Coconut rice in Instant Pot step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Coconut rice is a South Indian dish made with fresh coconut and minimal spices. Also called thengai sadam, this fragrant and aromatic dish is one of the most basic South Indian foods. It is healthy, flavorful, naturally gluten-free, and vegan. When made in an Instant Pot, it is ready in 15 minutes, with less than 5 minutes of hands-on time.
The taste of this rice is divine - savory, nutty, mildly sweet. Fresh coconut is the hero of this dish and it can be paired with dal or any curry of your choice. It tastes best with seafood. Or simply pair it with papad, kachumber salad, and plain yogurt (or raita) for a fuss-free meal. We need fresh unsweetened coconut to make this dish.
You can either buy a whole coconut and grate it or use frozen coconut. Whole coconuts are easily available in many supermarkets and frozen unsweetened coconut is available in Indian stores outside of India.
Coconut is loaded with several health benefits. It is high in saturated fat and fiber. They are rich in manganese, copper, iron, and selenium (an antioxidant that protects cells). Coconut is the highest natural source of lauric acid, which is used for its medicinal benefits.
Read on for ingredients, useful tips, and step-by-step instructions to make this dish that is not only a part of everyday meals but also made for festivals and celebrations.
Coconut: Unsweetened fresh or frozen grated coconut is used in this dish (see FAQ section for details).
Rice: I have used Basmati rice; however, any other Indian variety rice like sona masuri will also work.
Coconut oil: This works best with the dish; however, you can replace it with any neutral-tasting oil.
Spices: I use mustard seeds, dried red chili, chana dal (Bengal gram), and urad dal (split black gram).
Other ingredients: Curry leaves, ginger, green chili, and coriander leaves.
1. Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add coconut oil. Once it heats, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
2. Add dry red chili. chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, and cashew. Saute for 1-2 minutes (until the cashew is light golden).
3. Add ginger and green chili. Saute for a few seconds.
4. Add the grated coconut and saute for one minute.
5. Drain the water from the soaked rice and add it to the IP. Add 3 cups of water and salt. Mix well.
6. Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure.
7. Add coriander leaves and mix gently.
Do not use dried or desiccated coconut. It will not work in this dish. Use fresh or frozen grated coconut.
I like to add cashew to this dish, which can be replaced with peanuts. Alternatively, skip them altogether for a nut-free version.
I have used Basmati rice, however, any other Indian variety of short-grain rice like sona masuri will also work. In that case, the cooking time will vary.
Curry leaves are essential and cannot be skipped.
I use a rice to water ratio of 1 to 1.5 in this dish, which gives me soft cooked rice. If you want chewy and firm rice, reduce water so that the rice to water ratio is 1 to 1.25.
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Follow this recipe but change the rice to water ratio to 1 to 2. Pressure cook for two whistles.
This dish can be paired with any Indian curry or dal. It tastes great with seafood.
No. This dish tastes best with fresh unsweetened coconut. You can either buy a whole coconut and grate it or use frozen coconut. Whole coconuts are easily available in many supermarkets and frozen unsweetened coconut is available in Indian stores outside of India.
This coconut rice is:
- naturally gluten-free and vegan
- healthy, nutritious, and delicious
- very easy to make
Instant Pot Coconut Rice
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 1½ cups coconut grated (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1-2 dry red chili
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (split black gram)
- 1 teaspoon chana dal (Bengal gram)
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 1-2 green chili finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon ginger grated
- 8-10 cashew
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 3 cups water
- Wash the rice thoroughly. Soak it in water for 20-30 minutes
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add coconut oil
- Once it heats, add mustard seeds and let it splutter
- Add dry red chili. chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, and cashew. Saute for 1-2 minutes (until the cashew is light golden)
- Add ginger and green chili. Saute for a few seconds
- Add the grated coconut and saute for one minute
- Drain the water from soaked rice and add it to the IP
- Add 3 cups of water and salt. Mix well
- Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure
- Open the lid and gently fluff up the rice using a fork
- Add coriander leaves and mix gently
- Serve hot with dal or curry of your choice
Kayla DiMaggio says
I love the subtle coconut flavor from this rice! I also have never made rice in the instant pot before but this was delicious!
This rice was so good! Love the coconut flavor, really unique and delicious!
I love coconut rice but never attempt to do at home, glad to see your recipe and will try too.
Easy to make and a fantastic flavour! Thank you so much for this delicious recipe 😀
Giangi Townsend says
I love that you added the coconut with this recipe. I love how subtle it is and how much flavor it brings to this rice recipe.
Thank you for sharing. I always look for a new way to use my pressure cooker and you just gave me the opportunity to use it again soon
Gina Abernathy says
Such an interesting recipe. Looks so good!
So quick and easy in the Instant Pot!
I’ve made rice in the Instant Pot but never coconut rice! This sounds wonderful and I love the easy steps
Wow! What an amazing and simple recipe!
Shilpa! I love coming to your blog and finding dishes from your culture. They are always yummy
Thank you so much Kaitlin. I am so glad you like them.