Are you looking for a substitute for coconut milk in your recipe? Maybe you can’t find it at the store, or maybe you or someone you are cooking for has an allergy. Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered with eight coconut milk substitutes that will work just as well.
From dairy alternatives to pantry staples, we’ve got something for everyone.
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is a creamy liquid that’s extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts. It’s a staple ingredient in many Southeast Asian and Caribbean cuisines, and it’s often used in curries, soups, and desserts.
Coconut milk is high in fat and calories, but it also contains vitamins and minerals like potassium and iron.
Criteria for Choosing Coconut Milk Substitutes
When choosing a substitute for coconut milk, consider the following factors:
- Consistency: Coconut milk has a thick and creamy consistency that adds richness to recipes. Look for substitutes with similar thickness.
- Flavor: Coconut milk has a mild coconut flavor that’s slightly sweet. Choose substitutes with a similar taste profile.
- Nutritional Value: Consider the nutritional value of your substitute. Is it high in fat or calories? Does it offer any nutritional benefits?
- Availability: Choose substitutes that are readily available at your local grocery store or online.
The Best Substitutes for Coconut Milk
Let’s dive into our top eight substitutes for coconut milk:
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk that’s low in fat and calories but high in vitamin E. It has a nutty flavor that complements many recipes, including curries and smoothies. To use almond milk as a substitute for coconut milk, look for unsweetened varieties to avoid adding extra sugar to your dish.
To use almond milk as a substitute:
- Use the same amount of almond milk as you would coconut milk.
- If you’re looking for a thicker consistency, mix in a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
- For a richer flavor, add a tablespoon of nut butter like almond or cashew.
2. Soy Milk
Soy milk is another plant-based milk that’s high in protein and low in fat. It has a mild and slightly sweet flavor that works well in savory dishes. It is a perfect alternative in curries, soups, and sauces.
To use soy milk as a substitute:
- Use the same amount of soy milk as you would coconut milk.
- For a thicker consistency, add a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour to the mixture.
- Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to give the soy milk a tangy flavor.
3. Oat Milk
Oat milk is made from whole oats and water and has a creamy texture that’s like dairy milk. It’s also high in fiber and low in fat. You can use it as a substitute in smoothies, baked goods, and curries.
You can usually replace it 1:1. For a thicker consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to the mixture.
To add sweetness, stir in a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup.
4. Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is made by blending soaked cashews with water until smooth. It has a rich and creamy texture that’s perfect for adding thickness to sauces and desserts.
Use cashew cream by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews overnight or for at least four hours.
Then drain the cashews and blend them with 1 cup of water until smooth.
Use the cashew cream as a 1:1 substitute for coconut cream.
5. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a thick and creamy dairy product that’s high in protein and low in fat. It has a tangy flavor that works well in savory dishes like curries, soups, and sauces.
For substituting, use half the amount of Greek yogurt as you would coconut milk. Mix the Greek yogurt with an equal amount of water to thin it out.
For extra creaminess, add a tablespoon of heavy cream or butter.
6. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk is canned milk that’s had most of its water removed. It has a thick and creamy texture that’s perfect for baked goods and desserts that require richness.
You can use the same amount of evaporated milk as you would coconut milk. For extra thickness, mix in a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour.
To make it sweeter, stir in a tablespoon of sugar or honey.
7. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is made from ground hemp seeds and water and has a nutty flavor that complements many recipes like smoothies, soups, and baked goods. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
To use hemp milk as a substitute:
- Use the same amount of hemp milk as you would coconut milk.
- For extra thickness, mix in a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
- To add sweetness, stir in a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup.
8. Canned Pumpkin
Canned pumpkin is a pantry staple that’s high in fiber and low in calories. It has a thick and creamy texture that’s perfect for desserts and soups.
Use half the amount of canned pumpkin as you would coconut milk. Mix the canned pumpkin with an equal amount of water to thin it out. To add sweetness, stir in a tablespoon of sugar or honey.
Tips on Using Alternative in Your Recipes
When using substitutes for coconut milk, keep the following tips in mind:
- Experiment with different substitutes to find the one that works best for your recipe.
- Be mindful of the nutritional value of your substitute. Some substitutes may be higher in fat or calories than others.
- Adjust the amount of liquid you use based on your desired consistency.
- Don’t be afraid to add extra seasoning or spices to enhance the flavor of your dish.
A Tasty Recipe with Substitute
Vegan Sweet Potato CurryCourse: MainCuisine: Thai, Other world cuisineDifficulty: Easy
Try this recipe for Vegan Sweet Potato Curry that uses almond milk instead of coconut milk:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, sauté the sweet potato, onion, and garlic over medium heat until softened.
- Add the curry powder, ginger, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the chickpeas, vegetable broth, and almond milk and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
There are plenty of substitutes for coconut milk that can be used in a variety of recipes. Whether you’re looking for a plant-based alternative or a dairy product, there’s something out there for everyone. Experiment with different substitutes and find the one that works best for your recipe. Happy cooking!