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This foolproof baked coconut rice is simmered with coconut milk and scented with lime zest and juice. It’s the perfect side dish for all your Asian-inspired and Mexican meals.
When it comes to side dishes, my go-to choices are usually a crisp green salad or some perfectly roasted veggies. They’re quick, easy, and I can whip them up even when I’m pressed for time. But let’s be honest, you can’t pair every meal with just greens and veggies. Sometimes I need a starch, and this baked coconut rice is one of my favorites.
You can never go wrong with plain rice, but some dishes require something a little extra. So, this is easily my favorite easy rice side dish, and the foolproof oven method is definitely my go-to way to make rice. It’s also how I make my crowd-pleasing Cajun Rice.
Why You’ll Love this Baked Coconut Rice Recipe
If you’re on the fence about trying out this baked coconut rice recipe, let me give you a few reasons why it’s bound to become a favorite in your kitchen.
- Effortless Preparation: This easy coconut rice recipe requires simple ingredients and minimal cleanup. You simply mix the ingredients, pop them in the oven, and let the magic happen. It’s an ideal solution for those busy days when you want a delicious side dish but don’t have the time or energy for something elaborate.
- Consistently Perfect Results: We’ve all been there – cooking rice on the stovetop and ending up with it either undercooked or mushy rice. The oven method takes the guesswork out of cooking rice. You get perfectly cooked, fluffy rice every time, without the constant monitoring.
- Versatile and Adaptable: This naturally vegan baked coconut rice pairs beautifully with a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re serving it with a spicy curry, alongside grilled meat, or even with a stir fry, its subtle coconut flavor will complement so many of your favorite mains.
Why bake rice in the oven?
Anyone who thinks that making rice is as easy as boiling water is, well, just wrong. I think that the fact that there is an actual appliance made for JUST that purpose speaks to how easy it is to mess up.
But a rice cooker, while a surprisingly affordable appliance, is not something I’m willing to give up valuable counter space for. Not when there’s a way to make rice that is just as easy and just as foolproof, using kitchen equipment I already have!
The most popular way to make rice is of course on the stovetop, but when I do, one (or more) of these four things happens at least 90% of the time.
- I don’t monitor the heat closely enough and it ends up boiling over, forcing me to scrub my glass stovetop. This usually leads to…
- Too much water is lost and all the water is evaporated before the rice is done, so it’s crunchy and I end up having to add more water. OR
- I add TOO MUCH water and it ends up mushy.
- I forget about it while I’m busy making some complicated dish and it burns on the bottom.
Instead of heating from the bottom, the oven creates an even steaming environment that makes for evenly cooked, fluffy rice. You just bring your liquid to a boil on the stove, add your rice, cover your pan, transfer to the oven, and you’ll have perfectly cooked rice in about 20 minutes, no mess.
TIP: choose the right pan: A pan with a wider bottom, such as a sauté pan or frying pan with high sides will cook the rice more evenly than a saucepan. If your lid is not so tight-fitting, you can first cover it with foil and then place the lid on top. Alternatively, you can transfer the rice and liquid to a baking dish and cover it very tightly with foil. I find the baking dish takes longer and cooks the rice less evenly, however.
Jasmine rice is traditional in Thai and South Asian cuisines. It’s delicate and aromatic and absolutely delicious, even without any flavorings. It’s easy to find in most grocery stores. Make sure you use rinsed rice to remove the excess starch as per the instructions on the package.
However you can substitute regular long grain white rice in this recipe if you prefer, with no modifications to the recipe. Brown rice has a much longer cooking time so you would need to add some additional liquid.
I use canned full fat unsweetened coconut milk in this recipe. I usually find it in both the baking and Asian ingredient aisles at my grocery store, so check both if you have trouble locating it.
I almost never buy light coconut milk, but for this particular recipe low fat works just as well as full-fat coconut milk, so don’t hesitate to use it here.
You’d need both lime juice and lime zest for this recipe. The lime perfectly balances out the creaminess from the coconut milk and adds the perfect slightly tangy flavor to the baked coconut rice.
Don’t forget to watch the video!
Most of my recipes include a short step-by-step video tutorial. Just scroll down to the recipe card, or use the “Jump to Video” button at the top of the post!
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large oven-safe pan with a tight-fitting lid, bring water, coconut milk and salt to a boil on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the jasmine rice and bring it to a simmer. Now cover with the lid and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes. Note: If your lid is not so tight-fitting, you can first cover the pan with foil and place the lid firmly on top. I love my All-Clad saute pan for this.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit, covered, for five minutes to steam. Remove the lid and stir in the lime zest and juice.
That’s all there is to this easy coconut rice recipe! It doesn’t require any extra effort then it would making plain white rice in the oven, and it really is a time and counter space-saver if you are cooking for a lot of people.
What goes well with baked coconut rice?
In addition to the obvious Thai and South Asian dishes, I also love this baked coconut rice with Mexican food. Thai and Mexican food have the fresh flavors of lime and fresh cilantro in common, and I love to stir in a handful of chopped fresh cilantro when I have it around. You can also stir in some toasted coconut flakes for a more defined coconut flavor.
This baked coconut rice also goes really well with spicy dishes. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are just a few of the meals I love to serve this with.
Before storing, allow the baked coconut rice to cool to room temperature. It’s important not to leave the leftover rice at room temperature for more than 2 hours, as it can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Transfer the leftover rice into an airtight container. You can store the rice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure the container is sealed well to prevent the rice from drying out or absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge.
If you want to keep the rice for longer, freezing is a great option. Place the cooled rice in a freezer-safe, airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Properly stored, the rice can last in the freezer for up to 2 months. To prevent freezer burn and maintain quality, make sure to expel as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it.
It’s important to reheat only the amount of rice you plan to eat. Repeatedly reheating and cooling rice can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Tell me what you think!
If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!
Baked Coconut Rice
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk either full-fat or low-fat will work
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice (rinsed if indicated on the package)
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large oven-safe sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the coconut milk, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Stir the rice into the liquid and place the lid on the pan.* Bring the liquid back to a simmer and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is fully absorbed.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the lime zest and juice.