Fall is here. For most of us here in the South that means football, gumbo, jambalaya, and beans, and all that means rice. Rice, rice, and more rice leads to leftover rice…which is a good thing, of course. I use leftover rice for fried rice, fritters, salads, cakes, and so many other creations, like this Coconut Raisin Rice.

Every time I think coconut, I can’t help but start singing the lyrics from Harry Nilsson, Coconut. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well how about we “put the lime in the coconut.” Yes, “she put the lime in the coconut, she drank ’em bot’up.” Gave you an ear worm, did I? Good, that means I won’t be singing it over and over again alone. Ha

For those who know me, know I hate raisins, but I love this rice. Why? Hmmm, it just might be that the raisins are soaked in rum. No, who am I kidding, no “might” about it, that is the sole reason. It also is a perfect way to combine sweet and savory. It pairs well with spicy dishes and grilled meats. Any kind of leftover long grain or whole-grain rice can be used, although my favorite is basmati.

Coconut Raisin Leftover Rice
Coconut Raisin Leftover Rice

Coconut Raisin Leftover Rice
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Yield: 2 cups

1/2 cup


  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 cups leftover rice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 TBSP rum
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Squeeze of lime, optional


  1. In a saucepan over medium low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
  2. Gently stir in the rice, breaking up any large clumps. Cover. Heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the raisins, coconut, brown sugar and ginger. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Squeeze with lime if desired.
  5. Serve warm.

Put on Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: Not a rum fan? Try bourbon. No raisins? Use dried cranberries or another dried fruit. No shredded coconut? Substitute coconut milk for the butter and add it with the rice. No dark brown sugar? No problem. Use light brown sugar or less regular sugar. Want to spice it up more? Try using spices like cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, and curry powder. Want to add a topping? Add toasted nuts or coconut flakes. Craving something sweet? Turn this rice dish into a sweet treat using cordials like amaretto, Frangelico, or Bailey’s and soak the raisins in coffee.

FOOD FUN: Still singing the song? Me, too! Here’s some song trivia thanks to songfacts.com:

“Nilsson wrote the word “coconut” on a matchbook during a vacation in Hawaii, thinking it would make a great lyric for a song. When he returned home to Los Angeles, he found the matchbook while he was driving down the freeway and wrote the song in his car.”

The title word is repeated 28 times.

His producer suggested he “..try using different voices for the “three different characters.” The result was a hit. Can you hear the different characters of narrator, girl, and doctor?

Go ahead play it again!

Coconut Raisin Leftover Rice
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One thought on “Coconut Raisin Leftover Rice

  • September 24, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Great recipe… certainly adds delicious flavor to leftover rice. Used amaretto and it was so tasty. Yep, you have me singing the Coconut song. Coconut added to most any dish is DELICIOUS! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ’–


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