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How To Make Sticky Rice In A Rice Cooker

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 29, 2024

Sticky rice is produced in a variety of countries across the world, notably Thailand, Korea, Japan, and China. It goes by various names in different countries, but the sweet lingering taste is oddly captivating no matter which part of the world you are from. Let’s learn how to make sticky rice in a rice cooker!

Thai or Chinese sticky rice is often known as “glutinous rice” or “sweet rice”. The name is self-explanatory: the dish has a sticky, spongy, sweet texture.

Now, sticky rice is traditionally made by steaming rice in bamboo containers. As exotic and fun as this sounds, it may not be a practical option for us today. This is where today’s excellent rice cookers come to our rescue. This amazing invention has cut down the time required to cook rice and works very well for making sticky rice.

You may think that since this is a traditional dish, it must be super complicated. Well, do you know that you can get a nice fragrant bowl of sticky rice using a rice cooker in under an hour?

Don’t worry, we got you covered. Follow this handy guide to prepare this lip-smacking dish and wow your friends with your culinary genius. No one needs to know that the rice cooker is the real winner!

Which Foods Can Be Paired With Sticky Rice?

Sticky rice goes well in stir-fries, stews, baked products, and other dishes. It’s also known as sweet rice and can be substituted for brown rice for a more buttery flavour. If you want to score some points with your friends over your cooking skills, looking at which foods pair well with sticky rice is a good idea.

It is consumed in different countries in different ways. For example, sticky rice is a popular dessert in China, served at festivals and celebratory events. It is wrapped in bamboo and/or banana leaves and eaten as a standalone dessert.

In Japan, it is also consumed similarly. However, it is often paired with soups and stews to balance out the sweet flavour.

In Thailand, it is traditionally served on banana leaves with seasonal fruits, mostly mango. A sweet syrup made topped with nuts is also served with this dish.

It is eaten out of bamboo and/or banana leaves or dipped in condensed milk in certain parts of India. This consistency is similar to rice pudding but is not as flowy in texture.

sticky rice with red berries on tip in a green bowl

Since this is a sweet dish, it is mostly served as a snack or at the end of meals. People of all ages love sticky rice. You can stick to the typical recipe and serve it as a standalone dessert or use fruits and nuts to garnish and give it a fancy look. Either way, your guests are bound to be asking for a second helping.

Which Type of Rice Is Used In Making Sticky Rice?

To make sticky rice, you must cover an equal amount of white and glutinous rice in hot water to achieve the desired sticky consistency. This recipe calls for short-grain white rice since long-grain rice will not provide the desired gooey texture.

It is important to select the right variety of rice while making sticky rice. Many people make a rookie mistake and buy their regular long-grained rice. Naturally, they are left astounded when the sticky rice turns out to be not so sticky after all!

In essence, all varieties of rice can be used in making sticky rice as long as it is short grain. Long-grain rice tends to separate and does not retain a sticky consistency, hence it is ideal for making savory rice dishes. Both white and brown rice can be used to make sticky rice. The result will have a darker colour if brown rice is used.

uncooked rice in a basket

Sticky rice is smaller and starchier than long-grain white rice, also known as honey rice, glutinous rice, or waxed rice. Rice varieties like jasmine, brown basmati, and white basmati are ideal for making sticky rice.

You could use a variety of thick enough rice when steamed to make amazing homemade sticky rice. Since basmati and jasmine rice are very high in starch content, they are ideal for making sticky rice.

Furthermore, these two varieties will greatly expand during the cooking process. This also aids greatly in achieving the correct consistency for making sticky rice. Brands would not matter much as long as the rice is short grain.

How To Cook Sticky Rice In A Rice Cooker

Coming to the part you have been waiting for, we have prepared this step-by-step guide that will transform you into a wiz in the kitchen. Just remember to follow the instructions, and you will find yourself with a divine bowl of sticky rice, all ready to be devoured.

Step 1

Rinse the rice very carefully. This is an innately Asian practice, but removing impurities and dirt in the rice before cooking is important. One cup of dry jasmine rice should be rinsed twice or three times until the liquid is virtually clear.

How To Make Sticky Rice In A Rice Cooker: a hand reaching into a white bowl full of washed, uncooked rice

This is because unwashed rice will be too starchy, and we do not want that for cooking sticky rice. Sure, starch content helps, but when it is excessive, the rice will not stick together and lose its consistency.

Step 2

Once you have washed it well, let the rice soak in lukewarm water for about an hour or so. After that, add 3 cups of water and drain the rice again.

a saucepan with lid on the hob

Step 3

Now, add the well-drained rice to your rice cooker. Add an equal amount of water to it as well. You should notice that the water must not be cloudy by this point. If it is still cloudy, you may have to wash the rice again.

Usually, the quantity of water added to rice is far more than the quantity of rice itself, but remember, we want the rice to be sticky. However, do not use less water because this can make the rice burn. Extra water also does not hurt since the rice will most likely soak it up.

Step 4

Add half a teaspoon of salt and give it a thorough mix. This salt will balance some of the sweetness of the rice, and you will not be able to taste this later anyway. Tightly close the lid of your rice cooker once this is done.

Step 5

Cooking time is usually between 20 and 25 minutes, depending on the quantity of rice. You can check on the progress after 15 minutes or so. You will know the sticky rice is done when the steam escapes from the nozzle completely.

The best way to ensure that your rice is not overcooked is by setting a timer on your rice cooker.

Step 6

The most important step, almost everyone fails to remember, is to let the rice rest for 5-7 minutes after taking it off the flame. Do not open the rice cooker and serve the rice immediately.

Step 7

Now comes everyone’s favourite step—eating. Once the rice has rested, fluff it up using a fork, and you will feel the aroma wafting. You can serve it wrapped in bamboo/banana leaves for a traditional touch or pair it up with a freshly cut mango.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Sticky Rice In A Rice Cooker?

The time duration for making sticky rice in a rice cooker depends on the rice variety. Thai jasmine rice, for instance, takes longer to cook than short-grain white or brown rice. Similarly, basmati rice also takes longer than short-grain rice.

The amount of time it takes to cook also varies depending on the type of rice cooker you use. However, preparation and cooking time is usually between 40-50 minutes for two roughly two servings.

How To Make Sticky Rice In A Rice Cooker:
Final Thoughts

Now that you know an extremely simple way to make this oriental treat at home, what are you waiting for? Call your friends over for a classy tea party and surprise them with your cooking skills!

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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