How to make sticky rice (Thai street food style)

How to make sticky rice (Thai street food style)
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Follow this recipe to learn how to make sticky rice the authentic Thai way. Get more details here:

In Thailand, sticky rice, known as khao neow (ข้าวเหนียว) is the staple in the northern and northeastern regions of the country. Many Thais that originate from sticky rice regions, eat sticky rice multiple times a day, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snack. For this sticky rice recipe, I’m going to be making it the same way they make it in Isaan and other parts of Thailand, and I’m going to be cooking it right on my Thai street food cart.

Sticky rice is often eaten with salads and grilled meats, dishes like som tam (green papaya salad), laab (minced meat salad), and all sorts of grilled meats and fish. Along the streets of Thailand, nearly everywhere you look in Bangkok, you’ll find food vendors grilling up skewers of pork called moo ping, and they always (unless they run out) also have sticky rice. The combination is one of the ultimate snacks combinations of Thailand.

In parts of Thailand where sticky rice is the staple, it’s typically cooked in the morning for the entire household, and then transferred to what is called a kratib khao neow (กระติ๊บข้าวเหนียว), a basket that is specifically made to hold sticky rice – it’s just a cylinder bamboo basket with a lid, and it keeps the sticky rice moist without getting crusty throughout the day. When meal times roll around, all participating eaters grab a handful portion of sticky rice and proceed by taking a ball of sticky rice about the size of an olive, dipping it into the dressing of one of the side dishes at the table, and consuming.

How to make sticky rice:

It takes a little time and some thinking ahead to make sticky rice, because just like cooking beans, you have to soak the rice before you cook it. It’s best to actually soak your sticky rice overnight, and then cook it the next day, but if you don’t have that amount of time, of if you wake up one morning and all of a sudden decide you want to cook sticky rice, you should soak it for at least four to five hours. All you have to do is put the raw sticky rice is a bowl or tub, and submerge it in room temperature water, and allow it to sit. You don’t even need to rinse the rice, just let it sit and soak. After the rice has been soaked, it will become a little swollen and much softer, so that it won’t take too long to steam.

After soaking the rice, I then transferred it to a cone shaped basket used for steaming. The rice then needs to steam in a pot with a few inches of water at the bottom for 15 to 20 minutes, but usually it just takes 15 minutes for me – that is if I soak the rice overnight. If you soak the rice for less time, it may take a little longer to steam. To steam, make sure the rice is elevated above the boiling water, then cover it somehow so the steam remains within the rice.

After 15 minutes you can remove the lid, and check to see if the rice is fluffy and not crunchy at all. If it’s still a little crunchy, just put the lid back on the basket, or whatever steamer you’re using, and allow to steam for a few more minutes.

For this Thai sticky rice recipe I used one kilo of raw rice, but you can really use however much you want, and the exact same directs and steps will still apply. If you soak your sticky rice overnight, then follow this recipe, you’ll have beautiful, hot and fluffy sticky rice every time… and it tastes amazing!

Be sure to check out the full recipe and lots more details here:

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About the Author: Mark Wiens


  1. Thank you for the last bit where you said one can use any type of cloth to steam, as long as it's raised. Hope you make more videos on how to make thai food. Just subscribed. Definitely Like.

  2. Well don’t you wash the rice before you leave it overnight that’s how I was taught to prepare it . And once cooked while the rice is still in the basket roll it into a ball by swirling the basket! Makes it easy to pick up and put in the container !

  3. Thanks, that was very helpful … esp how you cover the traditional woven bamboo steamer basket and storage container. Since I dont have those I have to use a chinese nested steamer, along with a buttercloth bag (which I also use for making the occasional batch of nut or soymilk).

    Question (to anyone who knows) is there a difference in suggested soaking and steaming times between medium and short grain glutinous rice ? Thai cuisine seems to favor medium grain, whereas korean and japanese rice cakes favor short grain. I used short grain just now … 6 hr soak, 15 min steam, and while fully cooked it seemed denser than expected. Im wondering if short grain needs 20 mins instead of the 15 for med ?

    Also, what about salt ?

  4. THANK YOU FOR THIS!??? I have that preserver thingy but never took it out of the plastic bc I didn't know enough about it. Now I know! THANKS A BILLION!

  5. Could you just cook this is a pressure cooker without soaking? If you didn't want plain rice what could you put on it to make it more interesting?

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