Sticky Rice (Glutinous Rice / Sweet Rice) is a staple of Isan (Northern & Northeastern Thai) & Lao cuisines. In Vietnam, it’s called Xôi or Cơm Nếp.

My Instant Pot Sticky Rice recipe is not only simple but also ensures your rice remains perfectly textured. Plus, it significantly reduces the cooking time compared to the traditional method.

Steaming hot cooked sticky rice served on a plate.

What is Sticky Rice?

Sticky rice (glutinous rice/sweet rice) is a type of rice popular in Southeast and East Asian cuisine. It becomes especially sticky when cooked.

Sticky rice served with Kai Yang / Ping Gai (Thai / Lao BBQ Chicken) and Nam jim jaew (Thai Dipping Sauce).
Sticky Rice served with Kai Yang / Ping Gai (Thai / Lao BBQ chicken) and Nam Jim Jaew (Thai Dipping Sauce)

In Northeast Asian countries, people often use glutinous rice flour to make sweet treats like Mochi (Japanese sticky rice cake) or Tangyuan (Chinese sticky rice ball dessert).

Sticky rice is a staple in Laos, where it is known as “Khao Niew,” and in Thailand, where it is called “Khao Niao”. It is often enjoyed with savory dishes daily and is also used to make many sweet desserts.

In Vietnam, my home country, uncooked sticky rice is called “Gạo Nếp,” while cooked sticky rice is referred to as “Cơm Nếp” or “Xôi Nếp.” It is the second most popular type of rice in Vietnam after Jasmine rice, a staple in Vietnamese meals.

Xôi is the second most go-to breakfast in Vietnam, right after Bánh Mì sandwiches. It’s also popular during family celebrations such as Đám Giỗ (death anniversary) and Tet holidays.

Delicious Vietnamese Xoi Man - A delectable plate of Vietnamese savory sticky rice adorned with flavorful toppings, a delightful treat from Vietnamese cuisine.
Xôi Mặn (Vietnamese Savory Sticky Rice)

Some popular Xôi in Vietnam:

  • Xôi Lá Dứa (pandan sticky rice)
  • Xôi Gấc (sticky rice with Gac fruit)
  • Xôi Vò (mung bean coated sticky rice)
  • Xôi Bắp (sticky rice with corn)
  • Xôi Gà (chicken sticky rice)

We also use sticky rice (both grains and flour) to create various savory dishes, such as Bánh Chưng (Square Sticky Rice Cake) and Bánh Giầy Giò (Steamed Rice Cakes with Chả Lụa sausage), as well as sweet desserts like Bánh Bao Chỉ (Lo Mai Chi in Cantonese, sweet sticky rice dumplings).

Banh Chung, Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake
My homemade Bánh Chưng

Types of Sticky Rice

Thai and Laotian people often use long-grain sticky rice for cooking. In Vietnam, we use both short-grain and long-grain sticky rice.

The most popular and special type of sticky rice in Vietnam is “Nếp Cái Hoa Vàng,” which is a type of short-grain sticky rice.

Short-grain sticky rice after being rinsed and washed.
Vietnamese short-grain sticky rice

Note that sticky rice and sushi rice are not the same, even for short-grain sticky rice. Sushi rice appears glossy and is moderately sticky, but it is not as sticky as sticky rice.

Instant Pot Sticky Rice – Pros and Cons?

Honestly, the best way to achieve perfectly cooked sticky rice is the traditional “soak and steam” technique. However, it does require you to be well-prepared in the cooking process.

I’ve tried using my Instant Pot to cook Xôi Mặn (Vietnamese sticky rice with Chinese sausages). It yielded excellent results and saved me a considerable amount of time.

Pros of the Instant Pot method.

  • No need for advance preparation: You don’t have to soak the rice for hours before cooking.
  • Short cooking time: I soak the sticky rice with hot water for about 20 minutes and then cook it with my Instant Pot for an additional 40 minutes. (the traditional method requires about 60-70 minutes to steam the rice, not including the time for soaking the rice.)
  • Good results: The outcome is 80-90% as good as the traditional method, especially when you’re cooking a small batch of sticky rice.

Cons of the Instant Pot method.

  • Requires an Instant Pot, but my Instant Pot has become a lifesaver in the kitchen. I’ve even created a special page for my Instant Pot recipes.
  • Can’t cook a large batch of rice. I’ve found that for my 6-quart (6-liter) Instant Pot, 1-1.5 cups (220-330g) of sticky rice yield the best results (enough for 2 people). When I cook more rice, like 2 cups (440g), the rice at the bottom of the steamer tends to be a bit mushy (though still acceptable).

Related Recipes | More Asian rice recipes:


To cook Khao Niao / Khao Niew (Thai / Lao Sticky Rice) , you only need sticky rice and water.

When Vietnamese people prepare sticky rice to enjoy with savory dishes, we often add fragrant fats like chicken fat, shallot oil, scallion oil, or coconut cream to enhance the flavor. However, I will keep it simple in this recipe.

How to cook Sticky Rice with Instant Pot

  • Thoroughly wash and rinse the sticky rice until the water runs clear.
    • Many of my friends come from farming families in Vietnam and are familiar with the rice production process; they always emphasize the importance of washing rice.
short grain sticky rice
  • Then, soak the sticky rice in hot water for 20 minutes.
Sticky rice soaked in hot water.
  • Add 1.5 cups (375ml) of water to the Instant Pot. Place a steamer inside the pot, making sure the water doesn’t touch the rice.
A steamer placed inside the inner pot of Instant Pot.
  • Drain the sticky rice and transfer it to the steamer. Use a chopstick or your finger to create some holes among the rice to ensure proper ventilation during steaming.
Drained sticky rice in the steammer.
  • Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Cook the sticky rice the “Steam” mode with high pressure for 20 minutes, then allow it to naturally release for another 20 minutes.
Perfectly cooked sticky rice using an Instant Pot.
  • Use chopsticks or a rice paddle to gently fluff the cooked rice.
Steaming hot cooked sticky rice served on a plate.

What to serve with Sticky Rice

Enjoy sticky rice with your favorite side dishes from Thai, Lao, or Vietnamese cuisine. Some recipes from my site pair exceptionally well with sticky rice:

Thanks a bunch for giving my recipe a shot! If you enjoyed it, I’d truly appreciate a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating or a comment to let me know your thoughts.

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Steaming hot cooked sticky rice served on a plate.

Instant Pot Sticky Rice (Vietnamese Xôi)

Sticky Rice is a Thai and Lao culinary staple, and it's highly appreciated in Vietnam as well. My Instant Pot Sticky Rice recipe is not only straightforward but also guarantees perfect texture, preventing any mushiness or sogginess. Moreover, it substantially shortens the cooking time compared to the traditional method.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Family meal
Cuisine Lao, Thai, Vietnamese
Servings 2 people


  • 1 6-quart Instant Pot (6-liter)


  • 1 cup sticky rice (220g)
  • 1.5 cup water (375ml)


  • Rinse the sticky rice until the water runs clear.
  • Soak it in hot water for 20 minutes.
  • Add 1.5 cups (375ml) of water to the Instant Pot, ensuring it doesn't touch the rice.
  • Drain and transfer the rice to a steamer in your Instant Pot, creating ventilation holes with a chopstick or finger.
  • Close the lid and use the "Steam" mode with high pressure for 20 minutes, followed by a 20-minute natural release.
  • Gently fluff the cooked rice with chopsticks or a rice paddle.
  • Enjoy sticky rice with your favorite rice side dishes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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