Sticky Brown Rice

Enjoy the perfect sticky brown rice every time! This easy-to-follow and delicious recipe will have your whole family coming back for seconds. Try it out today and experience the beauty of sticky brown rice with sushi, stir-fries, and more!

Looking down on a bowl of cooked brown rice.

Sticky rice is a popular dish in many cultures across the world, but it can seem challenging to the home cook. That’s because it requires soaking, water ratios, and precise cooking times.

I stumbled upon an easy way to make it, and I’m happy to share it with you today!

What is Sticky Brown Rice?

Sticky rice is a type of short-grain rice that is commonly used in Asian cuisine and regional dishes. It is instrumental in sushi because it holds its shape in sushi rolls.

It’s not as easy to achieve sticky brown rice because the bran layer is a natural barrier with the starch required to make the rice sticky.

However, it is possible to achieve sweet sticky brown rice for sushi or whatever dish you make. Characterized by its distinct, chewy texture and light sweetness, sticky brown rice is great to serve with savory stews, plant-based chili, chickpea curries, and stir-fries.

It is usually served as a “base” for dishes, but brown sticky rice can also be used as a side dish. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture that adds depth and texture to any meal.

Its nutritional benefits (see below) make it an excellent choice if you’re looking to include more healthy ingredients on your plate.

Here’s another option if you prefer non-sticky brown rice.

Key Ingredients

  • Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
  • Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
  • Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
  • Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
  • Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
  • Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
  • Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
  • Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
  • Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
  • Brown Rice — I prefer using short-grain brown rice, but it can be tricky to find. Most health food stores have it, and Asian markets should also have it. You can substitute long-grain brown rice.
  • Rice Vinegar — We’ll use rice vinegar to add some umami flavor. You can substitute white wine vinegar.
  • Sugar — I use a bit of granulated sugar, but you can substitute maple syrup or agave nectar.
  • Salt — We’ll add just a pinch of salt for flavor.
Looking down on water and rice in measuring cups.

How to Make Sticky Brown Rice

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  1. Place rice in a bowl of water and stir with your fingers to release starches.
  2. Use a colander to drain the water.
  3. Place rinsed rice in a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
  4. Simmer with a lid on for 45 minutes.
  5. Allow the cooked rice to rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Mix the sauce and pour it over the cooked rice. Stir to ensure the rice is coated.
  7. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let it sit until you’re ready to serve.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • HEALTHY — Add a nutrition boost with this healthy brown rice version of sticky rice
  • EASY — Most of the cooking time is hands-off, making this an easy recipe with only 6 steps!
  • FLAVORFUL — Brown rice adds a distinctive flavor to your favorite dishes!

Frequently-Asked Questions

Can you freeze sticky rice?

You can freeze sticky rice by letting it cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, transfer it to the fridge overnight. Then you’re ready to heat and serve.

Is brown basmati rice sticky?

Basmati rice is a long-grain rice that is less sticky than short-grain and white rice. However, with the right cooking tips and ingredients, you can make basmati brown rice sticky.

Reader Reviews

I made sushi with brown rice thanks to this recipe. It worked great!


Serving Suggestions

Serve brown sticky rice as a side dish with a sprinkle of lime juice and a few herbs, like chopped parsley or cilantro. Alternatively, you can serve it with any of the following tasty dishes:

Fried tofu sits on a bed of rice with a vegetable sauce beside it. There are bowls of soy sauce and rice behind it and another plate.

Storage Tips

Let the rice cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The Benefits of Sticky Brown Rice

Sticky brown rice is an enjoyable and tasty addition to your meals. However, it also offers a range of health benefits.

You can make every bite count by using brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice delivers essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and energized. It’s also packed with fiber and antioxidants that can aid in digestion, reduce cholesterol, and prevent certain chronic diseases. [Source]

This makes sticky brown rice an excellent choice when you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying your favorite meals.

An infographic has this title, 4 Sticky Brown Rice Benefits. The text reads: 1) Nutritious: Brown rice is an excellent source of natural vitamins and minerals, 2) Great for Weight Loss: Brown rice is a low-calorie, high-fiber grain that has nearly 4 times more fiber than white rice. Fiber makes you feel fuller for longer, 3) Plant-Based: Brown rice is a great choice when you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying your favorite meals, 4) Plays Well with Other Dishes: Serve sticky brown rice with sushi, stir-fries, curries, and so much more. It's a flavorful, nutritious addition to your diet. There are drawings of a bag of rice, a bowl of cooked rice, stir fry in a wok, and sushi on a tray.

More Rice Recipes

If you love this sticky brown rice recipe, here are more favorite rice recipes to try:

Now that you know how to make the perfect sticky brown rice, it’s time to get cooking! Be sure to share your favorite recipes or photos of your creations in the comment section below.

Looking down on a bowl of cooked brown rice.

Sticky Brown Rice

This foolproof recipe will show you how to make perfect sticky brown rice every time with just a few simple steps. Cooking has never been easier! Try this quick and easy recipe today! This is the perfect rice to use with your next plant-base sushi.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 68kcal


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar substitute maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Place 1 cup of uncooked brown rice in a bowl. Cover with water and let sit for a minute. Use a spoon (or your finger) to stir the rice up a bit to release the starch.
    A hand reaches into a bowl with uncooked rice and water, stirring the rice.
  • You'll see the water turn a milky color. Use a colander to drain the water.
    Cloudy water is obvious in this bowl of brown rice soaking in water.
  • Add two cups of water to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the rinsed rice. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and place a lid on the pot. Set your timer for 45 minutes.
  • After the time is up, remove the lid and stir once to make sure there is no more liquid at the bottom of the pan. If so, let it cook another 5 minutes. If not, remove from heat and allow the cooked rice to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Mix vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. When the rice has set for 10 to 15 minutes, pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and stir so all the rice is coated. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let it sit until you're ready to serve.

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)


You can add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the pot with the cooking rice to help prevent stickiness.
Serving: 1cup | Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 297mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.3mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

2 Responses to Sticky Brown Rice

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJo Reply

    5 stars
    I made sushi with brown rice thanks to this recipe. It worked great!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      So glad you liked this rice recipe, Jo!

Rate / Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.