Coconut Rice

This slightly sticky basmati coconut rice is an excellent side dish to any entree! Savory, easy to make and packed with flavor! Including lime zest, coconut milk and green onion!

A blue bowl filled with Basmati Coconut Rice.

This coconut rice was originally published in June 2012. The post has been updated as of June 14, 2018 with new photos, text and improved recipe instructions.

Let’s get tropical! With food, of course!

Because today we talk one of my all-time favorite side dishes – this dreamy, savory basmati coconut rice!

And it’s a total treat for the taste buds, if I do say so myself.

It’s creamy and slightly sticky and completely jam packed with flavor. From coconut milk (um, obviously), along with some tangy lime zest, fresh cilantro and mild green onion.

It’s super easy and bright and cheerful and perfect for pretending like you are on a relaxing tropical vacation.

Now, here’s the big question.

What do you serve with this coconut rice?

  • Any kind of asian dish. It pairs incredibly well with a protein of choice marinated with soy sauce, garlic and ginger-y flavors. Or as a base for a fabulous stir-fry.
  • Basically anything that has been grilled. The char from the grill goes perrrfectly with the creamy dreamy coconut flavors.
  • Island-y / caribbean / tropical dishes. Like jerk chicken. Or cuban flavors. That sort of thing.
  • And, um, served as part of a meal with these sweet and spicy green beans. The combo is SO GOOD and I may or may not be slightly addicted.

And did I mention that the flavors of this rice get even better over time? Which means that the leftovers are utter perfection. It’s tropical, foodie bliss.

Small bowls filled with dry rice, green onions and cilantro.

Tips & Tricks For This Basmati Coconut Rice

  1. Do not, I repeat, do not, try to sub in brown basmati rice! The ratio of liquid to rice is different for brown and white rice, and therefore the recipe will not work. If you want to make something similar with brown rice, I would recommend referencing this recipe for caribbean chicken bowls – which includes a coconut brown rice base. Make that rice instead and then add in some lime zest and green onion. Brown rice has a bit of a stronger flavor, so the recipe isn’t exactly the same taste-wise, but still very delicious!
  2. Along those lines, please be sure to stick with white basmati rice. That’s what the recipe is written for, capeesh? Cool.
  3. Love green onion and cilantro? Feel free to add more! I’ve added up to ½ cup of each and thoroughly enjoy it that way too.
  4. And finally, make sure that you do not skip the step of letting the rice rest after it’s finished cooking, as well as the extra five minutes of standing time after stirring in the remaining coconut milk. These rest times help give the rice that perfect final texture.

A blue bowl filled with Thai Coconut Rice and a wooden spoon.

Additional Side Dish Recipes You Might Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

Yield: about 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This slightly sticky basmati coconut rice is an excellent side dish to any entree! Savory, easy to make and packed with flavor! Including lime zest, coconut milk and green onion!


  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Measure out 1 ½ cups of the canned coconut milk and add to a medium saucepan (reserving the remaining coconut milk for later).
  2. To the saucepan, add the water, rice and salt. Mix to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.*
  3. Turn off the heat, then let stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes untouched.
  4. Fluff the rice with a fork, then gently stir in the lime zest, green onion, cilantro and remaining coconut milk. Let the rice stand uncovered for another 5 minutes, then serve!


*Cook time for the rice can vary slightly - if you find that the rice is still slightly crunchy after the allotted time, add a touch more water and continue to cook until tender.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 359mg Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 2g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.