How to Make Coconut Jasmine Rice {Stovetop and Instant Pot}

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Use this easy method to make light, fluffy coconut rice on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. This fragrant version of Coconut Jasmine Rice goes particularly well with your favorite dishes from Asia, the Caribbean, or anything with some spice. 

coconut rice in a large blue bowl

We eat a lot of dishes that go well with rice, but it has taken me some time to actually give the rice the attention it deserves. More specifically, it has taken me some time to give coconut rice the attention it deserves. When made correctly, coconut rice is just as light and fluffy as traditional jasmine rice, but each grain is infused with the flavor of coconut. 

A few simple tips guarantee that each grain will be tender but firm and full of flavor.

rice, coconut milk and herbs on a grey countertop
a measuring cup full of raw rice on a grey countertop
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water, rice and coconut milk in a saucepan

Tips for Great Coconut Rice:

  • Use 50/50 Water and Coconut Milk. Coconut milk is thicker than water and will not evaporate as quickly, so it’s important to use water in addition to the coconut milk. 
  • Use Light Coconut Milk. This 50/50 ratio works best with light (not regular) coconut milk. Again, it’s all about using enough liquid to properly cook the rice and regular coconut milk is too thick. 
  • Rinse rice well. This is true for all rice, but especially with coconut rice where the coconut milk thickens the cooking liquid. You don’t want any extra starch on the grains of rice. That starch will cause the grains to stick together instead of being separate.
  • Use Less Liquid. When making coconut rice, use less total liquid to cook the rice than you usually use when cooking plain rice. Coconut milk is more dense and will evaporate / absorb into the rice less quickly than water, so you’ll need slightly less.
adding coconut milk to rice in a saucepan

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fluffing cooked rice in a saucepan

How to Cook Rice on an Electric Stove

This is a tip that I shared in my original post on how to cook jasmine rice but it’s helpful for coconut rice too.  For the past three years I’ve been cooking on an electric stove which I find to be a bit finicky when it comes to moving food quickly from high to low heat. In the case of cooking rice, it is particularly important to reduce the heat under the pan as soon as it begins to boil so that the rice doesn’t absorb the water too quickly. Here’s the method I’ve found that makes all the difference in producing great rice.

  1. On the electric stove, turn on two burners – one on low-medium and one on high. 
  2. Bring the water to a boil on the high burner.
  3. As soon as it begins to boil, stir in the rice and then cover the pan. Move the covered pan to the low-medium burner and finish cooking there (turn off the high burner once the pan is moved).
adding coconut milk to rice in an instant pot
fluffing cooked rice in an instant pot

Flavoring Coconut Jasmine Rice

In Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia, you’ll find rice flavored with pandan leaves or makrut lime leaves. These flavors go incredibly well with coconut, so feel free to add these to the rice as it simmers. A small piece of pandan leaf or a couple makrut lime leaves are all you need to flavor an entire pot of rice. 

If you are making coconut rice to serve for dessert, as with Mango Sticky Rice, add a small amount of sugar to the rice as it cooks. 

Meals to Serve with Coconut Jasmine Rice

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coconut rice in a large blue bowl
5 from 2 votes

How to Make Coconut Jasmine Rice {Stovetop or Instant Pot}

Use this fail-proof method to make light, fluffy coconut rice on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. Fragrant coconut jasmine rice goes particularly well with your favorite dishes from Asia, the Caribbean, or anything with some spice.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Saucepan or Instant Pot

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine Rice (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon Cooking Oil
  • 1 1/4 cups Water
  • 1 1/4 cups Light Coconut Milk
  • Pinch of Salt (optional)

Optional Additions: (see note below)

  • 2 Pandan Leaves, twisted into knots
  • 2 Makrut lime leaves, crushed slightly
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar (white or palm)

Instructions 

Stovetop:

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. (This step is especially important with coconut rice – you want to remove excess starch from the rice so that it doesn’t stick together when the coconut milk is added.)
  • Rub the inside of a heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil.
  • Combine water, coconut milk, and salt (if using) in the pan. If using any of the optional additions, add them.
  • Place liquids over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
  • As soon as liquids are simmering, stir in rice. Immediately turn heat down to low and cover with a lid.
  • Simmer, covered until rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (You can remove the lid and check a few grains to be sure.)
  • Remove pan from heat and let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Fluff rice with a fork. Serve warm.

Instant Pot:

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. (This step is especially important with coconut rice – you want to remove excess starch from the rice so that it doesn’t stick together when the coconut milk is added.)
  • Rub the inside of the Instant Pot with oil.
  • Combine rice, water, coconut milk, and salt (if using) in the bowl of an Instant Pot.
  • Close and lock the lid. Turn the knob to “sealing”. Pressure cook on “High” for 3 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure. Once pressure has been released, remove the lid.
  • Fluff rice with a fork. Serve warm.

Notes

Jasmine Rice – Be sure to use jasmine rice for this recipe. The long grains of this variety of rice hold their shape better and are less prone to sticking when cooked in coconut milk. 
Optional Additions:
Pandan Leaves or Makrut Lime Leaves – these are additions that add an herbal fragrance to the rice. They are commonly used in Thai and other Southeast Asian coconut rice, so if you are serving the rice with one of those cuisines, these are great additions. Simmer them with the rice and then remove them after it’s done cooking. 
Sugar – Add a small amount of sugar if you are serving the coconut rice for dessert, as with Thai-style mango coconut rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 314
Keyword: coconut, easy side dish, Thai rice
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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