Coconut rice, when done well, is an almost indescribably lovely side dish that’s ever so slightly sweet, laughably easy, and incredibly versatile. Here’s how to make it.
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
- 3 cups jasmine rice
- One (13 1/2-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk shaken well
- 13.5 ounces cold water (just use the empty coconut milk can to measure the volume)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 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.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
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.
I can’t remember the last time I made rice on the stove top. I generally make my white rice in the microwave and my brown rice in the oven, so I was curious about making this recipe. And also nervous. I like the idea of coconut rice but my past, somewhat unsuccessful rice making history made me wonder if this recipe would work for me. I followed the recipe to the letter, even washing the rice until the water ran clear, and this recipe was spot on. The coconut rice was perfectly cooked. It wasn’t overlooked or undercooked. It didn’t have an overt coconut taste but it still was good. It was especially good with some curry chicken I made one night. It does make quite a bit of rice. I wanted to see if the recipe could be halved and it can. Another successful rice-making experience! I think one of the keys is to watch the temperature of your stove and make sure that it’s on a low simmer and not too high. I started it on my power burner to bring to a boil and had to switch it to the regular burner for the simmer because I couldn’t get it to a low enough simmer.
This coconut rice recipe offers a terrific method to achieve delicate flavor and perfect texture. I used a really good jasmine rice (Lotus Foods Organic Mekong Flower Jasmine Rice) and Chaokoh Coconut Milk to prepare this on the stovetop. I made a half recipe and saved 200ml coconut milk for another project. The directions are very precise but the result was flawless. Not a bit of sticking to the pan and I resisted any urge to peek or stir. It takes trust to leave the rice alone, but this method really does work. That said, when I took the lid off after letting the rice sit for 10 minutes, I used the spoon to fluff the rice a bit, checking to see if it needed more time, and tasted it to be sure it was done. It needed just a little more time, so I let it sit undisturbed (and off heat) another 5 to 8 minutes while I finished the rest of my dinner prep. The extra 5 minutes sitting may not be necessary in a full recipe. Then I stirred it before serving, as a bit of coconut milk seemed to lay thinly on the surface, and it mixed in perfectly. The grains of rice were all fluffy and distinct—perfectly cooked—and had a hint of coconut flavor. This half recipe still makes 4 to 6 servings, though it’s so delicious I can see it disappearing in a greedy moment. I served it with a simple vegetable stir-fry of mushrooms and broccoli, though I will be picking up fresh mango to try with the remaining rice because the pairing is so right.
Move over basmati, coconut jasmine rice is here. The coconut flavor is subtle, which allows it to serve as an accompaniment to a variety of sauces, stews, etc. I topped this recipe with a spicy chickpea curry. Perfection! The coconut rice reheated in the microwave very well for lunch the next few days, which was a big bonus. This rice took 5 rounds of swirling and draining before the water ran clear. I used the stovetop method to cook the rice. It took 6 minutes for the rice/water/salt to come to a simmer over high heat, then I covered the pot and let it simmer for 9 minutes, turned off the heat and let it sit on the stove for an additional 10 minutes. Do not uncover the pot. Do not stir the rice. Resist the urge! Trust the process and the result will be light and fluffy rice with just the right amount of bite.
This is a fine recipe for coconut rice with each grain of rice cooking perfectly into light, fluffy, separate grains. I’ve never had coconut rice before, but I assumed there would be some coconut flavor. I couldn’t taste the coconut. The rice is absolutely perfect in its cooking technique.
You know how we’ve all got those weird “single people meals” we love to throw together when we happen upon nights all alone when our partner is away or our friends canceled plans and we just care too little to make a proper meal or even summon the energy to grab takeout? Well, mine is plain white rice cooked in chicken broth, maybe with some garlic and truffle salt if I’m feeling fancy. It’s a poor woman’s risotto and every bit the late night bowl of comfort I need after a long day and an empty house.
This coconut rice recipe looked almost deceptively easy. Any recipe that I can look at once and make again and again without having to write it down or reread it is always a winner in my book. I’ve seen lots of “coconut rice” recipes before but almost all require weird proportions of coconut milk, actual coconut meat, extra spices, vegetables, or whatever such that unless I’m putting together an East Asian buffet for 10 I really don’t have the time or energy to make it on most nights. This…just a bunch of rice with a can of coconut milk and a can’s worth of water? Okay, I’m game. If I can basically pop this on the stove, go take a shower, and come back to a nice, creamy, but still fluffy pot of fragrant coconut rice? It’s so little effort that I feel absolutely zero guilt just eating it on its own while catching up on old episodes of Dancing with the Stars, but it’s flavorful enough to pair brilliantly with a nice spicy curry, too. Which brings me to the next point, which is that it keeps and reheats very well (although call me crazy but I like it cold!). Depending on your fancy, this could even make a good breakfast.
For some reason, I’ve never been a fan of plain old steamed rice. It just seems so blah to me. However, I am enamoured with coconut rice. I first had it at a Burmese restaurant and was hooked. I’ve been trying all kinds of proportions of rice to coconut milk to water to duplicate or even come close to what I had. This recipe seems to fit the bill. I made half a recipe in our rice cooker and it made enough coconut rice for 5 to 6 portions.
I like rice but I don’t care for jasmine rice. My family, however, requested this recipe and I’m happy they did. The rinsing and draining of rice is standard procedure here and I used my Instant Pot rice setting to cook the rice. That took 12 minutes under low pressure and 15 minutes for the pressure to drop naturally. There was no liquid left in the pot as it had all been absorbed. The rice looked like sticky rice (sushi rice) but was more like long grain rice when served. I expected the coconut milk would be the prominent flavour in the finished dish but it only added a hint of sweetness and the aroma of the rice wasn’t floral like a jasmine rice would normally be. We first served this with marinated pork chops and a sesame and cucumber salad. Everyone loved it. The couple servings of leftover coconut rice were used in pork and vegetable wraps with sesame dressing for lunches. This coconut rice recipe has changed my mind about jasmine rice.
This coconut rice was so easy to make and worked out really well. I used my rice cooker and just threw everything in. I let it sit for 10 minutes before lifting the lid and it was great. The timing was accurate and the moisture was absorbed.
I used a rice cooker and all the moisture was absorbed. I served it with grilled fish. With the extra rice I made a rice pudding with bananas and also some Asian arancini stuffed with fresh tofu so soft it reminds me of mascarpone.
Originally published March 20, 2017
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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.