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Easy Lemon Rice with Coconut

This tangy rich lemon rice with coconut is a party in your mouth! Luscious moist yet fluffy separated grains flavored with toasted coconut, garlic, ginger, lemon, and onion.

Two navy bowls of yellow rice with lemon slices on top

It’s also easy to double up for meal prep, ready in just 35 minutes, and impressive enough for entertaining. Oh, and it’s vegan!

It’s also super cheap to make and super quick. You will no doubt already have many of the ingredients in your cupboard and fridge already.

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve sat down and eaten a bowl (or two) of this all on its own. Tasty zesty warm and coconutty (I know it’s not a word, but it should be!) goodness….

I like it with lots of lemon juice. Sadly, Handsome Husband and I find ourselves on opposing sides when it comes to lemon, he subscribes to the crazy brand of thinking where the less lemon the better.

Is liking lemons one of those world-dividing tastes, like Marmite and licorice?  My sensible lemon-loving children adore oodles of lemon juice.

My vote is always more lemon. But just so you know the amount of lemon juice used in this recipe can be easily dialed up or down to taste.

Overhead view of two bowls of yellow lemon rice

Although seriously, if lemons aren’t your thing then I have no idea why you came to a page for lemon…unless…wait for it…you’re COCOnuts!

(So bad, I know, apologies in advance of your groan)

What to serve with this coconutty lemon rice…

Plain rice is perfectly fine for rich saucy dishes, but for more simple meals or spicy sauces, flavored rice is always better. Lemon rice is also just a great way to jazz up a meal. This rice is really versatile and can be paired with just about everything.

I usually serve it with:

How to make it

This dish is really easy to make, I promise. It can be helpful to set out your measured ingredients such as spices etc. beforehand as once it gets going you need to act quickly or things could burn.

A lemon, an onion, 3 cloves of garlic, clear bowls of white rice, dessicated coconut, fresh cilantro, ground cilantro, turmeric and oil.

First, rinse your rice (long grain or basmati, either is fine). This is NOT optional. As I said before I am super picky about my rice and I straight out will not eat mushy rice, which is what will happen if you don’t rinse it.

To rinse it I put it in a bowl, fill with enough water to cover the rice with about an inch leftover, and swish my hand through the rice rubbing it lightly. I then tip out the water and repeat five times until the water is clear (well, nearly clear will also do).

Just make sure the rice is well drained on the final rinse or it will throw off the water to rice ratio in this recipe and make your tasty lemon rice mushy.

Finely chop the onion and then set a good non-stick pot on medium-high heat with the sunflower oil already in it.

Crush the garlic and chuck it into the pot along with the onions. Once it’s sizzling, cook for five minutes, stirring every now and then, until the garlic is a little crispy and the onions are lightly browned.

While the onion is cooked, finely grate or zest the lemon rind. Then roll the lemon to break down the fibres inside, and juice it.

Fried onions, ground cilantro and turmeric, lemon rind and dessicated coconut frying in a black pot

Now add in the coconut, lemon rind, turmeric, and ground coriander and fry for three minutes, stirring well every 30 seconds or so to stop the coconut from over-browning or burning.

yellow food mix in a black pot

Add in your rinsed basmati or long grain rice and mix well until all the grains are coated with the mixture and coloured pale yellow.

Yellow rice and onions in a black pot

Turn the heat up to high and add the water and crumbled stock cube. Mix well and put a tight-fitting lid on. When the rice is at a lively simmer or has just started to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stovetop and leave for 15 minutes.

Very yellow liquid and rice in a black pot

Don’t peek! You don’t want to let out steam. When the 15 minutes are up, take the rice off the heat and very quickly take the lid off, chuck in the lemon juice, stir, and cover with the lid again. Leave aside for ten minutes.

I typically like 3 tthree tablespoons fo lemon juice but Handsome Hubby prefers two. Add less if you’re unsure, you can aleays add more later

Remove the lid and fluff your rice up with a fork. Taste for salt (I don’t add any as my stock cubes are quite salty) and lemon juice, adding more lemon juice if desired to taste.

An overhead view of a dark bowl with yellow rice and 2 half slices of lemon on top

Optionally stir in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Will keep for up to five days covered in the fridge, and also freezes really well. To cook from frozen simply let defrost on the counter overnight and pop in the microwave (still covered or still in the freezer bag) on high for three minutes.

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations!

Yield: 6

Lemon Rice with Coconut

A dark blue bowl of yellow rich with 2 lemon slice halves and 2 lemons in the background

This beautifully moist yet fluffy flavored lemon rice with coconut will have you wondering why you ever ate white rice!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups long-grain or basmati rice
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste (I didn’t add any)


  1. Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic. Rinse the rice well, four or five times until the water is clear.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Stir regularly for five minutes.
  3. Zest and juice the lemon.
  4. Add the lemon rind, coconut, ground cilantro and turmeric to the pan. Stir for approximately three minutes until the coconut is light brown and toasted.
  5. Add the rice and mix well until evenly coated.
  6. Add the water, crushed stock cube, and mix again. Place the lid on the pot and turn up the heat to high. When you hear the water start to boil, turn the heat down to the minimum and leave it for 15 minutes.
  7. Take off the boil, remove the lid and quickly stir in 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice, replace the lid and leave for 10 minutes to rest.
  8. Take off the lid, fluff up the rice with a fork, and add in the chopped cilantro if using. Stir, check for salt and lemon juice and adjust to taste, then serve.


Tastes even better when made ahead as the flavors have more time to develop, and is amazing the day after.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 196Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 217mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 3g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Jamie McNary

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

Hi! I’m dying to make this dish, but there is something confusing in the directions that I hope you can clear up. In the recipe it calls for “ground cilantro”—I assume that means ground coriander (cilantro seed), but elsewhere in the text the same item is referred to as “ground cumin.” Judging by the photo it could be either.

Deirdre Gilna

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Hi Jamie, you're right, sorry, bit of a brainless day for me, I've changed it now to reflect that it's supposed to be ground coriander (cilantro), not cumin. Thanks for spotting that!


Tuesday 12th of January 2021

Mjum, I tried this (with some spinach/chickpea curry by the same author) and it was delicious. I forgot to bring the heat to a minimum after it boiled, and therefore had too add some additional water to prevent it from burning. This resulted in an end product which was a bit more mushy than I see on the picture, but the taste was sublime. Definitely going to try it again :-)

Deirdre Gilna

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

So glad you liked it Jeroen!

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Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Am happy you enoyed Bangalore and India in general. You have a great blog . Although traditionally we don't add coconut in lemon rice i appreciate your interest and effort in making this dish,

The Fiery Vegetarian

Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Hi and thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. This is not Indian Lemon Rice however, which is amazingly tasty but quite a different recipe. This is simply lemon-flavoured and toasted coconut rice.

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