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How to Cook THE BEST Coconut Rice

This fluffy and flavorful coconut rice recipe made with coconut milk, unsweetened coconut flakes, and a bit of ginger heat adds so much to your basic rice recipe.

Coconut Rice in bowl

Rice is one of the most versatile grains around and is used in nearly every style of cuisine. Likely the most common cooked grain found around the world, it’s nutritious, fortifying, and rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron. Not to mention it’s incredibly versatile, lending itself perfectly to virtually any cuisine. I have a couple of rice recipes I often turn to, like my perfectly cooked white rice recipe and Greek lemon rice, but I’m always looking for ways to jazz things up. And this coconut rice does indeed get jazzy.

This rice recipe gives a nod to the flavors of Thai and Indian cuisines with the addition of creamy coconut milk, fragrant ginger, and unsweetened coconut flakes to add texture and nuttiness. A zip of lime is tasty but totally optional and you can skip the ginger if you prefer, but I think it adds a flavorful accent. This coconut rice goes well with just about any main dish or as the base for rice bowls, but is especially tasty with salmon, crispy baked garlic shrimp, my chana masala, or Thai chicken and cucumber salad, just to name a couple of ideas.

Coconut Rice ingredients

What’s in Coconut Rice

All you need are a few simple ingredients to make this easy coconut rice. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Jasmine rice or other long-grain white rice
  • Canola oil
  • Fresh ginger
  • Coconut milk (for the best results, use full-fat coconut milk but not coconut cream)
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime (if desired)
  • Green onion

Note: Some types of rice require a longer cook time than others, so if using something other than a long-grain white rice here, check the package instructions, do the math, and adjust the cooking time if needed.

Always rinse rice before cooking

How to Make Coconut Rice

The method for cooking perfectly fluffy white rice is the basis for this coconut rice where coconut milk subs in for half of the amount of water.

  • Rinse the rice in a bowl of cold water, stir around with your fingers, then drain. Repeat three times or until the water is no longer cloudy.
  • Sauté the ginger. In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium-high, add the ginger, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk, water, and unsweetened coconut flakes. The coconut flakes soften as they cook with the rice, adding more coconut flavor and texture to the dish.
  • Bring the rice to a boil, lower it to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Let the rice sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Go ahead and take a peek under the lid to make sure all of the liquid has been absorbed, then cover it back up and let it sit. This allows the steam to settle so there’s less chance of clumps.
  • Add a squeeze of lime and chopped green onion if you’d like. I like, so I do.

How to Cook Fluffy Rice That Doesn’t Clump

No one wants undercooked or clumpy, mushy rice. Follow these simple steps for perfectly fluffy rice every time.

Let it rest! This is the crucial step for achieving perfectly fluffy rice. It continues to steam off the heat so that as it cools the grains become firmer, avoiding the dreaded clump. Stirring the grains too soon while they’re still hot and wet results in gummy rice.

Rest, fluff, season. After the rice has cooked, turn off the heat and let the rice sit with the lid on for 10 minutes. Fluff the finished rice with a fork. Add a squeeze of lime juice if desired and sprinkle with the green onion. Give it a taste and add more salt if needed.

Coconut Rice in pan

Additions and Substitutions

The ginger and lime are optional, but I love the flavor they impart, and they complement the coconut so well. These flavors also pair nicely with a variety of Asian dishes—particularly Thai and Indian recipes). However, if you wanted to mix it up, here are some variations you could try:

  • Try basmati or long-grain rice
  • If using brown rice, cook the rice for 15 minutes longer
  • For even more coconut flavor, use unrefined coconut oil instead of canola oil
  • Add ½ teaspoon of curry powder to the liquid
  • For extra lime flavor, add some zest
  • Diced mango or pineapple would be a tasty addition
  • Add garnishes lik freshly chopped cilantro or Thai basil
  • Add a dash of fish sauce or soy sauce
  • For a little sweetness, add a pinch of sugar or a bit of honey or maple syrup
Coconut Rice in pan with spoon

What to Serve With Coconut Rice

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

Coconut Rice in bowl