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November 17, 2022

Coconut Rice

Why make plain white rice when you could make coconut rice? Fluffy and just barely sweet, it’s 100% next-level.


the best coconut rice in a bowl with a spoon

Making Thai Food At Home? Make Rice That’s So Much More Than An Afterthought.

We love to make Asian food—especially Thai-inspired dishes—at home, and we’re always trying to get just a little bit closer to mimicking our favorite Thai restaurant dishes. Recently we realized that one of the barriers to being as blissed out when eating our homemade Thai food was the quality of the rice we were making. Plain white rice is just not that exciting. In the same amount of time it takes to make plain rice, we realized we could whip up a batch of coconut rice! Major, major lightbulb moment. Our coconut rice recipe yields a steamy potful of slightly creamy, delicately sweet rice that’s just ideal for serving with the big Asian flavors—think fiery curry spice, and savory fish sauce—that we love so much.

jasmine rice, sugar, and water coconut milk

What’s In Coconut Rice?

We play up the natural milky sweetness of canned coconut milk by adding just a pinch of sugar to the mix, because that ever-so-slight hint of cool sweetness is just the greatest thing on earth when paired with spicy, super savory Asian flavors. But with just a few ingredients, we’ve managed to keep things pretty darn simple. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this easy coconut rice recipe:

  • Canned coconut milk.
  • Sugar.
  • Salt.
  • Long-grain white rice.
coconut milk, jasmine rice salt and sugar in a sauce pan
the best coconut rice in a sauce pan

How To Make Coconut Rice

Coconut rice only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, so you can usually plan to cook up whatever you’d like to serve it with while it simmers on the stove. Here’s how to make coconut rice!

  1. Rinse the rice. Don’t skip this quick, easy step—rinsing the rice before you cook it washes away some of the starch that’s on the surface of the rice, which is a good thing in this case. It’ll help ensure that your coconut rice is nice and fluffy, instead of mushy or gummy.
  2. Make your simmering liquid. Combine the canned coconut milk, sugar, salt and water in a pot and bring it to a boil
  3. Add the rice! Stir to combine and then let the liquid return to a boil.
  4. Lid on! Crank the heat down to low and simmer the rice gently in the covered pot for 18 minutes.
  5. Done! Give the rice a fluff and let it sit for a few minutes. Then it’s ready to eat.
Easy coconut rice in a pot

Tools You’ll Need:

Our Favorite Thai-Inspired Recipes to Serve With Coconut Rice

We serve this fluffy, flavorful rice with SO many things—when we’re really feeling virtuous we love it with this healthy, colorful salmon bowl—but these four Thai recipes might just be our very favorite.

perfect coconut rice in a bowl
fluffy coconut rice in a bowl

A Major Upgrade, Right?

Coconut rice really takes our takeout-at-home efforts to new heights, and we hope you love it as much as we do! If you give it a try, let us know! Snap a photo and show us what you served your coconut rice with! Then tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see. Happy eating!

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Coconut Rice

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  18 min
  • Calories: 135


  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (light or full-fat), shaken
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed


  1. In a small saucepan, stir together the coconut milk, 1 1/4 cups water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 18 minutes.

  3. Remove the lid and fluff the rice using a fork. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit on the hot stove for another 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

To make in the pressure cooker:

  1. Pour the coconut milk, 1 1/4 cups water, salt, sugar, and rice into the pressure cooker, stir to combine.

  2. Secure the lid with the valve in the closed position. Set to the ‘Rice’ setting or pressure cook for 12 minutes. Manually release the pressure. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

To make in a rice cooker:

  1. Pour the coconut milk, 1 1/4 cups water, salt, sugar, and rice into a rice cooker.

  2. Set to ‘quick mode’ or setting for long grain white rice.

  3. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories135
  • Protein2 g
  • Carbohydrates18 g
  • Total Fat6 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium118 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Coconut Rice

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Lisa

    Could you substitute jasmine or basmati rice for white long-grain?

    Sure! We've made it with jasmine and it works great.

  • Brittany

    Can you sub in brown rice instead? I know white will be better but trying to eat more whole grains!


  • Spencer

    How would you convert this to a rice cooker?

    We haven't tested this yet.

  • Mallory

    I’m looking to prep items for postpartum 🙃 can I make this and freeze?

    We've been there! Congratulations and yes that should work fine! Let it cool completely before freezing it then for best results probably good to let it thaw in the fridge overnight then heat in the microwave.

  • Lauren

    How would you convert this recipe to a pressure cooker?

    We haven't tried this is the pressure cooker yet.

  • Spencer

    To make in a rice cooker: add one 14oz can of coconut milk into a large measuring cup, then add enough water so you have 3 total cups of liquid (including both coconut milk and water). No change to any other measurements.

    Thanks Spencer glad you liked it! We are working on testing this in a rice cooker as well, glad it worked for you!

  • Brianna

    Was yummy paired with the Hawaiian kabobs

    Thanks Brianna, glad you liked it!

  • Tresa

    YUM! This was so dang good! I made it with your sticky pork & asparagus from your book (also YUM!) but I couldn't get over this rice I could eat it plain as a dessert I am obsessed. Can't wait to try it with other things!

    Thanks Tresa! Glad you loved it!

  • JezMez

    Delicious! I threw all the ingredients in a rice cooker and it came out perfectly.

    Thanks Jez, so glad you loved it!

  • Toni

    I had been wanting to make this coconut rice for a while. I finally made it with part of the dinner for my husband for Valentine's day and he loved it. Usually when I make rice he doesn't ask for seconds this time he told me to make sure that I pack some of this rice for his lunch and he asked how you make this. I made plenty for leftovers. I was so pleased with it myself. I would have loved to add the green flakes but was not sure what they were and didn't want to ruin it. Thanks for the recipe. Will definitely have again.

    Thanks Toni, we are so happy you both loved it!