Instant Pot Coconut Rice


South Indian coconut rice is flavorful and delicious! It’s also easy to make in an instant pot. Grated coconut makes this pulao fluffy and filling, and the curry leaves add great aroma and flavor. 

instant pot coconut rice

Coconut rice is a mild rice dish that’s so good you can enjoy it on its own, or with a pickle.

Everyone in my family loves this rice. It’s a nice change from our everyday plain basmati rice. Whenever I make instant pot coconut rice or my lemon rice, our meals feel a little more special.

What is Coconut Rice?

If you’re new to coconut rice, this is a popular dish from South India, where coconuts and rice are aplenty. It’s eaten as both an everyday meal and it’s also a dish served during festivals and special occasions.

instant pot south indian coconut pulao

While this is a dish that can be eaten alone, you can always serve it with raita or dal or a simple veggie dish to make it a more filling meal. I love pairing it with this coconut lentil dal and my beet thoran.

While freshly grated coconut would taste amazing in this dish, I always use frozen grated coconut (unsweetened), available in the frozen section of your local Indian grocery store. 

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this coconut rice!

Want More Rice Recipes?

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

instant pot coconut rice

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

This is one of my favorite ways to make rice. The grated coconut makes this dish so fluffy and the curry leaves add great flavor. While freshly grated coconut would taste amazing in this dish, I always use frozen grated coconut (unsweetened), available in the frozen section of your local Indian grocery store.
5 from 5 reviews
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Servings 4
Cuisine Indian



  • Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 15-30 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • Press the sauté button, and add the coconut oil. Once it melts, add the mustard seeds, split chickpeas, split/skinless black lentils. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop and the lentils turn golden in color, add the curry leaves, cashews and Serrano pepper. Stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add the coconut and stir for another 30 seconds, then add the rice, water and salt. Mix well.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.


  • *Find frozen unsweetened grated coconut at your local Indian grocery store.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Wait Up says

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I didn’t have shredded frozen coconut, but I added coconut chips just before serving and it was fine. Great flavors together.

  2. Salma says

    I’d love to try this recipe but as I live in a small apartment it’s not always convenient for me to lug out the Instant Pot. I was wondering if I want to make this on the stovetop, how much water should I add and is there anything else I might need to do differently?

    Thank you… 🙂

  3. Shashi Jain says

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe. Even my daughter, who dislikes coconut, enjoyed this. I served mine with leftover rajmah and it was amazing. Thanks as always!

  4. Maya Gupta says

    Love your recipes! For this and other rice recipes, do you have a recommended cook time for brown basmati as opposed to white? I made the Lemon Rice last night with 22 min at high pressure + 10 min natural release and it was still a bit crunchy, so I put it back on a few mins at high pressure and it was fine. Do you think 25 mins at high is a good general rule for brown basmati or does it depend on whether we’re soaking first? Thank you!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thanks Maya! I always soak basmati rice and so for me 22 minutes works for brown basmati but if you’re not soaking then it probably is a good idea to cook it a bit longer especially if you find that it’s still crunchy. Just fyi – if you buy “quick cooking brown basmati” (can easily find this at trader joes) that cooks in the same amount of time as white basmati and would be a better option if you’re making something that calls for veggies (so they don’t turn to mush). Hope that helps!

  5. Erin Libby says

    Can dried curry leaves be used in place of the fresh curry leaves? If so, is there a reduction in the quantity? Thank you! Me and my family really enjoy your recipes! They are always perfect as written.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Erin, I’d go with the same amount – I know most of the time dried herbs are stronger in flavor but that’s not really the case for dried curry leaves in my opinion. Let me know how it goes!

  6. Carey Letts says

    5 stars
    It’s impossible to describe how much I loved the coconut rice! It was absolutely perfect!!! Soooo delicious and the aroma was to die for. I told my husband it’s all I’ve ever wanted out of a rice dish 😁

    Ashley, I’m curious about the urad and chana dal… Years ago I made a coconut chutney and that recipe also called for the addition of one of the dal’s in a small portion like for the rice. Is it added as a textural thing or is there another reason behind it?

    Thanks again!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Carey, I’m so happy to hear that you like the coconut rice so much!! Those two dals add texture and they also adds a really nice nutty flavor when toasted. Because they are split dals, they toast/cook easily too in oil 🙂

  7. Juhi says

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe. Being a North Indian It was first time that I tried coconut rice for a small group of guests. It was a hit! The best part is that it was super quick and easy recipe with nice flavor. Thanks!

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