If you're wanting to make fuss-free and foolproof sticky rice, then this recipe for Instant Pot Sticky Rice is what you've been looking for. I tested this quite a few times to ensure a perfect result in the quickest time possible!
What is sticky rice?
Sticky rice is made with a special short grain rice variety referred to by various names: glutinous rice, waxy rice or sweet rice. A number of varieties can be used, including japonica, indica and tropical japonica. This type of rice is popular in various parts of Asia, including southeast Asian countries, East Asia, Bhutan and Northeastern India. Sticky rice gets its name because...well, it's sticky! Although it's often referred to as glutinous, it's gluten-free as the term glutinous simply means glue-like. So, nothing to worry about here if you're gluten-free like me!
Sticky rice is an incredibly versatile ingredient, used for sweet dishes such as donuts and dumplings and a huge variety of savoury dishes such as pancakes, a hash brown style crispy rice cake and rice crackers.
Flour made from sticky rice is most well known as the key ingredient to make mochi in Japan, which I've been experimenting with a lot lately - starting with my recipe for Dark Chocolate Mochi Cupcakes. Keep an eye out for more recipes coming soon. The same special qualities that make the rice sticky also produce a chewy quality when the flour is used in baking. It's such a fun ingredient to play around with.
What you'll love about this recipe
Sticky rice is traditionally steamed in a bamboo basket and requires some patience and practice. Which means that you will love this Instant Pot method for the following reasons:
- No soaking required!
- Perfect texture
- It's incredibly quick - sticky rice in approximately 20 minutes!
- Truly fuss free and foolproof
- No baby sitting of the pot required
- You can make the recipe your own by adding in seaweed flakes for example
How to make sticky rice in the Instant Pot
For full details please refer to the recipe card below.
This recipe uses the pot-in-pot method. Water is placed in the inner pot, followed by a trivet and then a cake pan holding the ingredients - in this case, the rice and water.
The pot-in-pot method produces steam and this - along with the water in the cake pan - is how the rice comes out so perfectly.
My version of this recipe uses freshly boiled water - instead of room temperature water - for the inner pot, to speed up the whole process of bringing everything to pressure. It really does cut down on the overall cook time. Using 2 cups instead of 1 cup of freshly boiled water also seems to produce more steam.
- For 1 cup/200g of dry rice: use ⅔ cup + 2 teaspoons of water (150g total water) in the cake pan with the rice and cook for 10 minutes at high pressure, followed by 6 minutes of natural release.
- For 2 cups/400g of dry rice: use 1 ⅓ cups + 4 teaspoons water (300g total water) in the cake pan and cook for 20 minutes, followed by immediate pressure release.
If you want to, seaweed flakes are a great addition - add them to the top of the rice and water without mixing them in and the cook the rice as described.
Getting the best results
- I recommend using a round metal cake pan - I use a 20cm/8 inch non-stick pan, but a slightly smaller one will work too. Metal conducts heat the best, compared to glass for example.
- I haven't tried this with a pan that isn't non-stick - you may need to spray with oil or line with baking/parchment paper.
- Oven-safe Pyrex glass usually works as well, but needs an extra couple minutes of cook time as it doesn't conduct heat as well. I have used a round glass Pyrex dish before, but I definitely prefer the metal cake pan and that's what I recommend you use.
- Boiling the water that sits at the bottom of the inner pot brings everything to pressure much more quickly than room temperature water, but you can skip this if you like.
- Less water is used to cook this type of rice than other varieties, so don't be alarmed if the amount of water doesn't seem like it's enough - it is!
- I'm using a multicooker (same as the Instant Pot) with a 6L/quart capacity.
- Sticky rice uses less water than other types of rice, so don't be concerned if the amount seems low. Always make sure the rice is fully submerged - you can use a spoon to do this and I also like to gently shift the Instant Pot side to side a bit to get everything evenly distributed before locking the lid and cooking.
What to serve with sticky rice
Sticky rice is served with many Asian dishes and can also be used to make various sweet and savoury snacks such as sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) and desserts.
You can use sticky rice to make a huge variety of dishes - check out the sticky rice Wikipedia entry for ideas.
I love serving sticky rice with Pork Lemongrass skewers (recipe coming soon!) and I also love to make fried sticky rice cakes, that you can see in the photo below. Add in some seaweed flakes and you've got some next level sticky rice cakes to impress guests at breakfast!
Sticky rice with mango is also a popular Thai dessert option!
Step by step photos
For full details please refer to the recipe card below with numbers matching the photos.
How to make crispy sticky rice cakes
Note: the sticky rice cake in the photo above has seaweed mixed in - this is added during initial cooking of the sticky rice.
To make a crispy sticky rice cake, use cold, day old rice.
Quickly reheat in the microwave (20 seconds), press into a circle shape on a plate and add a pinch of salt on the top. You want them to be pretty thin for more crisp and a bit thicker if you want a combination of sticky and crispy.
Heat up a pan on medium heat, add a thin coating of oil or butter to the pan and then flip the rice cake into the pan - cook for a few minutes, add a pinch of salt on the top (ie. the second side) and then flip to cook the other side. You’re looking for the some of the rice grains to be a nice golden brown colour.
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The Quickest Instant Pot Sticky Rice
- Instant Pot, multicooker or pressure cooker
- 20cm/8 inch metal cake pan
- Aluminium foil sling (optional) OR heatproof gloves to lift cake pan out
- Trivet to stand cake pan on
- Measuring cup, spoons OR digital scale
- 1 cup (212g) sticky/glutinous rice
- ⅔ cup + 2 teaspoons (150g) water
- pinch salt
Water for the pot
- 2 cups freshly boiled water (to be placed in the inner pot beneath the trivet/cake pan)
- If you don't have heatproof gloves, make a sling from aluminium foil to lower the cake pan in and then out again when it's done. Place the cake pan on top with the rice (don't add the water yet).
- Plug in and turn on your Instant Pot/multicooker.
- Add 2 cups freshly boiled water in the bottom of inner pot.
- Add the trivet.
- Lower the cake pan with the rice in it down in to the inner pot and on top of the trivet.
- Add the water to the rice.
- Use a large spoon to make sure all the rice is under water. You can also shuffle the Instant Pot gently to do the same.
- If using a sling, roll the sling arms down so that lid can be closed.
- Tuck the slings in to the side.
- Place and lock the lid/seal the vent.
- Set the timer for 10 minutes at high pressure. Once the time is up, allow to naturally release pressure for 6 minutes before releasing the valve and carefully lifting the cake pan out.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and then serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a day and reheat in the microwave.