How to Make Thai Sticky Rice in Rice Cooker

Thai sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice, is a fragrant and versatile staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. Its unique sticky texture and slightly sweet flavor pair beautifully with savory and sweet dishes alike. But mastering the art of cooking Thai sticky rice can be tricky, especially using a rice cooker. Fear not, culinary adventurers! This comprehensive guide will unveil the secrets to preparing luscious, perfectly cooked Thai sticky rice in your very own rice cooker.

Demystifying the Grain:

Unlike regular rice, Thai sticky rice has a high starch content and lacks amylose, a component responsible for fluffiness. This results in the characteristic sticky texture. But don’t confuse sticky with mushy! Proper cooking methods ensure distinct, chewy grains without being gluey.

Gear Up for Sticky Success:

  • Rice Cooker: Any rice cooker will do, but a model with a “sticky rice” setting is ideal.
  • Thai Sticky Rice: Look for jasmine or glutinous rice labeled specifically for “sticky rice” or “khao niao.”
  • Bamboo Steamer (Optional): This traditional tool adds an authentic touch and enhances fluffiness.
  • Cheesecloth (Optional): For steaming without a bamboo steamer.

The Sticky Steps:

  1. Rinsing is Key: Thoroughly rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch, preventing grittiness.
  2. Soaking for Perfection (Optional): Soaking the rice for 2-4 hours helps achieve an even cook and fluffier texture. If short on time, skip this step.
  3. Water Ratio Wisdom: The magic number for most cookers is 1 cup of rice to 1.25 cups of water. For a slightly softer rice, use 1.3 cups of water. Adjust slightly based on your rice cooker’s instructions.
  4. Cooking Commence! Add the rinsed rice and water to your rice cooker. If using a bamboo steamer, line it with cheesecloth, place it inside the cooker, and add rice and water directly to the steamer. Select the “sticky rice” setting if available, otherwise use the “white rice” setting.
  5. Patience is a Virtue: Let the rice cook undisturbed according to your cooker’s timer. Do not peek! Lifting the lid releases steam, affecting texture.
  6. Fluff Up the Fun: Once cooked, gently fluff the rice with a fork, being careful not to break the grains.
  7. Rest for Perfection: Cover the rice cooker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This allows the steam to redistribute, ensuring even stickiness and texture.

Beyond the Basics:

  • Flavorful Twists: For an extra layer of flavor, add pandan leaves, lemongrass, or a pinch of salt to the cooking water.
  • Coconut Milk Delight: Substitute water with coconut milk for a richer, sweeter rice, perfect for mango sticky rice.
  • Serving Suggestions: Enjoy Thai sticky rice with savory dishes like curries, grilled meats, or vegetables. Or indulge in the classic mango sticky rice dessert with sweet coconut sauce and ripe mangoes.

Pro Tips for Sticky Success:

  • Use high-quality Thai sticky rice for the best texture and flavor.
  • Experiment with different soaking times and water ratios to find your perfect texture preference.
  • Don’t overcook! Overcooked rice becomes mushy and loses its delicious texture.
  • If using a bamboo steamer, ensure it fits snugly inside the rice cooker to prevent steam escaping.
  • Leftover sticky rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated in a steamer or microwave.


Can I use a regular rice cooker to make sticky rice?

Yes, you can use a regular rice cooker. The key is using the correct water-to-rice ratio and ensuring the rice cooker has a “Keep Warm” setting to allow the rice to steam after cooking.

Is using banana leaves necessary for authentic flavor?

While banana leaves add an authentic touch and aroma, they are optional. You can still achieve delicious sticky rice without them. If using, make sure the leaves are clean and food-safe.

Can I reheat leftover sticky rice in the rice cooker?

Yes, you can reheat sticky rice in the rice cooker. Add a splash of water to the rice, fluff it gently, and let it steam on the “Keep Warm” setting until warm

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