In order to perfect countless international dishes, a home chef should master how to prepare various rice styles. When it comes to serving up spontaneous brilliance, understanding the different grain varieties is just the beginning! Let me guide you through the ins and outs of one of my preferred grains. Sticky rice is sure to become a fast favorite of yours too – especially once you see my go-to recipes!

What is Sticky Rice?

Hailing from southeast and east Asia, sticky rice – also referred to as glutinous rice or sweet rice – is known for its propensity to be more compact. Rice contains two types of starches: amylose and amylopectin. The former lends to long grains having a light and fluffy texture while the latter gets short grains nice and clumpy. In other words, the higher ratio of amylopectin makes sticky rice sticky!

Chef Note: Sticky rice is actually Gluten Free; it is referred to as “glutinous” because of its glue-like texture rather than any gluten present.

However, the term sticky rice can be a bit confusing. After all, there are at least 3 popular varieties: black and purple sticky rice, Japanese sweet rice, and Thai sticky rice. While the glutinous grains that originate from Japan have a sweet flavor, I prefer to use the more aromatic option.

In fact, my absolute favorite variety is RiceSelect® Discoveries™ Sweet Sticky Dessert Rice, which is originally from Thailand but now primarily grown in East Asia and Northeastern India. This premium grain boasts the same chewy texture but it is particularly well-suited for sweet, creamy recipes!

Sticky Rice vs. Sushi Rice

While Japanese short-grain sushi rice is also quite sticky, don’t confuse it with glutinous rice. Firstly, even though our Premium Sweet Sticky Rice is similar to Sushi Rice, it is more fragrant. More importantly, when making sushi, rice wine vinegar and other seasonings that help get that sticky texture as it isn't quite as sticky as glutinous rice ( which has a much higher amylopectin content, commonly simply referred to as starch) on its own. If you want to learn more about Sushi Rice, check out this guide to becoming a sushi rice connoisseur next!

Sticky Rice vs White Rice

Traditional long-grain white rice cooks up lighter and fluffy, while short-grain Sticky Rice is chewy and creamy.

Let’s dive in and explore this decadent rice – from preparation to plating!

How To Make Sticky Rice

Soak rice for 15 minutes prior to cooking it for an additional 10 minutes. This rice requires a ratio of 1:1, meaning 1 cup of rice to every cup of 1 cup of water. It’s as easy as that!

Why Rinse Sticky Rice?

The easiest way to get the ideal taste and texture, rinse grains before cooking. Soaking rice will rinse off any excess starch. Trust me, you want the rice grains clump rather than mushy!

How to Use Sticky Rice in Sweet Recipes

Serve some of these tasty sticky rice desserts at your next dinner party and wow your guests.

Fruity Desserts

I’d be amiss if I didn’t start with the recipe that most people think of when they hear sticky rice: Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut. This Thai street food is internationally loved as a quick breakfast, an afternoon pick-me-up, and a simple dessert. While it’s traditionally topped with mangos, top this treat with whatever fresh fruit you’re craving.

Kitchen Tip: For maximum flavor, top your treat with seasonal ingredients – from spring produce to fall harvest.

Or, take a classic dessert and level it up! Taking comfort foods and elevating them is an easy way to get creative while still knowing that they’ll be crowd pleasers. For a tasty twist on banana foster, this zesty Sticky Rice with Caramelized Bananas is always a hit.

Baked Desserts

Prepare a dessert using pantry staples: this classic Biko is an irresistible Filipino Sticky Rice Cake that is packed with flavor and never fails to please! Keep coconut on hand so you’ll be able to whip up a sweet treat in no time! Make sure you note that you’ll need both coconut milk and coconut cream, as there is a difference in terms of texture:

Coconut Milk: Coconut milk generally consists of 1 part coconut meat to 2 parts water. It can serve as a lactose-free substitute and is typically used in bases for soups, stews, and Thai curries.

Coconut Cream: Coconut cream has a much thicker consistency as it has 4 parts shredded coconut to 1 part water, making it an ideal ingredient for creamy desserts.

Spiced Desserts

Spices aren’t exclusively found in savory dishes: this Golden Milk Sticky Rice Pudding is packed with sugar and spice and everything nice! Inspired by the Indian drink – golden milk – this sticky rice dessert is loaded with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric, giving it plenty of flavor and a bright yellow hue. Once you top this tasty treat with juicy fruits and drizzle on some honey, this picture perfect dessert offers your palate a perfect balance.

Bite-Sized Desserts

When planning party menus, I consider everything - from preparation to cleanup! I prefer to simplify cleanup by selecting appetizers and desserts that don’t require plates, bowls or utensils. After cleaning dinner plates, I can hurry back to my guests with a platter or two filled with Japanese-Style Sweet Rice Balls! Starting on New Years, Mochi is served throughout the year – botamochi and ohagi celebrate the spring and autumn equinox respectively. Of course, I don’t need an excuse to serve these bite-sized snacks!

Reach your culinary potential by checking out other tips for home chefs here or other meal ideas like this shrimp salad recipe or a couscous recipe.