Coconut Rice is a savory side dish that is slightly sweet and creamy. It’s great paired with chicken, fish, curries, and stir fry dishes.

It costs around $2.27 to make this rice. The recipe makes eight servings, which works out to cost about $0.37 per serving.

This rice is excellent served alongside my grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce! It is also fantastic with my Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks with Avocado Crema and my Hawaiian Food Truck Garlic Shrimp.

An overhead picture of the finished Coconut Rice in a wooden bowl.

With just a few ingredients, you will enjoy fluffy Coconut Rice in no time. You may find you like this Coconut Rice recipe so much you will never want the plain stuff again! I love the naturally rich coconut flavor and the rice’s added texture.

Something magical happens while the rice is cooking. The coconut cream in the coconut milk will caramelize during cooking, leaving sweet brown caramelized flecks in the rice. Those little brown flecks are my FAVORITE part of the rice.

Ingredients and Estimated Cost

Per Serving Cost: $0.37

Recipe Cost: $2.27

  • 2 cups long grain rice – $1.12
  • 14 oz can coconut milk – $1.08
  • ½ cup water – $0.00
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar – $0.01
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt – $0.01
  • ½ Tablespoon shredded coconut – $0.05

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. 

An overhead picture of all of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

How To Make Coconut Rice

  1. First, rinse the rice under cold water. Then, use your hands to massage the rice gently.
  2. Next, whisk together the coconut milk and water using a small saucepan. 
  3. Add the rice, sugar, and salt before boiling the mixture. 
  4. Turn the heat to low and stir the rice before placing a lid on the pot and letting the mixture simmer for fifteen minutes. 
  5. After fifteen minutes, turn off the heat and allow it to sit for ten minutes. 
  6. Finally, stir the rice and place it in a serving bowl and garnish with toasted coconut and parsley before serving. 

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.

A picture collage showing how to make this recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of long grain rice, you can use Jasmine or basmati rice.
  • You can use any type of shredded coconut for garnishing. Sometimes I get a little fancy and use large flake coconut.
  • This recipe will give a nice, subtle coconut flavor. However, if you want a more pronounced coconut flavor, then try adding a drop of coconut extract when you add the rice to the pot.

Serving and Storage Tips

SERVE: You can keep the rice out for about two hours before placing it in the refrigerator. 

STORE: Cover and place the rice in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

FREEZE: Once cooled, place the rice in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4-6 months.

THAW: Thaw the rice at room temperature for about 3 hours before reheating or overnight in the refrigerator.

REHEAT: Place the rice in a microwave-safe bowl. For each cup of rice, add 1–2 tablespoons of water and stir to combine. Place the coconut rice in the microwave and heat for 2-3 minutes, heated through.

A close up overhead picture of the finished Coconut Rice recipe in a wooden bowl.

Recipe FAQs

Is coconut rice good for you?

Adding coconut milk helps turn this already fiber-rich dish into one with additional nutrition benefits.

Why is my coconut rice mushy?

Adding coconut milk, which is very thick, makes it especially important to wash the starch from your rice. Adding a little water to the coconut milk helps thin it enough to absorb it into the rice. If you haven’t washed the rice, this will lead to sticky, mushy rice. Or you may have added too many liquids and cooked too long.

Is coconut rice sweet?

The coconut milk is not sweet, so I add sugar. It does have a slight hint of sweetness, but nothing bold. It’s a savory side dish that’s a traditional Chinese recipe. Sweetness is not intent. There’s a mild hint of coconut, which is truly delicious.

Can I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk?

Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk. Therefore, if you use it, only use 1 cup and up the water to 1 cup.

Can I use a rice cooker for this recipe?

Yes. Prepare the same way and turn on the rice cooker as you usually would for regular rice.

Can I make Coconut Rice in an Instant Pot?

Yes! Add all the ingredients (minus the toasted coconut) to the instant pot, press the manual button, and change it to 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes are up, let the rice depressurize for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure lock.

A spoon picking up a scoop of the finished Coconut Milk Rice.

More Side Dishes

A close up picture of the finished Thai Coconut Rice in a wooden bowl.
5 from 11 votes

Coconut Rice

Recipe Cost $ $2.27
Serving Cost $ $0.37
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
6 people
Coconut Rice is a savory side dish that is slightly sweet and creamy. It’s great paired with chicken, fish, curries, and stir frys.


  • sieve OR fine mesh strainer
  • small saucepan
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons




  • Rinse the rice under cold water with the help of a sieve or fine mesh strainer until the water is clear. Next, use your hands to massage the rice gently. While doing this, the agitation will help remove more starch from the rice.


  • In a small saucepan, add the coconut milk and the water, and using a whisk, mix well until combined.
  • Add the rinsed rice, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil.
  • At this point, turn down the heat to low and give a last stir of the rice.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid.
  • After 15 minutes, do not lift the lid; just turn off the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • After the 10 minutes are up, remove the lid and give it a good stir.


  • Transfer the rice to a serving dish and garnish with the toasted coconut and parsley. Serve with lime wedges.


If you don’t know how to toast coconut, you can find out how with my tutorial here.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Carmel Mc Hale says:

    Hi there! Do you think this might work with rice cauliflower somehow? I must restrict carbs as much as possible, but coconut recipes call my name. Thanks!

    1. Hi Carmel,

      To be honest, I really don’t know, sorry. If you give it a try let me know how it turns out!

  2. Karen Call says:

    Jill, I love your recipes. I like to print them but the new format with all the pictures of the process adds up to too many pages. Would it be possible to have a print button that will print without the pictures? I have downloaded recipes for other websites where that is possible.
    Thanks for all your great ideas for delicious recipes.

    1. Hi Karen,

      I’m not exactly sure. Let me look into this. 🙂

  3. Kavita Favelle says:

    Love the look of this, I love Thai sticky coconut rice, so I’m sure I’d love this, especially as you mention the caramelising to leave little brown flecks. Yum!

  4. We love coconut rice and it’s a staple in our house. It goes with so many different dishes.

    1. Exactly, I make it all the time!

    2. I agree it goes with almost any meat dish!

  5. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:

    Mmm I do love coconut rice but it’s so addictive, I could keep on eating it. This looks delicious

  6. Claudia Lamascolo says:

    we love coconut rice I always make it but never tried putting the sugar in it. Bet its creamier. I will give it a try

  7. I have been craving rice lately and this looks like exactly what my tummy desires! Going to make this today!

  8. Perry P. Perkins says:

    That sounds amazing! Definitely on the home menu this week, might just have to grill up some Thai peanut chicken skewers to go with it. Thanks for the recipe!

    “Restaurant quality food at home”…you’re singing my favorite song! 😉

    ~Chef Perry

    1. Yum, coconut rice will go nicely with your Thai peanut chicken skewers!

  9. I love this coconut rice! My Fave!

  10. This was so good! Went great with grilled chicken thank you!

  11. This has become our go-to side dish for Asian meals! It’s so tasty and so easy to whip up.

  12. Sharon Chen says:

    Interesting twist on rice, will give this a try tomorrow! Thanks!

  13. Coconut rice is one of my favorite sides and this recipe didn’t disappoint! Thanks!

  14. We made this rice with our last taco night and everyone loved it! The coconut flavor is amazing!