The Best 12 Coconut Milk Substitutes In The Market Now: #3 Will Surprise You!

If you share my slight repugnance for the unnaturalness of coconut milk and seem at a loss on finding a good coconut milk substitute, then you’re in luck. I’m writing this article especially for you!

At first, I didn’t it would be easy for me to replace the greatness of a coconut milk because of its unmistakable thickness and consistency. Luckily, there are just those pros out there who could conjure up such resourcefulness and plain awesomeness in replacing this magic ingredient!

Throughout this piece, I will be sharing the popular coconut milk substitutions that you may want to try at home. As such, I certainly hope that you’d be able to find that perfect replacement at the end of this discussion.


Let’s Talk About Your Substitution Options

Your coconut milk is generally known for its thick and creamy nature along with its substantial part in curries, soups and desserts. It is also essentially lactose-free, a popular substitute for people who are lactose intolerant. And while it is mostly celebrated for its numerous uses and benefits, this vital ingredient is also being avoided by consumers who veer away from more calories and saturated fat.

#1 - Yogurt


If you’re into beefing up your vitamins, proteins and minerals in a dish that requires coconut milk while not worrying that its thick consistency and creamy flavor might dissipate, then yogurt could be the answer you’re waiting for.

For most of you who are looking for an even thicker consistency, I am recommending my eternal favorite among the yogurt line-up in the market now — greek yogurt! However, if you feel like this a bit too thick for your taste, then I would suggest you trying some of yogurts’ plain flavors until you’re satiated with the level of thickness.

Watch this video to find out more about the benefits of yogurt.

#2 - Spiced Milk

Spiced Milk

This type of milk is evidently the most popular coconut milk substitute there is if you feel like thickness is next to greatness!

I always use cow’s milk in this regard, but you can also try any type of milk at your behest. To do this, you just need to warm the milk in a saucepan on the stove. Stir it constantly so you could prevent it from burning.

While simmering, you can add spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and curry and continue to heat. This process will allow the spices to be absorbed by the milk. Gradually, your desired thickness should be achieved. Once this is actualized, you can now add this to your favorite recipe.

You can watch this video to aid you on how to prepare spiced milk!

#3 - Unsweetened, Unflavored Soy Milk Or Almond Milk

Almond Milk

While this is still a winning substitute for coconut milk, the only drawback for this ingredient is that it may not be providing that desired consistency your recipe should have. Nevertheless, this won’t be an issue as you still could whisk a teaspoon of cornstarch into the milk before pouring the spices. Meanwhile, stir the sauce until it boils.

For those who are seeking soy milk, this won’t be a problem as it is virtually available everywhere. Moreover, soy milk lasts longer than a cow’s milk in the refrigerator. It also contains fewer calories than coconut milk and is a vital source of protein. This neutral-flavored milk will boost the flavor in your recipe.

On the other hand, nut milks are also available everywhere. Their natural, nutty flavor can really make a difference in your coconut-based recipes. Nut milks that are plain, unflavored and with limited added sugars are more preferred. If you’re striving to thicken your milk further or perhaps a heavier consistency, try adding a bit of gelatin or cornstarch.

If you’re torn which is healthier between the two, please watch this video.

Coconut-Based Substitutions For Coconut Milk

#4 - Canned Coconut Cream

Canned Coconut Cream

If you’re trying to replace a 1 cup of coconut milk, a canned coconut milk might aid you on this. This can be replaced by 3 tablespoons of canned cream of coconut along with 1 cup of hot water/1 cup of low-fat milk. To do this, simply take a little less than one cup of hot water/low-fat milk and pour the 3 tablespoons of canned cream of coconut on it.

This is generally helpful as coconut milk substitution and can also be used for curries and other recipes.Watch this video if you’re inspired in making your own coconut cream.

# 5 - Instant Coconut Milk Powder

Coconut Milk Powder

Another viable replacement for a cup of coconut milk, this instant coconut milk powder may also remedy your much-needed substitution, especially for emergency purposes. All you really need are 1 cup of instant coconut milk powder and ½ cup of hot water.

To do this, just whisk thoroughly or combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor.Here is a video for SPI’s (S&P Industries Sdn Bhd) pioneering on the manufacturing and production of instant coconut milk in Malaysia.

#6 - Coconut Juice Or Coconut Water

Coconut Juice

Coconut juice or coconut water can also replace a cup of coconut milk. Simply pour either of these to your recipe, and you can expect that similar thickness in them. However, a slight coconut flavor should be expected as a result. Also, that creamy consistency of a coconut milk won’t be present on this. If you think this is something that needs to be addressed, just add heavy cream to that recipe!

Watch this video to know some benefits of coconut water.

#7 - Coconut Essence

Coconut Essence

With just a cup of evaporated milk and a few drops of coconut essence, your days of fretting over a coconut milk substitution should be whisked away into oblivion!Upon combining these ingredients, stir them well until the creaminess and thick consistency is achieved.

I would also recommend the use of skim milk or a regular one to replace evaporated milk. Despite all of these alternatives, that distinct coconut essence flavor should still be expected and that unavoidable dislike won’t be sparing your dishes.

Here are some of the culinary uses of a coconut essence!

#8 - Coconut Extract

Coconut Extract

Luckily, coconut extracts can also shoot those worries away on not having that cup of coconut milk when you really need it the most. Moreover, coconut extracts can substitute coconut milk with a variety of ingredients. These include:

  • 8 oz. of cottage cheese + 3 tablespoons of powdered milk +1 teaspoon coconut extract + ¾ cup of hot water
  • 1 cup milk + ½ teaspoon of coconut extract or 1 cup yogurt + ½ teaspoon of coconut extract

For letter A, blend the cottage cheese, powdered milk and coconut extract in your blender. Simply add water to them and blend again. Now if you’re making dessert, I’m recommending an additional 1 teaspoon of sugar in it.

For letter B, just add the ½ teaspoon of coconut extract to a cup of milk or yogurt. This add-on is especially good for curries.

Watch this video to make your own coconut extract.

#9 - Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

With ¾ cup of hot water and a ¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, a cup of coconut milk can already be replaced. In a boiling water, just add the ¾ cup of water to boil with ¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes. Boil it for five minutes then pour the mixture into your blender, blend. Strain if you must.

Note: I recommend the usage of a warm milk instead of a boiling water. Also, there is no need to strain if you need this substitute for a curry.

Non-Coconut Substitutes

#10- Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream

Instead of heavy cream, simply pour the heavy cream/full cream milk to your recipe. This should provide you a lovely creamy texture which would perfectly produce that creamy texture of a coconut milk. As this type of cream is flavorless, I would normally add ½ cup of coconut water to my recipe.

If you’re watching your calorie intake, then this substitution should be veered away from.

Watch this video to see how to make a homemade heavy cream.

#11 - Low-Fat Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese

If you have a skimmed milk and a low-fat cream hanging around in your refrigerator, then you’re saved. These two ingredients can replace a cup of coconut milk by simply mixing them thoroughly in a blender.

However, the combination of the two won’t be giving you that featured thickness from a coconut milk as it would only produce a consistent creaminess.

#12 - Cashew Cream/ Almond Paste

Almond Paste

I can always see a lot of my fancy friends using cashew cream or almond paste replacing a cup of coconut milk for their prized curries. You just need to soak a cup of cashews or almond overnight then blend them along with some warm water or milk in your blender.

Now, if you want a thicker milk in your outcome, take more cashews or almonds.

Here’s a video for making your own almond paste.

What’s Your Favorite Coconut Milk Substitute?

While these proven substitutions are a surefire way to provide some of that greatness from a coconut milk, there still are some drawbacks that should be expected. But if you’re truly up for a healthy diet, sans calories and saturated fat, consider this streamlined list as my early gift for you.

Meanwhile, if any of these substitutions would render a lack of thickness or creaminess in your recipe, there is always that perfect ingredient to add to.

If you feel like I missed something on these replacements, please feel free to add them in the comment section below.

Paula Hughes

I’m Paula, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of two small boys, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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