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Coconut Cilantro Rice with Chicken Recipe


Whenever I’m feeling a bit fatigued, a nice and heart home-cooked meal is something that brings a huge amount of comfort. What better way to unwind than a plate of one’s favorite food? A dish can transport us to simpler times, make us recall fond memories. Personally, my parents always had a hand in all the home-cooked food I make now, and every time I step into the kitchen, I’m often taken back to childhood. Certain rice recipes just have a nostalgic factor, thanks to their hand-me-down aspect. 

All that aside, crafting the perfect home-cooked meal requires a bit of searching. As the resident kitchen cook here at home, I’m often tasked with finding a recipe that is both exciting and fuss-free, easy to prepare yet unconventional. Cooking can take a bit of work, as we all know, and I’m sure the kitchen deities will forgive me for saying that we get a little lazy every now and then.

That’s why I love working with rice so much. It’s a flexible staple, customizable to a tee, and super easy to cook once you have a good rice cooker. All you have to do is mix up the spices, then you have a completely different world of tastes all in one bowl. Cilantro rice is one of my absolute go-tos. Paired with coconut milk and you get a wonderful one-pot Coconut Cilantro Rice recipe, a comforting meal that has quickly become a household favorite. 

Now, I usually pair this recipe with different meats every time, but the top-star rating goes to chicken. Something about the texture and specific tenderness of the chicken paired with the contrasting flavor of coconut milk and cilantro makes each bite a world of its own.

And yes, the recipe is super easy to make. Promise. I’ve made sure to share a recipe that is “pantry-friendly” too, so you don’t have to rush to the nearby grocery just find the necessary ingredients to whip this up. (On that note, if you don’t already have coconut milk or cilantro in your shelves, I suggest stocking up on it ASAP.) Rotisserie chicken is fantastic. You can even use different rice varieties here. However, for coconut cilantro rice, I’ve found that jasmine rice or basmati works best.

Why Choose Coconut Milk

One thing I love about coconut rice is its compatibility with almost any meat. The base coconut rice recipe is also very simple to make, and it goes well with a zesty side dish. There’s a lot to be said about coconut milk itself: you can use it to make Thai chicken curry, vegan coconut milk pasta, or even a refreshing summertime drink like coconut milk chia pudding.

Some prefer to use coconut water, as coconut water can add a unique finish and amp up the rice-coconut ratio.

Of course, having fresh ingredients also helps improve the taste of this rice-based dish, but for the purposes of making this recipe as fuss-free as possible, anything you have in store is good. Now, enough chatter. Without further ado, here’s our recipe for Coconut Cilantro Rice with Chicken as well as the directions, instructions, & checklist.


To make the cilantro coconut rice recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup basmati rice or jasmine rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt (preferably Kosher)
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • Lime juice
  • Lime slices (optional)

How to Make Coconut Cilantro Rice with Chicken (Basmati or Jasmine Rice)

The best part of this coconut rice recipe is that it only takes a few steps and around 30 minutes in total to make. 

Step 1. In a large saucepan, add 1 cup of basmati rice or your variety of choice along with 1 cup of water 1 can of coconut milk, making sure the heat is set to high. Season lightly with salt, stirring occasionally to combine all the ingredients. 

Step 2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to an active simmer. Cover your pan and let cook for around 15-20 minutes, until such time that the liquid mixture is absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir your rice occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn.

Step 3. While waiting, start trimming your snow peas and shredding around 1 ½ to 2 cups of cooked chicken, as desired. Add the snow peas to the pan during the last few minutes of cooking. 

Step 4. Once the rice is ready, add in the shredded chicken bits into the mix. This time, uncover the pan while cooking and wait around 2 minutes more.

Step 5. Remove from the heat once the rice is fully cooked. Top your rice with the leaves of cilantro, lime juice, and the cilantro stems. There you have it!

Alternatively, you can create this recipe with a rice cooker or an instant pot instead of the traditional stovetop method. Take a look at our guide to the best rice cookers for top-notch products.

NOTE: This recipe makes 4 servings. Leftovers can be stored up to four days in an airtight container.

NUTRITION FACTS: This coconut lime chicken recipe is egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and has no added oil.

Want to try a similar dish without the coconut rice? There are plenty of recipes one could make out of this previous one, with more or less the same ingredients and flavor. If you’re on the search for the perfect comfort dinner, look no further. These recipes just might be your new favorites!

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe

If you want to try a similar meal without the coconut flavor, this cilantro lime rice recipe is what you’re craving for.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups basmati or other long grain white rice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, tightly packed and with stems
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice

To make:

  1. Add olive oil into a saucepan along with the rice, cooking on medium-high heat, coating the grains, and stirring occasionally until brown. Add the minced clove of garlic, then cook a few minutes more without changing the heat.
  2. Mix the 2 ¼ cups of water, the lime zest, and salt into the pan. Cook on high heat and bring to a boil. Afterwards, cover the pan and reduce the heat until you have a simmer. 
  3. Let the rice cook undisturbed for around 15-20 minutes, then remove from the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff the rice.
  4. Now we can stir in the lime juice and the chopped cilantro along with its stems.

NOTE: This recipe makes 6 servings.

Coconut Cilantro with Lime Juice Brown Rice Recipe

Want a lower-calorie, more nutrient-dense alternative to one of our mealtime favorites? Thanks to this alternative, you can end your search for a unique dish. Simply follow the above steps, replacing the white rice and liquids with this ratio:

  • 1 ½ cup rice, brown
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups water (can be replaced with chicken or vegetable broth)

You may use the traditional stovetop method, but thanks to the advent of technology, cooking need not be so laborious. Check out our guide to the best brown rice cookers here.

Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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