Recipes > Coconut-Infused Rice

Coconut Infused Rice


Fluffy white rice infused with coconut milk and pandan leaves is easy to prepare and is a lovely, fragrant alternative to plain rice.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Views: 77,167
  • Success Rating: 90% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing the Rice

Preparing the Rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 to 3 pandan leavess
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil


To start the rice, turn on the rice cooker and add the oil. Dice the onion and add to the hot oil. Sauté until translucent. Add the rice to the onions and sauté for a few minutes until the rice is coated in the oil and is also slightly translucent. Then add the cold water, coconut milk, salt, pepper and pandan leaves. Make sure the pandan leaves are submerged in the liquid.

Place the lid on the rice cooker. Make sure the rice cooker is still on and hasn’t switched to the warming position. Let the rice cook for approximately 20 minutes or until it switches off indicating that the rice is done.

Once the rice is ready, remove the pandan leaves, fluff, check and adjust the seasoning, if needed and serve.

Note: To make this rice on the stove top, follow the same instructions. Sauté the ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the liquid has been added, bring the mixture to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is done (check the manufacturer’s instructions on the package for cooking times).

Chef's Notes

Plain white rice is easily transformed into a side dish that is beautifully subtle and fragrant. Serve Coconut Infused Basmati Rice with most Asian dishes or as a side with fish or chicken.

Pandan leaves are available fresh, frozen or dried at most Asian markets. You can also fold in chopped green onions or cilantro at the end for added flavor, color and texture.


  • Dave G
    Dave G
    I liked the idea of sauteing in the rice cooker, and the rice turned out well. Cleanup was not much different than usual and it definitely free'd up a little time. I struggled to find Pandan leaves, but my local Asian Market is ordering some for me.
  • Tessa V
    Tessa V
    I make this rice regularly at home now and love it. When I can't find Pandan Leaves I replace it with lemongrass and it's super yummy too.
  • Leah P
    Leah P
    I could only find Pandan Leaf Extract at my local Asian grocery store and I just used a splash, and my rice was delicious!
  • Leticia Z
    Leticia Z
    this rice is already in my frequently-prepared list of dishes! I substituted half the water for home made chicken stok and I loved the end result. I also can't find Pandan leaves here where I leave - and my asian grocery store is not as kind and helpful as Dave's - but I used 1/8 of a teaspoon of clear coloured pandan essence and it was just about the right ammount. I also use thai jasmin rice instead of basmati.
  • Eunice M
    Eunice M
    just wondering if this is safe to do, particularly in a non-stick type rice cooker which could possibly flake off into your food? also interested in hearing people's opinion on "to wash or not to wash your rice" as washing would remove some of the starch, which would make this dish fluffier - rice kernels more separate and less sticky.
  • Leticia Z
    Leticia Z
    I've tried both washing and not washing and I prefer the fluffier result you get when washing, which I think suits this kind of rice better. If going for a creamier or stickier result, I would use arborio rice (for the first) or glutinous rice (for the second).
  • Joe G
    Joe G
    Hi, well you might have a great point Eunice. However, I've been sauteeing onions in my rice cookers for years with no negative side effects to my equipment or my health. And I've been cooking professionally for 25 years as well in some of the finest hotels in Canada. I'm sure a manufacturer wouldn't suggest it but think about this: a rice cooker (even non-stick) is just a piece of cooking equipment with a heat element under it. Seems very similar to a non-stick pan on an electric burner to me. My thoughts... hope this helps. Any manufacturers out there more qualified to answer this than I, please jump in. Joe
  • Dee F
    Dee F
    Made this rice last night with the Paneang Pork, really good!
  • Elizabeth D
    Elizabeth D
    I'd love to try this recipe, especially with the pandan leaves, but I don't seem to be able to find a source for the pandan leaves. My closest oriental grocery does not carry any fresh produce, does not have frozen pandan leaves, and the clerk stared blankly at me when I asked if they ever carried them. I did find an online source for pandan leaf extract, but it contains artificial coloring and my husband is allergic to artificial colors, especially colors containing green, yellow, or orange. Leticia Z, you mentioned you used clear pandan essence: is it colorless? Where did you find it? Does anyone know where I can either find fresh/frozen pandan leaves, or colorless pandan extract online? A Google search was unsuccessful. Thanks for any help you can provide!
  • Elizabeth D
    Elizabeth D
    (embarassed blush) I tried another Google search and found pandan leaves online at If anyone else is having problems finding them, here's a source.
  • Robin D
    Robin D
    The first thing to say is that this rice came out absolutely splendid. I will definitely be making it again. I do not personally own a rice cooker, so I had to adapt this for the stove. I also substituted the regular onion with small green onions (for a milder flavor). Pandan leaves were not available at my local Asian market, so I also substituted with a teaspoon of pandan extract. Overall, the flavor was great. As for cooking it on the stove (for anyone rice cooker-less like me), I sautéed the onions as normal, added the rice as directed, but made sure to bring it up to a full boil once the water, coconut cream, and pandan were added. As with any rice on the stovetop, it is imperative to keep it covered and bring it quickly down to a simmer once it boils. From there it's cake. Anyway, great recipe!
  • Alvin B
    Alvin B
    I made this last night for supper, and I can't emphasize enough how wonderful this is. I also was unable to find Pandan leaves and so used a generous tablespoon of Pandan extract instead. The rice had a wonderful, light texture and a flavor that I had previously been unable to replicate. I served this with the chana masala. Highly recommended without reservation.
  • Mike P
    Mike P
    Made this tonight with chicken souvlaki recipe elsewhere on this site. Both were great. I didn't have Pandan leaves or the extract so I used Kaffir (lime) leaves instead. Tasted really good. Seasoning is key to make the balance between sweet and salty right.
  • Bobi W
    Bobi W
    I used brown rice (short/medium grain, my favorite), just cooked longer. Turned out great, with a nutty/coconutty flavor. Thought other brown rice fans might like to know that this recipe can go both ways.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Funny thing, I knew that this would work for brown rice, yet I never thought to try it...thanks for the great idea!
  • Jorge A
    Jorge A
    Do you have a recommendation for a rice cooker? Do you have a favorite brand and size? Jorge
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Here is
  • Jessica A
    Jessica A
    Can the pandan leaves be purchased fresh, then frozen, and then used as needed?? How about the kaffir leaves mentioned by previous poster? Thanks!
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Yes both pandan leaves and kaffir lime leaves can be bought fresh and then frozen. Cheers!
  • Jim R
    Jim R
    Loved the rice. I used green onion tops for the pandan leaves and added diced yellow onion to the rice in the pan. Will try same again, but add lemongrass next time until I can get some pandan leaves. I have a rice cooker, but find that with just my wife and I, I can do it just as well with the steaming method.
  • Ann C
    Ann C
    This looks like a yummy side, but I haven't gotten a clue what this could go with!
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    This rice can be served with a variety of dishes—it goes particularly well with Asian and/or Indian dishes. Cheers!
  • Eric H
    Eric H
    My Basmati calls for a 1:1.5 ratio Is that the same fluid ratio used here, or do I need to adjust and include the coconut milk in my calculations?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Yes, we used a 1 to 1.5 ratio here; however, we did add an additional 1/2 cup of THICK coconut milk. Depending on your rice, the ratio of water may need to adjusted slightly, but this is a good starting point. Hope that helps Eric. Cheers!
  • Eric H
    Eric H
    Thanks Dawn, for the tip! I finally got around to making this last night, and it was unbelievable! It has a flavor I would call 'aggressively subtle' :D I don't generally like coconut, but still enjoyed this don't let that stand in your way... those having trouble finding pandan leaves...if you don't live in a huge city--in the US, I've found that some of the best Asian markets can be found in towns with military bases in them--just a thought if you live within driving distance to one...hope this helps!!
  • Marilyn
    Can I use coconut cream in place of coconut milk?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    You can, but it will be a bit richer, denser and not as light in flavor or texture. I'd suggest starting with the cream and seeing if a bit of water might help, just to keep the consistency close to the recipe's specifications. Otherwise, it's best to have the coconut milk- which is already pretty thick and rich in itself. Cheers!
  • Julie B
    Julie B
    This was most excellent! I did not have pandan leaves but I did have cilantro, which I added at the end. Fabulous!
  • Carleen R
    Carleen R
    lemongrass leaves are used for tea in the Caribbean, would it be offputting in flavor and taste to try this with rice?
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi Carleen: Thanks for writing. Great question. Lemongrass leaves are a popular herb in many cuisines, especially Asian and Thai foods. Make sure that the leaves are minced well. Let us know how you make out with your recipe. I would start out with a small amount. Cheers, Char
  • Maryna K
    Maryna K
    hi there, can you please advise what can I use instead of pandan leaves? Thanks!
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Maryna, There are a several options here. First is, you can omit and the rice would still be quite delicious. A lot of times pandan can be found frozen, not sure if you looked in the freezer section. A few alternatives would be, a touch of vanilla, as the leaves give a light vanilla flavor profile to dishes. Or, adding some lemongrass or cilantro, which have different flavor profiles but would add a lot of flavor appropriate to this dish. I hope this helps you. Have fun playing around with it until you find what you like best! Cheers, Sandy
  • Eric H
    Eric H
    Hey guys, if you scroll up you'll see I first commented on this thread almost ten years ago. This dish remains one of my favorites as it is sooo versatile. For those of you having trouble finding Pandan leaves...they're also labelled Bai Toey Leaves and can be found in the frozen section of most any Asian market. When I get home, I simply separate them out into 4 leaf groups, put them in foodsaver bags and they're always sitting there ready to go for this dish!
  • Suraya G
    Suraya G
    Hi! Can you use dried pandan leaves in the recipe if fresh pandan is unavailable?
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Suraya, yes, give dry pandan leaves a try and see how you like the results. Dry leaves will impart flavor/aroma, but not as much as fresh leaves.

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