11 Delicious Substitutes for Coconut Milk
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 a number of replacements.
Here are 11 scrumptious 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.
If you’re looking to add more protein to your diet, soy milk is a good option. 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.
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 it won’t provide the same creaminess. To thicken it, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice to everyone 1 cup (240 ml) of milk.
Adding coconut flour can likewise increase thickness and lend a burst of coconut flavor.
Almond milk can replace coconut milk in smoothies, cereal, or baked goods. Due to its low fat content, it’s not suitable in 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.
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.
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 a moderate amount of fat, it’s naturally high in beta-glucan, a fiber that helps it foam up.
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.
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 seeds of the hemp plant (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.
The fat and protein content of hemp milk makes it a great alternative to coconut milk. 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, because of its high water content, it isn’t suitable for sauces, soups, or other high-fat dishes.
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. 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.
If you want a plant-based version, use creamy plant milk, such as oat, cashew, or hemp.
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.
It’s made by heating cow’s milk to remove up to 60% of its water content.
Still, this thick, slightly caramelized product isn’t suitable for people who don’t consume dairy.
Evaporated milk is very thick and makes a great 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.
It’s much higher in fat than coconut milk and can replace it in equal quantities in most recipes.
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 1 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.
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 a 1:1 ratio.
It’s also a good source of protein, providing 5 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.
Silken tofu is made from condensed soy milk. Blend it with equal parts soy milk to create a creamy, smooth liquid.
The bottom line
Coconut milk is a popular plant-based beverage that’s used in a variety of recipes.
If you don’t like its taste or don’t have any on hand, you can choose from several alternatives.
Most replacements can be swapped at a 1:1 ratio, but the flavor may be slightly different. As such, you can add coconut flavoring — or coconut meat, flakes, flour, or water — to your recipes.