Perfect Coconut Rice

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This easy coconut rice recipe is the perfect way to change up your everyday rice! It is fluffy, flavorful, and pairs perfectly with Asian and Indian dishes.

cooked white coconut rice in a glass dish with a wooden spoon on a marble surface

This rice is so good! If you haven't had coconut rice before, it's simply white rice cooked in coconut milk. This simple swap really takes your rice to the next level and gives you fluffy, fragrant rice with a slight hint of coconut. It is a great side to serve with Indian and Asian dishes, but is also truly crave-worthy on its own!

I've been making coconut rice for a long time and was often frustrated by the mixed results I'd get from other recipes. Sometimes, my rice would be amazing, and other times, it would be a gloppy mess. So, we decided to develop our own recipe! The main obstacle was nailing down the right ratio of rice to coconut milk to water. With too much coconut milk, the rice can easily get greasy and sticky, and with too much water, you lose the light flavor of the coconut milk and get something more like traditional rice. When developing this recipe, we also wanted to be mindful of ingredient waste and not leave you with leftover coconut milk. After many tries, I'm happy to say that this recipe uses a full can of coconut milk, and we've found the ideal ratio of ingredients to use!

How to Make Perfect Coconut Rice on the Stovetop

We know that making rice on the stovetop can be a challenge for a lot of people, but this method really works and it is simple! Here's what you need to do for perfect, fluffy rice:

  1. Rinse the rice. Start off by rinsing the rice, the best way is to place it in a fine-mesh strainer and run it under water for about one minute, until the water runs clear. The reason the water runs opaque/white at first is because it is filled with excess starch from the rice. By removing the excess starch, you'll get fluffier rice.
  2. Add all ingredients to a pot. Next, you'll add the rinsed rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to a pot over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil. Whisk all of the ingredients together, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, drop the heat to the lowest setting, whisk the rice, making sure to get any that is stuck to the bottom of the pot off, then cover the pot.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes. Cook the rice on low for 20 minutes, then remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and serve!

cooked white coconut rice in a glass dish with a wooden spoon on a marble surface

How to Make Coconut Rice in the Instant Pot

While making rice on the stovetop is totally doable, the Instant Pot makes it foolproof! For this method, all you'll need to do is combine all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot, set it to cook on high pressure for 4 minutes, then allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Rice – we chose jasmine rice for this recipe and highly recommend it because the flavor of the jasmine pairs perfectly with the coconut. If you need to though, you can use long-grain white rice or basmati rice in its place. We do not recommend substituting brown rice in this recipe because the cooking time and liquid ratio will be different!
  • Coconut Milk – we recommend using full-fat coconut milk in this recipe. While you can use light coconut milk, the end result will be similar to plain rice because it is watered down.

Variations

While this coconut rice is delicious on its own, here are a few ways to make it even more flavorful:

  • Ginger Scallion – Once the rice is done cooking, stir in 2 tablespoons of sliced green onion and 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger to the rice.
  • Cilantro Lime – Once the rice is finished, stir in the juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons) and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Indian Basmati – Use basmati rice and add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cloves, and a tablespoon of cumin seeds to the rice before bringing it to a boil.
  • Sweet Mango – Once the rice is fully cooked, stir in one chopped mango and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.

cooked white coconut rice in a glass dish with a wooden spoon on a marble surface

What to Serve with Coconut Rice

Here are some of our favorite recipes to serve with this rice!

Print

Perfect Coconut Rice

cooked white coconut rice in a glass dish with a wooden spoon on a marble surface

This rice is perfectly fluffy and flavorful, with a slight hint of coconut, and can be made on the stovetop or Instant Pot!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions

Stovetop:

1. Add the rinsed rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to a pot over high heat and whisk to combine.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to lowest setting, whisk it again, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Instant Pot:

1. Add the rinsed rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to the Instant Pot then secure the lid and set to cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure naturally release for at least 10 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure and serve!

Keywords: coconut, rice, stovetop, instant pot

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  1. Tina Singh says:

    I have been making rice this way for ages! I:2 ratio, bring to boil, cook on low for 20 mins. Freaking works every time!! Also, may be it doesn’t matter to you but my family owns rice mills and we make basmati and short grain rice and my family approves of this cooking method. I have never cooked rice in coconut milk before so I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Let us know what you think once you’ve tried it!! It is SO tasty!

  2. Anna S says:

    Ok, I am a really good cook who always messes up the rice. This was awesome. So easy, so delicious. I’ll never make rice another way. Thank you!!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We’re so glad you love it, Anna!! It’s definitely my new favorite way to make rice too!

  3. Serena Gordillo says:

    What about a rice cooker. I’ve never cooked on stovetop and don’t own an insta pot. I have always cooked my rice in my rice cooker so what’s the ratio for that?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We haven’t tried it in a rice cooker, so we can’t say for sure, but we’re thinking the ratio would be the same! Let us know if you try it, Serena!

  4. Kate says:

    This is the best coconut rice I’ve ever made! It’s definitely the coconut milk (vs coconut water) that really makes a difference!

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We couldn’t agree more…that coconut milk makes all the difference!!

  5. Steph says:

    Best rice ever.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad you love it, Steph!!

  6. Jaime R says:

    The flavor of the rice was perfect but I’ve made it a few times and the rice is never cooked in 20 minutes. I always need to add extra liquid and cook for longer. Any tips?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Oh no! We haven’t experienced that, Jaime…what kind of rice are you using?