Mango Sticky Rice Recipe to Satisfy Your Cravings!

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Are you swimming in a sea of ripe, juicy mangos and wondering what to do with the abundance of this tropical delight? No? Well, those of us in warm humid climes have plenty of mangoes, especially during the spring and summer months (May-September.) What am I doing with all of this tropical goodness? I’m making mango sticky rice! It’s a beloved Southeast Asian dessert, with sweet, fragrant mango slices resting on a bed of warm, coconut-infused sticky rice. This dish transports you to a tropical paradise with every bite.

Why Mango Sticky Rice?

As summer draws near, we tend to reach for lighter, fresher flavors that don’t require ovens. When the temperature climbs, this dish keeps you away from the stove. Mangoes are non-native for those of us from temperate climates but their succulent flavor is easily accessible. This dessert gives us just the right amount of exotic flavor and teases our taste buds with something we normally only have on vacation.

Most of the sugar from this dish, comes primarily from the mango. You can adjust the sweetness to your preference or even leave the sugar out altogether.

The creamy, rich taste of ripe mangoes perfectly complements the subtly sweet and sticky rice. By combining these two elements, you get a dessert that is refreshing, comforting, and indulgent all at once. It’s also gluten-free and vegan-friendly!

Traditional Ingredients

Southeast Asia has a bountiful supply of banana palms, pandan, and fresh coconut which can be a little tricky to find when there isn’t a palm tree in sight. Don’t worry! You can still replicate the taste without access to these ingredients.

Banana Leaves

Banana palm with bananas growing

Banana leaves are large, flexible, durable, and waterproof. They are used throughout Southeast Asia as plates, wrapping food for steaming, or just to travel with (much like we do with zip-top bags.) When used for steaming, they impart a subtle fragrance but you can use cheesecloth and still have a delectable treat.


Our backyard pandan plants

Pandan or screwpine is ubiquitous throughout Southeast Asia. It’s planted everywhere and usually not hard to find. On the other hand, it is really difficult to find outside of Southeast Asia. You can sometimes find it in the frozen sections of your local Asian supermarket but I’ve found that it sells out very quickly. Again, it gives an aroma to the rice but if you can’t find it, you can skip it entirely. Alternatively, you can add a couple of drops of vanilla extract to the coconut milk.

Coconut milk

person pouring drink from coconut
Photo by elif tekkaya on

Thankfully, coconut milk has become really popular worldwide and is typically found in cans. If you are lucky enough to find it in a Tetra pack, buy it. I think the flavor is slightly better. The canned version is just fine.

I make my mango sticky rice with light coconut milk to keep it a little healthier. Regular coconut milk will give it a fuller flavor. You choose!

Mango Sticky Rice

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 4


Sticky Rice

  • 1 cup of sticky rice also known as glutinous or sweet rice – this can easily be found in most Asian supermarkets. You can also order it from Amazon
  • 2-3 pandan or screwpine leaves optional – these can be hard to find so skip them if you can’t find them.
  • Water – enought to cover the rice

Coconut Sauce

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mango Topping

  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • seesame seeds for garnish (optional)


Soak the Sticky Rice

  • Rinse the sticky rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water. Allow it to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
    glutinous rice soaking in water

Cook the Sticky Rice

  • Drain the soaked rice and transfer it to a steamer lined with cheesecloth, banana leaf, or bamboo steamer basket.
  • If you have pandan leaves, cut them into 2-inch lengths and sprinkle over the rice
    glutinous rice ready for steaming with pandan leaves
  • Steam the rice over medium heat for about 25-30 minutes until it becomes tender and sticky.

Prepare the Coconut Sauce

  • In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and salt.
    dissolving the sugar in coconut milk
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Be careful not to let the coconut milk reach a boil.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup for drizzling over the finished dessert.

Assemble the Dessert

  • When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a bowl.
  • Pour the remaining coconut milk into the bowl and mix with the glutinous rice. Stir until the rice is the consistency of thick porridge.
    rice with coconut milk stirred to porridge consistency
  • Peel the ripe mangoes and slice them into thin pieces or small cubes.
  • Place a portion of cooked sticky rice on a plate or a shallow bowl.
  • Arrange the mango slices on top or on the side of the rice.
  • Drizzle the warm coconut sauce over the rice.
  • If you like, sprinkle some sesame seeds for added crunch and visual appeal.

I hope you enjoy mango sticky rice as much as I do. It’s light, refreshing, and surprisingly easy to make. It’s perfect for hot, humid days! If you like this, check out my post on making nyonya bak chang.

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  • Sara Scott

    This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to make it. I used to see pandan an Asian grocery stores in Cambridge, but I think that I will have to use vanilla here. Thank you for the substitutions!

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