How to Cook Thai Sticky Rice

Our Thai sticky rice, locally known as Khao Niao, is a high quality long-grain sticky rice. We grow our sticky rice without using chemicals in this field, in the Chiang Mai valley of northern Thailand. Khao Niao is daily staple food in northern and northeastern Thailand, as well as Laos and Cambodia.


Sticky rice grains can be short and oval, or longish and oblong according to the plant variety of sticky rice. In Japan short-grain is popular, in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia the long-grain sticky rice. Sansaket Farm's Thai sticky rice is long-grain. Worldwide, long-grain sticky rice is somewhat rare.

White sticky rice is dehusked and polished rice, leaving white rice grains with excellent aroma and taste. As a polished rice it has a very long raw shelf life. White rice was virtually unknown until the rice milling machine was invented in 1861.

Brown sticky rice is dehusked rice with a largely intact bran layer, leaving light brown rice grains with excellent aroma and taste, keeping its natural dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals, and a crunchier texture. It is also referred to as whole grain rice, specificially whole grain sticky rice. Due to the retained bran layer, raw brown sticky rice has a shorter shelf life than raw white sticky rice.


In our kitchen we prepare white and brown sticky rice exactly the same way. This also goes for germinated brown sticky rice, with the exception that germinated sticky rice is not soaked: the germination process already took care of it.

The traditional way to bring out Thai sticky rice's aroma and taste is to steam it in a bamboo steaming basket. Of course, if you cannot steam the rice, it can also be prepared in a rice cooker or cooking pot.

» Steam White or Brown Sticky Rice

  1. Rinse-wash the raw sticky rice with cold water, remove any unwanted particles, repeat until the water is clear.
  2. Soak the rice in ample water until it has absorbed sufficient water for steaming: An overnight or daytime soak is usual, it should not be less than 4 hours. (Note that germinated sticky rice is not soaked.) After soaking, discard the soaking water, rinse the rice once.
  3. Put sufficient water into a cooking pot, so that the pot will not steam dry later. Turn the heat on.
  4. Prepare your bamboo steaming basket by making it wet inside, to help avoid rice sticking to it.
  5. Put the wet rice into the bottom of the steaming basket, ensure no rice grains remain on the basket's upper sides. Put a lid on the rice in the basket. Put the steaming basket onto the cooking pot, minimize steam escaping from the sides (saving energy).
  6. Steam the rice for about 30 minutes. Periodically check that the water is sufficient, and keep the lid on the rice. The steam is piping hot, be careful.

One major advantage of steaming the rice is that there is no rice/water ratio to think about. Just make sure there's sufficient (or a lot of) water, let it steam 30 minutes, and the rice will be "right".

Some alternative methods for steaming are described on the net, using a splatter guard or screen, tinfoil (aluminum foil), or a strainer.

» Rice Cooker or Cooking Pot for White or Brown Sticky Rice

To prepare the sticky rice in a rice cooker or cooking pot, simply follow any one of the Jasmine rice cooking methods - without soaking the sticky rice. Compared to steaming, there may be slight differences in the rice's taste and consistency, but it will still be delicious, quality rice.


Salt, broth or other aroma can be added to the water. White and brown sticky rice can be mixed for soaking, cooking, consuming. Sticky rice can be reheated by steaming.

Cooking Cycle

At Sansaket Farm we have sticky rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In our home kitchen, sticky rice is soaked at night and in the morning. It is steamed in the morning, then stored in a closed, round, sticky rice bamboo basket, and consumed throughout the day. We do not refrigerate it. For lunch, the sticky rice is still supple, it is not reheated.

For dinner new sticky rice is made. Any left over sticky rice is added to the steaming process about halfway through, and is subsequently consumed first.

It's important to note two points. 1) This cycle goes for sticky rice only, not for Jasmine rice. 2) The traditional method of keeping steamed sticky rice at room temperature for a good part of the day does not match official advice to store cooked rice in the refrigerator within 2 hours.