Coconut Rice

Learn how to make coconut rice with 2 simple ingredients! It's rich, fragrant, and filled with buttery coconut flavor. A delicious side dish for any meal!

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.

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Coconut Rice

rate this recipe:
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4
This coconut rice recipe is an easy, delicious side dish! Enjoy the rich, fragrant rice plain, or season it with lime and cilantro for a punchier, fresher flavor.


Optional additions

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Chopped cashews


  • Combine the rice and coconut milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • Use in your favorite recipe that calls for coconut rice, or stir in the salt, lime juice and zest, and cilantro. Season to taste. Sprinkle with cashews and serve as a side dish.


*For fluffier rice with a milder coconut flavor, use a mix of coconut milk and water. Replace the can of coconut milk with 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup coconut milk.


5 from 19 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Cindy Ohnigian

    Unsweetened coconut milk?

  2. Bekki

    From the I have coconut milk from the refrigerated section at the supermarket can I use that or does it have to be canned

    • Luc

      Is there a war to make it with already cooked rice (regular prep w water)?

  3. Endiké

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Perfect taste and texture with full fat coconut milk. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Susan Collison

    5 stars
    Can this recipe be doubled? We can’t get enough!!! 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      If you have a big enough pot, that should be fine. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Felice

    5 stars
    Perfect taste. Thanks!

  6. Wen

    5 stars
    Excellent! I made it in my rice cooker using the standard “cup” that comes with the cooker, (which is actually only 3/4 cup) and a full can of coconut milk, pressed start and was rewarded with fragrant, rich and perfectly cooked coconut rice. Adding the salt really brought it to life. Delicious as is or sprinkled with nuts. I didn’t have cashews so used toasted pecans and later used roasted peanuts. Both were yummy. But I love it just by itself.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  7. Diana

    This sounds so delicious! Do you have a recipe for coconut grits? I had it at a restaurant once, and can never duplicate it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Diana, I don’t but it sounds delish!

  8. Nick

    Great recipe! My favorite topping for coconut rice is toasted sesame. Just a wonderful combination.

  9. Abby Pariser

    What about rinsed brown rice? Don’t we need more liquid?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Abby, for brown rice, we use 2 cups water, so I would try making coconut brown rice with 1 1/2 cups coconut milk plus 1/2 cup water. Hope that helps!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.