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How to Make Sticky Rice

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If you are new to the world of instant pot rice making or want to ditch the takeout and learn how to make sticky rice on your own, then this Authentic Sticky Rice recipe is perfect for you!

It is rumored that over 450 million metric tons of rice were consumed worldwide between 2020-2021. That's a lot of rice!

Looking for more rice recipes, see our complete list of Instant Pot Rice recipes.

instant pot with rice in a bowl

Enjoyed alongside meat, fish, and vegetables- or as a standalone meal- sticky rice is a savory dish that has gained global popularity.

What makes rice so sticky?

Great question! Each grain of rice is coated in starch that, when mixed with hot boiling water, begins to stick once cooked. The amount of starch left on the rice after rinsing determines how sticky the end result will be.


How to make Sticky Rice

  • Start by adding the sushi rice, water, and salt into the Instant Pot, and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
  • Once done, allow for a 10 minute natural pressure release before venting the remaining steam off.
  • Drizzle vinegar over the rice, then gently stir.
  • Check out all our rice recipes.

Can I use regular vinegar?

Unless you are wanting a more bitter taste to your rice than a sweet, airy one, then we suggest sticking to rice vinegar. Rice vinegar is made from fermented rice, and is sweeter by design, helping to give the sticky rice that authentic mild flavor you find in restaurant-style sushi rice.

There are hundreds of different brands of sushi rice, most being either long grain or short grain. For US customers, here's a list of sushi rice brands you may be able to find in stores:

  • Botan Calrose rice
  • Koshihikari- Shirakiku Rice
  • Nanatsuboshi Premium Short Grain White Rice
  • Nishiki sushi rice
  • Tamaki Gold California Koshihikari Short Grain Rice
  • Yamaguchi Short-Grain White Rice
sushi on wooden board

Is sticky rice gluten-free?

This is a two-fold answer. The rice used for sticky rice can be a gluten-free brand; however, because many kinds of vinegar are made with glutinous grains, once mixed with sugar will add gluten to your dish. Research your vinegar prior to use to avoid gluten-based rice vinegar.

More rice recipes

Yield: 4-5 servings

Authentic Sticky Rice

Authentic Sticky Rice

Created for the beginner in mind, this Authentic Sticky Rice recipe will become the sweet touch you never knew you needed.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  1. Add sushi rice, water, and salt to instant pot and stir. Just stir enough to incorporate the ingredients.
  2. Next you will put the lid on Instant pot, then make sure valve is set to “sealing”.
  3. Pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Once done, allow for a 10 minute natural pressure release before venting the remaining steam off.
  4. Drizzle vinegar over the rice, then gently stir. Be cautious as it will become mushy if you over mix.
  5. Allow the sushi rice to cool slightly before serving or making nori rolls.


Store any leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you don't have rice vinegar, don't worry, you can make it without this seasoning. Of course, the flavor varies a bit.

Culinary Uses

The culinary uses of glutinous rice are very wide, either as cooked rice, or even ground as rice flour to make many traditional dishes. In China, it is served cooked as an accompaniment to meat and sausage dishes, as an aperitif in the form of a dim sum, and also as a dessert. In Japan, they call it mochigome and it is used to make the popular sweet rice balls called mochi.

In northern Thailand and Laos glutinous rice is traditionally prepared by steaming, after being soaked for several hours. Banana leaves or large wicker baskets are used for cooking. Once cooked, it is stirred a little to form a kind of balls that must then be eaten with the right hand, and used as bread, to dip in the spicy Thai sauces. For this simple reason they are cooked without salt or any flavoring, the flavor is provided by the dishes. It is, therefore, a staple food, as in almost all of Asia, and replaces the bread of Western cuisine.

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