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6 Different Ways to Make Thai Sticky Rice

Learn all the different ways you can make sticky rice right at home. There are various ways to make sticky rice, and I’m going to share with you each way and the pros and cons of both.

Sticky rice is a staple in most Thai and Lao household. Sticky rice is also known as glutinous rice. It has a chewy, gummy texture that is distinct from other rice.

Authentic Thai and Lao sticky rice is often made using a bamboo steamer to ensure consistency in texture, there are other ways to make sticky rice that aren’t as traditional.

If you don’t want to store a metal pot and a large sticky rice basket in your kitchen just for a dish that you make in frequently, I’m going to share with you some of the methods to achieve a similar texture to what you would get if you made sticky rice the traditional way.

All About Sticky Rice Cuisine

Sticky rice is different than common long grain white rice and jasmine rice. Not only is it prepared different, the grain is completely different. It’s a shorter grain of rice that is grown in South East Asia. Sticky rice, known also as glutinous rice, has amylopectin which is a starch that allows the sticky, gummy texture to occur during steaming.

sticky glutinous rice versus jasmine rice

For Lao families, sticky rice is an absolute staple as it is served often with most meals. Thai cuisine is also known for serving sticky rice with most meals, but not as much as in Lao cuisine.

Different Methods for Making Sticky Rice

Below are the different ways that you can make sticky rice at home.

1. Traditional Method Using a Steamer Basket to Make Sticky Rice

The traditional method of making sticky rice includes using a steamer (find my kitchen appliance and utility recommendations here). This involves soaking the sticky rice in water overnight. Next, using a metal pot and a conical steamer basket, the rice is then steamed for twenty minutes over boiling water, turning once during the steaming process.

Find out how to make truly traditional authentic sticky rice here.

2. Stove Top for Sticky Rice without Basket Using Splatter Guard

If you don’t have a basket, you can use a splatter guard to make sticky rice.

Bring a large pot that will allow the splatter guard to sit on top to boiling water. Place the rice on the screen into a even layer less than 2 inches high. Cover the rice with a bowl or lid and allow it to steam for 35 minutes, turning midway through.

3. Stove Top for Sticky Rice Making with Strainer

If you don’t have a flat splatter guard, you could use a metal, stainless steel strainer by turning it upside down and adding rice so it indents the strainer without touching the water. Allow to cook for 30-35 minutes until done, turning the rice carefully halfway through.

4. Stove Top for Sticky Rice Making with Heavy Duty Aluminum or Tin Foil

If you don’t have a splatter guard or strainer, you can use heavy duty tin foil. Take tin foil that can cover the surface of a pot or a deep pan. Wrap the pot on top evenly and securely with the tin foil. Add the rice in small amounts so as not to break the foil. Allow to cook for 30-35 minutes until done, turning the rice carefully halfway through.

5. Microwave Method for Making Sticky Rice

The microwave method of making sticky rice involves two phases of cooking time. After an overnight soak, the sticky rice is put into a bowl with a slip for 7 minutes. It is then stirred, and then put in the microwave for another 3 minutes. This method often requires a lot of careful handling due to how hot the containers for the rice gets.

Find out detailed steps on how to make sticky rice using a microwave.

6. Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker Sticky Rice

To make sticky rice in the Instant pot, you’ll need to have overnight soaked sticky rice. You’ll add ⅔ cup of rice in a pressure cooker stainless steel safe bowl with 1 cup of water. Next, 1 cup of water is added to the bottom of the pressure cooker with the bowl placed on top. The pressure cooker is set to high pressure for 12 minutes with natural release.

Learn all about pressure cooking sticky rice here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sticky Rice

What rice is used for sticky rice?

Sticky rice is also known formally as glutinous rice or sweet rice. It’s a rice the contains more starch than regular long-grain white rice.

What dishes go well with sticky rice?

Sticky rice pairs well with papaya salad and minced meat salad (larb gai).

What is the best sticky rice brand?

The Rose Brand is often a favorite choice for making sticky rice.

Note: Most Asian Grocers refer to products and their brands by the name of the logo, rather than the name of the company or actual brand name.

More Sticky Thai Recipes That You’ll Love

If you love this list of ways to make Thai sticky rice, see below for some more ways you can use glutinous rice. 

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