How to Make Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice with a sprig of cilantro

My coconut rice recipe is rich and creamy with a subtle tropical flavor perfect with chicken or fish. It instantly upgrades stir frys, rice bowls, and curries. Kids love it plain, and it’s good for them!

how to make coconut rice pin

coconut rice is a versatile side dish

This creamy, tropical rice is subtly flavored and has a dreamy texture ~ it’s wonderful with Asian and Southeast Asian foods, as well as Hawaiian and Polynesian recipes. It’s definitely something you want to have in your recipe file, in fact, why not memorize it, because after you’ve tasted it you’ll want to use it all the time. (I always have a couple of cans of coconut milk and a bag of jasmine rice in my cupboard.)

what is coconut rice?

  • Coconut rice is rice (jasmine rice works best,) that is cooked in a combination of water and coconut milk along with a pinch of sugar and salt.
Coconut Rice with a sprig of cilantro

what does coconut rice taste like?

  • You might be surprised to learn that coconut rice has a very subtle flavor, and it doesn’t taste like dessert!
  • A dash of salt and a pinch of sugar serves to bring out the coconut flavor, but it’s still a background note.
  • Coconut rice will not overpower or compete with your main dish.
  • Coconut rice has a very appealing moist creamy texture which is just as important as the flavor.

the best rice for coconut rice

  • I use jasmine rice.  Jasmine rice is a long grain rice with a natural floral fragrance that I love. Jasmine rice can be used like any white rice, but it’s especially lovely in Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes.
Jasmine rice

canned coconut milk is a pantry staple

  • I use unsweetened, full fat coconut milk for the best flavor, but if you’re cutting calories you can use the light coconut milk. Coconut milk is a staple in my kitchen because it works in both sweet and savory dishes; I’ll can use it in everything from Coconut Rice Pudding to Thai Coconut Lime Soup. Shake the can first before using.
a can of Coconut Milk for Thai Coconut Soup

is coconut rice healthy?

how to make coconut rice

You’ll cook it just like regular rice, except that some of the cooking water will be replaced with coconut milk. As the rice cooks it absorbs the rich coconut milk and becomes creamy and delicious.

  • Rinse your rice well under cold running water.
  • Put rice, coconut milk, water, salt and a pinch of sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan and give it a good stir. Heat to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the rice comes to a boil, give it a final stir, turn the heat to very low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. 
  • Fluff the rice, re-cover the pot, and let sit, off the heat, for 10 minutes.
rinsing Jasmine rice

troubleshooting

  • The amounts in this recipe are formulated for jasmine rice. If you use a different variety of rice the amounts and cooking time will be slightly different, follow instructions in the recipe card notes, below.
  • Use a fairly deep saucepan for this rice because the coconut milk can sometimes foam up while cooking and you don’t want any messy spillage onto your stove top.
  • This recipe calls for canned coconut milk, not the refrigerated kind in the carton.

how to amp up the coconut flavor

Any or all of the following will give you a more pronounced coconut flavor…

  • Add a small amount of coconut extract. But be careful not to overdo this potent flavoring.
  • You can also fold in some grated coconut after cooking for an extra boost of coconut flavor.
  • Toast your rice in a little coconut oil first before adding the liquids.
  • Stir in a few tablespoons of coconut cream into your finished rice.
Coconut Rice in a bowl with cilantro and lime

garnish suggestions

  • sliced or chopped jalapeño peppers
  • chopped cilantro
  • toasted coconut
  • lime wedges
  • sliced green onions
  • sliced almonds

what goes well with coconut rice

coconut rice in a small floral bowl
Print
3.94 from 89 votes

How to Make Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is rich and creamy with a subtle tropical flavor that instantly upgrades stir frys, rice bowls, and curries. Serve it as a side with chicken or fish too.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 298kcal
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 13.6 ounce can of unsweetened full fat coconut milk. You can use the light coconut milk as well, but the flavor won't be as good.
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste.

Instructions

  • Rinse your rice well under cold running water.
  • Put the rice, coconut milk (shake the can before adding) water, sugar, and salt in a heavy bottom saucepan and give it a good stir. Heat to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the rice comes to a boil, give it a final stir, cover, turn the heat to very low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. The aroma of the coconut with the jasmine rice is lovely! Note: make sure to turn your heat down to LOW, otherwise the coconut milk may scorch.
  • Fluff the rice, re-cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Cook’s notes

If you are not using jasmine rice, follow these instructions:
  • Follow your package directions for 1 1/2 cups of rice.
  • Take the amount of water your package requires, and replace at least half of it with coconut milk. You can use more or less depending on your taste. Be sure to shake your can of coconut milk to blend the water and coconut fat together.
  • Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar to bring out the coconut flavor.
  • Cook as usual.
Coconut rice is not suitable for the Instant Pot because coconut milk can clog the pressure vent.
For a nice flavor variety add some grated ginger and/or lime zest to the rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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20 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Tayler
    March 1, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    5 stars
    I’m always looking for new ways to freshen up our side dishes, and this coconut rice is just the thing!

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    March 1, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    5 stars
    We use jasmine rice in our house weekly! I love that you added coconut milk to it, such a wonderful idea.

  • Reply
    Jenn
    March 1, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delish! This coconut rice goes with just about everything!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 1, 2022 at 4:10 pm

      It’s hard not to eat it right out of the pan 🙂

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