Coconut Rice is a beautiful side dish made by cooking white rice in coconut milk. This aromatic and flavorful dish is a perfect blend of earthy rice cooked to perfection and the rich, creamy goodness of coconut milk.
It’s a popular dish in many countries around the world, and especially in tropical regions, and its sweet fragrance and delicious flavor make it an absolute favorite with so many people! This recipe is vegan, dairy free, naturally gluten free, and sure to be a hit with everyone in your family.
In just a few simple steps, you’ll have a mouthwatering bowl of coconut rice that pairs wonderfully with a variety of main dishes, including stir fry, grilled vegetables, or even enjoyed on its own as a satisfying and comforting meal.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Is coconut rice healthy or not?
Coconut rice can be a great part of a healthy diet, especially if you’re adding lots of variety and plant-based options to your meals.
This recipe contains dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
It helps boost immunity because it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and iron.
It has great healthy fats that are absorbed easily and used for energy.
And, coconut rice is suitable for serving at any meal, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner to add flavor and nutrition to your day.
How to make
My coconut rice recipe with coconut milk is easy to make. It requires no soaking and no rinsing. And, I wanted to make sure to use the whole can of coconut milk so you aren’t left with a partial can to use up.
It’s actually as simple as cooking rice in some coconut milk instead of all water.
First, you’ll gather up your ingredients, just 2 ingredients plus water and salt.
Canned coconut milk is a pantry staple that I always have in the cupboard, so I can make this rice any time.
I recommend full fat canned coconut milk for this rice. Ayam, Aroy-D, Thai Kitchen, and 365 Brand are all good quality brands. Lower quality brands will be made of more water and less coconut, and will therefore have less flavor.
Shake the can really well to break up the coconut solids.
If after you open the can, you find that there are lots of chunks of solid coconut still, pour the contents into a glass measuring cup and microwave it for a bit to melt those solids. Give it a stir, and it should all be smooth.
This recipe is best with canned coconut milk, not the refrigerated kind in the carton. The carton tends to have less body and flavor than the canned full fat milk.
If you’re cutting calories, you can use light coconut milk; just know that the rice won’t be as thick, rich, and flavorful.
Can I just add coconut milk and no water to the rice?
Coconut milk by itself is just too thick, and the rice can’t absorb it properly.
The rice needs some water to help it absorb the coconut milk.
Can I use brown rice in this recipe?
Yes, brown rice will work. You may need a bit more water, just keep an eye on it.
Can you use long grain rice? Yes, you can use long grain like Jasmine or Basmati.
We always have medium grain rice in the house, so that’s what I use for many of my recipes. I love the flavor and texture of it.
Do you need to rinse the rice?
Rinsing the rice cleans removes the starch so that the rice doesn’t stick together.
Frankly, it’s a personal preference. I love the slight stickiness that the cooked coconut rice has. It’s like sushi rice. It’s still fluffy. And it’s delicious in so many things with this texture.
If you prefer less sticky rice, you can always go ahead and rinse it, but know that you don’t have to.
How do I store leftover coconut rice, and how long will it last in the refrigerator?
Allow the cooked rice to cool to room temperature. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge up to 5 days.
You can also freeze coconut rice for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, allow the rice to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat the rice in a microwave for about a minute until warmed through. I like to place the rice in a microwave safe bowl, and cover with an upside-down plate when I reheat it.
You can also reheat on the stove over medium heat. You may need to add a splash of water.
What to do with coconut rice?
This recipe is rich and creamy with a subtle tropical flavor that’s perfect with tofu, chicken, or fish. Serve it with some Orange Peel Tofu.
It works well with different cuisines including Thai food. Serve some on the side of my Thai Coconut Noodles to help soak up the luscious sauce.
It’s great for serving under stir fried veggies. Serve the rice with some Caribbean corn.
And the nice thing is that the coconut rice will not overpower or compete with your main dish.
Want to turn it into dessert? So easy! Stir a spoonful of sugar into the hot rice. Drizzle maple syrup over the top. Add a bit of butter and cream. Make it a tropical dessert with pineapple, mango, or fresh ginger.
When it’s done cooking you can garnish it with many different toppings. Try:
- chopped cilantro
- Add a squeeze of lime at the end or serve it with lime wedges
- chopped jalapeño peppers
- toasted shredded coconut
- sliced green onions
- sliced almonds
Does coconut rice have sugar in it?
Many recipes and restaurants will add sugar to the rice when cooking it. The sugar sweetens the rice and bumps up the coconut flavor a bit.
Feel free to add a spoonful of granulated white sugar or coconut sugar if you’d like. My recipe doesn’t contain added sugar, and I love the flavor without it.
How do I get the right balance of coconut flavor without overpowering the dish?
This recipe for coconut rice has a very subtle flavor, one that goes with everything and will not overpower other foods.
Keep in mind that good quality coconut milk will have better flavor.
If you want a bigger coconut flavor, a little bit of sugar will boost the flavor. Garnish with or toss in some toasted coconut. Check out how to toast coconut.
Add a little coconut oil to a pan and lightly brown the uncooked rice in the coconut oil before cooking the rice.
Top your cooked rice with coconut cream just before serving.
What is the best method for cooking coconut rice?
Should you use the stove top, a rice cooker, or the Instant Pot to cook your rice?
I’m a big fan of the rice cooker for this recipe. It’s just one pot. All the cooking is done in there and the machine cooks it perfectly. It keeps the cooked rice warm and ready for serving. Also, I like to store my cooked rice leftovers right in the pot so there’s only one dish to clean at the end.
Coconut milk can clog the pressure vent in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, so I don’t recommend making this in the IP.
The stove top is a good backup method to make rice. You do need to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. And, be sure to use a deep saucepan because the coconut milk can boil over while cooking, making a mess to clean up.
I have given both rice cooker and stove directions in the recipe card below.
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Coconut Rice Recipe
- rice cooker
- 2 cups rice
- 13.66 ounces canned full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Rice Cooker Instructions:
- Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of the rice cooker. Give it a stir. Set to cook.
- Once done, keep the rice covered, and let the rice steam for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve.
Stove top Instructions:
- If making this recipe on the stove, you will need ½ cup more water.
- Place the ingredients in a deep medium-sized cooking pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and cook covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork, and serve.
If your can of coconut milk is slightly more or less, that will be fine. I regularly see cans that are 13.5 ounces as well.
Rice cooker models will vary, most basic models will have a cook and a warm setting. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.