Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran)

Making these delicious Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran) is an activity the whole family can enjoy.  This is one of those recipes where it’s great to have helping hands.  Set up an assembly line where someone rolls the balls, the kiddies can apply the sesame seeds and a grown-up deep-fries the donuts.  Of course, you’ll have lots of volunteers for the eating part.  The recipe makes 1 dozen good-sized sesame balls and you can double or triple the recipe as needed. Enjoy!

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran) - Delicious Asian Donuts! | recipe from

Notes on the Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran) 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 balls or they will pop off when 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, use lots of oil and fry in a large wok or deep-fryer.

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 any remaining Sesame Balls at the end of the day.  The best way to reheat the Sesame Balls is in a toaster oven, set at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, for 5-6 minutes.

Watch the video for instructions.


If you enjoyed this Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran) recipe, you may also like:


Sesame Balls / Banh Cam / Banh Ran

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran) - Scrumptious and So Easy to Make at Home! | recipe from


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

Check out this post: Sweet Filling for Desserts and Pastries to learn how to make a scrumptious pumpkin spice filling.

Sesame Balls with Pumpkin Filling | recipe from

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65 Responses to Sesame Balls (Banh Cam / Banh Ran)

  1. Candace Tjoa January 16, 2021 at 2:56 pm #

    Wow, this recipe is great! I have tried the traditional Chinese recipe, but they always turned soft after an hour. These stayed crunchy all day!

    Thank you.

    • Trang June 28, 2021 at 1:17 pm #

      I am glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!

  2. Angelina June 23, 2020 at 8:17 pm #

    Hello! I was wondering how long they would last frozen after they are fried? Thanks!

  3. Iz Laurenz January 13, 2020 at 8:01 am #

    Hi! It’s my first time on your site and I’m so glad i found it! I have tasted sesame balls with sweet potato in the dough before. They were the best ones I’ve ever tasted! And they didn’t not harden the next day. Since then, I’ve searched for the a recipe1 and yours must be it! Thank you for sharing your recipe!! I’ve read olin one of your replies that boiled potatoes can be used instead of flakes. Would it make a difference b if I use less potatoes? Thank you in advance!!

  4. Naomi August 1, 2019 at 1:05 pm #

    Hye trang, tried ur sesame ball recioe several times its never fail me, bdw the potato flakes can it be subtitute with all purpose flour and steam potatoes? And how much the measurement for all purpose flour / steam potatoes? Tq

    • Trang August 7, 2019 at 12:03 pm #

      Hi Naomi,
      I am thrilled to hear you enjoy my sesame ball recipe. You can substitute the potato flakes with just a potato that is steamed (or boiled) and then mashed. You’ll need approximately 5 oz or 140 grams. Good Luck!

  5. Sue February 11, 2019 at 1:44 pm #

    I have used a few of your recipes and absolutely love your page. I am part of the Vietnamese instant pot page on Facebook and have told them and everyone I know about your site!
    Thank you!!

    • Trang February 12, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

      Hi Sue,
      I am thrilled you’re enjoying the recipes I am sharing! Thank you for getting the word out with the Vietnamese Instant Pot page. I hope you’ll visit my Facebook page and get connected as well.
      You’re welcomed to share recipe pics to my page. I’d love to see it! Happy Cooking! 🙂

  6. Vy February 11, 2019 at 11:37 am #

    Hi Trang,

    I was wondering if you have a recipe for red bean paste sesame balls?

  7. Catherine Wright January 30, 2019 at 12:57 pm #

    Hello! I made these for the first time in my life. Followed your recipes to a T and it came out perfectly. I froze the rest and fried them up just like you suggested. WONDERFUL. Thank you so much!

    • Trang January 31, 2019 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Catherine,
      I am so happy to hear you were successful with making Sesame Balls. They sound delicious! Wish I could try one…yum!! 🙂

  8. Tuty January 15, 2019 at 3:03 pm #

    Thank you, Trang for sharing this recipe. I followed your instructions and tips (for the dough and frying) . Everything came out great. No exploding balls…. The texture is still great the next morning (a little bit deflated but did not turn hard). I did warm them up in my toaster oven for my breakfast. This is definitely a keeper!

    • Trang January 16, 2019 at 10:47 am #

      Hi Tuty,
      I am so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! No exploding balls–that means you rolled and fried the banh cam perfectly. Great job! Love that you had these for breakfast. Why not?! 🙂

  9. Susanna December 4, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Did you use single or double acting baking powder?

    • Trang December 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

      Hi Susanna,
      I use double-acting baking powder. Enjoy the recipe! 🙂

  10. Nghi December 4, 2018 at 3:17 am #

    Hi chi lam xong cho vao ngăn đông để khi khác chiên được ko?

    • Trang December 6, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Hi Nghi,
      Yes em, you can freeze the sesame balls and fry later. You do not need to defrost and can fry them frozen. Good Luck!

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