Zongzi Recipe (Chinese Sticky Rice Dumplings)

Zongzi, Chinese sticky rice dumpling or sometimes called as Chinese tamales, go hand in hand with the Dragon Boat Festival (also known as the Duanwu festival, usually celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar). The fresh and unique fragrance of the reed leaves or bamboo leaves can greatly set the pure aroma of the glutinous rice off. Zongzi is a traditional family festival food in most provinces. They may be different from filling, taste and shape.

zongzi for dragon boat festival

The filling of Zongzi can be very complex for example one of the most famous Zongzi—Jiangxi Zongzi. Usually pork, mung bean paste, red beans paste and salted duck eggs are all wrapped in a small and tinny Zongzi. During my childhood, my grandma used to make pure Zongzi without any filling and then top with sugar or honey before serving. That’s the best flavor in my mind.However you can try your combinations!! There are over 30 Zongzi fillings in China.

zongzi for dragon boat festival
zongzi for dragon boat festival

The leaves used for wrapping Zongzi can be reed leaves or bamboo leaves. And the principle is that fresh ones are better than dried ones. If fresh ones are too difficult to find, you can buy packaged dried ones and then soak them in clean water overnight. Then the leaves will turn green again. Wash them carefully with a clean towel. The upper green ones are fresh leaves while the lighter ones are dried leaves. The two sides are different. Front side is much smoother than the back side. When overlay the leaves in following wrapping process, remember to overlay back to back so we can have smooth Zongzi!

zongzi for dragon boat festival

zongzi recipe for dragon boat festival-3

I soak around 3 cups of glutinous rice this time and make three filling. For each of the filling, I am using 1 glutinous rice. For how to wrap a Zongzi, please refer to the following video.

Zongzi Recipe
Classic Chinese Zongzi recipe

dim sum, staple food


Servings: 12 Making around 12 middle size Zongzi
Calories: 68 kcal
Author: Elaine

  • Bamboo leaves or other leaves for wrapping Zongzi
  • String or cotton yarn for fixing Zongzi
Savory Pork filling
  • 1/2
    pork meat
    , cut into one bite size
  • 1.5
    Chinese five spice powder
  • Pinch
    of salt
  • 1/2
    tablespoon +1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1
    dark soy sauce
  • 1/2
    cooking wine
With red bean paste
  • 2
    red bean paste
    , Or you can use red beans directly, pre-soaked
Corn filling
  • 1
  • 1/3

  1. For dry leaves, pre-soak in clean water overnight and it will turn green in next morning. And then wash the leaves carefully with a clean towel.
Savory Pork Filling Zongzi
  1. Marinate pork with 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder, cooking wine, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. And then add around 1 tablespoon light soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder in the soaked rice.
Corn filling
  1. Mix glutinous rice with corn and sugar. Set aside?
Red bean paste filling
  1. If you prefer to cook red bean paste at home, refer here. Or purchase one package from Chinese market.
Wrap Zongzi
  1. Prepare all the filling, leaves and cotton thread for fixing the Zongzi. For the detailed instructions, refer to the video above.
  2. Take two leaves, and overlay with each other (back to back please). And then wrap the leaves like a taper around 1/3 place (there should be no opening at the bottom otherwise the rice might escape during later cooking). Fill with filling(place red bean paste and pork in the middle) and then cover with the top part of leaves. Fold top leaves and wrap according to the shape of the Zongzi. Fix with cotton yarn in the middle. It is not difficult but hard to describe with words. So please watch the video carefully!
Cook Zongzi
  1. Add enough water to cover Zongzi and then bring to boil. Simmer for 80 minutes and then soak for around 1 hour after turning off the fire.
  2. Remove the leaves and serve directly (for sweet Zongzi, sprinkle some sugar or top with honey)

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

This Zongzi can be frozen for 2 weeks.

Nutrition Facts
Zongzi Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 68
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Cholesterol 6mg2%
Sodium 136mg6%
Potassium 66mg2%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 35IU1%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
zongzi for dragon boat festival
Zongzi Recipe


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注