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. lady_nesa Chicago joined 3/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi there Maangchi!~
    I was wondering,
    about a year ago I visited Korea for the first time, and the family I stayed with took me to a beautiful restaurant. It seemed very unique in that it had traditional sliding doors, underground heating, and each room led outside instead of being one big building. They served a really delicious drink in a wooden cup that tasted sweet & had rice in it, but was room temperature(maybe because it was cold at night?). Could this have been sikhye or a different drink altogether?
    Thank you so much!~ :]

  2. leeemur SF Bay Area joined 7/09 & has 9 comments

    I love shikhye, but it’s so time consuming to make…
    I bought some bottled shikhye and canned shikhye from the supermarket, but it didn’t taste as good as the homemade ones… so I finally found time to make this and it is so worth it!!! So good and refreshing!! Thank you maangchi!

  3. lily5377& has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi, you are the best. I’ve followed your recipe for the sikhye and it was so sucessful, I have some questions, yesterday i asked my brother to buy the malted powder and the rice from the Korean Supermarket, but he bought me the malted powder(i guess you know which one i’m talking about) which is not ground and he got me the sweet rice. can I use the sweet rice instead of the regular one? and can i use the malted powder which’s not ground?? Thanks for your help

  4. Jenny& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!
    Love all your videos…they’re very helpful.
    Sikhye is one of my all time favorite drink. I’m going try to make it but I have a few questions. Instead of cooking the rice the traditional way to make sikhye, can I cook the rice in a rice cooker? Can I refrigerate the rice together with the drink instead of refrigerating them separately? Also, if I want a darker color drink and stronger taste, would I use more malt powder and less water? Thank you!


    P.S. love your blog. Your backpacking story is inspirational…I would like to do that one day! ^_^

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,684 comments

      1.Yes, you can use your rice cooker to make rice for shikhye, but use less water than usual rice making. Rice grains should not be mushy.

      2.Yes, you don’t have to separate rice grains from the shikhye juice before keeping in the refrigerator.

      3. no, you don’t have to. The ratio of the ingredients for this recipe will make strong flavor of shikhye. If it’s too strong, you and add more water and sugar.

  5. Sofie& has 1 comment

    I finally made sikhye and it turned out great! Some minor adjustments on my part is cutting down some sugar and I had to strain the liquid at the end because there was still some starch floating around. Like Kim, my sikhye was more of a light tea color, but I don’t care because it tasted delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes Maanchi! :) When it’s the right season for my market to stock on dried persimmons, I really want to try your Sujunggwa recipe next!

  6. Ally& has 1 comment

    Is there a difference between Pearl Barley Powder and Malt Barley Powder?

    • Sofie& has 1 comment

      Yes, because pearl barley powder has a different taste than malt barley powder. You need that malt flavor from the malt barley powder/flour. It’s a MUST to have the correct ingredients and to follow Maangchi’s recipe exactly because that’s how I successfully made mine. Good luck!

  7. Kim& has 2,268 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I tried using the whole package of the barley flour and used 13 cups of water. When I looked at it, it didn’t look like the color in your video. It had an orangeish color.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,684 comments

      You did not follow the recipe! : )
      As you see in the recipe, about 24- 30 cups of water is needed. Don’t give up making good shikhye. If you like to use 13 cups water, use about 1/3 amount barley malt powder.

  8. Lily :D& has 3 comments

    Thank you so much, mine came out well, i only fermented it for 3 hours. but liek after iput it in the fridge and overnight there was like a little bit of powdery residue on the bottom should i leave that out of my drink or shake it?

  9. Amy& has 2,268 comments

    If I were to cut the recipe in half, would the times differ? I don’t want to make a HUGE amount and have it go to waste because I’m making this really for myself. Definitely do not think I can drink ALL of it within 7 days. =/ Thanks! Looking forward to trying the recipe out!

  10. Eleana& has 2,268 comments

    hi maangchi

    for this recipe, are we suppose to use malt flour or malt powder? I’m planning to buy it online but I’m not sure which one to buy.

  11. person& has 2,268 comments

    im doing a project on north korea for my school. im so glad i found your recipe. i googled north korean dishes but i couldnt find much of anything that was not a good easyish recipe. thanks.

  12. victoria truong& has 2,268 comments

    Hi I am 12 years old and me and my boyfriend was making this for our mothers it turn out pretty good but it was sour in the begging and sweet in the end of the taste,, is that suppose to happen?? WE woke up around 6am and we got done around 3 or 4 Y does it take so long to make it. Can we buy this desert anywhere? in San Francisco.

  13. Kay& has 6 comments

    Dear maanchi onni,
    Thanks for your recipes again and today I am making jangjorim, oiji muchim and shikhye.
    I am still waiting for my barley malted power to sink down in the water and then I will ferment it with rice in the cooker.
    Can’t wait to taste it.
    Jangjorim and oiji were successful.
    Thank you so much again.
    From singapre

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,684 comments

      wow,jangjorim and oiji muchim with rice, then shikhye for dessert, perfect! You made oijangajji! Cool! Email me the photos of them if you can. I would like to see them. : )
      Let me know how your shikhye turns out. Thank you!




      • Kay& has 6 comments

        Dear Maangchi onni,

        I tried my Shikhye with brown sugar as I do not use any white sugar and it seems the taste is not exactly same as what I expected. Also, I did have a problem with fermenting it as my rice cooker is a medium sized one ( max 5 cups of rice) so I could not transfer all the barley mated powder water into the rice cooker but I had to leave quite a bit in a sauce pan. After the fermenting process, I poured the fermented liquid into this remainder and boiled it with some sugar.
        I only used 400g which was my original package.
        Rice was nice and fluffy and I reduced the quantity as well. I really enjoyed the burnt rice! I have not had it for a long time and it was just perfect!
        I will try it next time and will post it again.
        Thank you!
        Kind regards
        P.S.where can I attach my photos please?

  14. Jane& has 2,268 comments

    Maangchi ssi,

    You are a GENIUS!!! OF COURSE! Sikhye water for crushed ice! EXCELLENT!!!!

    I noticed that this is how ALL the good jjim jil bangs (Korean bath houses) in Korea prepare and serve their shikhye. The sikhye ice is so delicious, refreshing, and very flat, just the way you made your ice.

    Thank you for this very important and detailed tip!


  15. Jane& has 2,268 comments

    Hi Maangchi-ssi,

    It’s Jane again! Guess what? My mom and I made sikhye 2x this month with our similar recipes. It is so delicious, and definitely aids in digestion as you mentioned :-)

    We also made yakshik last night with raisins, pine nuts, jujubes, and chestnuts. I didn’t see yakshik in your list – is it something you are going to post later on? I think it would be great!

    Filming yakshik with a camera may be a little hard just because of all the heavy steaming and lifting though. Hahaha…hope to see how you make your yakshik so we can compare notes ^_^


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