Rice is nice, but coconut rice is even better! This side dish is easy to make and oh-so versatile. You'll find yourself making it again and again!

Image of a white bowl containing white coconut rice with green garnish on top. In the background is a spoon and a white salt shaker. - Shelf Cooking

Did you know that rice is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world? This humble little grain accounts for one-fifth of all the calories consumed by the world's population! Crazy, huh? Some of our very favorite dishes include rice in some way, and we bet you feel the same way!

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We love the versatility of rice – the different varieties, flavor options, and options for using it as a side or in a main dish. However, some people don't realize they are missing out on some amazing rice recipes and have been stuck with boring plain white or brown rice for years. We have a delicious, creamy coconut rice recipe that you just have to try!

What To Serve With Coconut Rice

Image of a pressure cooker with cooked white rice. A wooden spoon hovers above holding a scoop. - Shelf Cooking

Much like regular white or brown rice, coconut rice is mild in flavor and pairs well with so many different dishes. However, the addition of coconut milk (or coconut cream) adds a richness and creaminess to the dish that makes it even more satisfying and filling! One of the many reasons we love it!

Here are some of our favorite ways to use this dish as part of a meal:

  • Rice bowls – Rice bowls are a quick and easy meal to throw together and a great way to use up leftovers! Sub out the rice for coconut rice to enhance the flavor even more. We have a whole list of rice bowl ideas to check out!
  • Lettuce wraps – Make lettuce wraps with some leftover shredded chicken, coconut rice, sliced bell peppers, and a spicy aioli for a quick and filling lunch. Or, customize however you like, of course!
  • Curry dishes – A quick Google or Pinterest search will pull up a wide variety of curry dishes that utilize rice as a base. Swap regular white rice for coconut rice for extra deliciousness!
  • Marinated chicken – One of our favorite uses for coconut rice is paired with marinated and grilled chicken. Choose your favorite cut of chicken, your favorite marinade (we're partial to teriyaki or other Asian flavors for coconut rice – we have a post dedicated to marinade recipes, too!), and pair it with roasted veggies and coconut rice. Simple and a guaranteed dinner winner!
  • Grilled fish – Much like chicken, marinated and grilled fish is delicious with coconut rice. Salmon, tilapia, cod, or even other seafood like shrimp is tasty on a bed of coconut rice. We particularly love this Bang Bang Shrimp recipe with it! Pair with fresh fruit and vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Salads – A scoop of rice added to your favorite salad can make it heartier and stretch the meal further.

How To Make Coconut Rice

With only a few pantry ingredients you can whip this dish up in no time! Who knew rice could be so flavorful and filling?! We have directions for making coconut rice in a saucepan on your stovetop or in an Instant Pot.

Coconut Rice – 2 Ways

This delicious side dish will be a quick and easy favorite for any meal!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 6


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 can coconut cream or coconut milk 13.5 oz can
  • cup water for stovetop. See below for Instant Pot.
  • 1 tsp salt


Stovetop Instructions

  • Add all rice ingredients to a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • When the rice is soft and the liquid is absorbed, uncover and fluff with a fork before serving.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Add the rice, coconut milk, only 1 cup of water, and salt to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
  • Close the lid and make sure the vent is set to the sealing position. Press the rice function and cook for 12 minutes. Let naturally release for 15 minutes, then quick release for any remaining pressure.
  • Remove lid and fluff with fork before serving.
Keyword coconut rice, rice, white rice

Storing Leftovers And Prepping Ahead

This easy coconut rice is one of those dishes that is great to make in large batches so you can repurpose it into other meals later on! You can also make it in advance for events or busy nights so that meal prep can come together in a flash.

We recommend doubling the recipe above, then allowing it to cool all the way. Portion it out into resealable zippered freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal. Label each bag with the date and contents, then pop in the freezer.

When you're ready to use your frozen rice, transfer the rice to a microwave-safe container with a small amount of water, loosely cover, and then microwave until heated through, checking every 30 seconds. So simple and so nice to have on hand when needed!

Close up image of white rice in a white marbled bowl and parsley leaf garnish on top. Above is text that reads "2 Ways To Make Coconut Rice".

Have you had coconut rice before? What's your favorite way to eat it? Tell us in the comments!

If you like this recipe, you'll love some of these ideas:

Have a rice day!