The Easiest Way to Make Sticky Rice

Posted on: June 11, 2020

Sticky rice tastes sweet and clumps together, making it a popular component of Asian desserts and side dishes. There are many types of sticky rice from different countries including Thailand and Japan. (Japanese sticky rice is known as an ingredient for mochi.) Here we talk about Thai or Chinese style long-grain sticky rice. Cooking sticky rice at home can be as simple as buying a bag labeled “long-grain sticky rice,” “glutinous rice,” “sweet rice” or something similar.

Don’t have access to an Asian food market to buy these products? Don’t worry! Here’s our guide to preparing store-bought varieties of sticky rice and some simple, yummy ways to create an alternative.

Table of Contents

The Secrets to Perfect Sticky Rice
Making Sticky Rice With Japanese Rice
Try This Recipe With Homemade Sticky Rice!

The Secrets to Perfect Sticky Rice

The key to sticky rice is to not rinse the rice — this washes away the starch dust that allows the rice to clump. Soak the sticky rice for in enough water to cover the rice. This softens the grain and the extra water helps add that fluffy texture. Soaking for 4-24 hours is a good range. After soaking, add a little salt before cooking for taste, about 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon.

Not every kitchen has a traditional bamboo basket used to prepare sticky rice, so here are some cooking methods you can try.

Steamer Basket

Drain the soaked rice in a colander and add it to your steamer basket. Lining with a parchment paper is a good way to prevent the rice from sticking to the basket. Fill a large pot or wok with a few inches of water, heat until boiling and place the steamer over it, ensuring the rice doesn’t touch the water below. Cover for 20 minutes or so, and turn the rice over to let the top layer finish steaming for 5 more minutes at the bottom of the basket.


Heat an uncovered pot with the soaked rice and water until boiling. Reduce the heat, and set the lid slightly off-center to vent for 10 minutes. Next, use a fork to make a small hole in the center of the rice to the bottom of the pot and check if the water is fully absorbed. If so, turn off the heat, cover securely with the lid and allow the rice to finish steaming on the burner for another 8 minutes.

Rice Cooker

Let the rice soak inside the cooker, close the lid and let the appliance handle the heating. Some high-end rice cookers have a special setting for cooking sticky or sweet rice. Some digital rice cookers shut off automatically, while others will need you to turn them off after about 15-20 minutes once all the water is absorbed.

Making Sticky Rice With Japanese Rice

Japanese sushi rice can be used as an alternative to authentic sticky rice. It’s stickier than other types of rice and doesn’t require additional soaking. Simply follow the cooking instructions given on the Japanese rice packet you purchase.

Try This Recipe With Homemade Sticky Rice!

Quick Coconut Sticky Rice With Honey Hoisin Glazed Peaches

So good, you can treat this dish as a dessert! Our coconut sticky rice recipe uses instant white rice and a mixture of coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. When this sweet solution boils away with the rice, you’ll have a sticky texture to work with. For a delicious glaze on the peach slices, combine several tablespoons of honey, lemon juice and our savory Hoisin Sauce. After briefly cooking the peaches with melted butter, combine the fruit with the sauce and heat until thickened. Serve atop a bowl of coconut sticky rice and enjoy!

Our Summer Vegetables & Pork Stir-Fry recipe, California Sushi Rolls, and Authentic Takikomi Gohan (Japanese mixed rice) are other delicious dishes that can be served over homemade sticky rice!

Discover more creative rice dishes in our recipes and check out our blog for more cooking tips!