Coconut Rice

Coconut rice

In my first cookbook, I shared a recipe for Coconut Rice with Brussels Sprouts. It was an instant hit after the book came out, and it’s remained a reader-favorite recipe to this day. As much as people love Brussels sprouts, I suspect that the recipe’s popularity isn’t really because of the veggies. It’s because of the coconut rice.

I mean, how could it not be? Coconut rice is rich and fragrant, with a sweet, buttery coconut flavor. It’s fantastic in bowls and as a side dish, but it tastes so good that I could eat forkful after forkful straight from the pot.

You’ll find my basic coconut rice recipe below. Coconut rice is eaten throughout South and Central America, Southeast Asia, and West Africa, and each of these regions prepares it slightly differently. This version isn’t a riff on coconut rice from any of these places specifically, but it is inspired by the delicious combination of rice and coconut milk enjoyed in all of them.

Overhead shot of recipe ingredients

Coconut Rice Recipe Ingredients

To make this recipe, you’ll need 2 simple ingredients:

  • Jasmine rice – This Thai long grain white rice has a fluffy texture and aromatic flavor that makes it perfect for this recipe.
  • Full-fat coconut milk – The canned kind, please! Cartoned coconut milk is often sweetened or watered down, so it won’t deliver the rich coconut flavor we want in this recipe.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Bowl of jasmine rice with wooden spoon

Coconut Rice Recipe Tips

  • Rinse the rice. This should be your first step whenever you cook rice – whether it’s plain white rice, brown rice, or black. It removes starches that can cause the rice to clump up as it cooks. I like to rinse my rice by placing it in a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Then, I rinse it in cool running water until the water in the bowl runs clear.
  • Coconut milk separated? Don’t worry about it. When you open a can of coconut milk, you might not find a smooth, creamy milk inside. Instead, you’ll likely see a thick layer of solids on top of a watery liquid. That’s totally fine! Dump the separated coconut milk into your pot, and proceed with the recipe. The solids will melt down as the pot heats up. Just make sure you give everything a good stir before you cover the pot and reduce the heat.
  • You can control the richness and flavor. My favorite method for how to make coconut rice is the one in the recipe below: I cook one cup of rice in one can of coconut milk. It yields very rich rice with a robust coconut flavor, which I absolutely love. But if you prefer lighter rice with a milder flavor, that works, too! Substitute light coconut milk for full-fat, or cook the rice in a mixture of 3/4 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup water.

Coconut rice in pot with wooden spoon

Coconut Rice Serving Suggestions

The simplest way to enjoy this recipe is as a side dish. Before serving, I like to fluff the rice and toss it with sea salt, lime juice and zest, and chopped cilantro for extra flavor (it also tastes fantastic with the seasonings in this cilantro lime rice recipe). Pair it with any protein you like. We love it with this crispy sesame tofu.

This coconut rice is a great base for a rice bowl, too. Try using it in this vegan burrito bowl, this mango ginger rice bowl, or this tofu broccoli bowl. Or make your own bowl! Start with a scoop of the rice. Then, choose a component from each of these categories:

Stop there, or take it over the top with garnishes like pickled onions or fresh cilantro. Have fun finding a combination you love!

Coconut rice recipe

More Favorite Rice Recipes

If you love this recipe, try one of our other delicious rice dishes next! Find 15 Fresh Rice Bowl Recipes here and 25 Healthy Rice Recipes here.


Click here to browse more recipes!

Coconut Rice