Sesame Balls (Banh Cam)

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam) | recipe from runawayrice.comMaking these delicious Sesame Balls is an activity the whole family can enjoy.  This is one of those recipes where it helps to have lots of helping hands.  Set up an assembly line where someone can roll the balls, the kiddies can apply the sesame seeds and someone can fry the balls.  Of course, you’ll have lots of volunteers for the eating part.  The recipe makes 1 dozen good-sized sesame balls but you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Different brands of glutinous rice flour yield different results.  Test the dough by stretching it slightly.  If it cracks, it’s too dry so add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time.  The dough should be soft and smooth and not sticky.

Gently press the sesame seeds into the ball or they will pop off when they are immersed in the hot oil.

The rule for frying these balls is to have the oil level slightly higher than the height of the balls.  You can use less oil if you use a smaller pan but you’ll have to fry in several batches.  If you’re making a double recipe, let’s say for a party, buy lots of oil and fry in a large wok.

Getting the oil temperature just right is probably the trickiest part of cooking these balls to perfection.  Keep in mind that once the oil reaches the desired temperature of 315 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll have to turn down the heat slightly to keep it at this temperature.  If the oil is too hot, the balls will cook too quickly.  The dough will be over-cooked on the outside but raw on the inside.  I use a thermometer to get the oil temperature just right.  If you don’t have one, you can test the oil by dipping chopsticks into the oil.  If small bubbles form gently around the tips of the chopsticks, the oil is the right temperature.  The bubbles should be gentle and not splatter and form vigorously indicating the oil is too hot.  If the latter is the case, lower the heat and try again in a few minutes.

Refrigerate what is not eaten at the end of the day.  The best way to reheat the balls is to pop them in the toaster oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-6 minutes.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Hollow Donuts (Banh Tieu) and Fried Breadsticks.


12 filling balls
1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup potato flakes + 1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 Tbsp rice flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
3 cups vegetable oil for frying


In a measuring cup, combine sugar with the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  In a large bowl, add the boiling water to the potato flakes.  Stir until the potatoes are thick and creamy.  Add the glutinous rice flour, rice flour, baking powder, oil and syrup.  Mix together working in the dry flour until a soft dough forms.  Knead the dough gently with your hands.  If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 Tbsp at a time.  The dough should be soft and smooth, not wet and sticky.   (The additional water varies with the type of glutinous rice flour used.  I typically add  2-3 Tbsp more.)  Cover dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch log.  Cut the log in half and then cut each section in half again making 4 equal sections.  Cut each of the sections into 3 equal pieces making 12 pieces all together.

Take a section of dough and flatten making approximately a 3-inch circle. Flatten the edges of the dough so it’s slightly thinner than the middle.  Place a filling ball in the center.  Wrap the dough around the ball pinching together the ends sealing the filling completely.  Roll the ball between your palms to form a smooth ball.

Roll the ball in sesame seeds covering the dough completely.  Gently roll the ball between your palms pressing the sesame seeds into the dough.

Over Medium heat, heat oil until the temperature is 315 degrees Fahrenheit.  Turn down heat slightly to Medium Low.  Carefully drop the sesame balls into the hot oil.  Cook for 1 minute and then rotate the balls.  After 3 minutes the balls float to the top.  Fry balls for another 5-7 minutes rotating them in the oil so they brown evenly.  When they are golden brown, remove from pan and place on paper towels and allow to cool slightly.

Enjoy while warm!

Yields:  1 dozen

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam) | recipe from




Sesame Balls with Pumpkin Filling | recipe from
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47 Responses to Sesame Balls (Banh Cam)

  1. sheila mearns September 10, 2018 at 10:20 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    Can I freeze the sesame balls for frying some other time? How long would they keep in the freezer.

    Thank you

    • Trang September 11, 2018 at 9:12 am #

      Hi Sheila,
      Yes, wrap them well. Freeze the uncooked sesame balls for up to 3 months. Deep-fry them frozen, no need to defrost. Enjoy!

  2. Nina June 30, 2018 at 11:43 am #

    Do I need to put something in the middle to get the air/hollow inside? My sesame balls stayed the same size..flour cooked but not hollow in the middle.

    • Trang July 1, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

      Hi Nina,
      You don’t have to put anything in the middle. The dough should puff up automatically around the filling. My thoughts: 1) the oil isn’t hot enough and so the dough isn’t puffing up OR 2) the oil is too hot and it’s cooking the dough instantly before it can expand. Do you think you have the oil at the right temperature?

  3. Josephine miranda August 20, 2017 at 5:00 am #

    How can sesame ball remain on its shape and without deforming? May sesame ball deformed its shape when its getting warm…pls help

    • Trang August 25, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi Josephine,
      How long did you let the sesame balls rest before frying? If the dough is a bit wet, the balls may lose their shape while resting. You can also put the balls in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry them. Good Luck!

  4. Flo May 21, 2016 at 2:25 am #

    Hi Trang

    I tried your recipe first time this morning and it was a success . It’s exactly the same taste as the one I always buy from the Chinese shop. Now I don’t have to buy them anymore, besides they’re quite expensive . It was kind of you to share this awesome recipe. Thank you very much

    • Trang May 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Flo,
      Thanks for trying my recipe. I am glad to hear it turned out well for you. Great job!

      • Annie September 14, 2016 at 3:39 am #

        Hi..can i make this sesame balls night before the party?can i refrigirate it?

        • Trang September 16, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

          Hi Annie,
          Yes you can make the day before and no refrigeration is needed. Prior to serving, warm them up on an oven. Enjoy!

  5. Sao Mai February 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    how many cup of mashed potato substitution would you recommend for your recipe of 1/2 cup potato flakes + 1/2 cup boiling water?

    • Trang February 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

      Hi Sao,
      It’s approximately 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes. Good Luck with the recipe!

  6. Marion January 8, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    Hi Trang,
    I absolutely love your website and especially your sesame balls recipe! As I have never before worked with rice flour or tapioca starch I was a bit worried. But I managed to not make that big a mess. And it was a great surprise for my half Vietnamese boyfriend 🙂 We both love sesame balls.
    I’ll definitely try more of your yummy recipes! Thanks so much for all your time and effort!

    • Trang January 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

      Hi Marion,

      Kudos to you! I am so glad you were successful with this recipe and what a nice treat for your boyfriend. It’s a lot of sesame balls for two and you can freeze them and enjoy later whenever the craving hits. 🙂

  7. Diana October 14, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    How do you make these hollow and come out really big?

    I recently tried these hollow ones and they seemed bigger than baseballs! I thought maybe you leave an air pocket in the middle so it grows real big but I saw some of your replies saying that this may cause it to explode.

    Any advice on how to get it to blow up real big?

  8. Brim July 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    How did you make sure your sesame seeds didn’t fall off while frying? Mine fell off a lot (caused my sesame become bald) even I press and make sure it sticks well to the dough before frying it.
    Please help. Thanks

    • Trang July 27, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Brim,

      Use a rolling pin to press the sesame seeds into the dough as you’re flattening the dough. Also, I use a lot of sesame seeds to adjust for some falling out during frying. Hope that helps.

  9. natasha May 24, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    Just want to let u know I made these over the weekend and it was a great success. I followed the recipe as it is and it was perfect.

    Will definitely make again and again.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    • Trang May 25, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

      Hi Natasha,

      Yeah! Glad you enjoyed the recipe and I hope you found it easy to make. Thanks for taking the time to share your results. 🙂

      • suong December 22, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

        Hi Trang, i would like to know what do you put in after the oil, and how much. thanhks

        • Trang December 31, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

          Hi Suong,
          I use a small saucepan so I don’t have to use a lot of oil. I use about 3 cups oil total but there’s usually a good amount leftover after frying.
          I hope that helps.

  10. Xu May 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi Trang
    thanks for the recipe, my family loves it.
    I would like to make the dough more chewy, what type of flour do I need to add?

    • Trang May 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      Hi Xu, for chewier Sesame Balls you replace 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour with tapioca starch. Good Luck with the recipe.

  11. Thanh December 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    Hi Trang, potato flake mua cho Viet Nam co khong? Hoac mua cho nao ? Cam on Trang.

    • Trang December 6, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Hi Thanh,

      Anh mua potato flakes o cho My de tim hon. O cho My, Anh mua “instant mashed potatoes flakes” ban trong hang convenience foods.
      Chuc Anh thanh cong voi cong thuc nay!

  12. ayu October 18, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    hi.. thank you for recipe.. when i fried why the balls explode so one side dark skin n nother side white can see inside

    • Trang October 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

      Hi Ayu,

      If there are air pockets between the dough and the filling, this will cause the ball to explode when frying. Wrap the dough firmly around the filling. After shaping the ball, squeeze it firmly between your palms to remove any excess air. Also when frying, make sure the oil is not too hot. I hope these tips help and you’ll try the recipe again. Good Luck!

  13. Lynn October 5, 2014 at 3:05 am #

    Hi Trang,
    I am so glad i found your Website !! :))
    I love these sesame balls and have always wanted to know how to make them.
    Now i do :))
    I absolutely love your videos , they are so easy to follow . Thank you

    • Trang October 6, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

      Hi Lynn,

      I am glad you like this recipe. I hope you’ll give the recipe a try and share your results with me. Good Luck!

  14. Jack August 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Hi, thanks for your recipe, but I just wonder that
    What kind of flour can substitute for the glutinous rice flour and rice flour? I’ve tried to AP flour and bread flour, but It came out not really crispy and chewy.

    • Trang September 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      Hi Jack,
      You need to use glutinous rice flour to achieve the unique sticky, chewy texture for these Sesame Balls. You can omit rice flour or sub it with AP flour since there’s just a small quantity used. AP and bread flour are not good substitutes for glutinous rice flour.
      Good Luck!

      • Doan November 24, 2016 at 8:37 am #

        Hi Trang,

        Can you explain for me: what is the different between the flour and the cake flour?

        Sometime I see some receipt they mixed the all purpose and cake flour. That why I can note use that receive. Thank you so much.

        • Trang December 4, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

          Hi Doan,
          Cake flour is lighter and has less proteins than all-purpose flour but it’s main ingredient is all-purpose flour. It’s often used in baking to give cakes a light and airy texture. If a recipe calls for cake flour and you don’t have it, you can make as follows: Measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tbsp of the flour and put away. Add 2 Tbsp corn starch to the all-purpose flour. Sift together a few times.
          Hope that helps!

  15. Hao Nguyen August 28, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Trang, I’m glad that I found this website. First of all, thank you for the recipe. I’ve tried to make it and it turned out so perferct! May I ask, can I freeze the sesame balls what are finished but not fried yet for long time until I’d to eat and just fry them for the next time?

    • Trang August 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Hao,
      I am glad you liked the recipe. Yes, you can freeze the un-fried ones. The balls have a tendency to get freezer burn so I suggest wrapping them with a layer of parchment paper or wax paper to help absorb the moisture. You can freeze for up to 4-5 months. Now you can make a small batch whenever you get the cravings! Enjoy 🙂

  16. Kim July 21, 2014 at 6:04 am #

    Đã làm thử món bánh cam., thành công ngay lần đầu. Bánh rất ngon, vỏ dòn và xốp, công thức rất rõ ràng. Cám ơn cô rất nhiều.

    • Trang July 23, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

      Hello Kim,
      Rất vui khi được biết bạn thành công với công thức Bánh Cam. Mong bạn tiếp tục ghé RunAwayRice và cho biết ý kiến bạn nhé.  Mến.

  17. Linh Tran May 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi Trang,,

    Thank you Trang đã chia sẽ những món ăn ngon. Bánh cam ngon lắm, đã thích bánh này từ lâu mà mãi đến bây giờ mới lằm đươc.

    • Trang June 2, 2014 at 7:29 am #

      Hi Linh,
      Rất vui khi được biết bạn thành công với công thức Bánh Cam. Mong bạn tiếp tục ghé channel RunAwayRice và cho biết ý kiến bạn nhé. 🙂


  18. Hua May 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I have always want to make sesame ball but find it difficult to find potato flakes in my place. Is it possible to use potato paste (boil potato and mash). I also like the sesame ball served in Hongkong timsum – no filling at all. Is it a different recipe?

    Look forward to your feedback.


    • Trang May 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

      Hi Hua,

      The potato flakes is a short cut and you can definitely boil a small potato and mash it up. You need just a bit more than 1/2 cup (about 5 oz) of mashed potatoes. My sister likes them without the filling and so I just fry up the dough for her. It’s very similar to the dim sum ones.
      Good Luck!

  19. Véronique April 28, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Hi, first of all, thank you for sharing this recepe. I tried it with my friends and it tastes perfect! The sesame seeds stick to the balls too. But when we did it, our balls just lost their round shape when they were cooling. If you have an idea about what caused this shift of shape during the cooling period, we would really be grateful to you. Thanks again!

    • Trang April 30, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Hi Veronique,

      I am glad you like the recipe. The balls while deflate a bit after they cool but should not fall flat. Be sure not to skip the potato flakes. It’s what gives the balls structure so they don’t go flat. Good Luck!

      • Véronique May 29, 2014 at 10:04 am #

        Hi Trang, thank you for the tip. As Hua, my friends and I could not find potato flakes, so we boiled a potato and added it to the recipe instead. Maybe we just did not put enough of it. We would like to do this recipe again because we loved it, so we will pay attention to this step 🙂

        • Trang June 2, 2014 at 7:16 am #

          Hi Veronique,
          Appreciate you trying this recipe. My family and friends love these balls and so I am always making them. I’ve also used sweet potatoes which tastes really good! One other thing to note: depending on the potato, if it’s really starchy, add a bit of water so it’s creamy like a mashed potato. This will help it to blend evenly with the dough. 🙂

  20. Sunny February 24, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    Hi, first of all, thank you for this recipe. Secondly, I have a question..have you ever incorporated coconut milk (like some other recipes for sesame balls) into your recipe and, if so, how does it affect the texture? Would you recommend leaving out the vegetable oil and some of the water since coconut milk would be some form of liquid that would dampen the dough? I would appreciate your input..thanks!

    • Trang February 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi Sunny,

      I have not made it with coconut milk before and think it would make the dough richer tasting. If you’d like to try the coconut milk, I would omit the oil as coconut milk has plenty of oil in it already. As you’re mixing and shaping the dough, to get the right consistency you may need to add a few tablespoons of hot water if the dough seems dry. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Good Luck!

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