Need an easy weeknight side dish idea? This simple coconut milk rice recipe is a total family favorite. Savory, with a very mild coconut flavor, it’s also the perfect base for tacos, fried rice, meal prep bowls, and more!
Let me introduce you to what is probably the single most-often-prepared side in my kitchen: coconut milk rice! Hands down, it was the dish that I missed the most when we did a Whole30. Seriously… not cheese, not cream in my coffee, not bread, not even chocolate — this simple RICE.
I’m certain some of you are shaking your heads right now, saying, “Ugh, I hate coconut.” To that I say, TRY IT before you write it off! This coconut rice doesn’t have an in-your-face coconutty taste. It’s just slightly creamy, almost buttery, with a savory flavor that has just the barest hint of sweetness. In fact, if you didn’t already know it has coconut milk in it, you’d probably never be able to guess the “special” ingredient.
Easy Coconut Milk Rice
Coconut rice is an ideal meal prep recipe. We like it both hot and cold, and it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week, though it rarely lasts that long. I make a big batch at least once a week in my rice cooker. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, I’ve got stovetop instructions for you, as well!
In fact, my teenage boys ask for it by name. They heat it up in the stove top and douse it with sriracha sauce for an after school snack. And I don’t even complain about it… Because it’s a relatively frugal recipe — and I’m telling you, I’m ALL about saving money on food wherever I can, because these boys can EAT! Plus I know it’s super easy to make another batch.
NOTE: To be clear, when I say “coconut milk,” I’m referring to the coconut milk that comes in a can, NOT the refrigerated coconut milk beverage. That’s a totally different animal.
The full fat canned variety is my coconut milk of choice, but the light version can be substituted without affecting the outcome. I buy it by the case at Costco (along with rice because we make this so often!), but you can also find it with the Asian ingredients at any grocery store.
Coconut Milk Rice Variations
We never get bored with this coconut rice recipe, because it’s super flexible. Some variations to try:
- Swap the jasmine rice for your favorite brown rice (here’s mine).
- Use coconut water instead of tap water for a stronger coconut flavor.
- Add the zest and juice of two limes, plus chopped cilantro to taste, and you’ve got a cilantro lime rice that rivals Chipotle. (Honestly, I think it’s even better!)
- Eat it plain or use it as a base for tacos or burrito bowls.
- Make the best ever fried rice with it.
- Use it in your favorite meal prep recipes.
I could keep going on and on and on. Whatever you use it for, just try it — and then come back to let me know what YOU think!
Need an easy weeknight side dish idea? This simple coconut milk rice recipe is a total family favorite. Savory, with a very mild coconut flavor, it’s also the perfect base for tacos, fried rice, meal prep bowls and more!
- Shake up the can of coconut milk before opening. Combine coconut milk, water, rice and salt in the bowl of your rice cooker.
- Set the rice cooker to the quick cook setting and start the cycle. If your rice cooker does not have this setting, just use the shortest setting available.
- To cook it on the stove top, combine the ingredients above in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 22 minutes.
Coconut Lime Quinoa
If you like this coconut milk rice, I think you’ll adore this coconut lime quinoa recipe! It’s another go-to weeknight side dish that doubles as an excellent meal prep recipe…
Updated from the archives — originally posted in September 2013