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Coconut milk substitutes

11 delicious alternatives for coconut milk

If your recipe calls for coconut milk, but you don’t have it on hand, several alternatives are available. Here are 11 great substitutes for coconut milk.

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Last updated on September 26, 2022, and last reviewed by an expert on July 22, 2022.

Coconut milk is a popular plant-based, lactose-free liquid.

It’s widely used in Asian cuisine but has become increasingly popular as a creamy, delicious ingredient in baking and cooking.

If your recipe calls for coconut milk, but you don’t have it on hand, you can choose from several replacements.

Here are 11 delicious substitutes for coconut milk.

1. Soy milk

Soy milk is a great alternative to coconut milk.

It’s also plant-based and has a slightly lower fat content than coconut milk. In most recipes, you can swap it in a 1:1 ratio.

Soy milk is a good option if you want to add more protein to your diet. Just 1 cup (240 ml) provides 7 grams of protein — compared with only 0.5 grams for the same amount of coconut milk.

Be sure to purchase unsweetened soy milk, as sweetened versions will change the flavor of your dish.

If you still want the taste of coconut, you can add coconut flavoring to soy milk or any other coconut milk substitute.

Summary: Soy milk can replace coconut milk at a 1:1 ratio — but you should avoid sweetened varieties to prevent your dish from becoming too sweet.

2. Almond milk

Unsweetened almond milk is another potential replacement.

It’s naturally low in calories and has a neutral flavor, making it a good option in smoothies, cereals, or baking.

You can swap coconut milk with almond milk in equal quantities.

However, it has a much lower fat content than coconut milk so that it won’t provide the same creaminess. Add one tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice to every cup (240 ml) of milk to thicken it.

Adding coconut flour can likewise increase thickness and lend a burst of coconut flavor.

Summary: Almond milk can replace coconut milk in smoothies, cereal, or baked goods. Due to its low-fat content, it’s not suitable for creamy dishes.

3. Cashew milk

Cashew milk is creamy nut milk that works well in sauces, soups, and smoothies.

It has a smoother, creamier texture than other nut milk and mimics the consistency of cow’s milk. It’s naturally low in calories and protein but packs more fat than most plant-based milk.

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Alternatively, you can use cashew cream, which has an even higher fat content and is as creamy as coconut milk.

You can swap cashew milk in at a 1:1 ratio in most recipes.

Summary: Cashew milk is a creamy alternative to coconut milk and can be used at a 1:1 ratio. Its high-fat content makes for great sauces and soups.

4. Oat milk

Oat milk is an excellent option for lattés or coffees.

The fat in coconut milk makes great coffee foam. While oat milk contains moderate fat, it’s naturally high in beta glucan, a fiber that helps it foam.

Unlike most plant milk, oat milk doesn’t curdle and can be used in recipes that require high heat. Swap it in at a 1:1 ratio.

It’s naturally sweet and higher in carbs than coconut milk.

Summary: Oat milk foams easily and is especially beneficial for high-heat recipes or lattés. It’s sweeter than coconut milk and can be swapped in at a 1:1 ratio.

5. Hemp milk

Hemp milk has gained popularity as a sweet, slightly nutty plant milk.

It’s derived from the hemp plant’s seeds (Cannabis sativa) but does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

As a good source of fat and protein, hemp milk is especially useful in baking. Notably, it functions as a leavening agent when paired with an acid, such as lemon juice.

You can replace coconut milk with hemp milk at a 1:1 ratio. However, some people may find its nutty taste overpowering.

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Summary: The fat and protein content of hemp milk makes it a great alternative to coconut milk, and it can be swapped in at a 1:1 ratio.

6. Rice milk

Rice milk is made by mixing water with white or brown rice.

Although much thinner in consistency than coconut milk, it works well in oatmeal, smoothies, and some desserts.

Furthermore, it’s one of the least allergenic plant milk, making it ideal if you can’t drink dairy, soy, or nut beverages.

However, its high water content isn’t suitable for sauces, soups, or other high-fat dishes.

Summary: Rice milk works well in oatmeal, smoothies, and some desserts but is much thinner than coconut milk.

7. Spiced milk

Spiced milk is a popular alternative to coconut milk due to its flavor and creamy consistency, and it’s commonly used in warm dishes like soup.

You can make it at home by heating cow’s milk with spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, until it thickens. For a savory version, use curry powder or chili peppers.

Be sure to stir the milk continuously to prevent burning.

For a plant-based version, use creamy plant milk, such as oat, cashew, or hemp.

Summary: Spiced milk is made by heating milk with spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, or chili pepper. It’s commonly used in soups and other hot dishes.

8. Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk is an excellent substitute for coconut milk in soups or creamy dishes and can be used at a 1:1 ratio.

Heating cow’s milk makes it remove up to 60% of its water content.

Still, this thick, slightly caramelized product isn’t suitable for people who don’t consume dairy.

Summary: Evaporated milk is thick and makes an excellent replacement for coconut milk in soups or creamy dishes.

9. Heavy cream

Heavy cream is made by scraping fat from fresh milk and is especially common in high-fat foods like creamy soups, sauces, and ice cream.

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It’s much more fat than coconut milk and can replace it in equal quantities in most recipes.

Summary: Heavy cream is higher in fat than coconut milk and serves as a thick, dairy-based alternative.

10. Greek yogurt

Although Greek yogurt may not immediately come to mind, it’s a creative substitute for coconut milk because of its thick consistency.

To replace 1 cup (240 ml) of coconut milk, mix 1 cup (240 ml) of Greek yogurt with one tablespoon (15 ml) of water. If you want it thinner, slowly add more water until you reach your desired consistency.

You can also use coconut-flavored Greek yogurt.

Summary: Greek yogurt is similar in thickness to coconut milk and can be diluted with a small amount of water.

11. Silken tofu

Silken (or soft) tofu is made by pressing condensed soy milk into blocks.

It’s a popular vegan ingredient for soups, smoothies, sauces, and desserts.

Due to its high water content, silken tofu blends well with equal parts of soy milk to create a smooth, creamy mixture that can replace coconut milk at 1:1.

It’s also a good source of protein, providing 5 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.

Summary: Silken tofu is made from condensed soy milk. Blend it with equal parts of soy milk to create a creamy, smooth liquid.

Summary

Coconut milk is a popular plant-based beverage that’s used in a variety of recipes.

You can choose from several alternatives if you don’t like its taste or don’t have any on hand.

Most replacements can be swapped at 1:1, but the flavor may be slightly different. You can add coconut flavoring — coconut meat, flakes, flour, or water — to your recipes.

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