Sticky Rice 101

You’ve probably come across sticky rice either at your local Thai restaurant or seen it featured in my other recipes. It’s dynamic in that it can be used in sweet dishes like my banana tamale or as a great sidekick to the savory Thai-style bbq pork. The process of making steamed rice is super simple, though it does require patience. You’ll need to soak the grains for about a day before you can begin the steaming process, but I promise you it’ll be worth it!

Because the rice is truly steamed unlike boiled like when you make rice in a rice cooker or a pot, the grains stick together and the result is perfect for tempering the heat of the condiments and soups found in Thai cuisine, or pairs really well with grilled meat and fish.

At home I have a traditional Thai sticky rice steaming basket, but I do prefer to use my dim sum  steamer because of its larger surface area, allowing me to spread the rice more thinly and thus steam quicker. If you’re making it for the first time, make sure the packaging on the rice that you get from the market is labeled “sweet rice” or “glutinous rice”. Thanks for sticking around for my sticky rice tutorial!


cup sweet glutinous rice
flour sack towel or cheesecloth


Step 1

Soak rice in water for 24 hours.

Step 2

Lay a flour sack towel at the bottom of your steaming surface. Scoop rice directly onto the towel and arrange evenly. Dump any excess water from your soaked rice.

Step 3

Fold your rice up in the towel and place the lid on the steamer. Allow to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Grains should be sticking to one another and not be overcooked.

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