Yaksik is a kind of Korean rice cake made with glutinous rice, honey, nuts, and dried fruits. It’s a sweet, delicious treat that’s packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients. Even the name is healthy – in Korean, yak means “medicine,” and sik means “food.” Koreans have long believed that honey is a medicine that’s beneficial to your health, so anything with honey is good for you. We feel the same way about jujubes and pine nuts, too, so yaksik is good for you. It’s also delicious!

Like many Korean housewives, I used to make yaksik in my pressure cooker. It’s very easy to do: just mix in all the ingredients, turn the pressure cooker on, and let it get to work. How to make yaksik with a pressure cooker is below.

But yaksik made in a pressure cooker can’t be compared with the taste and texture of yaksik made the traditional way. Each grain of rice becomes firm and chewy rice cake, and the flavors of all the ingredients are more distinct and alive.

Whichever way you decide to make it, I guarantee you’ll love this delectable, delightful snack. I make a lot of them and then save them for my breakfast or snack, but they are delicious any time of day.

Enjoy my recipe! Let me know how your yaksik turns out.

Ingredients (9 servings)

2 cups glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 5 hours

for caramel sauce:

  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water

for seasoning sauce:

  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Fruits, nuts, honey:

  • 14-16 large dried jujubes, rinsed, deseeded, cut into halves (or replace them with 1 cup dried cranberries)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, tips removed
  • 1 can of chestnuts, strained

Directions

Make caramel sauce:

  1. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a small saucepan on high heat. Don’t stir, or the sugar might crystallize.
  2. When it starts to boil, move the pan around to mix it up.
  3. 6 minutes later it will start to bubble. Turn the heat down low and swirl the sauce around in the saucepan to mix it up.
  4. 2 minutes later, when it gets a little smoky and turns dark brown, remove from the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water and tilt and move the pan so it all mixes well. Let it cool.

caramel-sauce

Make seasoning sauce:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, oil, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and cinnamon powder in a small bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the sugar is dissolved.

yaksik seasoning-sauce

Mix fruits and nuts:
yaksik-ingredients

  1. Combine jujubes, raisins, pine nuts, chestnuts, and the dried cranberries (if used) in a large bowl.

yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)

Steam rice:

  1. Strain the rice. Put into a steamer basket lined with a cotton cloth. Cover the rice with the edges of the cotton cloth. Add 5 cups of water to the steamer, cover and cook for 40 minutes over medium high heat.
    soaked-rice
  2. Open and turn the rice over a few times with a wooden spoon so it cooks evenly. Lower the heat to medium and cook another 20 minutes.steamed-rice
  3. Remove from the heat.

Put it all together:

  1. Transfer the cooked rice to the large bowl with the fruits and nuts. Add the seasoning sauce, caramel sauce, and honey.
    yaksik making
  2. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
    yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)
  3. Put everything back into the steamer basket lined with the cotton cloth. Cover with the edges of the cotton cloth, add 1 cup of water to the steamer, and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Remove from the heat.

Serve:

You can serve right away, scooping out pieces or even rolling handfuls of yaksik into balls. Or separate into squares for later use:

  1. Put the hot steamed yaksik into a 8 x 8 inch baking pan lined with plastic wrap. Mix well with a wooden spoon so the fruits and nuts get evenly distributed through the rice. Pack it down slightly so it all sticks together.
    yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)
  2. Let it cool for about 20 minutes and flip the pan upside down over a cutting board so the rice cake comes out. Cut into 9 even size pieces. Wrap each one in tightly plastic wrap, into squares.

yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)

Freeze for later use:

  1. Put the wrapped yaksik into a plastic bag and freeze up to 1 month.
  2. When you want to eat one, take it out of the freezer and microwave for 2 minutes, or thaw it out at room temperature for about 30 minutes until it’s soft and chewy again.

How to make yaksik in a pressure cooker

  1. Put 2 cups of washed and drained rice in a pressure cooker. No need to soak it.
  2. Add the caramel sauce, seasoning sauce, honey, jujubes, raisins, pine nuts, chestnuts, and the dried cranberries (if used).
  3. Add 1 cup of water and set the pressure cooker to make rice.

yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)

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50 Comments:

  1. Kora Netherlands joined 12/21 & has 1 comment

    A few years back, it was my Fiancé’s and my first New Years together. After an unexpected turn of events with finding a place for dinner I suggested we try out the local Korean restaurant that we both had never been to. (My Fiancé had never had Korean). Needless to say we had a wonderful meal and evening. After that night we decided on making it a tradition to try making a Korean dish for New Years. This year we made Yaksik and it turned out wonderful!
    It was tough to find Jujubes and canned chestnuts at our local grocery stores here in the Netherlands (Next time I’ll order them online). I instead went with dried plums, cranberries and raisins for the fruit. I also added a little bit of minced ginger. I also had to go with roasted chestnuts as it was all I could find. All in all it turned out really well for my first try. I’m happy to have found this recipe and all your other wonderful recipes! Thank you!


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  2. joonieyah Christchurch, New Zealand joined 5/19 & has 5 comments

    I made this last year and it turned out so well, i’m going to make it again to warm me up in the cold New Zealand winter! Pine nuts and chestnuts are very expensive here, so my tip for people wanting to save some money – forage them yourself; there are some great parks near me with sweet chestnuts (NOT horse chestnuts, those aren’t edible!) and pine trees with large nuts; I forage them in the autumn and they last me all year! I freeze my chestnuts to stop them from going shriveled and rotting, but any other nuts can be left in the shell for a long time, including pine nuts. My one question, could i add 팟 or 검은콩 to the recipe? I was thinking of soaking them overnight and steaming them mixed into the rice, would that work?

    • joonieyah Christchurch, New Zealand joined 5/19 & has 5 comments

      also for anyone interested in foraging – only eat what you’re 110% sure of the identity of, and don’t forage on private land. For an initial idea of what’s growing in your area, i recommend the site inaturalist – it’s worldwide and open sourced and shows what people have identified near you, its a fantastic tool to have!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 564 comments

      That’s so interesting you can forage all those precious ingredients! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us! Yes, you can add black beans or red beans (aka azuki beans) to yaksik.

  3. smileypeas Birmingham, UK joined 5/21 & has 2 comments

    My yaksik was so delicious! It makes a huge amount that I froze and ate it on some days during Ramadan (the Islamic month where we fast from sunrise to sunset) as a healthy energy snack! It is sweet and salty and the nuts/cranberries gave an awesome crunch and taste!

    The easiest way for me to cook this was to soak the sticky rice for 5+ hours, add equals parts of the rice and water to a bowl and microwave for at least ten minutes until the rice is soft (add more water if it’s still undercooked). I added the seasoning sauce, caramel and dried fruits to the bowl, mixed and microwaved until the rice absorbs everything.


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  4. bimbo.wildwest Tucson, AZ joined 4/19 & has 3 comments

    I know this is a tad PC, but I have a daughter-in-law who has ulcerative colitis and can eat most of the ingredients if adapted somewhat. Looking for substitutes for the glutinous rice – perhaps plain brown rice? And the caramelized sugar sauce. Is there a sugar substitute that will brown up and thicken as well as the traditional caramelized sugar? The brown sugar, I might try molasses as a substitute? Or just more honey? Always looking for recipes to make her food options a little more enjoyable. Will be making normally for the rest of us who can eat regular food and the only discomfort we experience is gaining a few pounds. Love the vids and the blogs. Thanks, Maanchi. A most enjoyable and informative go-to for Korean cooking!

    • Moya Jamaica joined 8/19 & has 1 comment

      People with ulcerative colitis should not be eating foods such as brown rice and any whole grain starchy foods. White rice is fine. Wouldn’t want your daughter to suffer from flare ups like I have from brown rice.

  5. PSW1308 Malaysia joined 1/19 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!
    I made yaksik with your recipe. Where I came from (East Malaysia), we have something similar to yaksik so I felt familiar with the ingredients used to make yaksik. Its called as “nasi manis” which literally translates to sweet rice. I had to use other dried seeds/fruits because I used up what was left in my pantry haha. Anyways thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Amirul


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  6. Duckman Korea joined 6/18 & has 2 comments

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes! I’ve made this a couple of times before at home (rice-cooker method), and I made it again today with some students.I made an entire week-long camp based on your recipes, and we made one food each day: baekseolgi, red-bean paste, bukkumi, hobak juk, chapssal doughnuts, and yaksik. The students especially liked the baekseolgi (I brought my own bamboo steamer to school), doughnuts, and yaksik.

  7. Alexsa home joined 9/18 & has 1 comment

    Looks fantastic ! Whats is the shelf life if stored at room temperature ?

  8. LiljaS Iceland joined 3/18 & has 16 comments

    This recipe has been on my to-do list for quite some time now. Finally I got round to do it. Turned out beautifully. Tasty and perfectly chewy and sticky… or so I hope. I really don’t have much to compare to, haha. Thank you very much fir tge recipe, I was very happy that you made one without having to use a pressure cooker since I don’t have one.


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  9. Bryan2003 Hawaii joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    Would we be able to use different fruits?

  10. hangdaogsec@gmail.com Vietnam joined 10/17 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I tried this recipe this morning and share with my boss and workmate. Thank for your recipes and wait for more.

    Have a great day.

  11. Hello Maanchi! :) I love watching your videos!!

    I tried making this recipe (and am actually in the process currently), but when I steamed the rice, all of the water vanished before the first forty minutes was up and now my pot is melted to the stove. O.O; I followed your directions and added five cups of water to my steamer pot with two cups of sweet glutinous rice wrapped in cheesecloth. But I did something very wrong and I don’t know what. D: Any thoughts?

  12. Amazingly delicious! I’ve bought this many times and I’m so happy to be able to make it myself now! I made it in our rice cooker and it turned out great, though it’s not a regular rice cooker and has different functions. This is such a great winter snack for my children, they’re gobbling it up as I write this!

  13. bbimvip Arizona, USA joined 12/14 & has 2 comments

    Can a different rice (short grain”sushi”) be used instead?

  14. garlic_e_scape Minnesota joined 11/14 & has 1 comment

    Can you use roasted chestnuts? I have a bag of roasted chestnuts.

    What can I use in lieu of a steam basket or a pressure cooker?

  15. Enelisa joined 6/15 & has 1 comment

    My pressure cooker doesnt hv the timer function. How long should I cook it for please? (How long does it take for your pressure cooker?)

  16. mikesadal joined 6/15 & has 1 comment

    Annyeong Maangchi this recipe was more delicious than I anticipated.

    I made the recipe for my mom but didnt use chestnuts(couldnt find) jujubes(i know she doesnt like them) and pine nuts (very expensive where Im from) but used pecans, almonds, cranberries and dark raisins. She loved it and told me to thank you!

    멕시코에서 감사합니다!!


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  17. sopisacat Virginia joined 3/15 & has 5 comments

    Do you have a recommended substitute for the canned chestnuts, or would you recommend just leaving them out? I’ve looked in several Asian market close to where I live and can’t find them anywhere.

    • Home Cooking Foodie Virginia joined 3/15 & has 5 comments

      Since I couldn’t find the canned chestnuts, I used other items. I used about 1 cup of cranberries, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, 2 Tbsp of golden raisins, 2 Tbsp of chopped dates & 2 Tbsp of pine nuts. I think it turned out pretty well. I think slivered almonds would work well also.

      Yaksik makes me think of a Korean version of granola, actually. Rice instead of oats, of course. I’ve enclosed a picture below. I was so excited to try it that we ate a piece before I remembered to take a picture. I also tried it for breakfast. It was very good. :)


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  18. smedmonds joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

    Can we use regular rice cooker for this recipe? If so, how much water?

  19. grandgazou joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi.

    Is it possible to use a rice cooker instead of a pressure cooker?

  20. Tosin_Oc London, UK joined 3/15 & has 40 comments

    Maangchiiiiiiii! How do you eat such delicious rich foods and stay so lovely and slim?? What’s your secret? I feel my jeans getting tighter already haha!

    Lots of Love!

  21. TaeguChadd New Jersey joined 2/11 & has 6 comments

    Another PERFECT recipe from you! SOOOO delicious! I can’t wit for your cookbook to arrive!! :-)


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  22. Tosin_Oc London, UK joined 3/15 & has 40 comments

    I made this and it was out of this world. Completely blew me away! Maangchi you’re a genius and a brilliant teacher!! Posting pics soon yay!

  23. Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13 & has 35 comments

    Yay!!! You NEVER fail me, ever! This is by far my favorite Korean dessert recipe!!!! I need to try this soon~~~thanks so much!

  24. salina Malaysia joined 8/11 & has 9 comments

    Selamat Petang Maangchi :)

    I check almost everyday for your recipes & its finally here :) can’t wait to try this recipes & add its to my collections of your recipes :) hoping mine will do yours justice :)

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