Sweet Coconut Rice Recipe

Rice is one of those side dishes that goes with practically any meal, but if you're getting tired of standard, slightly salted rice, it might be time to switch things up and try a sweeter version. This sweet coconut rice recipe developed by Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert of Wholly Nourished RD, is the perfect side for more Caribbean, Indian, or Thai flavors. Bachtell-Shelbert tells us "We like to pair our coconut rice with curr[ies]! Or with black beans and plantains! It is a side, not a dessert." But regardless of what you serve it with, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to whip up this side dish in an Instant Pot. The whole process takes just 20 minutes, and it's literally "set it and forget it," so you can attend to whatever other meal prep you need to do without worrying about your rice overcooking or burning on the stove. And hey, if you have any left over after your evening meal, you can even try enjoying it for breakfast along with fresh fruit (mangoes are a good option) and a fried egg. 

Gather your ingredients

Almost all of the prep work you have to do is simply gathering your ingredients. You need just five items — basmati rice, water, full-fat coconut milk, salt, and sugar. In fact, they may be your standard pantry staples, so simply grab them and get started. One thing Bachtell-Shelbert points out is that the basmati rice is particularly helpful because the longer grain prevents sticking and it separates nicely. Of course, you can use a shorter grain rice, but the end result may not be quite as good. 

Add your ingredients to your Instant Pot

There's no secret formula for prepping your sweet coconut rice (that's what makes this recipe so wonderful). Simply add all of your ingredients to your Instant Pot and stir them together to combine. If you're used to adding oil or butter to your rice before cooking, it's important to note that it's really not necessary. Oil and butter can add flavor to the rice, but rice will cook well regardless. Plus, this recipe includes full-fat coconut milk, offering lots of flavor and fat to prevent the need for anything additional.

Pressure cook your rice

All that's left to do is to allow your Instant Pot to do its job. Set the valve to "sealing," then select the pressure cook setting for "high" for 5 minutes. When the cycle is done, wait 10 minutes before you turn the valve to "venting." Just remember, it can take another few minutes for the Instant Pot to completely vent. Resist opening the lid until the metal pin has completely dropped to reduce the likelihood that you'll end up with food or water splatter on your counter.

Fluff, garnish, and serve

When the rice is cooked and the Instant Pot has vented, remove the lid and fluff your rice with a fork. Go ahead and serve it immediately, nice and hot, to fully enjoy the flavors. As Bachtell-Shelbert suggests, you can try the rice with curry or plantains, or you can try it when serving up your favorite grilled fish or chicken. Serving sweet coconut rice as a side alongside grilled chicken kabobs and pineapple slices would make for an excellent tropical summer meal. 

Sweet Coconut Rice Recipe
5 from 47 ratings
This spin on classic white rice is the perfect way to add some flavor to your dinner. All you need are a few ingredients and an Instant Pot, and you'll be set.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Sweet coconut rice
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Add all ingredients to an Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Position the valve to "sealing" and set the pot to pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
  3. Once the cycle is complete, wait 10 minutes before turning the valve to "venting." Once it completely vents, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
Calories per Serving 372
Total Fat 15.5 g
Saturated Fat 13.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 53.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 2.2 g
Sodium 401.4 mg
Protein 5.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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