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4.6 from 5 votes

Sweet Fermented Rice (酒酿, Jiu Niang)

Sweet Fermented Rice, or jiu niang (酒酿), is a versatile Chinese specialty that can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. Fermenting rice at home isn't actually that complicated, and it's a great treat for special occasions.
Prep Time3 d
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time3 d 30 mins
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: jiu niang
Servings: 12
Calories: 57kcal
Author: Judy



  • Wash the sweet rice a couple of times, and then soak in cold water overnight in a clean glass or ceramic bowl. The water level should be two inches above the rice to leave room for the rice to expand.
  • The next day, drain off the water. Arrange the soaked sweet rice in a thin layer on a plate lined with parchment paper. You can also put the parchment directly on the steaming surface. Steam for 30 minutes until all the rice grains turn transparent. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Grind the distiller’s yeast in between two layers of parchment paper with a rolling pin, then mix it in with ¾ cup warm water. Once the steamed rice is cooled to the touch, transfer it to a clean (grease free) bowl or container, pour the yeast mixture over the rice. Stir well to combine everything, level out the rice, and create a crater in the center.
  • Tightly cover the bowl with clear plastic wrap, place it in a warm place in the house to start the fermentation process, and check it daily!
  • The fermentation process will be complete when the liquid or resulting rice wine is at the same level as the rice. Also, the rice will look mushy and joined together as one mass. Visible bubbles in the rice wine is normal. When you can detect all of these signs, it’s time to lift the cover and have a taste using a clean spoon, please do not cross contaminate. Liquid should taste sweet with a wine-like aroma and the rice should have the texture of cooked oatmeal.
  • Transfer to the fridge immediately to stop any additional fermentation. Your fermented rice will last for 1-2 months in the refrigerator.
  • One important note: this sweet fermented rice recipe is very sweet and very low in alcohol levels, so it’s okay for all ages, but NOT necessarily for everyone depending on your health conditions. Please enjoy at your own discretion!


Makes about 2 cups (12 servings)


Calories: 57kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.3mg