What to Do with Leftover Sticky Rice: A Thai Guide

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Sticky rice in a bamboo wooden box with a text "what to do with leftover sticky rice"


Officially? Kingdom of Thailand. 

Historically? Siam. 

Full ceremonial name? 

Let’s not delve into that. Just know that it’s the longest city name in the world. 

The country is famous for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and their very unique cuisine. 

I mean, have you tried their mango sticky rice?!? 

One bite and it will have you grinning from ear to ear.

Enough for a passerby to be concerned for your sanity and actually consider committing you to the nearest mental institution. 

They don’t call it the Land of Smiles for nothing, you know 😎. Though, I doubt this is the actual reason why. 

But you might as well turn that frown upside down and look at those leftovers with a fond smile. Yim thai as the locals call it. 

Because lo and behold, I’m about to tell you what to do with leftover sticky rice. The Thai way. 

A Sticky History Beyond the Plate

Close up image of sticky rice in traditional wooden steamer.

Sticky rice is also known as glutinous rice by many people. Its history is long and very much intertwined with not just one country. 

Thailand, for one. Then, Laos the other. 

Ever wonder where the stickiness of this rice type comes from? 

It’s caused by this genetic mutation that reduces what we call amylose starch. 

A component that allows grains to separate when they’re cooked. 

Basically, the less amylose there is, the more the sticky rice grains clump together. 

And while Thailand may immediately come to mind when talking about sticky rice, Laos is actually right there with it at the top. 

In Laos, sticky rice is something sacred, you see. They have this ceremony called Baci, where locals offer the rice to spirits for good luck and prosperity. 

And oh! People in Laos even used sticky rice for building pagodas and temples! When mixed with lime, it acts as a bonding agent for bricks.

So, if it’s strong enough to erect those structures, it’s strong enough to persuade you not to toss out the leftovers from last night.

Sticky Situation No More

I think I know where the hesitance comes from. You’re allergic to gluten, aren’t you? 

Well don’t let its name fool you, because sticky rice is gluten-free. It being sticky is due to its high starch content. 

Insert sigh of relief.

Now that I’ve reassured you, how about we continue discussing what to do with leftover sticky rice: 

Khao Pad Sapparot

For those who don’t speak much Thai, our first recipe means “Pineapple Fried Rice.” 


  • 2 cups of leftover sticky rice
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 sliced shallot
  • 1 thinly sliced red chili pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped pineapples
  • ½ cup of mixed veggies
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • ½ tsp of fish sauce (optional, though)
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Protein of your choosing (but this one’s optional too)

Cooking Utensils

  • Large frying pan
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Pineapple shell (but a platter works just as fine)


  1. Carve out the insides of a ripe yet firm pineapple leaving about half an inch of border around the sides. Cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Over medium fire, heat up your frying pan, then add the vegetable oil. 
  3. Toss the garlic and shallots allowing them to sizzle for 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the chili pepper and stir-fry for a few more seconds. 
  5. Push them to the side of the pan and pour the egg in the middle. Cook it for a few seconds then scramble it with spatula. 
  6. Throw in the sticky rice and stir-fry everything while also making sure to break up any clumps. 
  7. Add the mixed veggies along with the pineapple chunks to the pan. For another 2-3 minutes, stir-fry them until the veggies are tender and the pineapples are softened.
  8. Drizzle in the soy sauce and fish sauce. 
  9. Season with pepper and salt. Remember that the fish sauce already has saltiness to it, so make sure not to overdo this step. 
  10. Fold in the protein and cilantro. Stir-fry for another minute until everything’s heated through.
  11. Fill the carved out pineapple shell with your sticky rice mixture (50 points for presentation 😉). Garnish with extra pineapple chunks and a wedge of lime.

Khao Niao Mamuang

Mango sticky rice or khao niao mamuang in a white plate.

This second recipe goes out for those who haven’t tried this Thai delicacy yet. I did talk it up in the intro, so it’s no surprise to see a recipe for it here. 

Mango sticky rice is a staple during the hot seasons. More so, you can find it everywhere during the Thai New Year or Songkran during mid-April.


  • 2 cups of leftover sticky rice
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 2 sliced ripe mangoes
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Cooking Utensils

  • Saucepan
  • Knife
  • Bowl
  • Plate


  1. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium fire. 
  2. Add the sugar and salt, stirring until they dissolve. 
  3. Pour the mixture over your leftover sticky rice, then mix everything gently.
  4. Slice the mangoes into thin slices and arrange them around the rice. 
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top. 

Nam Tok

Of course, we’re not ending this article without at least one Laos-inspired recipe.

Nam Tok, which literally translates to “waterfall” in Lao is a meat salad with a spicy and flavorful dressing. 


  • 2 cups of leftover sticky rice
  • 450 grams of cooked and thinly sliced steak (can be leftover, as well)
  • ½ cup of thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1-2 thinly sliced green chillies
  • ¼ cup of chopped nuts
  • 3 tbsp of lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sugar

Cooking Utensils

  • Bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Platter


  1. Mix the sticky rice, onion, mint leaves, cilantro leaves, and green chillies in a platter.
  2. Cut the steak thinly and arrange it on top of the salad mixture. 
  3. Whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar together in a bowl to make the dressing. 
  4. Pour the mixture over the salad before serving. Toss everything with care to ensure even coating. 
  5. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice. 

The Final Sticky Bite

It is said that sharing a plate of sticky rice symbolizes togetherness and respect. 

So let’s share that plate with each other and embrace the endless possibilities of what to do with leftover sticky rice. 

Let this remind us that even the simplest of dishes has the power to build connections. Let it remind us of the joy that sharing a meal with those we care about brings forth.

Sawatdee ka!

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