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!
Coconut Milk Rice
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 — it was this EASY COCONUT 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.
Coconut Rice With Coconut Milk
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 around here. I make a big batch at least once a week in my rice cooker. But 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 quick and easy to make another batch.
Cooking Rice in Coconut Milk
NOTE: To be clear, when it comes to cooking rice in 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 and will produce very different results.
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 Recipe 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. Or stir in a cup of toasted coconut!
- Add the zest and juice of two limes, plus chopped cilantro to taste, and you’ve got a coconut cilantro rice that rivals Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice. (Honestly, I think coconut lime rice is 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!
P.S. Looking for a flavorful brown rice recipe that makes tender and fluffy brown rice with perfect results every single time? This Instant Pot brown rice is THE ONE!! And if you’re just looking for another way to use your rice cooker, try this easy coconut quinoa.
Easy Dinner Recipes To Serve With Coconut Rice:
These simple dinner dishes pair perfectly with this fluffy coconut rice recipe:
- This delicious spicy shredded Instant Pot salsa chicken recipe is equally perfect for weeknight dinners and weekend meal prep Just 4 ingredients and under 40 minutes prep to table!
- This copycat Chipotle slow cooker beef barbacoa recipe smells ah-mazing and tastes even better! Perfect for tacos, burrito bowls, tostadas, and so much more…
- With only 6 ingredients, these Asian meatballs are easy to make and a total crowd pleaser… Finished in the slow cooker, they perform double duty as a game day appetizer or as an easy weeknight dinner when served over coconut milk rice!
- This grilled honey lime chicken recipe is my favorite way to get out of a chicken breast rut! Flavorful and juicy, thanks to a simple 5-ingredient honey lime marinade…
Did you make this recipe?
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Monday 8th of May 2023
Kosher salt or regular table salt ? Please advise. I SOOOO want to make this rice in my rice cooker soon.
Tuesday 9th of May 2023
Hi Jan - just regular table salt. Hope you love it!
Friday 17th of March 2023
My rice cooker is on the small side - max is 3cups. So I swapped to stovetop and am patiently waiting for it to come to a boil .... A chefs I once worked with made this simple delight for over 120 guests. I hope mine tastes as good. BlueSkies, T
Monday 27th of February 2023
This was SO delicious! I made it to have with seasoned black beans and chicken basil sausage and I think that’s our new favorite quick meal. I was nervous that the rice would come out mushy but it was perfect. I have an Aroma rice cooker and just used the white rice setting for the Jasmine rice and followed the directions exactly and am very impressed.
Thursday 21st of July 2022
Absolutely the best rice...so easy...my son was just eating it out of the pot right after cooked...it even stays moist in the fridge and reheats BEAUTIFULLY!! This doesnt have a big coconut flavor and is not sweet...just added that FYI...it would go without about everything.
Thursday 21st of July 2022
All reasons why we love it so much, too! My nephew HATED rice until he tried it, and now he asks my sister-in-law to make it at least twice a week…
Friday 6th of May 2022
I just made this for the first time, mis-read the instructions and used 1 cup of coconut milk + 2 cups water instead of 1 can + 2 cups water! But it still turned out delicious and texture was just right. A keeper recipe :)
Saturday 7th of May 2022
So glad it still turned out, Judy!