Easy Vegan Coconut Rice

Coconut rice

Rita Maas / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
198 Calories
16g Fat
13g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 10mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 132mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Vegetarian coconut rice is a flavorful side dish that can be eaten on its own as a simple side dish for an Indian food or Thai or pan-Asian themed meal, or, make this easy coconut rice instead of plain steamed white rice to pair with a stir-fry or any kind of sauce such as a vegetarian curry or an Indian lentil dahl. Variations of coconut rice are enjoyed all over Asia, where coconuts are in abundance, from Indonesia to India; even some Caribbean cultures have a traditional version of rice cooked with coconut milk. 

In this recipe, the coconut and lemongrass flavors are inspired by traditional Thai coconut rice recipes, yet this vegan dish has very few ingredients and is a breeze to prepare. Omit the lemongrass stalks if you can't find them locally or they are too expensive. They impart a nice extra Thai flavor, but they certainly aren't needed for a delicious dish. Similarly, use Thai jasmine rice which is a brightly colored and lightly scented white rice, if you can find it, and if not, any variation of plain white rice will work just fine. Use whatever you have on hand.

Looking for more vegetarian rice recipes? You can find many more vegetarian rice recipes right here on The Spruce, including vegetable fried riceAsian rice saladcurried rice and lentils, or, perhaps it's a few vegetarian Spanish rice paella recipes or vegetarian risotto recipes that you're looking for. If you're cooking on a budget (and even if you're not) and you're looking for more ways to make rice and beans, here's 8 completely non-boring ways to make rice and beans, including brown rice with pineapple, Cuban black rice and beans, rice soup, and more. 


  • 3 tablespoons oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 3 to 4 inches lemongrass, optional

  • 2 cups white rice

  • 2 1/2 cups water

  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes, lightly toasted, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. First, in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat, sauté the diced onion in the oil for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the onion starts to turn translucent.

  2. Next, add in the rice and lemongrass and cook for about 2 minutes, until rice is toasted, stirring frequently just to gently toast the rice without letting it burn. You might need to add a tiny bit more oil at this step. 

  3. Next, carefully add the 2 1/2 cups of water to the rice. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the skillet.

  4. Allow your rice to cook, for about 15 minutes, and continue to stir occasionally as it cooks. 

  5. After 15 minutes, add in the coconut milk and then allow the rice to cook for about 10 to 15 more minutes until the rice is fully cooked through. Be sure to remove the lemongrass stalks from the rice before serving. 

  6. Top with lightly toasted coconut flakes, if you'd like, and enjoy your homemade coconut rice. Now, wasn't that super easy?

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