I love making whole grains for my kids, but wow, they can be so messy! Learning how to make Coconut Rice can be a game changer since it’s much less prone to winding up all over the floor since the grains stick together. And also: It’s simply delicious!

coconut-rice-in-bowls-on-pink

Coconut Rice

This coconut rice can be a simple side dish or even a breakfast component, and it’s made with just a few ingredients including rice, coconut milk (the kind that comes in a can), ginger, and optional sweetener. It’s super sticky, which makes it easier for kids to eat since it clumps together nicely—so it’s a great finger food if your kids aren’t quite up to utensils yet!

And it’s really versatile.

I love the consistency and flavor that canned coconut milk lends to coconut rice, so it’s my go-to liquid in this recipe. It sort of reminds me of rice pudding, but it’s way less sweet—and just as satisfying!

And I have sweet and savory options for you too.

The inclusion of ginger, which honestly is optional since I’ve made it without and it’s just fine, lends another depth of flavor. And it provides a really mellow way to introduce kids to another flavor.

I am a big fan of coconut, as is my youngest, so this rice is one of our favorites.

ingredients in coconut rice

Ingredients in Coconut Rice

To make this recipe you’ll need:

TIP: I like to store fresh ginger in a freezer bag in the freezer and grate it (still frozen) on a microplane. It’s so easy to grate this way and it never goes bad!

how to make coconut milk step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at making this coconut rice. Scroll down to see the full recipe at the bottom of the post.

  1. Gather your ingredients.
  2. Place the rice into a medium bowl and fill with water. Swirl and pour off the cloudy liquid. Repeat a few more times until the water is mostly clear.
  3. Add the coconut oil to a medium pot placed over medium heat. Grate the ginger, if using, with a fine microplane into the warm oil. Stir and cook for about a minute. Stir in the rice to coat.
  4. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the water is almost all absorbed.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.
  6. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit and stir in the shredded coconut, if using. (I recommend you use it!) Serve warm.

TIP: Rinsing the rice ensures that the grains don’t stick together immediately when you start to heat the pot.

ginger on microplane

What’s the easiest way to grate ginger?

OK, this is so helpful: Put a whole knob of fresh ginger root into a freezer bag and keep it in the freezer. Then, whenever you need it, you can grate it on a microplane frozen. You leave the skin on and it grates SO easily.

And it never goes bad since it’s frozen.

What kind of rice works best in this recipe?

I use jasmine rice here, but you can also use basmati. They both have a nice flavor that works well with the coconut. I’ve made it with short grain brown rice, but since that sort of rice grain is denser, it requires additional time to cook it to soft. You can totally do it, it will just take a little longer!

What to Serve with Coconut Rice

You can think of this rice as Caribbean style rice and serve it with black beans and pineapple or mango. Or stir in frozen peas to thaw. Or add a few additional spices and raisins to turn it into a sweeter rice pudding.

It’s also great with any sort of basic chicken, fish, shrimp, or tofu! Or, of course, plain.

coconut rice variations on plates

Best Tips for Success

  • Rinse the rice to remove extra starch and help prevent it from sticking to the pan.
  • Make sure the temperature of the stove doesn’t get too high, causing the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir occasionally since the coconut milk has a tendency to sort of float to the top of the pot.
  • Season to taste to make sure you like the levels of sweetness.
  • Cook the rice all the way through to ensure it’s soft. You can always add a little water if needed to cook it to softness.
  • Let the kids eat with a spoon or their hands.
  • You may also like Cheesy Cauliflower Rice, One-Pot Lentils and Rice, Chia Pudding, and Baby Rice Cereal.

Let me know if you make the recipe—I’d love to hear what your family thought of it!

This post was first published October 2018.

how to make coconut rice

How to Make Coconut Rice

Make this without the optional flavors for a simple, yet yummy side dish that’s easy for your little ones to eat since the grains hold together well. Add just ginger, or add ginger and the optional spices at the end for more flavor. We like adding raisins to the mix when we add the extra spices!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course side
Calories 250kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1- inch fresh ginger (optional)
  • 14.5 ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and/or ½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)

Instructions

  • Place the rice into a medium bowl and fill with water. Swirl and pour off the cloudy liquid. Repeat a few more times until the water is mostly clear.
  • Add the coconut oil to a medium pot placed over medium heat. Grate the ginger, if using, with a fine microplane into the warm oil. Stir and cook for about a minute. Stir in the rice to coat.
  • Add 4 cups water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the water is almost all absorbed, stirring once or twice. Stir in the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft, stirring a few times.
  • Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded coconut, maple syrup, cinnamon, and/or turmeric if using. Serve warm.

Notes

  • You can store this in the fridge, once cooled, for 3-5 days. Reheat to serve.
  • Rinse the rice before cooking to remove extra starch and help prevent it from sticking to the pan.
  • Make sure the temperature of the stove doesn’t get too high, causing the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir occasionally since the coconut milk has a tendency to sort of float to the top of the pot.
  • Season to taste to make sure you like the levels of sweetness.
  • Cook the rice all the way through to ensure it’s soft. You can always add a little water if needed to cook it to softness.
  • Experiment with optional flavorings as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 49mg, Potassium: 73mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,
    Would it still taste the same if I used lite unsweetened canned coconut milk? I couldn’t find regular lite coconut milk at the grocery store. Thank you!

  2. You mention in step 3 to add the water and bring to simmer. Do you boil first and bring to a simmer? Also you state that when you add coconut milk you bring back to a simmer. Do I bring to a boil first and bring back to simmer? Not sure I quite understand the statement to bring back to simmer if it should be simmering. Lastly the ingredients list tumeric and cinnamon as optional but instructions don’t say when to add those. Thanks!

    1. You can either bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, or heat over a more medium heat straight to a simmer. When you add the coconut milk, you’ll need to bring it back up to a simmer since it will cool down with the additional liquid and will stop simmering. You can stir in the optional flavorings at the end.

    1. If you skip Step 2 and prepare the rice as you normally would in the rice cooker, then I think you could stir in the coconut milk and shredded coconut at the end and let it sit, lid on, for 5-10 minutes. I haven’t tried it though so I can’t say for sure—it may need a little more time to cook at the end but I think it would be close!