Recipe: Coconut Rice

updated May 1, 2019
Coconut Rice
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(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Coconut rice is an easy, delicious accompaniment to spicy Thai curries and dishes, like the Massaman curry I shared yesterday. It’s a lightly sweetened version of traditional steamed jasmine rice, and it comes together in less than 20 minutes.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Leaves of makrut lime add a beautiful, subtle lime fragrance to the dish. If you can find them fresh, buy a bunch — more than you need for this recipe — and freeze the leaves in a heavy-duty ziplock bag for future meals. You can use them, as directed, until they go crumbly. Be careful while handling these leaves, especially if they are on the stem, as they have sharp thorns. (Yes, speaking from experience here!) If you can’t find makrut lime leaves at all, you can leave them out and your rice will still be delicious.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

→ Serve This With: Massaman Curry with Beef

Coconut Rice


Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    jasmine rice

  • 2 1/2 cups

    boiling water

  • 1 cup

    coconut milk, stirred

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons

    sugar, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon

    salt, plus more to taste

  • 3

    makrut lime leaves, bruised


  1. Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse thoroughly, several times, until the water runs clear.

  2. Place the boiling water, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and lime leaves in a heavy 2-quart pot, and warm over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Add the rice and bring back to a low simmer. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid, then turn the heat down to low.

  3. Cook, undisturbed, for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff, and serve.

Recipe Notes

Using boiling water speeds up the process here (and there is less evaporation), but you can also just combine plain water with the coconut milk in the pot and bring them to a simmer together, if you prefer.