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. 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.

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