Sticky rice is eaten all over Asia. It is also called sweet rice and glutinous rice. When cooked, this rice with round grains is easy to spot because it feels like glue. The starch amylose is what makes sticky rice so sticky. It either doesn’t have any or very little of it. Sticky rice comes in both long- and short-grain types and is used in sweet and savory Chinese dishes. It is usually steamed.
Sticky rice requires about two times as much as regular white rice. Soak between 6 and 24 hours. Let it soak longer if you want your sticky rice to be softer. Drain the water (you don’t have to shake off the extra water) and spread the rice evenly on a heat-safe plate with a rim or a bamboo steamer lined with natural steamer liners or parchment paper.
How to Make Sticky Rice? (Stovetop or Instant Pot)
Sticky rice made in the Thai style goes well with grilled meats, spicy Thai salads, and all your other favorite Thai dishes. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make sticky rice that is easy to roll into balls. You can do this on the stovetop (no special tools are needed) or in an Instant Pot.
Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker or Large Pot
- 2 cups Glutinous or “Sweet” Rice (see note)
Measure the rice into a bowl and cover it with water by a few inches. Soak for 4 to 10 hours.
If Cooking on the Stovetop:
- Place a colander inside a Dutch oven or large pot with a lid. It’s okay if the lid is slightly open or there is a small gap above the colander.
- Just below the bottom of the colander, add enough water to cover.
- Pour the rice that has been soaking into the colander, then put the colander into the Dutch oven.
- Put on medium heat and bring to a slow boil.
- Cover the Dutch oven or pot and turn down the heat, so the water stays at a low simmer. Cover the rice and steam it for 10 minutes.
- Flip the rice like you would make a pancake with a large spatula. (This will help it cook all the way through)
- Put the lid back on and keep steaming the rice for another 10 to 20 minutes. Near the end of the cooking time, check the rice every few minutes to see if it’s done. (You want the rice grains to be separate and firm, but when rolled or pressed between your fingers, they should stick together.
- Take the rice off the heat, but leave the lid on until you’re ready to serve. Serve the rice warm, no more than 15 minutes after you’ve made it.
If Cooking in the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker:
- Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot’s bowl.
- Drain the rice using a colander that will fit inside the Instant Pot bowl and is safe to use under pressure.
- Put the rice in the colander and into the Instant Pot’s bowl. (Note: The water shouldn’t touch the rice. If you need to, add a rack, so the rice sits above the water.)
- Close the lid and lock it.
- Set the pressure cooker to high for 12 minutes and use the manual setting.
- Let the pressure go down for 12 minutes, then release it by hand.
- Unlock the lid, but leave it on with a small gap until you are ready to serve. Serve the rice warm, no more than 15 minutes after you’ve made it.
What are the Uses of Sticky Rice?
Sticky rice is used in desserts, as a stuffing for duck, and in dumplings like shumai and zongzi. Most recipes for sticky rice call for it to be steamed or boiled, but it can also be stir-fried or made like Italian risotto.
Usually, long-grain sticky rice is used for savory dishes, and short-grain sticky rice is used for sweets when cooking Chinese food. This is because long-grain sticky rice is less sticky and has a firmer texture than short-grain sticky rice, which makes it taste better in savory dishes. But desserts like a sweet rice cake or stuffed lotus root work better with short-grain sticky rice.
Sticky rice is popular in Thai, Japanese, and Chinese cuisines. It is served in many Asian countries. It tastes sweet or floral and has a chewy texture. It goes well with rich meat dishes as a side dish but can also be made into pudding for desserts or breakfast. We also love to put it in dumplings or make rice cakes out of it. These cakes are called mochi in Japan and are soft and chewy. Sticky rice can also be fried into patties that taste like Italian arancini on the outside.
Sticky Rice Recipes
In recipes where the rice needs to stick together, glutinous rice is used. It is also good in dishes that have sweet tastes.
- Stuffed Lotus Root With Sweet Sticky Rice
- Pearl Balls
- Peanut Sticky Rice
What does it Taste Like?
Because it tastes sweet, sticky rice is called “sweet rice.” It tastes sweeter than regular white rice, which is why dessert recipes work so well with it. But what people like most about it is how chewy and sticky it is.
Sticky Rice vs. Other White Rice
Other kinds of rice have two kinds of starch: amylose and amylopectin. The ratio of these two types of starch determines how sticky the rice is. Long-grain white rice with a high amylose content (19 to 23%) will turn out nice and fluffy, but short-grain white rice with a low amylose content (12 to 19%) will make the grains stick together. On the other hand, sticky rice has no more than 1% amylose and a lot of amylopectins, making it very sticky when cooked.
Where to Buy Sticky Rice?
Sticky rice is likely found in supermarkets in the international aisle or on the shelves near the rice. This is because there is more interest in and access to Asian ingredients. It is also sold online and in Chinese and Asian markets. It comes in plastic pouches. Some other names for sticky rice are glutinous rice, pearl rice, mochi rice, and waxy rice. There are also unmilled types of sticky rice that are black and purple.
What are the Types of Sticky Rice?
Sticky rice comes in different kinds. Black (or purple) sticky rice is made from whole grains and turns a deep purple when cooked. There is also Japanese short-grain sticky rice, which is sweeter than Thai long-grain sticky rice, which smells like flowers. We recommend using Thai sticky rice, like Three Rings, when making a dish like Sticky Rice with Mango-Coconut Sauce. We’d use Japanese sticky rice like Ubara Rice for mochi. Jasmine rice is the kind you need. It is grown in Thailand and gets its name from the sweet-smelling jasmine flower. It has a slightly sweet, fragrant taste and a sticky, glutinous texture. Don’t try to use other kinds of long-grain rice.
Uncooked rice can be kept as long as you want if it is well sealed and hasn’t gotten wet. Sticky rice can be kept in the cupboard, fridge, or freezer. When raw rice, it has bacteria that can quickly multiply after it is cooked. So, if you want to store cooked sticky rice, let it cool as quickly as possible. To do this, spread the hot rice in a single layer on a baking sheet and put it in the fridge. Once the rice has cooled, please put it in a container that won’t let air in and put it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days. Sticky rice that has already been cooked can also be frozen for up to a month.
Is Sticky Rice Healthy?
Sticky rice gets its glue-like texture from the extra starch that comes out when it is steamed. Sticky rice has health benefits like strengthening bones, reducing inflammation, making the heart healthier, and so on. Because it has a lot of starch, the rice grains stick together. This is what makes it “sticky” rice. Sticky rice is less healthy than regular rice overall, but it has a lot of protein, fiber, and zinc.
Sticky rice, glutinous rice, is a staple in Southeast Asian cooking. It can be steamed or boiled to be used in recipes. The texture of sticky rice comes from a single genetic change that makes the rice lack amylose, a type of starch that would normally help the cooked rice grains stay separate. Sticky rice is good for your health because it helps you get more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Calories and Carbohydrates
Each cup of cooked sticky rice has 169 calories, 8 percent of the 2,000 calories you should eat daily. Most of these calories, or 83%, come from the carbs in the sticky rice. Each serving has 36.7 grams of total carbs, including 1.7 grams fiber. Your body breaks down complex carbs, like those in sticky rice, into glucose, which is then used to power your brain, liver, and muscles. Sticky rice fiber is also good for your health. The McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois says it helps you eat more fiber, lowering your heart disease risk.
Selenium helps your thyroid gland by controlling how your thyroid hormones work. It protects your tissues from free radical damage by acting as an antioxidant. This keeps your cells from getting hurt. It also keeps the walls of your blood vessels in good shape. Sticky rice is also a good way to get the mineral selenium, which is good for you. The Institute of Medicine says each cup of cooked sticky rice has 9.7 micrograms of selenium, 18% of the 55 micrograms you need daily.
Sticky rice is also good for your health because it has manganese. Manganese is important for a healthy metabolism because it helps break down carbs, proteins, and cholesterol. It also helps you make proteoglycans, a family of proteins for healthy cartilage and bone tissue. The Institute of Medicine says that each serving of sticky rice adds 0.5 milligrams of manganese to your diet. This equals 22% of the recommended daily amount for men and 28% for women.
Sticky rice is more than just a way to describe how the rice cooks. It’s a unique rice variety, like basmati or jasmine rice. Without getting too far into the science of food, the basic idea is that all types of rice have two kinds of starch—amylopectin and amylose—that work together to make the texture of the finished dish.
Sticky rice has a lot of amylopectins and not much amylose, which helps the grains stick together as they cook. The main difference between sticky rice and Jasmine rice is that sticky rice is stickier and has more amylopectin than Jasmine rice. Sticky rice also takes a little longer to cook than Jasmine rice and usually needs to soak overnight.