Rice when not wet isn't sticky at all. But when you soak it in water for some time it gets sticky.

What's the chemical change that occurs in rice that makes it sticky?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For the most part, starch may be responsible for the stickiness. See here $\endgroup$
    – Don_S
    Mar 23, 2017 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ You should make that an answer @Don_S, I was about to say that when I saw your comment. $\endgroup$
    – Stian
    Mar 23, 2017 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I was in a bit of a hurry. Go ahead @Stian, post an answer and you can use the reference in my comment, if you like (obviously, it's not actually mine...). $\endgroup$
    – Don_S
    Mar 23, 2017 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


Starch is what makes rice sticky. Starch surfaces, when dry, are closely packed together and they do not stick to each other. If they get moist, especially if left to soak, or boiled, the starch will "unwind" as it absorbs water and become sticky. Depending on the source of starch and the type, you can have cleavage of starch to sugar and it will become even more sticky. You can read this pdf for more information

Funfact, you can make your own glue with flour and water as an example.

I do not take responsibility for any mess or any unwanted results if for instance you decide to glue the broken baby seat with home made glue. =)

  • $\begingroup$ Well, you mean starch is stored in granule and when it is soaked the granules open up and become sticky? $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2017 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ See also this for a review of the molecular aspects of starch-water interactions (especially section 5). $\endgroup$
    – Don_S
    Mar 23, 2017 at 12:14

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