Coconut rice recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Coconut rice recipe

Coconut Rice | Pamela Salzman

Before I started teaching so much, I used to do lots of pantry makeovers and kitchen re-organizations for other people.  Recently, I was helping my friend Jenni organize her pantry and I was completely envious of how it turned out.  It was like perfectly-labeled-Weck-jar-bliss.  Sigh.  I’m ashamed to say my own pantry is less than photo-worthy, which should not be the case.  So last week I finally became motivated to tackle my own pantry and turn it into a beauty queen instead of a wanna-be.  Perhaps I’ll blog about it when I’m done (I hope you’re patient).

My first step was determining how many containers I would need for the multitude of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and grains I have accumulated.  What blew me away was the number of different varieties of rice I have — 10!  When I thought about it, though, it makes perfect sense since each type that I have really does have a purpose.  I use arborio rice for risotto and sushi rice for (obviously) sushi.   I prefer the flavor of brown rice, but I love the convenience of white rice, so I have several varieties in both white and brown.

More importantly, my family loves rice in all forms, so I cook it often.  After finding not one, but two bags of brown jasmine rice, I decided to make coconut rice for dinner.  Coconut rice is one of my go-to stand-bys which I love to pair with anything spicy, gingery or saucy, like chicken curry or maple-soy salmon.  To cook the rice I use both water and coconut milk, which is incredibly rich and adds a lovely silkiness to the rice, as well as a subtle sweetness.  Plus coconut milk has lots of health benefits to boot.  I use Native Forest organic coconut milk because it’s the only one I have found that is BPA-free.  You can use any kind of long-grain rice, but I tend to use fragrant jasmine and basmati, either white or brown.  Don’t forget my kids’ favorite part — the toasted unsweetened coconut.  It makes the rice almost meaty, and more substantial.  I love the big flaked coconut, but if I can’t find it in my jumble of a pantry, I’ll use the thinner, shredded variety.  Wait — two more jars.  Check!

Coconut Rice | Pamela Salzman

Coconut Rice
Serves: 6
  • 1 ½ cups long grain rice, such as jasmine or basmati (white or brown)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ¼ cup coconut milk (shake can before opening)
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup flaked or shredded unsweetened coconut
  1. Rinse rice to remove excess starchiness (you can soak it, too if you’re into that). Combine rice, water, coconut milk and salt in a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes for white rice or 50 minutes for brown rice. Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Place coconut flakes in a medium skillet over medium-low heat and toast until golden. Don’t walk away from the pan. The coconut can burn easily!
  4. Transfer rice to a serving bowl and top with toasted coconut.
You can add diced, fresh mango or freshly grated ginger to the rice, too.


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  1. Hi! Can you make this yummy recipe with cauli rice? How would you do it? Thank you!!

    • You have to use much, much less liquid because cauliflower rice doesn’t need much, maybe 1/3 cup.

  2. Hi Pamela, Gonna try to make this sometime, just curious what you would suggest serving this with.

    • I love this rice with fish or any Asian menu. The first time I made it I served it with miso cod. I have also served it with chicken adobo which is on my site. Even soupy black beans and vegetables would be delicious!

  3. Does this recipe call for a full can of coconut milk and if not what do you with the rest of the can so it doesn’t go to waste? Thanks.

    • Depending on what brand you use, you will likely have about 1/2 cup leftover. You can freeze it for another time. Or you can use it in smoothies, rice pudding or warm millet porridge (both recipes are on the site), popsicles, curry or sweet potato soup (both those recipes are on the site), and lots of other ways. Sometimes if the flavor is compatible, you can use full fat coconut milk in place of heavy cream in recipes. Feel free to leave another question if you’re not sure!

  4. Hi Pamela, Where can I find Native Forest coconut milk? Thanks! Tina

    • Hi Tina, I’ve seen it at Whole Foods or you can order it from

  5. Making this recipe as I type!! 2nd time! I’ve made a version of this w/ just coconut milk but the toasted coconut is an awesome addition -and who knew is so easy to make!
    A fresh idea is to make mac n chz (for the kids) w/ coconut milk instead of water -it’s delish!

    • Coconut milk mac and cheese??? Are you a genius? I have never heard of that before! Thanks for the great suggestion~

  6. I made this for my family and they all loved it. We eat a good amount of brown rice in our family and this was such a great change.

    • Thanks for giving the recipe a try, Rachel. Nice to hear everyone enjoyed it!

  7. I truly enjoy studying on this website, it has got good blog posts. “One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.” by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

  8. Many thanks for the wonderful dinner suggestion! I made the coconut rice to pair with maple glazed (maple syrup, Dijon mustard, lemon juice)salmon. Great combination! I did, however, add toasted almonds (slivered almonds toasted in the oven until golden brown) to the cooked rice. The nuts went well with the coconut and gave some “crunch” to the texture. Along with Swiss chard prepared with garlic and olive oil, dinner was complete!

    • Mia, awesome idea to add almonds to the rice. Why didn’t I think of that?! That sounds like a perfect dinner. Thank you~

  9. Love this! It reminds me of my time in Bali! I mix it with tempeh satay and fish satay with lime marinate.
    So glad you gave me a HEALTHY way of making coconut rice!

    • Sounds dreamy, Andrea. 🙂

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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