Foodie Facts

  • If you don’t have the special steamer, it’s possible to achieve this with a regular bamboo steamer or a rice cooker! Just remember to flip the rice halfway through cooking.

  • You can mix glutinous rice with other rice varieties, such as purple/red rice, brown rice, or quinoa. The ratio should be 75% glutinous and 25% other rice.

  • Glutinous or Sweet Rice can be found in any Asian markets or ordered online.

ເຂົ້າ ໜຽວ

Serving Size: One to Many

Cook Time: 25-30 mins

Prep Time: 4 hrs+

Sticky Rice

Glutinous Rice | ເຂົ້າ ໜຽວ


  • Glutinous Rice or Sweet Rice

  • Water for cooking

This recipe is a no-brainer, just measure out how much rice you’d like to consume. Sticky rice doesn’t increase in size or volume when it cooks, so however much you scoop out is the amount you’ll get. For one person, I recommend 2.5 cups.

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Sticky Rice is the staple carbs of Lao and Thai cuisine. It’s very similar to how tortillas, fufu, and bread are used in other cultures. In Lao culture, we eat with our hands pretty much 80% of the time. The sticky rice acts as our spoon, our bread, the chip to the dip—you get what I mean.

Although you will often see it paired with meals, it’s not uncommon to eat sticky rice by itself! Mothers would sprinkle salt on sticky rice for their children to snack on, and it goes well with just about anything—even with desserts! (For instance, Mango Sticky Rice)

Glutinous Rice is also known as Sweet Rice. If you’re looking to buy this kind of rice, look for these two names! This type of rice is NOT the same as the jasmine/white rice you eat with a spoon.


Sticky Rice uses a unique steamer, which is a bamboo cone-shaped basket and an hourglass-shaped aluminum pot (see "Tools Needed"). In this recipe, I’ll refer to each piece as steamer “basket” and “pot.”




sticky rice


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big mixing bowl


rice paddle or spatula

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cutting board or clean surface



Let's cook sticky rice! Here's how to:


Washing & soaking the rice:

  1. Pour your glutinous rice into a large bowl, with enough room to fill with water.

  2. Rinse the rice with water twice, straining it each time. On the third time, fill up the bowl so that the water is about 1 inch above the rice.

  3. Let the rice soak for around 6-8 hours or overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can soak it for 4 hours. This process softens up the rice grains and improves its texture.


Steaming the rice:

  1. When it’s time to cook, heat up water in the steel basin in medium-high heat. There should be 2 to 2.5 inches of water inside the basin.

  2. Pour the soaked rice into the bamboo basket over the sink. The steamer basket will strain the water.

  3. Pat and rinse the edges down so there are no rice grains sticking on the side. Let the water drain before lifting out of the sink.

  4. Set the bamboo basket onto the basin and cover with the lid. If you don’t have a lid, you can use a damp towel or a pot lid you already have.

  5. Let steam for 20-25 minutes, flipping the sticky rice upside down halfway through cooking.

  6. The cooked rice looks slightly translucent and soft. You can poke it with a spoon to feel it, but be careful because of the hot steam.


The final step:

  1. Turn off the heat and carefully lift the bamboo steamer out out the basin.

  2. Dump the glutinous rice onto a cutting board or clean surface (careful, the rice is super hot!)

  3. With a spatula, fold the rice many times. This step releases steam, cooling it down and makes it fluffy.

  4. Fold it into a ball shape and scoop into your desired container.


Serving Sticky Rice

How to properly put away your dish

  • Sticky rice is typically stored in bamboo rice baskets, but if you don’t have one, you can store it in any heat resistant container. Aluminum foil also works as well!

  • You can portion the rice into ziplock bags or Tupperware and keep it in the fridge. To eat, heat it up in the microwave in 45 second increments or until its warm!

  • Don’t leave your sticky rice out in room temperature for more than 3 days. Moisture makes it mold and exposure to air makes it dry up.

  • To eat, tear sticky rice with your hands and form bite-sized rounds. You can flatten it to scoop up food like a spoon.




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