Arroz con Coco or Colombian Rice with Coconut

arroz con coco coconut rice

Arroz con coco is a Colombian traditional side that brings a touch of sweet to a weeknight dinner. The rice takes on a golden color from the toasted coconut milk and brown sugar. It offers just the right counterpoint of dulce to traditional Colombian dishes starring fish or chicken. This recipe is from Michelle Ezratty Murphy, one of our favorite homecooks of comida latina.

Here’s Michelle’s technique: She boils down coconut milk until it forms a creamy paste. What happens next is delicioso and magical to your taste buds, says Michelle. The coconut paste soaks into the rice grains, giving them a soft-brown color and so much sabor. She adds brown sugar and raisins, and the result is a dulce coconut rice that will leave you craving the side dish a long time after the meal.

Watch Michelle make this delicioso and dulce Colombian arroz with coconut milk, step by step.

For more Colombian traditional dishes, try Janeth Palacio Barrera’s family-famous recipes. Start with her patacones con hogao sauce. Continue with her mother Francy’s flan and whole fried mojarra, which Janeth remembers eating every time they went to the beach on childhood vacations. Today, Janeth is teaching her kids to make their family recipes, including traditional Colombian arepas — just like the Madrigal family made in Encanto! — and these delicioso Colombian buñuelos.

Ready to Make Arroz con Coco or Colombian Coconut Rice?

Arroz con Coco or Colombian Rice with Coconut

Recipe by Michelle Ezratty Murphy
3.7 from 17 votes
Cuisine: Colombian


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 27 oz coconut milk, or 2 cans

  • 1 cup rice, long grain

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 Tbsp butter

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup coconut water

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup mango, freshly sliced (optional)


  • In a Dutch oven, caldero or heavy pot, pour both cans of coconut milk. Set the heat to medium high.
  • Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. Simmer the coconut milk for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly. The liquid will begin to evaporate. The consistency will become paste-like and then quickly turn into small, pea-size balls.
  • Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes more, stirring often. Lower the heat to low. The liquid should now be completely evaporated and the remaining milk solids will start to brown. Continue stirring to avoid burning the paste.
  • In about 10 more minutes, when the coconut milk solids are a uniform golden color, add the rice. Stir until the coconut solids are fully incorporated into the rice grains.
  • Add the brown sugar, butter and salt. Stir.
  • Pour in the water and the coconut water. Stir and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Allow the pot to sit, covered, for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and lightly toss the rice. Add the raisins and toss again.
  • Garnish with raisins or the optional slices of mango, to your taste. Serve warm.


  • Michelle likes to sprinkle both light and dark raisins for color and extra sweetness.
coconut rice arroz coco
This arroz con coco, sweetened with brown sugar and raisins, takes on a beautiful golden color from the toasted coconut milk and brown sugar

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