 minutes! You will have nice fluffy rice!


  3. When the mixed liquid of barley malt powder and water is completely separated (it takes about 1.5 hours-2 hours), pour the clear liquid from the top into your rice cooker.
    *tip: if you have leftover clear liquid, save it and keep it in the refrigerator. We are going to use it later.
  4. Add 1 cup of sugar and the cooked rice.
  5. Stir it and set the rice cooker’s function to “warm” for 4- 5 hours. Be sure not to set it “cook.” The reason for setting it to “warm” is to ferment the rice so that the starch from the rice converts to sugar. If you boil it, the fermenting process will stop.
  6. Throw out the sediments sunk on the bottom of the basin.
  7. 4 hours later, check to see if the rice is fermented or not. When the rice is fermented, a few grains of rice will float to the top of liquid.
  8. Strain the rice and rinse it in cold water. Set it aside in a container. Add a little cold water and keep it in the refrigerator.
  9. Transfer the liquid from the rice cooker to a large pot, and add the saved leftover liquid from #3 if you have it.
  10. Add 1 cup of sugar and bring to a boil.
    * tip: you can add more water and sugar if you want.
  11. Remove the foam floating on the top of the boiling liquid.
  12. Cool it down and transfer it to a glass jar or bottle and keep it refrigerator.11
  13. To eat, serve it cold in a bowl with a scoop of rice from #8. Drop in a few pine nuts, just before serving it.
    * tip: you can add crushed ice made with sikhye liquid. If you like all your rice grains to float, add 1 tbs of sugar and mix it right before serving it.




  1. Jeanie& has 2,263 comments

    THANK YOU SOOO MUCH MAANCHI! It’s a lot of work involved but definately worth it at the end!

  2. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,675 comments

    I usually finish eating this amount in the recipe in a week.

  3. Lisa& has 2,263 comments

    how long do you think this will last in the refrigerator before spoiling? Thanks!

  4. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,675 comments

    : ) now you can even pronounce it clearly! cool!

    Good to hear from you again!

  5. Dahanq& has 2,263 comments

    Wah! Thanks for finally posting the recipe up hehe
    I remember I asked you in the summer :D

    It looks so good.. I’m going to make it once I go back home for spring break

  6. Denise& has 2,263 comments

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I had tough time to even look for the name of the dish. I tried it in Korean restaurant and just loved it first time I tasted it.

  7. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,675 comments

    twee moonie,
    haha, you are very clever! Of course you should do other things while waiting for well made sikhye! Start making it in the morning, then you will be able to eat it at dinner time.

  8. twee moonie& has 2,263 comments

    hi there maangchi!!!!

    so happy you have included a shikhae recipe! my future mother in law always makes this for the church and it’s so popular, hopefully it’ll be the same with her!

    thank you thank you! you’ve made the recipe very simple and easy! i guess the key to making shikhae is do other things while waiting ^_^

  9. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,675 comments

    David and deborah,
    Yes, you can use other types of sweetener instead of white sugar. That’s just my recipe though. Even without using sugar, it’s a little sweet.

    * white short grain rice that’s what I use (for sushi).
    * If you don’t have a rice cooker, then you will have to keep the sikhye at about constant 60 degrees Celsius while it ferments.
    * I just use tap water and don’t find any problem until I finish sikhye.

    Good luck with making sikhye! I’m looking forward to your feedback. : )

  10. deborah Toronto, ON joined 4/09 & has 47 comments

    hi maangchi,

    thank you for posting this recipe! i have been secretly waiting for you to do this recipe for a long time now ;)
    it certainly takes a long time to finish… i’ll probably have to set aside a whole morning to do it!

    i have a couple questions:
    1. what type of rice is recommended? my family eats the brown sprouted rice so we don’t always have regular long grain white rice…
    2. what type of sugar is suitable? can i use sugars other than white sugar?
    3. i don’t have a rice cooker like you. what is an alternative method to ferment the “batch” to warm it?
    4. how long can this “batch” last in the fridge?
    5. when you store the fermented rice, you used regular tap water. will this affect the shelf life of the rice? i ask because my family use to keep tofu and we changed the water with tap water and it caused it to go bad much faster than if we used cooled boiled water.

    thanks again!!!

  11. David& has 2 comments

    Hello Mrs. Hammer,

    Do you think that 식혜 can be made without sugar? Maybe using a sugar substitute like Stevia? I would like to make this for someone with 당뇨병 so I wanted to make it without sugar. What do you think?

    Thanks! I love the recipes/videos on your site.

  12. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,675 comments

    Fantastic! : ) Let me know how your sikhye turns out!
    Thank you very much,

  13. Nishu& has 2,263 comments

    I was really love this drink Thk you very very much maangchi I use to drink it from can from Korean Storesx now i can make it i am making it in Weekend thank you *******

  14. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,675 comments

    I think you are going to make sikhye soon! : )
    yes, soondubu jjigae recipe is included in my second book. Your nice message is already supportive. Thanks a lot!

  15. Maria& has 3 comments

    Thank you so much for you-tubing and posting this recipe. I bought the barley powder months ago to try and make it on my own since the canned stuff just didn’t taste as good as my friend’s homemade shikye. I totally prefer making food myself and am going to give this recipe a go tomorrow! Btw, made your soon du bu two days ago and… Wow, it was really delicious and authentic tasting!! Is this recipe in your new book? I’m wondering how we can support your efforts and express our appreciation? Thank you, Maangchi!!

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