Perfect Coconut Rice (with a Secret Ingredient!)

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Bowl of perfectly fluffy coconut rice

It’s no secret that we’ve got a thing for curries, soups, bowls, and beyond! So it was only a matter of time before we shared a recipe for their perfect sidekick: coconut rice!

Just 1 pot, 30 minutes, and 3 ingredients required for this versatile side dish. Let us show you how it’s done!

Dairy-free milk, coconut water, rice, shredded coconut, salt, sugar, cilantro, and coconut flakes

Origins of Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is enjoyed in many regions around the world, especially in tropical areas where coconuts are grown. Some versions are more savory, while others are more sweet.

While we don’t claim to be experts on the different variations, our version seems to most closely resemble the flavors and ingredients of Thai coconut rice, but with our own twist!

Pouring coconut milk into a pan of rice

What Makes Ours Different?

  • Options to use white or brown rice
  • Lightly sweetened
  • The secret ingredient, you ask? It’s infused with coconut water for more coconut flavor without being too rich!

You can find a more traditional recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen.

Fork in a pan of fluffy coconut rice

We hope you LOVE this coconut rice! It’s:

Lightly sweetened
& Delicious!

It’s the perfect side dish when you want something easy but a little more special than plain rice. And it pairs especially well alongside other Thai-inspired recipes.

What to Serve with Coconut Rice

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Coconut flakes beside a bowl of coconut rice

Perfect Coconut Rice (with a Secret Ingredient!)

How to make PERFECT coconut rice every time! A quick and easy, versatile side dish for curries, soups, bowls, and beyond! Just 3 ingredients and 1 pot required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Cilantro next to a bowl of easy coconut rice
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (~1/2-cup servings)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Thai-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5-6 Days



  • 1 cup jasmine, basmati, or long grain white rice (or sub brown rice* — see notes)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup water (or coconut water for more intense coconut flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic cane sugar* (optional for sweet rice — leave out if using coconut water)
  • 2 Tbsp desiccated or unsweetened shredded coconut (optional // for more coconut flavor and a bit of texture)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Finely minced cilantro
  • Lightly toasted coconut flakes


  • Add rice, coconut milk, water (or coconut water), sea salt, sugar (optional), and desiccated or shredded coconut (optional), to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cover. Ensure it’s simmering and not boiling or the rice can cook too quickly.
  • Simmer until water is completely absorbed and rice is tender — about 20-25 minutes (will depend on type, size, and freshness of rice). Drain off excess water if there is any (there shouldn’t be).
  • I like to turn off the heat, remove the lid, fluff with a fork, put the lid back on, and let rest for 10 minutes so the moisture redistributes to prevent mushy rice. Taste test and add additional salt if desired. This rice is delicious alongside curries, soups, bowls, and more! Option to garnish with cilantro and lightly toasted coconut flakes.
  • Store cooled leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5-6 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little oil or water until warm.



*Brown rice results in a less fluffy, slightly nutty result. It’s still delicious but isn’t classic.
*Find our Instant Pot version here.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with unfortified rice and without optional ingredients.
*We enjoyed the taste without sweetener but think most people would prefer it.
*We tried maple syrup but felt the flavors were not complementary — not sweet enough at a small amount, and when enough was added to achieve the right sweetness, it tasted like a dessert, not a savory dish.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 (half-cup serving) Calories: 194 Carbohydrates: 36.4 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 4.3 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 150 mg Potassium: 0 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 0 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 0.33 mg Iron: 0.36 mg

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Reader Interactions

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My Rating:

  1. Sunny says

    OMG, this was fantastic! I used the lite coconut milk & coconut water & topped with toasted coconut flakes. Simmered for 20 min, turned off heat like you said, fluffed with fork, put lid back on & let it sit on hot burner for 10 min to rest. Perfection!!

  2. Suzanne says

    Found this recipe last night and cooked it, it was lovely, we really enjoyed eating fresh coconut rice that was not too sweet. Cooked it again tonight, this will be our favourite.
    Thank you

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Suzanne. Thank you for sharing! xo

  3. Robin says

    I made this as an Easter side dish. I followed the directions exactly except I used water ( not coconut water) and cooked it in the microwave.( large glass dish, add about a cup of extra water, 30 minutes, perfect and easy!) Super easy and a big hit!! This will be a regular at my house from now on, thank you!?

  4. AL says

    Holy carp. The result of this method was the most fluffy and lightly flavored coconut rice ever. I used basmati based on my preference and it turned out delish. I will be adding this recipe to my roster because it’s so easy and so quick. 10/10, would recommend! My whole family and I loved it :)

  5. Beth says

    Another fantastic recipe from The Minimalist Baker!
    I didn’t have any rice, so I used quinoa, added some frozen corn and green beans, and voila, last night’s dinner in a pinch.
    Thank You!!!

  6. Jessica says

    I’ve got this cooking on the stove right now! It was total chance that I saw the recipe in my email, and it just so happens that I was about to make rice for lunch for my kids. It’s time to go grocery shopping, and we’re down to slim pickings. Saw this, realised I had everything except cilantro on hand, and decided to give it a go and make a quick bindhi masala to go with it. I will try sweetening the rice with date syrup, instead of regular unrefined raw sugar. I also don’t want it too sweet, but think the flavour of dates should go well together.

  7. Alesia Ross says

    I haven’t made this yet but it sounds delicious. What chicken recipe would you suggest to make with this?

  8. Judi JJ says

    This was a very easy, but incredibly tasty recipe. I served it for guests with Asian glazed salmon. My guests raved about the coconut rice. You’re right that the addition of the coconut water made such a difference–genius!

  9. Sofie says

    Hey, I’ve been wanting to try this recipe! What do you do beforehand, should the rice be soaking overnight, rinsed etc? :-)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sofie, no soaking or rinsing needed. But you can rinse it if you want without changing anything else about the recipe! Hope you love it!

  10. Angela McKenna says

    This was absolutely gorgeous ! In all my years of trying to replicate the coconut rice from our local favourite Thai restaurant, this is the best by a long shot. Perfect, just the right coconut, sugar and salt combination, for me. I didn’t have coconut water, but that’s the only omission. Many thanks, this is firmly one of my favourites and will make it into my recipe book, accredited to yourselves :))

  11. JURRE Dantier says

    I don’t see any mention of the exact secret ingredient anywhere.
    Am I missing something?

  12. Bee Noa says

    I don’t appreciate your statement “Let us show you how” and then directly below having a labeled video with your recipe, and all it is, is a long commercial. That video never went to the recipe. Just frustrated me & wasted time.Found it written down lower.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear that! We have a “jump to recipe” button at the top of each recipe so you can jump straight to the recipe!

  13. Michelle Gonzalez says

    This rice came out so fluffy and delicious. Easy to make and a perfect complement to curry or any other dish honestly.

  14. Cristina says

    Yum!!! I used jasmine rice and the coconut water instead of water and sweetener and I wouldn’t change a thing. SO TASTY! I paired it with TJ’s green curry simmer sauce with veggies and tofu but next time will be making one of your curries instead.

  15. Janelle Mulvihill says

    Hi Dana! This rice is so good! I made it with brown rice and I live in Belize, so we can get coconuts cheap at the market. I made it with coconut water and made my own coconut milk and it was so tasty! Thanks so much.

  16. Emily Lowe says

    I use your recipes often but don’t think I’ve ever left a review! This coconut rice is amazing!! I have tried a few different versions and none turned out well, until this. Thank you! I am making a second batch now to last me through the next week. It’s delicious with your vibrant coconut green curry.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hm, we haven’t tried that. If trying cauliflower rice, we’d suggest less water, less coconut milk, and cooking a shorter amount of time. Let us know if you try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nicole, we haven’t tried with either of those modifications, but do think they will work. With sushi rice, you’ll need less liquid. Let us know how it goes!

  17. Alpa says

    Made this recipe with Brown Jasmine Rice in the IP. I usually do a rice:water/broth ratio of 1:1.25 cups using the same cup measure for both rice and liquid. I washed the rice, let it drain by putting the strainer at an angle. While the rice was draining I prepped the rest of the ingredients and put the IP on sautee mode. When the IP got “hot” add a little bit of coconut oil, then add the strained rice. Give a quick stir to coat. Measure out the coconut milk and the coconut water in equal amounts to get to the 1.25 ratio for the amount of rice used. 15 minutes on manual. QR after 10 minutes. Turn off the IP. Fluff the rice, close back up for another 10 minutes or so. It was great! Hope this helps the Instant Pot users.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hm, we haven’t tried that. If trying cauliflower rice, we’d suggest less water, less coconut milk, and cooking a shorter amount of time. Let us know if you try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      You can toast on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet over low-medium heat, stirring often. Or on a baking sheet at 325 F for ~5 minutes.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sharzaud, we haven’t tried it in an Instant Pot, so we’re not certain. See comments below for our tips and another reader’s experience.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh, great question! We’d say half the amount of coconut milk and water/coconut water. Pressure cook on high 4 minutes, natural release 10 minutes. Similarly to our Instant Pot White Rice. Let us know how it goes!

      • Jackie says

        Just tried in the instant pot on high first then low and both times I got the BURN notification before even reaching full pressure. Hoping a quick transfer to the stove will still work!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Bummer! It may be because of the coconut milk. You could try increasing the water and using less coconut milk.