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Fluffy Coconut Rice is the perfect savory side to serve with your favorite grilled meats, in rice bowls piled with beans, grilled veggies, and shredded Kalua Pork, and with many other dishes. Forget plain old white rice and elevate the flavor with coconut milk. Ready in 20 minutes!
Don’t let your side dish be an afterthought! We love making this coconut rice recipe to serve with Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Coconut Lime Peanut Sauce and Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs.
Coconut Jasmine Rice
I grew up in a potato-loving family (my mom is from Idaho after all), but my husband and kids are obsessed with rice, so that’s what we eat more than any other side dish. Our youngest, who is now in 2nd grade, even tells everyone that rice is her favorite food.
I have amassed quite a collection of rice dishes on here for some of our favorites like Homemade Mexican Rice (aka Spanish Rice), Easy Cilantro Lime Rice, Instant Pot Brown Rice, and Easy Rice Pilaf with Orzo Pasta. Then there are the main dishes that are rice-centric like Instant Pot Red Beans & Rice or Garlic Rice with Fried Egg! If you love rice like we do, you can always use the search feature of the blog to find even more rice recipes since I can’t name them all here!
But this coconut jasmine rice has been a go-to side dish for us for years and years. It’s got a hint of sweetness to it, but is more savory with an almost nutty, buttery flavor to it that goes so well with so many meals.
Coconut rice takes hardly any time at all to prepare and is a great way to get kids helping with meals since they can throws this together lickety-split. Get it going on the stovetop, in your rice cooker, or instant pot and you can work on the rest of dinner while it cooks.
- Rice: Jasmine rice, preferably, although we have made this recipe with long-grain white rice and it still turns out delicious.
- Coconut milk: Go for full fat coconut milk for the best flavor and texture.
- Water: The rest of the liquid used to cook the rice is just plain old water.
- Sugar & salt: These two season and balance out the rice while letting the coconut and jasmine rice be the real stars.
- Cilantro: This is really just for garnish and you can skip it if you don’t have any on hand.
How to Make Coconut Rice
- Rinse the rice in cold water: Rinsing rice helps remove some of the excess starch that can be one of the reasons if you have ever had gummy rice. This simple technique will help the individual grains of rice stay separate from each other. Just swirl the rice around with cold water in the pot you plan to cook it in, then dump it into a fine mesh strainer. Add it back to the pot and refill with cold water, then swirl and strain it one more time.
- Bring everything to a boil: Combine the rinsed rice in a medium pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat with the coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Directions are below if you are using a rice cooker or instant pot. Once it comes to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer until done: Simmer the rice until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Fluff with a fork and garnish with some chopped cilantro before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can taste the coconut in this rice, it’s more of a savory and only subtly sweet flavor. The coconut flavor itself is mild and not anything like the coconut flavor in my Thai coconut mango sticky rice.
Yes, if you have leftovers you can freeze them for up to about 3-4 months. Store it in freezer safe containers or reusable bags, then reheat in the microwave when you are ready to enjoy it. You may need to add a splash of water when reheating.
Yes! If you want to use a rice cooker, just follow the same instructions of rinsing, then add all of the ingredients to the rice cooker and close the lid. Press the “start” or “white rice” button, depending on your rice cooker. When the timer goes off your rice is done!
- If you want to elevate your coconut rice even more, try sprinkling some toasted coconut and lime juice over the top for even more of a tropical flavor.
- Use a tight-fitting lid. This helps keep the steam in the pot to cook the rice all the way through.
- Don’t stir the rice after it starts cooking. After the initial stir to combine all of the ingredients, leave the rice alone to let it do it’s thing. Stirring can lead to gummy rice.
What goes well with coconut rice?
Anything grilled, tropical, Caribbean, or Thai will go well with coconut rice. Here are some of our favorites.
- Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi
- Easy Honey Walnut Shrimp
- Pan Seared Scallops
- Easy Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
- Grilled Whole Fish
- The BEST Orange Chicken
- 15 Minute Pan Seared Salmon
- Mongolian Beef
- 2 cups jasmine rice or long grain white rice
- 13.5 ounces full-fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cilantro garnish
- Rinse rice a couple of times in cold water, draining it in a fine mesh sieve. Return the rice to a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
- Add rice, coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt to pan over medium-high heat. Give it a stir, then let it come to a boil.
- Once the liquid starts to boil, cover the rice and reduce heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, still covered, for 10-15 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
- Rice cooker instructions: If you want to use a rice cooker, just follow the same instructions of rinsing, then add all of the ingredients to the rice cooker and close the lid. Press the “start” or “white rice” button, depending on your rice cooker. When the timer goes off your rice is done!