The Best Way to Make Sticky Rice in a Rice Cooker

Slow cooker sticky rice in a wooden bowl
The Spruce
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Soak: 40 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Yields: 4 1/2 cups

There are many types of sticky rice from countries all around the world, including Thailand, China, and Japan. For this recipe, look for Thai sticky rice or Chinese sticky rice, sometimes labeled as "sweet rice" or "glutinous rice." While the grain goes by a few different names, they are all the same thing.

Traditionally, sticky rice is normally steamed, but did you know you can also make sticky rice in your rice cooker with delicious results? Cooking sticky rice in your rice cooker cuts down on steps and is so quick and easy to do you'll find yourself enjoying sticky rice more often.

Sticky rice is excellent served with stir-fries, curries, or any dishes with a delicious sauce. It's also great for desserts like mango sticky rice. If you don't have a rice cooker, you can make your sticky rice in a pot on the stove.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Thai sticky rice (also called sweet or glutinous rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sticky rice in rice cooker ingredients
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  2. Place sticky rice in your rice cooker.

    Add rice to rice cooker
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  3. Add the water and stir.

    Add water to rice cooker
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  4. Let the rice stand at least 40 minutes and up to 4 hours. Sticky rice has a hard outer shell that needs to soften in order for it to achieve the best texture.

    Let rice soak in rice cooker
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  5. Add the salt and stir once more. Turn on your rice cooker.

    Add salt to rice and water
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  6. When your rice cooker switches off, let the rice sit at least 5 minutes longer. Serve and enjoy!

    Finished rice on plate
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How to Store and Freeze

  • Store cooked sticky rice in your refrigerator and try to use it up within 2 to 3 days.
  • To freeze sticky rice, transfer portions to airtight containers or zip-close freezer bags. Freeze it for up to 2 months.

Tips

  • Sticky rice will become stickier the longer it sits, so if you want it very sticky, make it ahead of time.
  • If you find that the rice is too sticky for your liking, skip soaking the rice. Although soaking the rice before cooking is common, eliminating this step will result in a more al dente texture—while this may not be traditional, it may be more pleasing to your palate.

What's the difference between white rice and sticky rice?

The major difference between regular white rice and sticky rice is right there in the name—the latter has a sticky, glutinous texture. While white rice had individually textured grains, sticky rice sticks together and is great at soaking up sweet and savory sauces. It also requires soaking before cooking (white rice does not).

What's the difference between sticky rice and sweet rice?

Sticky rice goes by a few names, making it confusing when you visit the grocery store or read a recipe. It's often known as sweet rice thanks to its many applications in sweet dishes. Whether it's labeled sticky rice, Thai sticky rice, sweet rice, or glutinous rice, it's all the same type of rice and will work great for this recipe.

How to Use Sticky Rice

  • Sticky rice may be used in a variety of dishes, including desserts, stir-fry dishes, and in dumplings. Here are a few ideas:
  • Use sticky rice to make a layer cake dessert or the classic Thai favorite, mango rice.
  • Make sticky rice dumplings with prepared sticky rice, chicken, and seasonings.
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of day-old leftover sticky rice with 1 beaten egg and salt, to taste. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Shape the rice mixture into patties and fry until hot and golden brown on both sides.
  • Use soaked sticky rice to make a delicious sweet sticky rice cake.