Sticky Rice: No Rice Cooker Required

Cooked sticky rice no rice cooker

 The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Final Steam/Rest: 10 mins
  • Yields: 6 cups

Sticky rice can be purchased at Asian food stores. Also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice, this type of grain sticks together when cooked. However, just like other varieties of rice, sticky rice is still gluten free. The Thai variety has a longer grain than Japanese or Chinese sweet rice. Although in Thailand sticky rice is steamed in long funnel-like baskets, our method, even if it's not strictly authentic, gives extremely delicious rice and is much easier to make. 

By soaking the rice before cooking, you're softening the tough outer shell of the grain. Otherwise, you may end up with hard and semi-cooked rice. Sticky rice goes well with stir-fries as well as dishes that have a lot of sauce to them, such as curries, but it is also beautiful and nutritious by itself. 

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    sticky rice ingredients
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  2. Place rice and water in a pot. Stir and soak for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 6 hours.

    sticky rice soaking in pot of water
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  3. After the rice has soaked, add 3/4 teaspoons of salt and stir.

    sticky rice with salt
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  4. Place the pot, covered, on the stove and heat over high heat. Once the water begins to bubble at a gentle boil, turn the heat down to medium-low so that it is nicely simmering.

  5. Once the rice is simmering, place the lid askew, allowing some of the steam to escape. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

    Sticky rice with lid askew simmering
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  6. After 10 minutes have passed, use a fork to pull the rice aside. Look down into the gap you've made. If all the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat. If there is still water in the pot, allow the rice to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed by the rice.

    sticky rice check to see if cooked
     The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  7. When all the water is gone, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner. Place lid on tight and allow rice to sit for 8 to 10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. The heat in the pot will ​steam cook the rice, finishing it off to perfection. 

    The rice will stay warm in this way for up to 2 hours.

Tips

  • Sticky rice becomes even stickier and slightly translucent when allowed to sit or when cooled and refrigerated.
  • Sticky rice is also used to make scrumptious Thai desserts, such as mango sticky rice.
  • Store sticky rice covered in the refrigerator, but be sure to eat it up within a day or two, as it will harden faster than regular rice.
  • You can also make sticky rice in a rice cooker.

Recipe Variation

  • If you would rather steam the sticky rice, follow the recipe on soaking and seasoning with salt. Then, drain the soaking water and transfer the rice to a banana leaf-lined colander or steamer. Cover and steam over high heat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until rice is translucent and soft.