Easy Coconut Rice – Recipe

Coconut rice

If you like the flavor of coconut, this coconut rice is a killer side dish. It is about two minutes more work than normal rice, and it is a great change of pace because the rice goes from being the neutral canvas for other components to stealing the show. It uses both coconut milk and unsweetened dried coconut to give a very intense, flavor and unexpected texture.

I've made this both with jasmine rice for a Thai or Vietnamese meal (see the picture above), or with basmati rice for Indian cuisine. 

You could amp the flavor up even further with lime juice, cilantro, unrefined sugar (jaggery) or toasted black mustard seeds.

Coconut Rice
Serves 4
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free

  • 1.5 cups jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Prepare the rice in your usual way (rice cooker or stovetop), but substitute the coconut milk for an equal amount of water. Then add 1/4 cup more water to make up for the fact that the coconut milk has some solid content.
  2. Meanwhile, carefully toast the dried coconut in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, or in a toaster oven. Stir frequently to be sure that it all browns nicely and none of it burns. This should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Reserve a bit of the toasted coconut for garnish. Just before serving the, stir in the rest of the toasted coconut and salt. Fluff and serve.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, March 9th, 2009 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

24 Responses to “Easy Coconut Rice – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    March 9, 2009 at 6:51 am #

    will make this. I have stuff at home

  2. Reply
    March 9, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    Sounds delicious. I like the idea for lime and cilantro additions too!

  3. Reply
    March 9, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    I do love coconut rice…I tend just to cook it normally with water (probably because I usually am using leftover rice), then throw it in a saute pan with some brown mustard seeds, a 1/2-1 cup of coconut milk and some toasted coconut.

  4. Reply
    March 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    it was delicious, as was the rest of the meal. thanks again.

  5. Reply
    March 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    I just love how simple this is. No excuse not to try it out 🙂

  6. Reply
    March 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    This looks delightful! This is a traditional south Indian preparation. We also splutter some mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and some white split gram beans to give it a crunch 🙂 I loved the tofu pieces next to the rice too 🙂

  7. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    March 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    That sounds like a good way too!

  8. Reply
    March 10, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    wow.. this is indeed very delicious. Thanks for sharing it with us. I really can’t wait to try this one at home.
    Hope to hear more recipes from you Michael

    This change the traditional way of cooking the Rice. Nice idea!

  9. Reply
    March 10, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    This sounds so simple and delicious! I’ve never made coconut rice, but I’m usually open to anything coconut

  10. Reply
    March 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm #



  11. Reply
    March 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    Looks awesome!

  12. Reply
    March 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    i’m totally doing this

    i don’t mean to be rude but you said

    “Prepare the rice in your usual way (rice cooker or stovetop), but substitute the coconut milk for an equal amount of water

    i think it’s the other way arround
    sorry for the blow up comment

    thanks for the recepies
    i love them

  13. Reply
    March 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    Adding a touch of lime juice to this sounds perfect. A little crystallized honey, instead of the sugar, might be interesting, too. Hmmm … you give me ideas. 🙂

  14. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    March 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Honey? In Utah? 🙂
    Sounds good!

  15. Reply
    March 14, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    How about sweetening the same with sugar or honey? would that be fine. Would love to experiment.

  16. Reply
    March 23, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    This sounds wonderful! And the rest on the plate is making my mouth water. You’re a excellent cook & food blogger!

  17. Reply
    April 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    We’re phasing out fractionated and processed foods (grains in particular) – any ideas on how to make this with brown rice and fresh coconut?

  18. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 10, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    I think that could be good. You could either dehydrate the coconut and then
    follow the recipe the same way, or grate it fresh and stir it in and the
    end, for a somewhat different texture. If you try it, let us know how it
    turns out.

  19. Reply
    April 21, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    I have to say that this is sooo good, so tempted on making this everyday! Love the crunch, the flavor, and boy do they smell good! They thought I was cooking up some exotic dish when I said “It’s just rice dear!” It’s simple recipes like this that make me feel like a chef 🙂

  20. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 24, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    I’m so glad you liked it! Isn’t that coconut aroma appetizing?

  21. Reply
    December 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    I tried this in the rice cooker and it came out awful. The cooker kept clicking done and the liquid was all boiled up but the rice was still raw. It did not come out at all….wondering if I have a junk rice cooker or the amounts of water/coconut milk were wrong. Next time will cook in traditional way, in a pot on the stove! Thanks anyway, it sounded good!

  22. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    December 22, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    I’m sorry it turned out poorly for you. Can you tell me how much rice, how much coconut milk, and how much water you use? I might be able to spot the problem.

  23. Reply
    the Liquor Lady
    June 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    I think I may try coconut milk instead of real milk next time I make rice pudding on the stove top…yummmmmmm at the thought of coconuts, rice and rum soaked raisins!

  24. Reply
    July 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Made this & it’s THE most amazing rice I’ve ever had. Wanted it to have a sweet touch and conveniently, I only had sweetened coconut on hand. Used it and it added just enough sweetness to put me over the edge (in a good way). I don’t know that I’ll ever make rice any other way again!

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