Coconut Rice
Yield: ~3 cups
Light, fluffy, and delightfully fragrant, coconut rice is a cinch to make and offers a delicious upgrade to curries, stir fries, salmon, and more.


  • 1 cup (180g) jasmine rice (see notes for substitutions*)
  • ¾ cup (180ml) canned full fat coconut milk**
  • ¾ cup (177ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Morton’s)
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) granulated sugar
  • Optional: zest of one lime; ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro; ¼ cup chopped salted cashews; 2-3 tablespoons toasted coconut; 1-2 thinly sliced red chili peppers; 1 thinly sliced scallion


  1. Add the rice, coconut milk, water, salt, and sugar to a large saucepan or pot with a tight-fitting lid and set over medium high heat. When the water is bubbling gently across the surface, stir once to loosen, and then turn the heat to low and cover with the lid.
  2. Cook on low for 12 minutes (see notes if substituting a different rice) without stirring or removing the lid, after which time the water should be absorbed (tilt the pot to check) and the rice should be tender.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the optional lime zest, and/or cilantro, and then fluff with a fork. Top with coconut, cashews, red chilies, and/or scallions as desired, and serve hot.


*Don’t have jasmine rice? The light, fluffy quality of aromatic jasmine rice is wonderful in this recipe, but white basmati or basic long grain white rice may be substituted as needed. When using those varieties, check after 13 minutes.

*Prefer brown rice? Long grain brown rice may be used and will contribute a nuttier, somewhat earthy flavor. In this case, increase the coconut milk and water by 2 tablespoons each and cook for 35 minutes.

**Details on the coconut milk:

  • I recommend regular over light coconut milk for this recipe, as it imparts the best flavor and moisture into the rice. In a pinch, light coconut milk may be used, but the flavor will be less pronounced.
  • Avoid using all coconut milk, as it tends to make the finished rice too thick. That said, this will be less of a factor if subbing light coconut milk. Still, half water/half full fat coconut milk produces a lighter, fluffier, delicious rice.
  • Make sure to stir the coconut milk before measuring to reincorporate the thick, creamy layer that often separates from the thin coconut water.

Do I need to rinse the rice? I do not and find the rice turns out just as light and fluffy as compared to a rinsed batch.

To toast coconut if using as a topping: Preheat the oven to 300℉. Spread the coconut flakes in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in the oven. The flakes toast quickly and won’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Check every minute or so after the first 5 minutes. Once there is a light golden color across the surface, stir the coconut and toast for another minute or two to ensure even color. Watch closely at this point, as coconut can go from golden to burnt very quickly.

Leftovers, storage, and reheating: The cooked rice will keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days – just be sure it’s airtight. If leftover rice seems at all dry, sprinkle lightly with water before reheating and/or cover with a damp paper towel when warming in the microwave. The cooled rice may also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating.

Scaling up: You may double the recipe, but I do find that the deeper the rice is in the pot, the more difficult it is to cook it perfectly. I have had good success, however, with 1½ x the recipe.

You can freeze coconut milk! If you don’t have plans for it, freeze and use the remaining amount for another batch of coconut rice in the weeks ahead. Coconut milk may be frozen for up to 3 months. It may separate, so stir well before using.

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