What do Rice Cakes Taste Like?

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Rice cakes are a common snack in Asian households. They are nowadays becoming popular in western countries for their health benefits. Although rice cakes have been around for centuries, it was in 1980s they got the attention as a low-fat food.

Asian rice cakes have a bland flavor when you eat them without any add-ons. But, they taste spicy, sweet, salty, chocolaty, etc. depending upon the sauces and ingredients you use. Although Asian rice cake is the purest one, you will find Western rice cake too. This variety is crispier compared to the Asian ones and is normally sweet.

With a variety of rice cake flavors available, you might be wondering how does rice cake actually taste like. We have gathered all the information about the different flavor profiles of rice cakes in this article.

Let’s get started!

What do Rice Cakes Taste Like?

The taste of rice cake depends on a lot of factors including where you are having it, ingredients, way of preparation, etc. The two kinds of rice cakes- Asian and Western variants taste differently as they use different added ingredients. Further, you will also find different flavors in each one of them.

Let’s talk about the tastes of both of them separately:

Asian Rice Cake Flavor Profile

Asian rice cakes come in a variety of flavors. There are different types of rice cakes in different Asian countries too, like Korean rice cake, Chinese rice cake, Japanese rice cake, etc. Each of the taste differently. All these variants have a distinguishable unique flavor and texture profile.

Generally speaking, Asian rice cakes have a bland taste that is reminiscent to that of pounded rice. More than the taste, it’s the light texture that makes them a wonderful snack to have. Since they don’t have a strong flavor their own, they take the flavor of the sauces or ingredients you add to it.

As I said, it’s texture of rice cake that is most critical. Depending upon the texture, you will get different feel to the dish. There are basically two shapes- sliced and cylindrical. The thinly sliced rice cake are chewy, light and kind of airy. Cylindrical rice cakes are thicker and thickly.

The way of preparation also gives different taste and texture to rice cakes. You can either prepare rice cakes by steaming or frying. Steamed rice cakes is nothing but the pounded rice cake which is steamed or boiled for some time. It tastes mildly sweet. The fried rice cake takes a crispy texture.

Let’s have a quick overview of the flavor profiles of different types of Asian rice cakes:

Japanese Rice Cake

Japanese rice cake, also known as Mochi, tastes chewy and has sweet flavor profile similar to that of rice. It is very stretchy and also can take different flavors based on the ingredients you add to it.

Korean Rice Cake

Korean rice cake, also known as Tteokbokki, tastes sweet or spicy depending on the sauce they get served with.


Mugwort is a type of Korean rice cake made with Ssuk and rice cake. It gives you a sweet flavor from rice combined with mugwort taste. More than the taste, mugwort gives an aromatic feel to the dish.

Chinese Rice Cakes

Chinese rice cakes are so fluffy and taste mildly sweet with faint aroma of the rice.

Western Rice Cake Flavor Profile

The craze for rice cakes in western countries, especially in the United States has increased in the recent times. Thanks to the health benefits rice cakes have as a snack.

However, the tastes western and Asian rice cakes are bit different. Western rice cakes don’t use much sauces, compared to that of the Asian variant.

Western rice cakes taste plain and are available in both sweetened and unsweetened flavors. Sugar coated rice cake is one of the of the most favorites one in the western world. You won’t see lot of add-ons like beans, pepper, sauces etc. in the dish. These rice cakes are crispier too.

Are Rice Cakes Tasty?

Yes, rice cakes are tasty and also healthy. In fact, rice cakes come with a variety of flavors and you can choose the right flavor based on your taste preference. They come in flavors like bland, sweet, spicy, nutty, salty etc. depending on the ingredients you use to make them.

Although the rice cakes are generally bland or little sweetened in nature, you can escalate it’s flavor profile with the right ingredients.

Do Rice Cakes Taste like Pasta?

Yes, the plain rice cakes have the same taste as unseasoned pasta. Both of them does not have any strong flavor and have a mildly sweet or savory flavor. Further, the tastes of both rice cakes and pasta can be elevated to different flavors by adding different sauces.

It is the steamed rice in rice cakes that make it similar in taste to that of flour in the pasta. Both are bland and starchy.

What is the most popular flavor of Rice Cake?

The best flavor of rice cakes is the mildly sweetened one. It is wildly accepted for it’s authentic taste and health benefits.

Here is a list of the most popular rice cake flavors:

  1. Mildly sweetened
  2. Caramel corn
  3. Chocolate crunch
  4. Spicy
  5. Butter popcorn
  6. Salty
  7. Crispy
  8. White Cheddar flavored
  9. Apple Cinnamon
  10. Organic

Is Rice Cake Sweet?

Rice cakes are mildly sweet dish in it’s purest form due to the boiled and puffed rice. This is the natural flavor inherited from the brown rice. However, they can take different flavors based on the sauces or add-ons you use. If you are a fan of sweet flavors, you can add honey, beans, chocolate etc. to make it sweeter.

Why do Rice Cake taste bad?

Some people might find rice cakes have a bad taste. It’s because of the bland taste rice cakes have. Without no strong flavor profile associated with the dish, there is a chance that you don’t like the dish at all. You can closely relate it to that of an unsweetened pasta.

The best way to make it tasty is to eat it with some sauce or add additional ingredients to elevate the flavor to your preference.

Why do Rice Cakes taste like Popcorn?

Rice cakes taste like popcorn due to it’s puffed and airy nature. In fact, just like popcorns, rice cake also take the flavor of the add-ons like chocolate, caramel etc.

The similarity with popcorn is strong in the case of Western rice cakes which are crispier.

Wrapping Up

Rice cakes take a vide variety of flavor profiles like sweet, salty, savory, chocolaty, spicy etc. depending on how you prepare them. At it’s own, a rice cake have a bland or mild sweet taste.

If you are looking for a healthy snack, then this is one item you should try. With different types of rice cakes available, it should be very easy to find a type that matches your taste buds.

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