Weeknight Coconut Rice (fluffy + fragrant!)

This fragrant and fluffy coconut rice recipe has deliciously subtle coconut flavor. Simple to prepare on the stove top or in a rice cooker!

Rice is a staple in our house, and while we love a bowl of great, fluffy rice, sometimes it’s fun to obtain creative with the flavors. From golden turmeric rice to cilantro lime rice to this delicious coconut rice, there are so many ways you can jazz it up.

Coconut Rice in brown bowl

Simple, fragrant, and perfectly fluffy, this coconut rice can be cooked on the stove top or in the rice cooker. Coconut milk adds a richness and subtle hint of flavor that pairs well with so many recipes!

Reasons to ♡ coconut rice

  • no sauteeing means you can cook it on the stove or in a rice cooker
  • the coconut milk infuses the rice with flavor and richness
  • it pairs well with many different main course options

rinsing rice in a colander under the tap

Cultural significance

Coconut rice variations are found across the globe, and the method of preparing varies by region. In Columbia, fresh coconut meat is blended with water, then simmered with rice and sugar (1), and in Thailand, it is made using jasmine rice, coconut milk and a touch of sugar (2). You will find variations in all corners of the world including India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Honduras and the Caribbean.

This weeknight coconut rice recipe was inspired loosely by the Thai version. My goal was to bring the delicious tropical flavors to your dinner table with as small effort as possible.

Ingredient notes

  • rice– use long grain white rice; I personally love using basmati as it has a low glycemic index. Feel free to swap for jasmine rice for a more traditional coconut rice; if you use long grain brown rice, you’ll need to commute the cook time accordingly.
  • oil– I’ve used coconut oil, which helps soften the rice and make it fluffy. You may swap for butter.
  • coconut sugar- many traditional coconut rice recipes conclude sugar; this helps enhance the coconut flavors through the rice. This recipe is very mildly sweet as written. You may skip the sugar, or swap it for brown sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar.
  • salt– seasons each grain of rice as it cooks; this also helps to enhance the coconut flavors.

all ingredients for coconut milk rice in a rice cooker before cooking

Recipe tips

Rinse the rice

Rinsing your rice helps remove extra starch from the surface of the rice, making the rice kind and fluffy. You can rinse it in one of two ways: 1) use a colander and rinse under tap water or 2) BEST- add rice to the pot, cover with water, swirl, carefully decant the water, and repeat until the water becomes clear.

Always let your rice rest

Another crucial step in getting that great fluffy rice texture is to allow it to rest after cooking through (no peeking!). This allows the moisture to evenly distribute through the pot. After cooking through, transfer the pot of rice to a cold burner and do not lift the lid for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, fluff it up with a fork and enjoy!

If you are using a rice cooker, the rest period should be built into the cook cycle, so no need to do this.

Storage + Reheating

If not handled properly, rice can be at risk of growing harmful bacteria that can make you sick. If you follow the following steps, you will be perfectly fine:

  • Get it into the fridge within 2 hours of cooking- do not let it sit at room temperature for too long as this is the temperature at which harmful bacteria can replicate
  • Store in an air tight container for up to 4 days
  • Reheat until steaming hot
  • Do not reheat more than once


Coconut rice freezes well. You can freeze it in meal prep containers or in freezer bags (I love these re-usable silicone freezer bags

!). Some people add a small bit of water when re-heating freeze/thawed rice, as it does end up slightly dryer than fresh rice.

Other tips

Instant pot- check out this Instant Pot Coconut Rice recipe

Low carb- check out this Coconut Cauliflower Rice Recipe

scoop of coconut rice on spoon with rice cooker in background

Rice cookers

I love using my rice cooker to cook rice as it produces perfectly fluffy rice each and each time!

What goes well with it?

This weeknight coconut rice is super versatile and goes well with many dishes. I love serving it with tropical and/or Asian-inspired recipes:

overhead shot of coconut rice recipe in brown bowl

More rice recipes

Coconut Rice Recipe

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Thai

Keyword: gluten-free, rice, vegan

Calories: 267kcal

Servings: 6

This fragrant and fluffy coconut rice recipe has deliciously subtle coconut flavor. Simple to prepare on the stove top or in a rice cooker!

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time30 mins

Total Time35 mins

  • Before cooking, rinse the rice in a colander under the tap, or by covering with water, swirling, and carefully decanting (repeat 2-3 times until water becomes clear).

Stove Top

  • In a medium pot, combine the rinsed basmati rice and all other ingredients.

  • Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes (no peeking) before fluffing up with a fork.

Rice Cooker

  • Combine the rinsed basmati rice and all other ingredients.

  • Cook using the ‘white rice’ function (or regular function if there is not a white rice option).

  • Once the cook time is up, fluff with a fork and enjoy!

1- you can swap for any long grain white rice, but check the water requirements and cook time on the package; you may need to reduce the water for jasmine or other types of rice.
Get rice into the fridge within 2 hours of cooking it and do not let it sit for extended periods at room temperature

  • store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
  • reheat in the microwave until steaming hot
  • do not reheat more than once
  • freeze for up to 3 months in a meal prep container or freezer bag

Serving: 1/6 of batch | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g

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