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Tropical Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger

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A pantry side dish that tastes like vacation feels.

Coconut Rice - Unpeeled - wooden bowl with scallions

What is there to say about rice? Seriously. It’s . . . rice. It’s plain. We like it. It is Best Supporting Actor for dishes around the world, from Indian butter chicken to Thai curry bowls.

At least, I thought that rice was mostly Best Supporting Actor, until this coconut rice with fresh ginger came along. It may well upstage your main course.

Coconut rice is a great way to elevate something basic and simple to something, well, still basic and simple, but in a much more satisfying and interesting way. The coconut smells fragrant and makes the rice taste slightly rich, without being heavy or cloying. Fresh ginger adds extra freshness and a light hit of heat.

This rice is very versatile, but would taste perfect with grilled meat, chicken, or shrimp.

You may also like: How to Achieve Perfect Hard Boil Eggs and Honey Maple Granola With Pumpkin Seeds

Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger - Unpeeled - white pot with rice grains and ginger

Notes About Cooking Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger

This is a very easy recipe to make, so there is not much to explain. However,

  • Make sure to shake the coconut milk well before you open it. Coconut milk, because of its high fat content, tends to separate and will be very clumpy otherwise. If you forget, that’s ok. It will all come together when it heats in the pot and the coconut solids melt.
  • The recipe calls for coconut sugar, which adds a little more coconut “oomph” and gives the rice a nice, light caramel color. But you can easily substitute white sugar 1:1.
  • Because of the sugar content, the rice at the bottom of the rice pot may caramelize a little. Once you get toward the end of the cooking time, scrape the bottom and give it all a nice stir. Then cover again and finish cooking.
  • Feel free to substitute powdered ginger for the fresh. Reduce the amount of ginger by two-thirds, since powdered ginger is more concentrated.

Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger - Unpeeled - chicken and rice chopsticks

Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger - Unpeeled

Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger

An easy, slightly tropical rice dish that tastes like vacation feels.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Keywords:: coconut, coconut rice, easy, rice, side
Servings: 6 people, as a side


  • 2 cups white jasmine rice
  • 1 13-ounce can coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger (peel the fresh ginger before grating)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or plain white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Garnishes, optional: thinly-sliced scallions, cilantro leaves, sliced hot peppers, large flaked coconut


  • Rinse the rice under cold water for several minutes in a colander, or by swishing it around in a pot of cold water, then replacing the water and repeating several times, until the water runs more clearly and looks less starchy.
    PRO TIP: Rinsing the rice removes some of the excess starch. This will make your finished rice fluffier and not gummy.
  • In a medium-sized sauce pot, stir together the rinsed rice, coconut milk, water, grated ginger, sugar, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until cooked, about 20 minutes, stirring once about three-quarters of the way through, scraping the bottom.
  • Fluff the coconut rice with a fork. Serve hot with any garnishes.


  • Have been making this rice with salmon and a kale salad since it was published. BIG hit with the kids, too!

  • 5 stars
    Perfect. My daughter now calls this “favorite rice.”

  • 5 stars
    I didn’t use any garnish but wished I had added green onion slices. It was excellent with BBQ pork loin and everyone really enjoyed it.

    Thank you for a great basic recipe that will be added into my regular meal planning.

    • Unpeeled

      Thanks for the note, AJ. So glad you like it! I just made it again for dinner last night.

  • 5 stars
    “Better than Bittman”, James said, after taking just one bite. It was the ginger! So good!

    • Just made it again tonight, and Phaedon affirmed that it’s his absolutely favorite rice!!!

      • Unpeeled

        I love it! Thanks, Sophia (and Phaedon!). Hope you are all doing very well.

    • Unpeeled

      Hah! High praise, indeed. Thanks, Sophia.

  • 5 stars
    Made for dinner last night with fish and it was great. Like the flavor. Not too strong but definitely coconut.

  • 5 stars
    The recipe for for coconut rice came just in time. Thanks it sounds delicious and I’m making it this weekend!

4.67 from 6 votes (1 rating without comment)

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