Sticky rice is a delightful ingredient widely used in Asian cuisine. Its unique sticky texture and subtle sweetness make it a versatile staple in both sweet and savory dishes. If you’ve ever wondered how to make sticky rice that is perfectly cooked and full of flavor, this full guide is here to help.

1. What is Sticky Rice?

Sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice, is a type of short-grain rice commonly used in Asian cuisine. Despite its name, sticky rice does not contain gluten. The term “sticky” refers to the rice’s texture when cooked, as the grains cling together and have a sticky consistency.

Sticky rice has a higher starch content compared to other rice varieties, which gives it its characteristic stickiness. This makes it ideal for dishes that require the rice to be molded, wrapped, or shaped, such as sushi, rice dumplings, or sticky rice desserts.

When cooked, sticky rice becomes soft, chewy, and slightly translucent. It has a subtle, slightly sweet flavor that complements both savory and sweet dishes. The unique texture and flavor of sticky rice make it a staple ingredient in many traditional Asian dishes, where it plays a central role in both main courses and desserts.

Sticky rice is typically soaked before cooking to soften the grains and ensure even cooking. It can be cooked on stovetop, in rice cooker or in Instant Pot

Overall, sticky rice is a versatile and essential ingredient in Asian cuisine, cherished for its sticky texture, delightful taste, and ability to enhance a wide range of dishes.

2. How To Make Sticky Rice


  • 2 cups sticky rice (glutinous rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups water


Rinse Sticky Rice: Place the sticky rice in a large bowl and rinse it under cold water. Gently stir the rice with your hand while rinsing to remove any excess starch then drain.

Soak & Drain Sticky Rice: Transfer rinsed sticky rice to a saucepan and add enough water to cover the rice. Let it soak for at least 4 hours. Soaking the rice helps soften the grains and promote even cooking.

After soaking, drain the water from the rice using a fine-mesh sieve or colander. Make sure to remove as much water as possible.

Cook Sticky Rice:

  • Stovetop Method

Place the drained rice in a saucepan and add 2 1/2 cups of fresh water. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Avoid removing the lid or stirring the rice during this time to ensure even cooking and prevent steam from escaping.

After 15-20 minutes of simmering, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. This allows the rice absorb any remaining moisture.

  • Rice Cooker Method

Place the drained rice back into the inner pot of the rice cooker. Add 2 1/2 cups of fresh water to the rice. Close the lid of the rice cooker and select the appropriate cooking setting for sticky rice or the regular rice setting if available.

Press the start button on your rice cooker to begin the cooking cycle. The rice cooker will automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature based on the selected setting.

Once the cooking cycle is complete, let the rice sit in rice cooker for an additional 10 minutes to allow it  absorb any remaining moisture.

  • Instant Pot Method

Place the drained rice back into the inner pot of the Instant Pot then add 2 cups of fresh water to the rice. Close the lid and ensure the steam release valve is set to the sealing position. Select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” setting, and set the cooking time to 6 minutes on high pressure.

Press the start button on your Instant Pot to begin the cooking cycle. The Instant Pot will take some time to come to pressure before the cooking time begins.

Once the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully perform a quick pressure release by turning the steam release valve to the venting position. Be cautious of the hot steam.

Fluff Sticky Rice: After the resting time, remove the lid and fluff the rice gently with a fork or chopsticks to separate the grains. The sticky rice is now ready to be served.

3. What To Do With Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice Dumplings: Use sticky rice to make traditional Asian dumplings like Zongzi. Fill bamboo leaves with cooked sticky rice, along with ingredients like meat, beans, or nuts. Steam or boil the dumplings until they’re soft and fragrant.

Mango Sticky Rice: Create a classic Thai dessert by serving sticky rice with fresh slices of ripe mango. Cook the sticky rice and serve it warm or at room temperature, then top it with sweetened coconut milk and fresh mango slices.

Sticky Rice Balls: Make sweet sticky rice balls by shaping cooked sticky rice into small balls and coating them with sesame seeds or shredded coconut. Serve them as a snack or dessert.

Sticky Rice Cakes: Use sticky rice to make traditional rice cakes, such as Chinese Nian Gao or Korean Tteok. These cakes are often steamed or pan-fried and can be sweet or savory depending on the recipe.

Sticky Rice Stir-Fry: Turn sticky rice into a delicious stir-fried dish by combining it with your favorite vegetables, proteins like chicken or shrimp, and soy sauce or other seasonings. The sticky texture of the rice adds a unique element to the stir-fry.

Stuffed Sticky Rice: Create stuffed sticky rice parcels by filling them with a flavorful mixture of ingredients like mushrooms, chicken, Chinese sausage, or vegetables. Steam or bake them until they’re heated through and the flavors meld together.

Sticky Rice Sushi Rolls: Use sticky rice as the base for sushi rolls, also known as maki. Roll the rice with nori seaweed and your favorite fillings like fish, avocado, cucumber, or tempura. Slice the rolls into bite-sized pieces and serve with soy sauce and wasabi.

Sticky Rice Stuffing: Use sticky rice as a unique and delicious stuffing for poultry, such as chicken or duck. The sticky rice absorbs the flavors of the meat and other ingredients, resulting in a flavorful and moist stuffing.

With the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can now confidently prepare perfectly cooked sticky rice in various cooking methods. From enjoying it as a dessert with fresh fruits to incorporating it into savory dishes like dumplings or stir-fries, sticky rice adds a unique texture and flavor to your meals.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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