How to Make Brown Rice Sticky: 4 Easy Steps to Follow

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Sticky brown rice in a traditional wooden steamer with a text "How to Make Brown Rice Sticky"

Are you thinking about making sticky brown rice at home? Wondering how to make brown rice sticky by following quick and easy steps? I have got you covered!

Sticky brown rice is my guilty pleasure because of how unique it is. It combines various flavor profiles, ranging from sour to sweet, and requires little effort. In this article, I have discussed the four easy steps to follow for sticky brown rice.

What Rice Variety to Use for Sticky Brown Rice?

Raw brown rice in a white bowl.

The biggest question I had when I wanted to prepare sticky brown rice was about the brown rice variety. 

Brown rice is available in three types, including short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain varieties. 

Short-grain brown rice has tiny grains and a high starch content, which turns it sticky during cooking. Therefore, it is the best option for cooking sticky brown rice. 

You can also opt for medium-grain or long-grain brown rice, like basmati or jasmine, as short-grain brown rice isn’t easily available. 

Long-grain brown rice adds a lovely flavor and texture to the sticky brown rice recipe, making it worth trying!

Step-By-Step Guide to Make Brown Rice Sticky 

Pale yellow rice vinegar set against a white backdrop.

Trust me, sticky brown rice is one of the easiest things to make, even for an amateur chef. You just need to boil the brown rice and add a few ingredients to make it sticky. 

The detailed steps are given below. 

Step 1: Rinse and Wash the Rice

First, take one cup of brown rice and rinse the rice well under running water at least twice or thrice. This will remove any impurities from the grains. 

Brown rice soaked in the water.

I don’t suggest soaking the brown rice, as it may remove the starch. It is essential to keep the brown rice naturally sticky! 

Step 2: Add Water and Salt 

In this step, transfer the rice to a large pot and pour in two and a half cups of water and half a teaspoon of salt.

A teaspoon with salt and brown rice soaked in water.

Generally, cooking brown rice requires only two cups of water per cup of rice. I add extra water for sticky brown rice because it makes the grains stickier naturally. 

Step 3: Cook the Brown Rice for 45 Minutes

Once you have added water, close the pot’s lid and cook the rice on high heat for a few minutes. 

When the water starts boiling, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the brown rice for about 45 minutes

Boiling the brown rice in a pot.

Consider cooking for five to ten more minutes, if extra water is visible at the pot’s bottom.

Then, ensure that the brown rice is cooked well by checking its texture. It should always feel slightly soft and chewy!

Cooked brown rice in a pot.

Step 4: Combine Rice With Rice Vinegar and Sweetener (Most Important!)

This step is the heart of your sticky brown rice, so pay extra attention.

All you need to do is take a bowl and add two tablespoons of rice vinegar (or white vinegar) and one tablespoon of granulated sugar

Rice vinegar with granulated sugar in a white bowl.

Mix the ingredients well, and pour the mixture onto the cooked brown rice. 

Rice vinegar and granulated sugar mixed well.

Stir the rice with a wooden spoon to combine it with the vinegar-sugar mixture. 

Cooked brown rice added with vinegar-sugar mixture in a bowl.

You can also try out other sweeteners if you don’t want to add sugar. 

  • Maple Syrup: I highly suggest adding one tablespoon of maple syrup instead of sugar for a sweet and slightly floral taste. 
  • Honey: If you want a healthier option, go for honey. The only problem is that honey has a peculiar taste that many people don’t prefer. 
White flowers and honey in a glass jar on the floorboard.
  • Xylitol: It is also a good option for those having blood sugar problems. You can adjust its quantity accordingly. 

Just follow these steps, and your sticky brown rice is ready to serve and eat!

How Do You Make Leftover Brown Rice Sticky?

Cooked brown rice in a white bowl.

I love making sticky brown rice from the leftovers. The process pretty much remains the same with just a few changes. 

Here is what you need to do:

1. Remove the brown rice from your refrigerator. 

2. Transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle a small amount of water on the rice. 

3. Microwave the brown rice for two to three minutes

4. Meanwhile, mix two tablespoons of rice vinegar and one tablespoon of granulated sugar in a bowl. 

5. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the vinegar-sugar mixture to the warm rice. Combine everything well, and you’re good to go!

Recipe Card – Brown Sticky Rice 

  • Prep Time:  5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Servings: Two to three people


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • ½  teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetener (granulated sugar, maple syrup, honey, or xylitol)


1. Rinse one cup of brown rice under running water at least twice to remove impurities

2. Transfer the rinsed rice to a large pot, adding 2 ½ cups of water and ½ teaspoon of salt

3. Cook the rice on high heat until the water starts simmering. Then, reduce to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes.

4. Mix two tablespoons of rice vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar or any other sweetener (maple syrup, honey, or xylitol) in a bowl. 

5. Pour the mixture onto the cooked brown rice and stir to combine everything.

6. Your sticky brown rice is ready to serve!

Final Thoughts

The slight sourness of rice vinegar with the sweetness of sugar is a contrasting yet appetizing combination. Therefore, I love making sticky brown rice and eating it with other dishes for a hearty meal. 

You can also try it out, as the entire process hardly takes a few minutes if you already have cooked brown rice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes brown rice sticky?

Most rice varieties, including brown rice, contain a special type of starch, amylopectin. It is responsible for the stickiness in cooked rice, especially in short-grain rice varieties. 

What can I add to rice to make it sticky?

You can add two tablespoons of rice vinegar, along with a tablespoon of sugar to make brown rice sticky.

Is sticky brown rice healthy?

Sticky brown rice is healthier than white rice, as it is high in fiber, contains many antioxidants, and helps with weight loss. One cup of sticky brown rice also contains just one tablespoon of sugar, equivalent to 48 calories.

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