How to make sticky rice

Learn how to make the perfect sticky rice with our easy recipe and top chef's tips. Try it with our favourite Thai curries and stir-fry recipes.

Rice with chicken and box choi on plates

Sticky rice is a dish made with long grain Thai rice, which is cooked until glutenous and sticky and is often infused with aromatics. It works well with Thai red curries, green curriesstir-fry recipes and even as part of a sweet dish with coconut milk like our sticky rice & mango. Follow our simple method and then try it with our favourite recipes.

Check out our ultimate Thai recipe collection for more dishes full of spice and flavour.

What kind of rice is used for sticky rice?

The type of rice you need is jasmine rice. Named after the sweet-smelling jasmine flower, it's grown in Thailand and its key characteristics are a slightly sweet, fragrant flavour and sticky glutinous texture. Don’t attempt to use other long grain rice varieties. 

How do you prepare sticky rice? 

  • Soak the rice (450g is a good quantity to serve four) overnight in a bowl of covered cold water. This helps give the rice a softer texture. 
  • Drain the rice, shaking it in a colander to remove the excess water. 

How to cook sticky rice

Steaming sticky rice

  • Line a steamer basket with non-stick parchment (this stops the rice sticking to the metal). 
  • Fill a large pan with a 3cm depth of water. Sit the tight-fitting steamer on top, then bring to a simmer.
  • Put the rice in the steamer and cook, covered, for 35-45 mins or until sticky and tender. Keep covered with damp parchment to stop it drying out. 

Added aromatics

Kaffir lime leaves: Popping two-three fresh kaffir lime leaves into your rice when steaming gives it a delicious, fresh fragrant flavour, which works well with a Thai green curry.

Coconut: Fresh grated coconut adds a sweetness to the rice and works well with spicier dishes. For a sweet take on sticky rice, make a creamy coconut and sugar mixture and stir through the cooked rice. Try it in our sticky rice & mango recipe.

Lemongrass: Split a fresh lemongrass stalk in half and add before steaming. 

Key points to remember

  • Keep your rice covered with a damp piece of baking parchment once cooked. As soon as the rice hits room temperature, it will begin to harden. Plate up just before serving. 
  • Wet the serving spoon you’re using so the rice comes away easily from it. 
  • Once sticky rice goes cold, it's harder to digest. It’s best not to store leftovers and eat cold. 

Our top sticky rice recipes

1. Easy beef and black bean sauce

Beef and peppers in bowls with rice
Our easy beef in black bean sauce stir-fry is ideal for a midweek family meal everyone will love. Use tender rump steak, crunchy veg and plenty of warming ginger and chilli for a satisfying supper you can make in just 30 minutes. Serve with mounds of sticky rice and a sprinkling of fresh coriander. 
 

2. Sticky coconut rice, mango & passion fruit

Rice with mango on plate
Try our sticky coconut rice, mango & passion fruit dish for a tasty Thai dessert. The combination of rich and creamy coconut with zingy fruit is the perfect refreshing end to a celebratory meal. You can make the mango sauce a day ahead to save time. 
 

3. Easy teriyaki chicken

Chicken with rice and bok choi in bowl
It takes just 20 minutes to whip up our easy teriyaki chicken, perfect for feeding the family in a hurry. The thick honey and soy sauce takes minutes to make and is vastly superior to shop-bought versions. Serve with steamed Asian veg like pak choi. 
 

4. Thai red duck with sticky pineapple rice

Duck and pineapple rice on plate with chop sticks
Serve up a satisfying supper for two with our Thai red duck with sticky pineapple rice. Marinate the duck breasts in spicy red curry paste and citrussy lime to soak up even more of the flavours before cooking. This healthy dinner option is full of colour and texture to brighten up your midweek menu. 
 

Mastered this technique? Try our other essential cooking tips

How to make gnocchi
How to make icing sugar
How to cook baby corn
How to cook topside of beef
Healthy Thai recipes

What's your favourite way to serve sticky rice? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Be the first to comment...We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?
Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.