How to Store Sticky Rice


Sticky rice is a type of short-grain rice that is primarily used for desserts such as mango sticky rice and rice pudding but is also used in savory dishes. It is referred to as glutinous rice or sweet rice, getting its name from its glue-like texture when it is cooked.

If you’re wondering how to store sticky rice properly and how long can sticky rice last, here’s an article for you.

What Is the Best Way to Store Sticky Rice?

Storing uncooked sticky rice is different from storing cooked sticky rice. Like other uncooked grains, raw sticky rice can be stored in an air-tight container and kept in a cool, dry place. Stored properly in this way, raw sticky rice can stay fresh and last for up to six months.

However, leftover cooked sticky rice is a different story. Once cooked, sticky rice will only last for four to five days at most in the fridge. If you want leftover sticky rice to last longer than that, you will have to freeze it.

How to Refrigerate Cooked Sticky Rice

To refrigerate leftover sticky rice, the first thing you have to do is wait for the rice to cool down. Putting hot rice in the fridge can ruin it as the moisture in the grains will evaporate. It will end up being dry and gross, and not to mention, it can spoil even faster.

Once the cooked rice is cooled down, put the sticky rice in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. As mentioned, putting sticky rice in the fridge can last for four to five days.

How to Freeze Sticky Rice

If you want to extend the shelf life of cooked sticky rice and make it last long, you will have to freeze it. Provided that you follow the correct procedures, frozen rice can last up to two months.

  1. Spread the cooked rice in a thin layer on a baking sheet. 
  2. Cool the cooked sticky rice to room temperature. To facilitate convenient defrosting and reheating, you can divide the sticky rice into smaller portions.
  3. Place the cooled and cooked rice inside a freezer bag and remove the excess air before sealing it.
  4. Place the bag inside the freezer. Store and consume for up to two months.

Frozen sticky rice can be actually stretched for three months but it’s recommended to consume it within a month or two. Exposing the sticky rice to the air inside the freezer can cause a freezer burn.

How Long Can Sticky Rice Be Left Out?

Sticky rice should never be left out at room temperature for long periods of time.

Is Sticky Rice Good Leftover?

Yes, you can eat leftover sticky rice provided that you store it properly in an airtight container.

How to Reheat Cooked Sticky Rice

When you freeze or refrigerate sticky rice, the grains can lose moisture and turn dry. If you want to eat and consume your leftovers, you will have to reheat them. Although, once you reheat sticky rice, you cannot reheat it again. This is because rice grains contain spores of bacteria that may cause food poisoning. The spores can survive cooking and when reheating sticky rice, they can multiply quickly. 

If you need to reheat sticky rice, only reheat a portion that you will surely finish and consume. To reheat sticky rice, you can steam it over the stove or use a microwave. Do note that if you’re reheating rice that has been frozen, you will need to thaw it in the fridge overnight.

Reheat Sticky Rice by Steaming

The steaming process is the best way to reheat sticky rice as it ensures the rice stays moist without becoming soggy or overcooked. For this method, you can use a steamer or a skillet. 

  1. Place 4 to 5 balls of rolled-up aluminum foil on the bottom of a large pan. Pour an inch of hot water into the skillet, and place a heatproof plate on top of the balls. 
  2. Put the sticky rice on the plate in a thin layer. Make sure that any clumped, small portions are broken up. 
  3. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and over medium heat, bring the water to a gentle simmer.
  4. Steam the sticky for around 5 minutes and serve.

Reheating Sticky Rice in the Microwave

Reheating sticky rice in the microwave is the best way if you want it in a hurry! Here are the steps that you need to do:

  1. Place the rice in a microwave-safe bowl. Put at least a tablespoon of water in the bowl per cup of rice.
  2. Gently fluff the rice with a fork then cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. 
  3. Pierce the wrap a couple of times to allow steam to escape. Alternatively, you can use a damp paper towel over the bowl to trap the steam. 
  4. Heat the rice on the highest power setting for 20 seconds, then give it a quick stir. Repeat this step as many times as necessary until the sticky rice is heated through.

How Do You Keep Sticky Rice Soft?

If you want to cook sticky rice and keep it soft, it is crucial to soak it beforehand. This allows the grains to absorb plenty of water, giving them a nice and soft texture when done. You can then cook them over the stove or using a rice cooker

If your leftover sticky rice hardens and separates, don’t worry as you can make the rice sticky again by adding cold water to the rice in a pan and adding two spoons of flour. Boil the mixture and allow it to thicken.

Final Note

Leftover rice can be unavoidable and to make sticky rice last long after cooking it, it can be refrigerated or frozen. Freezing sticky rice is a great way to make it last for a couple of months. It’s important to store it in an airtight container. While you can fridge sticky rice, it’s best to eat it right away as unlike regular rice, it hardens faster. To reheat sticky rice, you can steam it over the stove or use a microwave oven-safe dish covered with a paper towel.