Coconut Rice

Coconut rice, when done well, is an almost indescribably lovely side dish that’s ever so slightly sweet and laughably easy and incredibly versatile. Here’s how to make it.

Coconut Rice

Coconut rice can be tricky to cook perfectly. This recipe has all the answers. And it’s actually quite easy. Careful measuring. Exact timing. And—this is the real secret—letting it cook without lifting the lid and then, even after you remove the pot of rice from the heat, don’t uncover it for another 10 minutes. You heard us. No peeking. Not even once! When you finally lift the lid, you’ll be rewarded with fluffy grains of rice, each perfectly cooked and tender and not sticky or gummy in the least, that has a super subtle nuance of coconut and a noticeable richness. It’s a darn good thing coconut rice is so incredibly versatile because this recipe makes an enormous amount. Not that we’re complaining. Nope. We just stash it in the fridge and reheat it all week long.–Angie Zoobkoff

Coconut Rice

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 10 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 8
5/5 - 3 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Adventures of Fat Rice cookbook

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Gently pour the rice in a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer in a large bowl. Put it under cold running water and gently stir clockwise with a slightly cupped hand, taking care not to break the grains of rice. Discard the water when it becomes cloudy and repeat the rinsing process several times until the water runs clear. (This may take half a dozen rinses. It’s worth it.) Remove the strainer from the bowl and let the rice drain for at least 10 minutes.

To cook the rice on the stove top, put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a heavy, 3-quart pot and stir gently to combine. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then cover and decrease the heat to low to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 9 minutes without uncovering the pot. Seriously. Don’t open the pot. Don’t stir it. Don’t peek. [Editor’s Note: If you remove the lid, you allow precious heat to escape. This in turn throws off the whole timing of the rice and will result in undercooked rice and then you’ll wan to blame us when really it was your own darn fault. Resist temptation. Don’t do it.] Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow it to absorb any residual moisture in the pot. Taste the rice and, if it’s still a touch underdone and firm, cover the pot and let it rest for an additional 5 minutes. To cook the rice using a rice cooker, put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a rice cooker and stir gently to combine. Cook following your rice cooker instructions. When the rice is done, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow it to absorb any residual moisture in the cooker. Taste the rice and, if it’s still a touch underdone and firm, replace the lid on the rice cooker and let it rest for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve the coconut rice warm. Extra rice can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen in resealable plastic bags for up to 6 months.

Print RecipeBuy the The Adventures of Fat Rice cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Absolute perfection. And all you have to is follow a few very simple instructions to achieve it—a winner! It’s fluffy, gorgeously fragrant, and the best-textured long-grain rice I’ve ever cooked. I love the slight richness of the coconut milk and the subtle saltiness. Although I could eat it by itself, this coconut rice would be wonderful with an infinite number of dishes, Southeast Asian or not. If you use the stove-top method like I did, ignore your urge to see if the rice is properly cooked after 9 minutes (No worries. It is.) Keep the lid on and just remove the pot from the heat and leave it undisturbed for 10 minutes. The timing for the stovetop method was spot on. The steaming at the end also keeps the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. This makes a lot of coconut rice but fortunately rice freezes well. I measured about 2 cups for each resealable plastic bag and then flattened it and pushed the air out and that’s it. Frozen rice can be microwaved or slowly thawed in the refrigerator then reheated.

This coconut rice came out perfectly. It didn’t taste at all of coconut (as in, not at all) but the rice seemed infused with the richness of the coconut milk and emerged as plump, tender, separate grains. It took quite a while to get the water to run clear by rinsing. I stopped counting at 8 changes of water. Cooked on the stovetop, the rice was done exactly right at the end of 19 minutes—9 minutes cooking and 10 minutes sitting, covered and untouched. I’m glad I checked right at 10 minutes because it seemed like it was hitting the point where it would be hard to fluff after much longer and might have been overdone and/or stuck to the pot. All of the liquid was completely absorbed. We ate this with mu shu pork lettuce wraps.

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  1. I found this recipe to be so much more than the simple ingredients imply. The fragrant jasmine rice and rich coconut milk combined to make the perfect coconut rice side dish, elevating a stir-fry dinner into something special. And the amount of time spent on preparation—from rinsing the rice to serving—was minimal so I was able to work on the rest of the meal while the rice cooked. The timing was spot on. After waiting for 10 minutes while the pot sat covered, off the heat, I opened the lid to discover coconut rice that was tender and each grain individually plumped to perfection. The rice was fragrant with just a hint of coconut flavor and is as versatile as it is simple. This is a side dish that shines on its own but also plays nicely with others. I served it with curried chicken and, on another night, grilled shrimp.

    I rinsed the rice in a colander, gently swirling my hands through the rice while under running water. I repeated this process 3 times before the water turned clear. I let the rice sit in the colander for 10 minutes before combining the rice, coconut milk, water and salt in a 3-quart pot. It took 6 minutes for the rice to come to a simmer (I use a gas stove) and then I turned the heat to low and covered the pot, setting the timer for 9 minutes. After 9 minutes, I turned off the heat and allowed the rice to sit for 10 minutes with the lid on. It was so tempting to sneak a peek—just one!—but I waited for 10 minutes and was rewarded with perfectly cooked rice. All the moisture had been absorbed and each forkful was tender, not sticky.

  2. This is one of those things I’ve heard about, ate a few times, fell in love with and sloppily tried to make at home, with varying results. This recipe gets the proportions perfect, and is just the best realization of one of my favorite comforty starchy side dishes. Totally in my rotation now.

    1. Magnificent, Lili! You just described exactly my experience with coconut rice. Indeed, this recipe is a keeper. So glad you love it as much as we do and many kind thanks for taking the time to let us know. We greatly appreciate it!

  3. OMG, this is delicious and so easy. I didn’t have any fancy rice, so I used white long grain.
    Put it all into the rice cooker and let it go. Didn’t peek, just unplugged the cooker after it was done and let it set. I’ve never had such light and fluffy rice. Now I have to keep coconut milk in the cupboard so I can make this anytime.

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