Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker Recipe

This coconut spiced rice has been on heavy rotation in my kitchen lately, and it’s all thanks to Maxence.

A little while ago, he expressed the desire for us to acquire a rice cooker. I admit it: I scoffed. I argued that we could cook rice on the stovetop just fine, that we didn’t need a specialized appliance for that, and where in the world would we put it anyway?

But I could see he really wanted one, and considering that 90% of the stuff taking up room in our kitchen cabinets is, ahem, by all intents and purposes, well, my stuff, the least I could do was green-light the rice cooker. (And that’s the secret to relationship longevity right there. You’re welcome.)

So Maxence went off and researched the heck out of the rice cooker equation, because that’s what he does (I don’t have nearly as much patience for it) and he decided on this model from Cuisinart, which happens to be pretty good-lookin’, too.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m eating my words.

I am a hopeless fan of the rice cooker now. It is my friend and my ally, it is a joy to use, and I have carved out an extra special place for it so I can easily pull it out every time I need it, at least once a week.

I mostly just cook rice in it — perfect rice! effortlessly! every time! — but I also like to use it to cook other grains, pseudo-grains, and legumes (provided they don’t contain too much starch, otherwise it boils over, and boy, is that annoying), to make porridge, or to braise this amazing ramen-style pork.

Also: this coconut spiced rice, a super easy twist on Indian-style rice.

Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker: An extraordinarily easy recipe for coconut spiced rice you can put together in minutes using your rice cooker. Effortless yet fabulous side for any curry!

It is inspired by a pre-seasoned boxed rice that had called my name at the organic store. But when I looked at the ingredients list, I realized I had everything at home to make it, and felt pretty sure it could be made from scratch for a fraction of the price.

And indeed, it can: just combine some basmati or jasmine rice with grated coconut and a few spices (feel free to play around with the mix I’m suggesting), add water, and switch on the rice cooker.

Minutes later, when you hear the happy click of the rice cooker and lift up the lid, you are greeted by this deeply fragrant rice that’s a significant step up from plain, yet has taken you nearly zero effort to prepare.

This coconut spiced rice can be served with any type of curry (especially this vegetable curry and this easy fish curry), or topped with your favorite stir-fried vegetables and perhaps a dollop of yogurt sauce for a quick and satisfying meal.

Join the conversation!

Do you have a rice cooker of your own? What’s your favorite way to use it? Any clever recipe you’ve devised for it?

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Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4.

Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker Recipe


  • 190 grams (1 cup) long-grain rice, such as basmati or jasmine, white or brown
  • 25 grams (1/4 cup) unsweetened grated coconut, toasted if possible (see note)
  • The seeds from 1 pod cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, see note)
  • Fresh mint or cilantro, finely snipped, for serving


  1. Rince the rice in several baths of fresh water until the water runs more or less clear. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Place the rice in the bowl of the rice cooker, and add the coconut, cardamom, cumin, mustard, and salt, if using.
  3. Rice, coconut, and spices
  4. Add 240 ml (1 cup) fresh water if using white rice; 360 ml (1 1/2 cups) if using brown rice. Stir.
  5. Adding water to the rice, coconut, and spices
  6. You can prepare the recipe in advance up to this point (say, in the morning before you leave for work, or just an hour before dinner). The rice will simply absorb water as it soaks and cook faster. This is especially desirable if you use brown rice.
  7. Place the lid on, and switch the rice cooker on to "cooking" mode. Don't open the lid while the rice cooks.
  8. When the rice cooker switches to "keep warm", allow the rice to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Cooked Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker
  10. Stir to fluff up. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve warm with a scatter of mint or cilantro.


  • I like to toast a large batch of grated coconut in the oven, and keep it on hand in a jar for use in my baking, in my bowl of granola, and in this recipe.
  • I find this recipe has enough flavor that it doesn't actually need salt, but some people prefer a little bit of salt to give it more depth.
  • Please note that different rice cookers operate in slightly different ways. Make sure you're familiar with the user manual for your own rice cooker and adjust my instructions accordingly.
  • Barbara Shanley

    The link to the ramen style pork is only in french. Do you happen to have it in English also? It looks amazing!

  • lhpch

    Thank you! this sounds great. The link to the ramen recipe is great too (lucky me, I am bilingual). More rice cooker recipes? I have one but only know to use it for the boring stuff (rice, rice porridge).

  • ruthie

    I, too use my rice cooker to cook grains and lentils. It’s a great time saver. I just have one of those basic types — fill, press the button and let it do its thing. I’m delighted to see your pork recipe, as I’ve been a bit timid about cooking meat-type things in mine. I basically didn’t know where to start so that recipe is much appreciated. (I can stumble through the French, but I’d love to see it in English, too ;)

    Thanks for sharing the wonders of the rice cooker with a larger audience.

  • I have that same rice cooker! I use it all the time for quinoa. :)

  • Ashley Godwin

    Can you use coconut milk or coconut water instead of plain water in a rice cooker?

  • Taste of France

    I am an utter minimalist–don’t buy a machine to do what generations of people (mostly women, let’s give them credit) did with a simple knife. Don’t buy a machine to cook what you can do on a stove top. So I doubt I will get a rice cooker. Especially with a French husband who considers rice some form of punishment. Can you explain this? I love rice. I would go to the market in Kenya and sniff the bags of rice and make my choice. In NYC, I DREAMED (and still do) of the rice of the Lemongrass Grill, which opened an outlet right across from the World Trade Center (obviously obliterated in 2001) and where I used to eat at least weekly, just for the sticky rice (not counting the 1-2 times a week at their Brooklyn outlet, which was across from my apartment). Seriously, I have found that the French just aren’t into rice. What is going on? How can I fix this? Rice is delicious! 75% of the world’s population depends on rice for nutrition. To greet someone in certain cultures, the translation is “have you eaten rice today?”

    • I know, it’s weird! I think many French people grew up eating par-cooked rice that had zero flavor so they think that’s what “rice” is, and naturally, they’re indifferent to it. But I think it’s changing as more and more of us eat rice at Asian restaurants where it’s done right.

      • Annabel Smyth

        I’m surprised to hear you say this, as back in the 1970s there was a Vietnamese restaurant in every quartier of Paris, and often more than one (most opened and staffed by refugees, of course), so rice was a staple – and, of course, there were many Chinese restaurants around back then, too.

        In the UK, we had to overcome the fact that rice (and, indeed, macaroni) was known only as a milk pudding – very delicious, but not quite what was wanted!

        • That’s absolutely right, let me try and explain my reasoning! White rice was indeed eaten at these Vietnamese/Chinese restaurants, but not in the home. At home, people would buy “riz incollable”, processed to cook quickly and not stick, that wasn’t very interesting flavor-wise. It’s only in the past couple of decades that “regular” people have started cooking Asian dishes at home, and have therefore created a demand for different varieties of flavorsome rice sold at the supermarket.

          • Annabel Smyth

            And you still don’t have the packets of pre-prepared stir-fry vegetables including bean-shoots that we do – very good for a quick stir-fry such as I have just eaten (we also have more or less tasty pre-made sauces, which can be blinged up a bit with extra soya sauce, ginger, etc). I find the “Asian foods” section of your supermarkets very disappointing compared to ours!

          • Definitely, though we’ve come a loooong way over just the past 10 years!

  • paula

    I adore coconut so I am definitely trying this recipe. I also have the same rice cooker and I too had to make room for it in my kitchen, but I’m glad I did. It is a well used machine as I love it for steamed veggies.

    • Oh I’m glad you like it too! Let me know how you like the rice!

      • paula

        Made this recipe today. Very yummy!! and fragrant too. The aroma in the house was wonderful. For me I needed some of the optional salt and next time I might up the coconut, just because I love it. Thanks!!

        • Thanks so much for reporting back, Paula! What did you eat it with?

          • paula

            I had Basa cooked in a mild Thai curry sauce. Was a perfect combination.

          • Thanks for sharing!

  • Tatiana

    All my Japanese friends have rice cookers and I never thought I needed one, until one day every burner on my stove top was in use and I had no place to put the rice pot. I like that I can make perfect rice every single time without having to set a timer or even think about the rice pot. When it’s done it switches to warm and that’s that. I have one with fuzzy logic and a timer so I can put porridge in it the night before and it will cook my porridge while I’m still waking up and getting ready in the morning. I make my coconut rice with water and canned coconut milk, like they do in Singapore and Indonesia. I’ve made Korean bibimbap with vegetables and Persian rice with a tah dig in my rice cooker.

    • Oooh, would you share your recipe or process for rice cooker bibimbap, and also your Persian rice?

  • Shivangni

    your attitude to gadgets mirrors mine and your husband’s my husband’s ! Though I do have a rice cooker (gifted by mum) pulses and lentils are cooked in pressure cooker ( a must in Indian kitchens) rice cooker is a blessing when having guests- my fail safe is adding a few strands of fried onions, toasted cumin and cloves with a few drops of ghee to basmati rice! I think I’ll give coconut rice a try soon

    • Love the idea of the fried onions! I’ll try that as well, thank you.

  • I requested a rice cooker for Christmas this past year and I am also a total convert. I hesitated getting one but I know realize I should have done this years ago :p Can’t wait to try this!

  • I love my zojirushi rice cooker! it works perfectly for any kind of grain: pearled barley, steel cut oats, quinoa, etc. I use a 3.5:1 water:grain ratio, and the porridge setting. it’s wonderful, especially if you add dried fruit and vanilla extract to steel cut oats the night before, and set it to cook for the morning.

    I often cook barley or rice using chicken stock for extra flavor, too.

    The only grain kinda thing that hasn’t worked for me is polenta/grits (coarse cornmeal).

    • Thanks for sharing, Paul! I don’t have a porridge setting on mine. Is it lower heat?

      • I can’t actually find the answer googling, but I think it must be either lower heat, or the cooker just cuts off the cooking process slightly sooner: because porridge contains more liquid than regular rice, the rice cooker mechanism cannot just use the heat of the pan as an indicator that the porridge is done, as it would with rice.

  • Annabel Smyth

    I don’t have a rice cooker – not that I wouldn’t like one, but I have nowhere to keep one, and find that I can cook rice very successfully on the stove top. My favourite is riz long de Camargue, but if I can’t get that (which I can’t when I’m not in France), I’m happy to settle for Lidl’s cheapest.

    Your recipe sounds awesome, rather like the Jamaican rice’n’peas, which is based on a coconut rice with red beans cooked in it.

    • Ah yes, I often cook rice with peas in it, too! The mix of textures is very delicious. Top with a little snipped shiso and you’re in heaven!

      • Annabel Smyth


        And of course the Italian risi e bisi, which is basically a fresh pea risotto; must make that again soon.

  • Pam

    A rice cooker also seemed to me an unnecessary gadget until I bought a small, inexpensive one at the supermarket. It was marvelous and particularly useful because it would cook less than a full cup of rice. Is it possible to do that with the Cuisinart model that you have?

    • I have had success cooking a half-cup of rice, but typically cook at least a full cup because I like having leftover rice to make fried rice. :)

  • rachelsloan79

    My experience is actually somewhat the opposite of yours: when I was a student I had a flatmate who had a rice cooker which I regularly used. I loved the ease and convenience of it, but once I moved out of that flat I never felt the slightest compulsion to buy my own! Part of that is down to space, but I’ve also since learned the trick for perfect rice on the hob (soak for at least 20 minutes, pour off most of the water, then let it steam in what remains). That said, I never thought to do coconut rice your way, i.e. with grated coconut rather than coconut milk, and I’ll definitely be trying it… in a saucepan. ;)

    • Thanks for sharing your way of cooking rice! I find that the “pouring out most of the water” part can be tricky because you probably know how much is “most of” but it’s an intuitive skill that’s hard to teach someone else.

  • Madonna Ganier-Yancey

    I have that same rice cooker and love it. I use it often, and it travels with us on trips in the motorhome. It’s one of my favorite small appliances. I’m going to have to try your recipe for coconut rice. It looks delicious, and I’m always looking for interesting new dishes to make with rice since my husband always says “rice” when I ask if he’d rather have rice or potatoes.

    • Ha! You can probably divide the human population in two separate groups based on their answer to that question. What it says about them, I don’t know, but it seems like an interesting trait. :)

  • Pam

    Thank you. I will go for the Cuisinart. If I have a plan for leftovers, I cook the full cup, but my husband and I often end up wasting them.

    • I believe you can freeze cooked rice for use in fried rice, if that helps!

  • Jolivore

    What is the logic of saying you have 90% of the stuff in the kitchen, when you are the person who runs this cooking site?

    • Can you rephrase your question? I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking.

  • The Mistress of Spices

    I made this recently and loved it! Served it with a butternut and red bean vindaloo – was delicious. Thanks for the great recipe which will definitely be in my rotation from now on!

    • Oooh, I am so intrigued by your red bean vindaloo! Do you have a recipe you could share or link to?

  • marysueh

    We make rice in a pressure cooker – so fast and always perfect. But we once had a rice cooker, and I can attest to how perfectly it cooks rice too. I would like to suggest a variation to your recipe. Try adding a few lightly bruised stalks of fresh lemon grass (with the tougher outer layers peeled away.) The stalks can be easily removed before serving, and they add a delicious element to the flavor profile. The lemon grass rice works well with many Asian-inspired dishes. I particularly enjoy it warmed in a bowl with cool, crisp pickled veggies on top.

    • I will definitely try that! I used to keep stalks of lemongrass in the freezer and that was really handy. I ran out and need to buy more.

      • marysueh

        Did you know it is pretty easy to grow lemon grass if you have enough sun? It grows well in a big pot if you have a sunny patio. You harvest it just before the first winter freeze, and the sturdy stalks will last in the freezer for a long time. I’ve got a huge lemon grass plant just outside my office window, so I get to watch the long leaves dance in the wind all day long. So fragrant too if you run your hands through the leaves!

        • Wow, who knew? I don’t think I get enough sunlight on my mini-balconies, but I’m willing to try. Did you grow yours from the seeds, or is there a way to use the lemongrass you buy at the store?

          • marysueh

            We buy small plants from the nursery, but I’ve read that it is possible to start a plant from the lemon grass you buy at the market. Choose organic, if possible, and select plants that still have the bulb at the base – maybe even some roots. Place the stalks in a glass of water on a sunny window sill until a bunch of roots have developed, then lovingly transplant them into a pot. Honestly, I’d encourage you to start with a nursery plant if at all possible. We grow it every year and it loves the sunny spot by my window. I posted a quick IG photo that shows the plant in all its glory, along with a few other herbs.

          • Lovely, thank you!

  • Jackie Cauthron-Schafer

    I asked my husband to bring home thai food tonight and I’m making this to go with it. I adore coconut, so this will be perfect for the brown basmati rice I prefer. Thanks!

  • Jacqueline Kim

    In Singapore, where I am from, there is a Malay rice coconut dish called Nasi Lemak. It is breakfast food – rice cooked in freshly squeezed coconut milk and spices; served with fried egg and a small fried fish and chili sambal. It is street food, sold in packets of banana leaves. For years, I tried to replicate the dish in the US, but it is really hard without freshly grated coconut (which you then add hot water and squeeze for milk). Canned coconut milk does not yield the same effect. Recently, I discovered, by chance, that coconut oil does the trick. Add water per normal to jasmine rice in rice cooker, add a nice, generous glob of coconut oil, a good sprinkling of salt (taste the rice water) and spices (like the ones you suggested, or just a few cloves) and even a sliced shallot. I haven’t discovered any short cut to making the sambal chili however.

  • Darlynn Eggers Reed

    Is 1 cup of water enough for 1cup of rice?

    • I find that it is but go with the package recommendation if it says otherwise!

  • Terramom

    Since the subject is rice, I wonder what you all think of its nutritional value. My husband has been advised by a highly regarded heart specialist to lower his carbohydrates, which is fine–we can do that. During my reading about the subject, I see that rice, at least what we get here in the States, doesn’t have much nutrition. Even brown rice is low in nutrition and fiber. I’ve looked at packages imported from other countries, and it’s the same. Yet, as someone pointed out below, so much of the world’s population depends on rice as a staple. I know many cooks are very concerned about health, as are you, Clothilde, so I just wonder what you all think about it? We love rice, I love to cook with it, and don’t really want to give it up entirely. I’d love your thoughts. P.S. Same with bread. We love bread!

    • I eat rice of different sorts, and artisanal bread, a couple of times a week each.
      I don’t worry about the nutrition very much; I just enjoy eating them, but in moderate amounts because I have a glucose sensitivity and I can tell too much of either raises my blood sugar levels too much.
      In general, I am more attentive to my sugar intake, as I’ve read a lot about the role it plays in inflammation,

      • Terramom

        I think that’s a smart approach. My take is that both give us energy and in moderate amounts are fine. I just bought the Instant Pot, per your recommendation, and it is a very cool appliance! I also made the Phillipino chicken on the stove, and it will now be a staple in my repertoire. I will make it next in the Instant Pot. Thank you for both!

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