Last Updated on October 11, 2021 by Boniface Muriuki
You’ve found a unique recipe that you want to try out, and coconut milk is one of the main ingredients you require. You’ve run out of it or you are allergic to coconut.
So, what do you use instead of coconut milk?
This article suggests a coconut milk substitute that will enable you to try your best recipes even when you’ve run out of the ingredient.
What is Coconut Milk, and How Is It Used?
Coconut milk is a milky-white liquid obtained from the grated pulp of coconut. The puree is rich in taste, oil content, and fat.
Due to its unique taste and nutritional benefits, coconut milk is used in many recipes. It is handy when making smoothies, baked goods, tofu, meat, among many other meals.
How is Coconut Milk Made?
Coconut milk is extracted from mature coconuts. To get the puree, you will be required to grate the coconut’s white flesh or slice it into small pieces using your mandoline slicers.
When you’re through with the grating process, you’ll press the grated meat to extract the coconut cream. This cream is then soaked in hot water and passed through a sieve/ a cheesecloth to achieve the coconut milk.
If you want high-quality coconut milk, you should ensure that it contains both coconut cream and milk. The cream will appear as a fatty layer sitting on top of the milky substance.
12 Best Coconut Milk Substitutes
1. Evaporated Milk
If you’ve been wondering whether you can use evaporated milk as a substitute for coconut milk, then worry no more!
Evaporated milk is an excellent alternative for coconut milk, especially when you’re making soups and creamy dishes. To achieve the best, you should strive to use a ratio of 1:1 in your meals.
How to Make Evaporated Milk
Making evaporated milk is a straightforward process. It involves heating cow’s milk for a few minutes to remove more than 50% of its water content. The water removal makes it thick.
Heat approximately 2 ½ cups of regular cow milk until it gently boils. Ensure that you only remain with one cup of boiled milk. This process will have removed the water content in the milk to yield high-quality evaporated milk.
2. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is a healthy substitute for coconut milk. It is thick and has unmatched probiotic properties, which enhances the health of your gut.
However, you should avoid this option if you are to boil the mixture. In excessive heat, yogurt may lump and splatter, thus creating a mess.
If you want to replace one cup of coconut milk, you should mix one cup of Greek yogurt with one tablespoon of water. This option is particularly significant when making smoothies.
3. Canned Tomatoes
If you want to use coconut milk to make your curry or soup, you shouldn’t have a problem when you substitute it with canned potatoes.
You can also mix it with cream to get the best results. For example, use one cup of passata with ¼ of cream. The mixing thickens the paste, giving a tasty curry.
4. Soy Milk
Soy is one of the most effective plant-based coconut milk substitutes. It has a lower fat content, and you can use it just like you’d have used your coconut milk – including the quantities.
Additionally, soy sauce is an excellent protein source that makes it one of the most outstanding options. One cup will provide more than 7 g of protein instead of 0.5 g that an equal amount of coconut oil would provide.
5. Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is your best choice if you want thick soups and curries. It enriches your soup with a unique taste that will leave you yearning for more.
To achieve the best results, you should use two parts of the heavy cream with 1 part of water. It is ideal for sauces, icecreams, and creamy sauces.
6. Almond Milk
Almond milk is low in calories, making it the best coconut milk alternative, especially if you are dieting.
Its unsweetened version has a relatively neutral flavor, making it an excellent option when making smoothies, eating cereals, or baking.
Since almond milk is lower in fat content than coconut milk, you’re unlikely the creaminess that characterizes the latter. If you want to thicken it, you can add 15 ml of lemon juice to each almond milk cup.
If you like creamy dishes, it would be best to avoid using almond milk as a substitute for coconut milk.
7. Sour Cream
This dairy product is best when you want thick curries. It has a distinctive taste that almost equals that of Greek yogurt.
It is rich in probiotics, which guarantees a healthy gut. However, the sour cream is relatively sweeter, and you should use it sparingly if you don’t like sweetened curries and smoothies.
8. Cashew Milk
This is a milky substance obtained from cashew nuts. It works best in soup, sauces, and smoothies. It is low in calories and proteins but relatively high in fat.
You swap it with coconut oil in a ratio of 1:1 to achieve the best results. You’ll be guaranteed of smoother and creamier texture in your smoothies and sauces.
9. Coconut Cream
The main difference between coconut milk and coconut cream is the thickness. The cream is more than four times thicker and has a richer taste. Additionally, coconut cream has a higher fat and calorie content than coconut milk.
You can dilute it with water or use it without dilution. Whichever option you choose, you will get creamy smoothies and curries!
10. Oat Milk
This is your ideal option if you want to make coffees and latte. It has an excellent foaming ability and only contains moderate fat. The beta-glucan fiber is responsible for foaming, and you can be sure that it will provide better peristalsis and overall gut health.
Even better, oat milk is ideal when you’re cooking high-heat meals since it does not curdle. It is sweet and has more carb than coconut oil. Always substitute the coconut milk in the ratio of 1:1.
11. Silken Tofu
Tofu is made by hard-pressing condensed soy milk to form blocks. It is ideal for making desserts and smoothies.
Tofu is high in proteins, and you can use it to replace coconut oil in the ratio of 1:1. If you use your best blender for smoothies, you should get consistent and smooth soup and curry.
12. Hemp Milk
This is sweet plant milk derived from the seeds of the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa). However, it does not contain THC, which is the addictive component of marijuana.
It is rich in protein and fat and is ideal for baking. Additionally, it can act as a leavening agent if paired with certain fruit acids, such as lemon juice.
Coconut Milk Substitute – The Bottom Line
Coconut milk is a common ingredient when making soups, curries, and smoothies. It is also used when baking.
However, it is possible that you do not have coconut milk in your house or you are allergic to it. In such a case, you should never hesitate to use a coconut milk substitute since they offer similar or better taste in your smoothies.
If you’re wondering which coconut milk substitute to choose, then this article will guide you through. It enumerates 12 of the best coconut milk substitutes to consider.
Coconut Milk Substitute – Frequently Asked Questions
What can I use instead of coconut milk when preparing Thai curry?
You can use many coconut milk substitutes, including hemp milk, Greek yogurt, cashew cream, almond milk, and oat milk. If you want to cook the curry under high temperature, we advise that you use the oat milk since it does not curdle when heated.
What is the difference between evaporated milk and coconut milk?
Evaporated milk is high protein and top-notch creamy milk that produces thicker curries and smoothies than coconut milk. It is prepared by heating milk to remove up to 60% of its water content, resulting in creamy and sweeter milk.
Can you substitute regular milk for coconut?
Yes, you can use coconut milk substitute to make any meal of your choice—the substitute range from hemp milk to silken tofu.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.