Bamboo Steamer Sticky Rice Recipe

Rice is a staple in most households no matter what country you live in. There are many different types of rice and all of them have a nice way of rounding out a meal. Rice goes hand in hand with stir fries, beans, meat, soups, and stews and even makes its way into some desserts. Sticky rice, which is also referred to as glutinous, or sweet rice, is a short grain rice, but has a different makeup of starch content than other rice, making it "sticky."

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for bamboo steamer sticky rice and says, "I love cooking with all types of rice and was first exposed to sticky rice at a Thai food restaurant and loved the chewy texture." Because the rice is thick and "glue-like" it can really hold on to sauces whether they are savory or sweet. "Additionally, it's interesting to note that this rice is gluten-free even though the name might make you think otherwise," Hahn adds. Sticky rice is typically cooked in a steamer rather than boiled, and this recipe will walk you through the classic method.

Gather the ingredients for bamboo steamer sticky rice

To make this recipe, you only need rice and water. When purchasing the rice, look for the words sweet rice, Thai rice, or glutinous rice. If you live near an Asian market, you can pick some up there, or you can easily order it online. "For this method, you will also need a bamboo steamer that will fit on top of a pot to steam the rice. These can be found online as well," Hahn shares.

Rinse and soak the rice

There is a little prep involved before we get to the actual steaming. Put the rice in a colander and rinse it well under cold water for at least 1 minute. Then put the rinsed rice in a large bowl and add the water. "Let it sit for a minimum of 3 hours, but if you are planning ahead and can let it sit overnight, that is even better," Hahn tells us. "The soaking softens the outer shell of the rice and helps it cook more evenly."

Rinse and prepare the steamer

After the rice has soaked, pour it into the colander and give it another good rinse. Now we are ready to steam the rice. Line the bamboo steamer with parchment paper or cheese cloth. "To make it easier for the parchment paper to lie flat in the steamer while I'm adding the rice, I make sure the parchment is secure, then clip it to the sides of the steamer with clothes pins," Hahn explains. Once the parchment is in place, go ahead and pour in the rice, patting it down so it is in an even layer in the steamer, and remove the clothes pins. 

Steam the rice and serve

Take out the pot that goes with the steamer and fill it with water, making sure that the water will not touch the bottom of the steamer when it is in place. Bring the water in the pot to a boil, then place the steamer on top and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook for 35-45 minutes or until the rice is chewy and cooked. The rice is ready to serve as is, with a savory sauce, or made into a dessert like Thai mango sticky rice. Hahn tells us that leftovers will last up to three days in the fridge if kept in a sealed container.

Bamboo Steamer Sticky Rice Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
If you want to whip up a perfect batch of sticky rice, this bamboo-steamed method won't let you down.
Prep Time
Cook Time
sticky rice in white bowl
Total time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
  • 1 cup Thai sweet, sticky, or glutinous rice
  • 4 cups water
  1. Rinse the rice well under cold water for at least a minute. Then, pour the rice and water into a large bowl and let sit for at least 3 hours.
  2. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse it again for 1 minute under cold water.
  3. Line a bamboo steamer with parchment paper and spread out the rice in an even layer. Fill a pot of water with at least 2 inches of water. Make sure that when you put the bamboo steamer on top of the pot, the water is not touching the bottom of the steamer.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, then place the steamer on top. Reduce heat to medium high and steam the rice for 35-45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and chewy.
  5. Serve the rice right away as desired.
Calories per Serving 351
Total Fat 0.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 77.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 0.0 g
Sodium 19.9 mg
Protein 6.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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