Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice

CATEGORIES: Asian and Thai, Kate, Rice

Hey, everybody! After a sunburn, a wedding, waaaaaaaaaaay too much time on an airplane with a toddler seemingly possessed by Satan, and a week’s worth of too little sleep and too much fun, I am BACK from this:

and this:

and this:

to this:

That’s okay, though. There’s no place like home, even though I had to kill a few rogue cockroaches once I got here!

Anyway, it looks like Sara totally rocked it (of course) with spa week! Now we’re just back to regular food (like rice), but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring (because it tastes like coconut).
I love Sara’s Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple with tropical stuff, but to mix things up sometimes, especially with Thai-inspired flavors (like Orange Thai Beef Skewers), this is my go-to grain. It’s a little creamy with a subtle coconut taste, a nice twist on plain ol’ white rice without overwhelming the flavor of the food too much. It’s fabulous with Jasmine or Basmati rice; just keep in mind that the cooking times might vary slightly (usually meaning you’ll have to cook it a little longer. Keep an eye on the bottom to make sure it’s not burning).
Coconut Rice
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2 c. white or Jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk
2 c. water
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Splash of white vinegar (optional, but it helps with the texture)
2-3 tsp. white sugar
Handful of chopped green onions, plus chopped green onion tops for garnish (we’re using the whole animal here…)
Black pepper to taste

Combine rice, coconut milk, water, salt, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil Turn heat to low and cover for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Add green onions, black pepper (if desired), and additional salt if necessary.

Serve with any Asian or tropical-inspired food.

Give it a whirl with…

Teriyaki Chicken or Beef
Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
Sweet and Savory Flank Steak
Asian BBQ Chicken
Chili-Lime Mango Chicken Skewers


  1. Hope you enjoyed some of the marvelous weather we are enjoying here in the NorthWest!! Off to Seattle tomorrow for a Mariner's game. We eat lots of rice at our house so always looking for a new day to fix it – can't wait to try – thanks!

  2. I was at the store yesterday buying ingredients for the Orange Thai Beef Skewers and that coconut milk was calling out to me. I'm kicking myself now for not getting it now, that rice sounds so yummy!

  3. Ahhh, Seattle. I love those pictures, little M is so cute.

    Okay, I'm going to have to give this rice a second try now that you've provided me with the RIGHT recipe! lol It looks so good- and I love that cute little dish.

    And Memoria- ditto Kate. Seriously just being cheeky with with the man food phrase!

  4. I have to try this because I love coconut…
    Have you ever had the sticky coconut rice that many Thai serve as a dessert with fresh mango? The versions I've had are made with a rice that cooks up almost clear and the texture becomes almost gelatinous or gummy (in a good way!).

  5. Jen, yeah, what is that about the gelatinous, gummy texture in Thai ricey food that's so dang good?? We had spring rolls tonight and I was just relishing in how much I loved the spring roll wrapper, which is really weird because texture is normally a huge issue for me.

    Anyway. To answer your question. I. Love. Mango sticky rice. A few weeks ago, our Kroger here had mangoes for .20 apiece and I went a little nuts. Yummmmmmm…

  6. I am lazy and use my rice cooker. (I highly recommend those. Fix it and forget it is just my style.) Can I just toss this stuff in there, too? I'm guessing yes, so I'll probably try it.

  7. Jess–I would imagine that it would be okay. You might want to check the manufacturer's instructions and see if they have anything to say about using coconut milk because it does effect the cooking time slightly. Just keep an eye on things and I think you should be fine! 🙂

  8. I love coconut rice. My Thai neighbor used to make it for us all the time. Man I miss them, and not just for the food.

    I have a question. Is it unsweetened coconut milk? I want to make sure I pick up the right thing. We're so having this soon.

  9. Michelle–Yep, it's just regular, unsweetened coconut milk. I should make that more clear in the recipe–it would be really bad if someone made it with cream of coconut! 🙂

  10. I've never had coconut rice before. I was a little nervous about making it because after living in Japan for a 1 1/2 years I love just plain 'ol rice. But I just made it tonight in my rice cooker and it tastes WONDERFUL!! Thanks again for all your tasty recipes!

  11. I've never had coconut rice before. I was a little nervous about making it because after living in Japan for a 1 1/2 years I love just plain 'ol rice. But I just made it tonight in my rice cooker and it tastes WONDERFUL!! Thanks again for all your tasty recipes!

  12. Made this tonight with Curried Peanut Shrimp (via Cooking Light) and it was SO good! It will definitely go into our regular rotation. I used jasmine rice and I wasn't watching it quite close enough so it scorched a bit on the bottom, but even with a few burned bits it was still outstanding! I loved the sticky texture and the flavor of the coconut really came through nicely!

  13. this will sound like a strange question, but we are heading to Seattle in a month and I was wondering what beach you took those pictures at? I'd LOVE to hit the beach while we are there!
    Oh-and we are having this recipe with our dinner tonight! 🙂

  14. I actually got this recipe confused with your lime-cilantro rice and added pineapple at the last minute. I thought it made the rice so much more flavorful and added some contrast to the onion and coconut. I'm going to keep this new recipe around for good. We loved it.

    (You all need to add the pineapple to this one. Yummy!)

  15. This will go PERECT with the chicken and peanut sauce I am making this week! Looks awesome.

    Think it will cook just the same if I use a rice cooker instead?

  16. I made this tonight with the chile lime chicken and mango skewers. I did a little experiment as I was wondering how the coconut rice would work with LIGHT coconut milk. There is quite a difference in fat and calories. I made one batch of rice with a 13.6 oz can of regular coconut milk (700 calories, 70g fat) and another with the same size can of LIGHT coconut milk (250 calories, 22.5g fat). There was not a huge difference in the taste or texture of the rice. I did a taste test with my family, two of my kids figured out which was the real deal ( the littlest one couldn't tell) but my husband couldn't tell them apart.

  17. Awesome recipe. I made it with the spicy honey chicken and our guests went nuts. This is a new favorite. Love it so much! Will make it often. I was wondering about the light coconut milk so thanks for the tip there. I will try it….especially when we don’t have guests and I will be eating most of it! 🙂

  18. I have made this a few times and my Samoan husband loves it. He would eat it every day if he could as it reminds him of home. 🙂 Thank you!!!

  19. I love this recipe! However, my family just switched over to brown rice. Have any suggestions on how much liquid to add to compensate for the brown rice? Should I double the liquid or just add another cup or so? Thank you!!!

    1. Oh, gosh, I honestly don’t know. *If* it were me, for this recipe, I would swap out the rice for quinoa. You’re still getting the whole grains, but the cooking method, flavor, and texture are more like white rice; you wouldn’t have to worry so much about the liquid amounts or the timing being off, you know?

  20. OK I picked up a half gallon of coconut milk next to the “almond milk” and the “soy milks” at my store is that the right stuff. You mention yours comes in a can???

  21. Sarah, I made this today with your Asian BBQ chicken and it tasted wonderful! Only issue I had was that my rice came out mushy and sticky. What did do wrong? I even added the splash of white vinegar. I did mix it a few times just I make sure the bottom wasn’t burning. This does happen even to plain white rice I try to make. Hopefully someone could help me! 🙂

    1. It might be your rice, try rinsing it with cold water before cooking it. That will remove some the starch that sometimes makes rice sticky.

      1. Also, do you live at a low elevation? I’ve discovered since being in Louisiana that I don’t need as much water or it comes out exactly like you’re describing. Either way, try cutting back on the liquid by about 2 tablespoons and see if that helps.

  22. Gah! I have been dying to make this, but I can’t find coconut milk anywhere. Is coconut milk by chance the same as coconut juice? or cream of coconut? (aka coco lopez) probably not. Yes, I live in the desert where we have like nothing available.

    1. Natasha, coconut milk should be pretty easy to find, most grocery stores sell it these days. It’s NOT the same as coconut juice, or cream of coconut- definitely don’t use either of those. Coconut milk is usually in cans in the Asian foods aisle, or you can now buy it in the dairy section near the milk in a carton (look for Silk brand). If you have any trouble, just as a grocery store employee, you should be able to find it!

  23. if you pop all these ingredients in your rice cooker, it turns out AMAZING! the whole kitchen smells like coconut and jasmine and awesome! My kids come running from all corners of the house and sit at the table waiting for the thing to ding. 🙂

  24. I am wondering if anyone has tried this recipe with brown rice yet? I saw the comment about using quinoa, instead, but am still wondering about brown rice. I did use cauliflower rice last time. I used the liquids as normal and then drained them off after the it fully cooked. It was able to absorb the flavor enough that everyone said it was really good.

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