The difference between coconut cream vs coconut milk? Here’s how to make sure you get the right ingredient for your recipe.
Coconut cream vs coconut milk: what’s the difference? These two products come from the same raw material, but they’ve got an important distinction. Once you know the difference, you’ll know when to use them in recipes: and even how to substitute for each! Here’s what to know about when to use them.
Coconut cream vs coconut milk: the differences
What’s the difference between these coconut products? Here’s a breakdown:
- What is coconut milk? Coconut milk is a milk extracted from the pulp of coconuts. It is very rich and has a high fat content. Coconut milk is a traditional ingredient used in Southeast Asian and East African cuisine, as well as Latin American and Caribbean foods.
- What is coconut cream? Coconut cream is a very thick cream made from coconut milk. The coconut milk is chilled, then the top layer of cream that floats to the top is skimmed off. It is very thick and tastes like coconut, but is not sweetened (unlike coconut cream). You can usually find it in cans next to the coconut milk. (In fact, you might have accidentally bought it thinking it was coconut milk.)
What about coconut water? Head to Coconut Milk vs Coconut Water.
You can substitute one for the other!
Did you buy coconut milk instead of coconut cream, or vice versa? Never fear: you can substitute one for the other. Here’s how to substitute coconut cream and coconut milk:
- How to make coconut milk out of coconut cream? Mix 3 tablespoons coconut cream into 1 tablespoon water to make about ¼ cup coconut milk. It does taste lighter than full fat coconut milk, and has a texture more like light coconut milk.
- How to make coconut cream out of coconut milk? Place 1 can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. After refrigeration, open the can and use a spoon to pull out the coconut cream from the top, leaving the coconut water on the bottom. It makes about ½ cup coconut cream. To get it to the texture of canned coconut cream, whisk it with a teaspoon or two of the coconut water until smooth.
What can you make with coconut cream?
You can use coconut cream to make dairy-free whipped cream! Use ½ cup coconut cream in place of the coconut milk in this recipe. You can also use coconut cream in curry recipes to make thick and creamy. Try it in this chickpea curry or vegetable curry.
What can you make with coconut milk?
Coconut milk is a creamy liquid that works as a non-dairy milk substitute. It’s great in curries and smoothies. Here are some great coconut milk recipes:
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How to Make Coconut Cream (or Coconut Milk!)
5 from 1 reviews
- Author: Sonja Overhiser
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: ½ cup coconut cream or 1 cup coconut milk 1 x
Here’s how to make coconut cream from coconut milk, and vice versa! These two products can be used to make each other.
- 1 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk or coconut cream
- To make coconut cream out of coconut milk: Take the can of coconut milk and place it in the refrigerator overnight. After refrigeration, open the can and use a spoon to remove the coconut cream at the top, leaving the water below. You should get about ½ cup coconut cream. To get it to the texture of canned coconut cream, whisk it with a teaspoon or two of the coconut water until smooth.
- To make coconut milk out of coconut cream: Mix 3 tablespoons coconut cream into 1 tablespoon water to make about ¼ cup coconut milk.
- Category: Essentials
- Method: Mixed
- Cuisine: Coconut
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Coconut cream vs coconut milk, coconut milk vs cream
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Published on November 30, 2020 / Last updated on January 28, 2022
- Coconut cream
- Coconut Milk
About the authors
Sonja & Alex
Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.
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This is really helpful, thank you. I’d like to know the nutritional information for the separated coconut cream and water from a can of unsweetened, first press, coconut milk. Can you tell me how to calculate it or pint me to the information online, please?
Hi! Sorry, we don’t have this information available.
This little kitchen hack is so easy . . .
It almost feels like cheating, but of all the methods I’ve used to make coconut milk it actually delivers the best results. (And I’ve used a few – you can watch my daughter and I make coconut milk from fresh coconut here and coconut flakes here.)
Rich in immune-boosting lauric acid, bone building phosphorous and soothing magnesium, coconut milk is one of my favorite kitchen ingredients. I especially love it in soft-serve ice cream, coconut creme brulee, raspberry custard tartlets, fudge pudding pops, though it makes a fantastic base for dairy-free shrimp chowder, too.
Why not just buy the canned stuff?
Sometimes I do! But there are two main reasons I don’t use it very often:
Manufacturers can slap on the “BPA-Free” label even if their products still contain toxic bisphenol. You can read more about that here.
Canned coconut milk often contains thickeners like guar gum and xanthan gum, which can cause digestive problems in some people. Xanthan gum in particular can be problematic for people sensitive to corn, soy, dairy, or wheat, since it is a product of bacterial fermentation that is often grown on those mediums.
Personally, I’ve noticed that my stomach feels a little “off” after consuming coconut milk that contains guar or xanthan gum, so I prefer additive-free.
Are there any good brands of coconut milk available?
There are a few brands that I know of that do not have any thickeners or additives. Here are my “go to” options if I’m using pre-made.
This method is so quick and easy, though, that I don’t even consider pre-made unless I can’t get coconut cream concentrate.
Rich & fluffy, coconut cream is my go-to substitute for dairy whipped cream. Use this easy coconut whipped cream recipe to top your favorite treats!
Whipped coconut cream is my go-to substitute for regular whipped cream. It’s light, it’s fluffy, and it’s naturally dairy-free making it the perfect topping for cakes, pies, crumbles, or any dessert that would benefit from a dollop of whipped cream.
What is coconut cream?
In most grocery stores, you’ll find 3 canned coconut products: light coconut milk, full-fat coconut milk, and coconut cream. Coconut and water are the primary ingredients in all three, but they each have different concentrations of coconut. Canned coconut cream has the highest coconut percentage, meaning that it also has the highest fat content and the thickest texture. Full-fat coconut milk is second in line, and light coconut milk comes in last.
I use light coconut milk in lattes or soups, but if I want to use coconut as a rich, dairy-free alternative to regular cream in vegan ice cream or whipped cream, I always seek out full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. You can easily find both in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
How to Make Coconut Whipped Cream
Making homemade coconut whipped cream is no trickier than making regular whipped cream at home, but you do have to plan ahead. Always chill your cans in the fridge overnight. The coconut solids will rise to the top of the can in the fridge, leaving the coconut water behind. You’ll need this concentrated cream in order to create a fluffy coconut whipped cream. Once your cans have chilled, just follow these easy steps:
- Scoop the hardened coconut that has risen to the top of the can, and spoon it into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and peaks form. Be careful not to overmix here, as it could heat the cream and cause it to soften!
- Gently mix in your sweetener and seasonings. I like to sweeten mine with maple syrup and flavor it with vanilla extract, warming spices, or lemon, depending on what I’m making. You could use powdered sugar in place of the maple as well.
- Chill your cream until you’re ready to serve!
Coconut Cream Recipe Serving Suggestions
Once you’ve made your coconut whipped cream, you have endless options for serving it. Dollop it onto almost any dessert – puddings, crumbles, pies, cakes, shortcake, etc. – or use it as the base for a creamy tart or pie. I especially like this Strawberry Tart recipe.
I also love topping coconut whipped cream onto overnight oats, like these Strawberry Rhubarb Overnight Oats parfaits. It would be equally good on any of these overnight oats recipes or on my baked oatmeal!
While canned coconut milk is becoming more available, here are my favourite simple coconut milk substitutes for when I run out.
What is Coconut Milk?
It’s a creamy white liquid made from pureeing fresh coconut flesh with water. It’s about 17% fat.
Coconut cream is essentially the same as coconut milk, it’s just had less water added so the fat content is higher around 24%.
The Best Coconut Milk Substitutes
1. Coconut Cream
I often dilute coconut cream with water to make my own coconut milk.
For one 400g (14oz) can coconut cream add 1/2 can (200mL) water to make coconut milk.
It’s more cost effective given the price of a can of coconut cream is generally the same as coconut milk.
2. Whipping Cream
If you’re OK with dairy, regular whipping cream is an easy coconut milk substitute. Cream will be higher fat so you may like to dilute the cream with water. For 1 cup cream add 1/2 cup water.
You won’t get the extra coconutty flavours but in most dishes you won’t notice.
3. Nut Butter or Tahini
If you have almond butter or tahini you can dilute it to make a creamy alternative to coconut milk.
To make 1 can (400g / 14oz) coconut milk substitute measure out 100g (3.5oz) nut butter and 300g (1 1/4 US cups) water. Add a little water to loosen the mixture first. Stir with a whisk, stick blender or food processor. Then add the remaining water.
4. Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is an excellent coconut milk substitute UNLESS you need to boil the mixture.
Boiling will cause the yoghurt to split into a curdled mess.
You can stabilise the yoghurt by stiring cold yoghurt with corn flour or starch. But I prefer to wait until the end of the cooking to add the yoghurt then just warm it to a gentle simmer so you don’t get curdling.
Even though yoghurt is slightly lower in fat, I’d just use a 1:1 substitution.
5. Canned tomatoes or passata
When coconut milk is providing liquid like a curry or soup, you can take the flavours in a different direction by using a tomato based ingredient.
If you still want some creaminess, a mixture of cream and tomato can be delicious.
For example I’d use 1 cup passata and 2/3 cup cream to make up a can of coconut milk.
6. Home Made Coconut Milk
If you can find desiccated coconut, you can make your own coconut milk. Which avoids the worry about BPA cans.
How to Make Coconut Milk
While I have made my own coconut milk (recipe below), the results weren’t as creamy as I’d like which I put down to using a food processor and not having a high powered blender.
And you end up with a heap of pulp which seems wasteful (although my chooks loved it!). There are some excellent ideas on how to use it on The Healthy Chef over here.
makes 2.5 cups
takes 30 minutes
200g (7oz) desiccated shredded coconut
3 cups boiling water
1. Place coconut and boiling water in a glass jug or bowl. Stand for 10 minutes
2. Puree the mixture in a high powered blender (or food processor) for about 10 minutes.
3. Drain the mixture through a fine sieve collecting the milk and discarding the solids (or saving for another use!)
Walking down a grocery store, there’s a chance you will be amazed to see a lot of coconut products: coconut milk, milk, coconut cream, coconut creamer, etc… Just like other fruits found in nature, coconuts offer versatility as well. They can be processed in many ways in order to make various products. Once you see all those coconut products, you should know that they’re probably all the same, except for the ratio between water and fat. Many people wonder what distinguishes coconut milk from coconut water, and is coconut cream the same as coconut milk? You may think they’re the same, but there are notable differences.
Coconut is one of those tropical delights we see featured in menus and in recipes more and more, particularly with the increasing popularity of Asian and Indian cuisine. The term coconut can refer to the fruit, the seed, and the entire tree. It consists of three layers, with the “meat” and liquid being used for making a plethora of different foods and beverage products, some of them being coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut water. Once you get acquainted with each of those coconut products, how they’re made, and their culinary applications, you can choose the right product for yourself.
Here are some of the goods that can be created form the marvelous fruit, the coconut:
- Coconut Cream – The product you get when you separate coconut residue that floats in coconut milk
- Coconut Milk – a simple mix of coconut and water.
- Cream of Coconut – a simple mix of coconut cream and sugar.
- Coconut Water – The clear liquid within a young, inexperienced coconut.
- Coconut Powder – additionally cited as coconut powdered milk or coconut milk powder, made from raw unsweetened coconut cream through the process of spray drying.
- Coconut Pitcher – Coconut milk or milk used notably as a pitcher for java or completely different beverages.
Coconut milk is a liquid cream combination of coconut fruit and water. It’s a notable element in oriental cuisine, typically used when making curry dishes. Because of its density, it can be used as an addition to soups, smoothies, and shakes.
Coconut milk can replace a coffee creamer, plus it’s dairy-free. Try using it as a foundation for a refreshing ice cream. To emphasize the flavor, try adding some almond butter, cacao powder, or berries.
Now let’s take a look at coconut cream. It is a lot denser compared to coconut milk because it is mixed with less water. This makes it a perfect milk substitute in various recipes instead of coconut milk, or when making meals that require heavy cream.
In case you have some coconut milk and no cream, no need to worry, all you have to do is put the milk in the freezer and let it stay overnight. Place it in any dish you find, put it in the icebox, take it out the next day, and it’s ready.
DOES THE TASTE OF COCONUT MILK RESEMBLE COCONUT?
There is no strong flavor like you have with coconuts, but it provides a subtle creamy nut flavor just enough to make it an interesting alternative to regular milk. A lot of people have digestive problems when it comes to cow’s milk, so coconut milk is a delicious substitute.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COCONUT MILK AND COCONUT WATER
In the center of a green, young coconut, you’ll find a clear liquid that is coconut water. It has a mildly sweet taste, full of nutrients, and less calories than canned coconut milk. Before it became an inseparable part of wellness nutrition in the United States, for many centuries, people across the tropics enjoyed this tasty drink.
There is more potassium in one glass of coconut water than in a whole banana, which makes it a popular choice among athletes. There are even documented cases of physicians utilizing coconut water in the tropics to hold their patients hydrated instead of saline in IV bags.
Coconut milk is made from coconut’s white meat. The flesh is minced and soaked in hot water. The mixture is strained to separate the white, opaque milk after the coconut’s flavors disperse into the water. Using a small amount of water in the recipe produces coconut cream: a thick, whipped cream-like substance that is skimmed from the top of the boiling liquid. Canned coconut milk is a mix between coconut milk and coconut cream. It can mimic both variants in recipes.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT OF WATER YOU HAVE TO ADD TO COCONUT CREAM TO TURN IT INTO COCONUT MILK?
Out of all coconut milk products, coconut cream has the most fat. You can mix coconut cream with water in order to produce coconut milk, if all you have is coconut cream in a can. You should get 2 tbsp of coconut cream and three quarters of a cup of water. If you want lighter coconut milk, simply add as much water as you would like and mix until you have a smooth consistency.
If you’re thinking about using coconut milk in your cooking endeavors, be careful which one you choose. If you just wish to drink coconut milk (or add it to your favorite drinks), then go for boxed coconut milk. However, if you plan to use it for cooking, be sure to choose the canned variety.
Now that you know the difference between coconut cream vs. coconut milk, feel free to read some of our other blogs on similar topics. We are a beverage and food delivery company based in Texas. We are committed to providing fresh food and drinks to your home or office. Need more? We also offer condiments, cleaning products, supplies, and specialty products for cleaning. Contact us today for any information you need.
10th September 2015 by Holly 37 Comments
Last week I published a recipe for coconut and cardamom rice pudding. I had some lovely feedback. A friend sent a video of his 18-month old saying that the rice pudding was yummy. My Dad decided to make it for the old peoples lunch club that he cooks for. 16 elderly people enjoyed it with stewed plums for pudding after a Jamie Oliver chicken pie for main course – apparently it went down a treat.
Others have been in touch to ask whether they can use coconut milk instead of coconut cream? It helped me realise that I have never been clear on the differences between creamed coconut, coconut cream and coconut milk. So I’ve spent time researching and I want to share with you what I have discovered.
Creamed coconut is made from mature coconut flesh which has been ground up, dehydrated and compressed into a block shape. It’s then wrapped in plastic and sold in a block. You sometimes see that it has separated a little with the fat gathering at one end.
Creamed coconut is ideal to use when you need a coconut flavour but you don’t want additional liquid, as coconut cream or milk would add to your recipe. You can roughly chop it or grate it into whatever you are cooking, for example a curry or custard.
You can use creamed coconut to make coconut cream and coconut milk. You just dissolve the creamed coconut in the right amount of hot water.
So for coconut cream add:
1 part creamed coconut with 2½ parts water (100 g / 3½ oz creamed coconut + 250 ml of hot water);
and for coconut milk add:
1 part creamed coconut with 4 – 5 parts water (100 g / 3½ oz creamed coconut + 400 ml of hot water).
Coconut cream and milk are made from grating the flesh of a mature coconut and mixing this with water. Less water gives coconut cream and more water gives coconut milk.
Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk, but is thicker and creamy. I like using coconut cream. You get a more intense flavour and creamy consistency than coconut milk plus some liquid added to the recipe which works well for these dishes – coconut and cardamom rice pudding and couscous, ginger and spring onion salad. The fat in the cream, and yes it is mainly saturated fat, will all collect at the top of the carton. So if you open it at the bottom it will be easier to pour the cream out.
Coconut milk. If you are making a curry then coconut milk is probably what you will use. It will give you a backdrop flavour of coconut and add liquid as well to the curry. It’s a less pronounced flavour than coconut cream. Again the fat in the milk will collect at the top of the tin, so turn it upside down before opening it to make it a little easier to get the milk out. You can buy light coconut milk. But I have had some disappointing results with light coconut milk, so I would suggest buying the real stuff and not eating it often if you are worried about calories.
Making coconut milk into coconut cream:
Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and boil until about half the liquid has evaporated. You should be left with a thicker creamy consistency that is coconut cream. In theory you could keep on boiling until all the liquid has evaporated and you would be left with about 100g/3½oz of creamed coconut. I haven’t tried this, but would love to hear from you if you know it works.
Lastly just for completeness, there is also coconut water. This is the liquid inside a young green coconut. It’s delicious to drink, especially straight from the coconut. Some people drink it as a natural energy drink. It would probably be delicious in a smoothie or cocktail, but I have yet to do anything else than just enjoy it by itself.
The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10g||13%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||33%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Coconut is an extremely versatile food. It can be turned into flour, milk, oil, butter, or cream, and you can drink the water or simply eat the coconut as is. It can be purchased fresh, shredded in packages or cans, sweetened or unsweetened, and is used in both sweet and savory dishes.
One ingredient that can be made from coconut is coconut cream. As its name applies, coconut cream is a thick and creamy substance. Made by steeping shredded coconut in hot coconut water that is combined with cream or milk, it’s used as a thickening agent for soups, curries, smoothies, or desserts. Coconut cream is available in cans in the supermarket (usually in the international foods aisle), but it is actually easy to make your own at home using freshly grated coconut.
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Confused about the difference between coconut milk vs coconut cream? Here’s everything thing you need to know about how to use coconut milk and coconut cream in recipes.
If you’ve found yourself overwhelmed in the grocery store isle wondering what the difference is between coconut milk vs coconut cream, you’re not alone. There’s now an abundance of brands to choose from and a variety of types, including classic, simple, and lite. Much of this is due to the fact that coconut milk and coconut cream have recently become widely popular in recipes. Both can be used in a variety of ways as a delicious dairy-free alternative to milk in desserts, curries, soups, and even whipped cream.
While coconut milk and coconut cream are sourced from the same raw material, there’s a simple yet important distinction between the two. Once you know this, you’ll know how to use them in recipes and be able to swap coconut milk for coconut cream (and vice versa). So, let’s get to it!
Differences Between Coconut Milk vs Coconut Cream
To put it simply, the difference between coconut milk vs coconut cream is the fat content. They’re both made from the same two ingredients—coconut flesh and water—but coconut cream has a higher fat content and less water. Because of this, coconut cream has a thicker consistency. Coconut milk is thinner and has a milk-like consistency. Here’s a breakdown of each so you know how to use them:
What is Coconut Milk?
This we know: you can’t milk a coconut. But, you can create a milk from the contents of a coconut! Coconut milk is simply shredded coconut flesh (the white stuff you see when you open a coconut) puréed with water. The end result is a rich and creamy liquid with a fat content ranging from 9-15%.
There are many different types of canned coconut milk now on the market, including classic, simple, and lite. For recipes, I recommend sticking to an organic full-fat or “classic” coconut milk with little to no preservatives. Don’t worry about “lite” coconut milk. It’s just coconut milk with more water.
What is Coconut Cream?
Similar to coconut milk, coconut cream is also puréed coconut flesh and water, but it contains just enough water to make it mixable. Coconut cream is much thicker than coconut milk. In fact, it is essentially concentrated coconut milk, since it retains all of the fat and flavor of coconut milk and just eliminates some of the water. Because of this, coconut cream has a higher fat content, ranging from 19-22%.
Can you substitute coconut cream for coconut milk?
Sure can! And you can substitute coconut milk for coconut cream, too! Here’s how to do it:
- Substituting coconut cream for coconut milk: Because coconut cream is essentially coconut milk with less water, you can use coconut cream and dilute it with water to make coconut milk. Start with 1/4 cup coconut cream, and mix it with 1/2 cup warm water to make 3/4 cup coconut milk. If your coconut cream is more solid (some brands have a higher fat content), continue to add water and blend until you get a thinner, milky consistency.
- Substituting coconut milk for coconut cream: Put one can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. The coconut solids will separate from the water inside the can. To use the coconut cream, open the can and scoop out the thick coconut cream that has separated to the top. Note: depending on the brand, you’ll get anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup solid coconut cream from a can of coconut milk.
What’s the Difference Between Canned Coconut Milk vs Carton?
With rising popularity of non-dairy milk, coconut milk can now be found canned and in cartons. The main difference between canned coconut milk vs carton is the water content. Coconut milk in a carton is much more diluted. It also contains more additives and preservatives to keep it light and pourable. Canned coconut milk is considered to be traditional coconut milk. Because it has a higher fat content and creamier consistency, it’s best stored in a can. Note: you cannot use coconut milk from a carton to create coconut cream as it will not separate in the fridge.
How to Use Coconut Milk
In general, coconut milk is a great substitute for regular milk in recipes. It’s perfect for making things smooth, creamy, and sippable. Use it in smoothies, soups, or make your own coconut milk ice cream! Here are some delicious ways to use coconut milk:
How to Use Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is great when you’re looking for a texture that’s more creamy and solid. My most favorite use for coconut cream is coconut whipped cream! Use it as a topping for berries, or as creamer for coffee or matcha. You can also add it to smoothies, curries, or soups to make the consistency thicker and creamier.
Shopping Tips + Tricks:
Like many products, there is a range of quality in the types of coconut milk and coconut cream available to buy. Here are a few things to consider when choosing coconut milk or coconut cream:
- Packaging: Because both come in cans, look out for cans that do not contain BPA. Most BPA varieties will note “BPA free” on the label, so if you don’t see it, you’re safer to assume it isn’t.
- Additives: If you sometimes get coconut milk that is smooth and pourable, and other times your coconut milk comes out chunky and separated, it has to do with the additives. Brands use different ratios of water to coconut solids, and different percentages of additives like gums and emulsifiers. Emulsifiers prevent coconut milk from separating into water and coconut solids. While emulsifiers are helpful when using coconut milk for cooking, they can also sometimes irritate the gut. If you’re more sensitive, try a coconut milk that’s only coconut flesh and water (NativeForestSimple is a great option).
- Spinoffs: You may see other products lined up on the shelf next to the cans of coconut milk. Cream of coconut is typically similar to coconut milk but contains added sugar. As noted above, other varieties like “lite” coconut milk just contain more water. Stick with organic full-fat or “classic” coconut milk for your recipes. My top recommend brands are 365 Organic Coconut Milk, Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk and Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream.
Now, Let’s Get Cooking!
Coconut cream and coconut milk have similar ingredients and allow you to enjoy all the delicious health benefits of coconut. While the difference between coconut milk vs coconut cream is fairly simply, knowing how to use them can make all the difference when it comes to baking and cooking.
Got any questions about the difference between coconut milk vs coconut cream? Have a question about a specific brand? Let me know if the comments below!
Noelle Tarr, NTP, CPT
I’m Noelle, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, personal trainer, author, and podcaster. I love helping people improve their physical and mental health with easy to understand health and nutrition articles, and simple, delicious recipes made with nourishing ingredients. Pull up a seat, you’re welcome at this table!
Coconut cream vs coconut milk, what’s the difference? Coconut milk and coconut cream are two different coconut products often used in paleo and vegan recipes. Below I’ll break down the difference between the two products and give examples of how to use them in your kitchen.
There’s a ton of coconut products at the grocery store these days and for a good reason! Coconuts are fantastic and are a great milk alternative! But sometimes, it can be challenging to know the difference between these products and how to use them.
Coconut Cream vs Coconut Milk
If you’re wondering what coconut milk vs. coconut cream is, know that these products are similar but have different fat percentages.
- First, I’ll start with coconut milk. Coconut milk is made from juiced coconut flesh and coconut water and contains between 9%-15% fat. However, there are other types of coconut milk. Coconut milk with less than 9% fat is called lite coconut milk and is what you’ll find in coconut milk cartons. Canned coconut milk is usually full-fat and is a great whole milk replacement. Coconut milk from the carton is generally thinner and lower fat and is excellent for drinking and using for cereal and beverages.
- Coconut cream This product is created by mixing four parts coconut with 1 part water. It is higher fat content than coconut milk and contains 19% – 22% fat. Coconut cream is equivalent to heavy whipping cream, with a thicker consistency, and is great substitute in most recipes that call for heavy cream. If you use coconut cream instead of heavy cream, you will notice a milk coconut flavor in your dish. You can purchase coconut cream in cans and cartons.
How To Make Coconut Cream from Coconut Milk
Can I substitute coconut milk for coconut cream? Yes, You can substitute coconut milk for coconut cream in recipes. If you’re in a fix and need coconut cream, you can make some if you have a can of full fat coconut milk. First, you’ll need to refrigerate the canned coconut milk. Then, you’ll scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can and use it in recipes that call for coconut cream.
How To Make Coconut Milk from Coconut Cream
If you need coconut milk and only have coconut cream, you can easily make coconut milk by mixing four tablespoons of coconut cream with 3/4 cup of warm water.
How To Use Coconut Cream
Looking for a dairy-free whipped cream? Well, coconut cream is perfect for that. Make coconut whipped cream with a stand mixer or hand mixer, sweetener (I like to use honey or maple syrup) and vanilla extract. Another great way to use this ingredient is to add to curry, use it to thicken soups, and can be used in desserts like homemade chocolate coconut milk ice cream, and tastes incredible when used in baking treats like coconut flour cake and coconut pancakes. Add coconut cream or coconut milk to smoothies instead of using dairy milk. You can add coconut cream to your coffee, or make homemade coconut creamer by mixing coconut cream with vanilla extract and maple syrup. I have also used it to make dairy-free frosting!
Creamed Coconut vs. Coconut Cream
You may see products called creamed coconut or coconut butter. While these products have similar names, they are not coconut cream, but are instead a spread made with dried coconut meat. Want to learn more about coconut butter? Check out my blog post about coconut butter here.
Cream of Coconut vs Coconut Milk
Cream of coconut is a simple syrup mixture that’s made with coconut milk instead of water. It’s perfect for beverages and especially tastes wonderful in tropical cocktails. You only need a can of coconut milk and sugar to make cream of coconut. Coconut milk is not interchangeable with coconut cream; instead, make coconut cream at home with this recipe.
Coconut Milk and Cream Nutritional Facts
Below are the nutrients found in coconut milk and coconut cream:
One cup coconut milk contains 200 calories, one gram of fiber, 18 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of protein, and 0 grams of cholesterol.
One cup coconut cream contains 450 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 40 grams of saturated fat, and 4 grams of protein.
My Favorite Brands of Coconut Milk and Cream
It’s best to avoid canned coconut milk and coconut cream with additives or guar gum. Below are my favorite brands made with simple ingredients. Links in the post are Amazon affiliate links to products I use and love.
- Natural Value Pure Coconut Cream: I really like natural value products. Their coconut milk and coconut cream only contain two ingredients: coconut and water!
- Aroy-D: This is a widely available brand that I’ve used often in my kitchen. It comes in a convenient carton, rather than a can. Aroy-D is available in bulk on amazon (affiliate link).
- Native Forest: Another great coconut milk that I’ve found at many health food stores.
- Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream: This is a cheaper brand of coconut milk that’s availalble everywhere, even Costco carries it in the cases. I use Thai Kitchen coconut milk in a lot of my kitchen testing since it’s so economical.
- Trader Joe’sCoconut Cream: Trader Joe’s is another great option and I love that their coconut milk is additive free and organic.
Here’s how to make dairy-free whipped cream with a can of coconut milk! Great for topping vegan or Paleo desserts.
If you are dairy-free, you might have thought whipped cream was a thing of the past. Surprise!
It turns out that you can whip the heck out of a can of coconut cream and make yourself an extraordinary topping for pie, hot chocolate, or any dessert.
To make coconut whipped cream, you just need a can of coconut and a little planning. The can of coconut milk needs to be chilled for at least 8 hours before making the whipped cream. This helps the dense coconut cream to separate from the thin coconut water and solidify.
You only need the coconut cream to make whipped cream. The coconut water left in the can is great for smoothies or even to use as the liquid in bread recipes. You can poach veggies in it too!
When whipping the cream, start slowly and gradually increase the speed. The cream will start off very crumbly and grainy, but will gradually smooth out and then whip up just like regular whipped cream. Don’t try to rush it. Total whipping time can be 10 to 25 minutes, depending on your brand of coconut milk and how well it whips.
I find that the best coconut milk for making whipped cream is full-fat coconut milk that does not contain any guar gum or xanthan gum. Two brands to look for that don’t contain any gums are Natural Value and Native Forest Simple Organic.
If you cannot find canned coconut milk without guar gum, it will still work, but it’s best to refrigerate the cans a bit longer to be sure the coconut cream separates. Avoid coconut milk sold in tetra packs or cartons since these usually have stabilizers that prevent the coconut cream from separating from the coconut water.
Also, avoid cans labeled “coconut cream.” You’d think these would be the perfect shortcut for getting your hands on some coconut cream, but this product is generally sweetened and full of stabilizers, which will prevent the cream from whipping up.
Wondering how to thicken coconut milk as cream? We have the best tips and tricks for you to achieve this. You won’t believe how easy it is to make it.
I mean, who doesn’t like coconut milk? It’s delicious! These step-by-step guides will save your life in case you need to make homemade coconut cream or you just feel like making it from scratch. And ultimately, you’ll want to always make it at home instead of buying it at the store, I’m sure!
We will also show you how to make a dairy-free vegan whipped cream. Check it out!
Table of Contents
What is Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream from coconut milk… more than mouth-watering!
Coconut cream is like pastry cream, a sweet preparation with which we can fill any dessert or simply serve as an accompaniment. It is a very easy-to-make recipe, and for those who enjoy the flavor that this tropical fruit provides, it is a delight.
Certainly, this coconut cream makes you want to eat it by the spoonful, but let’s resist and make a dessert with it, surely it will be worth it. Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water, the difference is mainly about consistency. It has a thicker and paste-like texture, while coconut milk is usually creamy but liquid.
In other words, coconut cream is used to cook many salty and sweet dishes and it has a mild non-sweet taste. In the next paragraphs, you’ll see the step-by-step guide on how to make cream of coconut the easiest way and also, preserve the coconut flavor.
There are plenty of recipes out there on how to thicken coconut milk and make cream out of it. We found some good ones and we are now giving you the best ones in one post. Of course, we’ve tried them already.
Here you have 3 simple ways of making your coconut cream.
How to Thicken Coconut Milk Step-By-Step
Guide #1: Thickening With Cornstarch
Cornstarch is a white powder, with a much silkier and finer texture than flour, and is mainly used as a thickener. It is an essential ingredient in cooking: it is used to make light doughs, thicken soups, make sauces, among other culinary uses.
This preparation has a simple name, it is called Slurry.
- a small mixing bowl
- a medium mixing bowl
- a fork
- a hand whisk
- a saucepan
- a fine strain
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch
- 2 tbsp of water
Step #1: Make your slurry
First, grab a small bowl and mix the water and the cornstarch. You can use a fork to mix them until combined.
Step #2: Mix and stir
Grab a saucepan, pour your coconut milk and simmer to low heat. Add the slurry and stir. Do not stop stirring until you see that it slowly thickens.
Patience is the key.
Step #3: Strain
Once your coconut cream has thickened, remove it from heat. Strain your cream with a fine strainer over a bowl or container.
Step #4: Let it cool
Let it cool at room temperature.
Another tip: if you want it to be a little sweeter, add 1/2 teaspoon of icing sugar to the mixture before you strain it.
Guide #2: Reducing Your Coconut Milk
Reducing sauces in the kitchen is very simple, but it also requires patience and attention. Coconut milk will thicken naturally when the water it contains slowly begins to evaporate. Check it out.
- a large saucepan
- a hand whisk
- a fine strain
- a medium bowl
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- sugar to taste
Step #1: Let it boil
Bring the coconut milk to high heat. You’ll notice small bubbles once it starts to boil. Then, lower the flame to low heat. Continue stirring.
Step #2: Strain
Once your coconut cream has been reduced, remove it from the heat. Strain your cream with a fine strainer over a bowl or container.
Step #3: Let it cool
Let it cool at room temperature before using it, or use it immediately if you’re cooking a warm dish.
Guide #3: Make Coconut Cream From Coconut Meat
This is definitely not as easy as the first two guides we already told you about, however… its way of making it from scratch – with coconut meat instead of milk – is the richest way of doing it. Try it and let us know what you think.
Actually, you should try all of these and compare! I assure you that you won’t want to buy it again and you’ll want to make your own coconut cream at home from now on.
- a deep saucepan or casserole
- a spatula
- a cheesecloth
- a medium mixing bowl
- a cheese greater
- 4 cups of coconut meat – shredded –
- 1 cup of water
- sugar to taste
Step #1: Shredd your coconut meat
Start by shredding your coconut meat.
Step #2: Boil
Grab your saucepan or casserole and pour the water and the shredded coconut meat into it at high heat. Let it boil and turn off the flame.
Step #3: Let it cool
Remove from the oven and let it cool at room temperature.
Step #4: Strain
Once is completely cool, sift the mixture with the cheesecloth and press it with your hands to remove any excess liquid. You’ll notice your milk being thicker than the store-bought milk, so this is a good sign. Set aside.
Step #5: Let it sit and separate
Let it sit at room temperature and away from sunlight. Keep it in a fresh place. In about an hour or so, you’ll notice a layer of coconut cream floating and rising to the top!
Making Coconut Whipped Cream
This video will show you how to make dairy-free vegan whipped cream from canned coconut milk, you can use your homemade coconut milk also. I hope you like it!
I hope you enjoy these 3 easy ways to make coconut cream from scratch. And please feel free to ask if you have any questions, we’ll always be happy to help.
- Level: Intermediate
- Total: 1 hr 40 min
- Prep: 25 min
- Inactive: 1 hr
- Cook: 15 min
- Yield: 1/2 cup each milk and cream
1 coconut, see Cook’s Note
For the milk:
2 ounces freshly grated coconut, approximately 1/2 cup
1/2 cup boiling 2 percent milk
4 ounces freshly grated coconut, approximately 1 cup
1/2 cup boiling 2 percent milk
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- For the milk:
- Place 2 ounces of the coconut into a small mixing bowl and pour over the boiling milk. Stir to combine. Cover tightly and allow to sit for 1 hour. Transfer the mixture to the carafe of a blender and process for 1 minute. Place a tea towel over a mixing bowl and carefully pour the mixture into it. Gather up the edges and squeeze until all of the liquid has been removed. Discard the coconut. You may use the milk immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- For the cream:
- Repeat the same procedure as above only using 4 ounces of freshly grated coconut.
Cook’s Note: To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut. Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place the coconut onto a 1/2 sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The coconut should have cracked in several places. Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.
Have you ever been in a supermarket aisle with the sole objective of acquiring some Creamed Coconut only to be faced with what seems like an impossible challenge?
Staring right back at you from the shelf you have Creamed Coconut, Coconut Cream, Coconut Milk & Coconut Oil – What does it all mean?! What is creamed coconut?!
There are just too many different kinds of coconut based products and it’s super confusing when trying to decipher the difference between them all.
In this article, we are going to explore what actually is creamed coconut, where to buy it, how to use it, how it differs from other coconut products and more!
Strap in, we are going tropical.
What is Creamed Coconut?
Creamed coconut is made from the unsweetened fresh pulp of a mature coconut.
The fresh pulp is dehydrated, ground to a semi-solid white creamy paste and it is then hardened at room temperature. Creamed coconut melts around 24 degrees C.
The solidified block of creamed coconut is then often stored in airtight plastic pouches and shipped all over the world.
How to use Creamed Coconut
Creamed coconut has many uses in cooking and also baking.
When used in cooking, creamed coconut is often grated directly into dishes. This provides a deep coconut flavour that is present throughout the dish. Chopped creamed coconut is also used to deliver a bigger, bolder coconut flavour. You can chop it by hand or use a mini chopper to get a better consistency.
SouthEast Asian, Caribbean and Indian cuisines all utilise creamed coconut to enrich sauces and curries. A great example of this is Aiden Byrnes Vegetable Thai Curry , which calls for the addition of 75g of coconut cream to be broken up into pieces and added to the curry.
Creamed coconut is ideal to use when you want a deep coconut flavour, but do not want to add any additional liquid to your dish.
Creamed coconut can also be made into coconut milk and coconut creamed.
How Creamed Coconut can be a substitute for Coconut Milk
If you have creamed coconut in your pantry but do not have any coconut milk, then do not fear! By simply adding hot water to creamed coconut, you can create a more than capable coconut milk substitute that can be added to any recipe you wish.
To create a coconut milk substitute out of creamed coconut, simply add 5:1 hot water to the creamed coconut and stir until the coconut pieces have all dissolved and the remaining liquid resembles coconut milk.
1 part creamed coconut with 4 – 5 parts water. 100 g / 3½ oz creamed coconut + 400 ml of hot water
How Creamed Coconut can be a substitute for Coconut Cream
If you have creamed coconut in your pantry but do not have any coconut cream, then you are in luck also! Again, by simply adding hot water to creamed coconut, you can create a more than capable coconut cream substitute that can be added to any recipe and it will act in the same manner as regular coconut cream.
To create a coconut cream substitute out of creamed coconut, simply add 5:2 hot water to the creamed coconut and stir until the coconut pieces have all dissolved and the remaining liquid resembles coconut cream.
100 g / 3½ oz creamed coconut + 250 ml of hot water
What is the Difference Between Coconut Cream?
So the main difference between coconut cream and creamed coconut is the form in which it comes in. Coconut cream is a liquid and often is packaged in a tin can before being shipped off to supermarkets. Creamed coconut on the other hand comes in a solid block and is often packaged in plastic.
The reason for the difference in states between creamed coconut and coconut cream is the fact that creamed coconut is made from dehydrated fresh pulp of mature coconuts. Whilst coconut cream is made from the non-dehydrated fresh pulp.
This dehydration process removes the majority of the liquid from the pulp, resulting in the creamed coconut being solid.
Where to Buy Creamed Coconut?
Creamed coconut can be found in the majority of supermarkets up and down the country.
Tesco stock Blue Dragon creamed coconut for £1.45 for 200g.
Sainsburys stock KTC creamed coconut for 80p for 200g.
Asda stock Tropic Sun creamed coconut for £1.19 for 200g.
Morrisons stock The Groovy Food Company creamed coconut for £5 for 500g.
If you’d prefer to buy your creamed coconut online and in bulk, then amazon has some great deals. You can buy a 6 pack of 200g Tropical Sun creamed coconut for £9.99, a 3 pack of KTC creamed coconut 200g for £3.20.
Coconut whipped cream is a delicious dairy-free and vegan alternative to heavy cream. It’s light, fluffy, and can be whipped up in 5 minutes. Just mix together coconut milk, your sweetener of choice, and vanilla extract. Watch how easy it is to make on the step-by-step video below!
Are you ready for one of the tastiest whipped toppings? Coconut whipped cream is the perfect garnish for all your dessert recipes, whether it’s chocolate chia pudding, chocolate mug cake or molten chocolate cake. It’s also great to dollop on on my cashew date shake. And you can dip strawberries right into it!
Whether you’re dairy-free or not, you’re going to love this fluffy cream. I’ve been making it for years (side note: it was the first ever video on my YouTube channel!) and I’ve learned there are some nuances to it. So make sure to read through all my tips and watch the video below.
What Is Coconut Whipped Cream?
Coconut whipped cream is a dairy-free version of whipped cream. It’s made from the hard coconut cream that separates from the water in a can of full-fat coconut milk. When it’s blended with a hand mixer, it fluffs up to form soft peaks, just like regular whipped cream. Yet it’s also vegan and paleo friendly (depending on which sweetener you use).
How To Make Coconut Whipped Cream
With just 3 ingredients and a hand mixer, making coconut whipped cream couldn’t be any easier. Here’s how to do it, with a few additional notes.
- Chill the coconut milk: Place your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before making this whipped cream. You want the cream to harden and separate from the coconut water.
- Chill your mixing bowl: Heat is the arch nemesis of coconut whipped cream. This isn’t always a requirement (if it’s winter and your home is cool). But if it’s a hot day, it always helps to chill your mixing bowl for 30 minutes.
- Scoop out the coconut cream: Open your can of coconut milk and scoop out the hardened coconut cream with a spoon into your bowl. Pour the coconut water into a separate storage container and use that in a future smoothie recipe.
- Blend with a hand mixer: Using a hand mixer , fluff up the coconut cream for one minute. Add your sweetener of choice and vanilla extract and mix for an additional minute.
- Use or chill: Use the coconut whipped cream right away or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to one week.
Tips for the Best Coconut Whipped Cream
Here’s a few tips to help you make perfect coconut whipped cream:
- You MUST buy canned full-fat coconut milk. This won’t work with light or low-fat options. It also won’t work with cartons of coconut milk you buy in the refrigerator section of the market.
- Chilling your can in the fridge for 1-2 days is the minimum. Longer is always better, just to make sure the milk separates and cream hardens.
- Some brands are more successful than others when it comes to texture. Brands I consistently have success with include Native Forest (both the classic and simple versions), 365 and Arroy-D.
- Don’t add your sweetener until you’ve figured out the consistency your cream. If your cream is really soft, adding a liquid sweetener might thin it down even more (it won’t thicken with beating). In this case, you might want to use powdered sugar. But if your texture is thick and waxy, honey or maple syrup can help to make it smoother.
- If your coconut cream is too thick and stiff (after adding your sweetener), you can always thin it down with a little of the reserved coconut water. This will help to make it smooth and creamy. Just add a little bit at a time while blending.
- To ensure your coconut cream is foolproof, make it the day ahead! You can refrigerate it in a sealed container, then just stir before serving.
Watch Me Make This Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe
If you follow all of the steps and tips above, you should be good to go with this recipe. But it always helps to watch a quick video tutorial. Give this video a watch!
In this Article
- Health Benefits
- How to Prepare Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Coconut milk and coconut cream are two of the many edible products made from the fruit of the Cocos nucifera plant. Both are made from coconut meat but coconut cream is thicker and more concentrated than coconut milk.
People generally use coconut milk and coconut cream as ingredients in cooking. They can be used to thicken and sweeten savory sauces or add creaminess and coconut flavor to desserts.
Though both coconut milk and coconut cream may be used as ingredients in beverages, such as the famous piГ±a colada, they are not made for people to drink straight. A few non-dairy milk companies sell a drinkable beverage they call “coconut milk.” This drink is essentially coconut cream mixed into water.
Unfortunately, researchers haven’t studied coconut milk and cream as extensively as other coconut products, such as coconut oil. Still, eating it likely provides some health benefits.В
Eating coconut milk could improve your cholesterol levels. In one study, people who consumed coconut milk lowered their LDL or “badвЂќ cholesterol while their HDL or “goodвЂќ cholesterol increased. Healthy cholesterol levels are important for heart health.
Coconut milk and cream are sources of healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Several studies have found that consuming MCTs promotes weight loss by decreasing appetite and increasing energy.В
Although coconut milk and cream are similar, they are two separate products with different nutrition. Coconut cream contains significantly higher amounts of carbohydrates and sugar compared to coconut milk.
Coconut milk powder is a 100% natural, versatile and handy way of always having coconut milk within reach. There’s no need to open an entire can when you just need a little, and you can make the consistency and fat level perfect for your needs. It’s a store cupboard staple for many, particularly those who love Asian cuisine, avoid dairy, or want a healthier and low fat alternative to creating creamy sauces and drinks.
What is coconut milk powder?
Coconut milk powder comes in a packet as a fine white powder. In essence, it is coconut milk which is dried to make it a more versatile and long-lasting option. However, different brands use different production processes and add different ingredients, so it’s always worth checking that you are comparing like with like.
Coconut milk powder is used either in its basic form, added directly to soups, smoothies, curries and sauces, or is reconstituted. You can add simple water to coconut milk powder to create liquid milk. You can choose how much water to add, varying the thickness of the milk, even creating a thick cream-like consistency if that is what you are looking for.
Coconut milk powder is a shelf-stable way of ensuring you always have coconut milk and coconut cream in stock ready for when you want it. At The Coconut Company, our coconut milk powder comes in a resealable bag making it particularly handy for grabbing when you need it. No wasted cans of half used coconut milk left in the fridge!
Bear in mind that coconut milk powder is dried coconut milk. It isn’t the same as coconut flour which is often using in baking and comes from the defatted meat of the nut. Coconut milk powder is dehydrated coconut milk, retaining much of the fat (or good saturates!) found in the milk.
How is coconut milk powder made?
Coconut milk powder is made by a simple process. Fresh coconut meat, from our sustainable and ethical producers in Vietnam and The Philippines, is gathered, grated and pressed to create coconut milk. This coconut milk is then spray dried using heat (a fast and efficient drying process). The dried coconut milk is then sterilised and we make sure that it is homogenised. This means ensuring the fat content and ingredients are dispersed equally throughout the powder, and ensures a consistent, smooth and creamy product.
Any coconut milk powder should be largely pure dried coconut milk, but contains a small amount of natural emulsifiers. These emulsifiers are required to ensure that the dried coconut milk remains a powder and that it doesn’t clump together (because it retains the good fats of the milk).
It is the differences in the types of emulsifier used that may help you determine which brand of coconut milk powder is right for you.
Additives in coconut milk powder
100% pure coconut milk powder isn’t a shelf-stable product and cannot be produced in affordable and reliable ways. Small amounts of emulsifiers are needed. However, emulsifiers can be natural and also fit in with your dietary choices.
At The Coconut Company we know how important it is for our customers to feel in control of ingredients and so we only use natural emulsifiers and keep things as pure as possible. As such, unlike many other manufacturers, who use dairy-based or complex emulsifiers and additives to prevent clumping, we don’t. We use a very small amount of maltodextrin and starch to prevent our dried coconut milk powder from clumping and to stabilise the powder, meaning it is a 100% natural product and doesn’t have an ingredients list as long as your arm!
The versatility of coconut milk powder
Coconut milk powder is super versatile. That’s why so many love it and it’s in demand from The Coconut Company from direct consumers, cafes, food manufacturers and more. As such, we supply various different blends of coconut milk powder so that you can get exactly what you’re looking for. Our blends include high fat, low fat, organic and non-organic; so that you can be sure of choosing exactly what you’re looking for.
You can buy directly from us whether you are an individual looking for a 250g packet of organic coconut milk powder for your larder, or a food manufacturer looking for high-quality 20kg boxes!
What is coconut milk used for?
If you want some coconut milk you can quickly make it using coconut milk powder simply by adding some hot water and blending well. The amount you add will determine the consistency, so you can use it to make coconut cream too.
Beyond this, coconut milk powder can be used in various different ways.
Most basically, wherever you see coconut milk called for in a recipe, you can swap in coconut milk powder. Make it up with water and you’ll have no problems getting the quantities well. Using coconut milk powder in a dairy-free vegan curry, such as our gorgeously warming coconut, sweet potato, spinach and chickpea curry works particularly well. We find that the homogenised powder is fabulous for binding the spices and ensuring a consistent and delicious taste.
If you’d rather hop over to the other side of Asia, then we use coconut milk powder in our popular and invigorating miso baked tofu and coconut noodle broth. It’s a crowd-pleaser and healthy, what’s not to love?!
We love using coconut milk powder in smoothies. If you want some lush creaminess adding to your smoothie, without introducing dairy or not-so-good fats, then coconut milk powder is your solution. Just pop in a tablespoon or two of coconut milk powder and see your smoothie levelled up. It works well in frothy lattes, creamy porridge and your favourite sauces too.
Coconut milk powder is also the key ingredient in Polvoron – a delicious shortbread-like sweet treat from The Philippines which is justly growing in popularity here. Check out the recipe for Polvoron shared by our friends at The Adobros Filipino supper club.
There really are so many different ways in which you can use coconut milk powder and what’s great is that the benefits are extensive. From paleo diet followers to dairy-avoiders, to baking pros and vegans, coconut milk powder is a wonderful product.
Coconut Milk Ice Cream – This is by far the BEST dairy-free vanilla ice cream recipe out there! Easily make a batch of vegan “nice” cream at home with just 5 wholesome ingredients, and load with all of your favorite sweet mix-ins and toppings for a perfect summer treat.
We love making deliciously cold ice cream in the summer and have quite a growing assortment of frozen treats recipes. How else would we be ok in the south when it hits those 90+ degree temps?!
As much as we enjoy classic ice cream, there are times we need a dairy-free vegan option for friends with food sensitivities and specialized diets.
This is our favorite non-dairy ice cream recipe, also known as nice cream since it is totally plant-based. It’s made with coconut milk, coconut cream, and vanilla extract for a perfectly creamy, smooth, and sweet treat everyone will love!
Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Ice Cream: To Heat or Not to Heat?
It’s SO easy to make Coconut Milk Ice Cream from scratch – and it tastes fabulous! Seriously, you will not miss the cow’s milk one bit.
Typically when making ice cream with dairy and sugar you need to first heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar. But I’ve made this ice cream several times and have discovered that it doesn’t always need to be heated/cooked before churning… Which cuts out a significant amount of time.
How do you know if you need to heat the mixture? Well, it depends on what brand of coconut milk/cream you use and the type of blender you use. You can put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth to find out. If the coconut ice cream mixture is VERY smooth without ANY chunks, it’s safe to churn it as-is without heating.
However, if there are any coconut cream chunks present, they will freeze into hard waxy clumps in the ice cream. In this case, you need to warm the mixture over medium heat until smooth, stirring regularly. Then chill and cool to at least room temperature before churning.
If you don’t want to “test” the no-heat method, you can simply dump all the ingredients in a saucepot and heat until smooth, so the coconut clumps and sugar dissolve. Then chill and churn.
Ingredients You Need
One of the many MANY reasons we love this vegan nice cream recipe is that it only includes 5 wholesome ingredients. Nice, indeed!
To make the best Coconut Milk Ice Cream you need:
- Full-fat unsweetened coconut milk – from a can
- Coconut cream – a thicker and creamier substance,also canned
- Granulated sugar – white or coconut sugar both work well
- Vanilla extract – or vanilla bean paste for even more concentrated flavor
- Salt – essential to make a great dairy-free ice cream that doesn’t freeze solid when churned
Plus your favorite toppings! Keep reading for some sweet ideas.
How to Make Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Whether you plan on heating or not, first prepare the dairy-free ice cream mixture by blending all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Again, if there are any chunks of coconut cream you’ll definitely want to heat the mixture first. Let cool completely before churning.
If the coconut ice cream mixture is smooth without any chunks, it is safe to churn as-is without heating.
Once the ice cream mixture is cold, set out a 1.5-2 quart ice cream machine. Place the freezer bowl in the machine and turn it on. Then pour the very smooth and cold ice cream mixture into the machine.
Churn for 20-25 minutes, until the nice cream is thick, firm, and smooth. Be careful to not over-churn or the Coconut Milk Ice Cream will be hard and brittle.
Get the Complete (Printable) Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!
Serve immediately, or scoop into an airtight container and freeze until ready to enjoy.
Possible Add-Ins and Dairy-Free Toppings
There are endless possibilities for all of the extra yummy goodies that can be added to this Coconut Milk Ice Cream recipe!
We recommend that you first churn the ice cream in the machine per the regular vanilla ice cream below. However, once the ice cream has churned you can fold in or top the ice cream with any sweet treats. Add in your favorite dairy-free delights such as:
- Coconut shreds
- Chocolate shavings
- Chopped nuts like cashews, macadamia nuts, or pistachios
- Lime zest or lemon zest
- Crushed pineapple
- Fresh berries
- Berry jam
Add fresh homemade dairy-free whipped cream and a cherry on top for a delicious vegan sundae!
Frequently Asked Questions
There is a hint of coconut flavor in the homemade ice cream, but mostly it tastes just like vanilla. It has a lightly tropical flavor that I LOVE, and pairs really well with crushed pineapple as mentioned above.
Feel free to make this Coconut Milk Ice Cream recipe with whatever extract flavor you prefer! Other extracts that pair well with the coconut are hazelnut or almond, lemon or lime, raspberry, and mint.
Enjoy scoops of Coconut Milk Ice Cream in root beer floats, make banana splits with all of your favorite toppings, or add to baked desserts like cake or pie to serve a la mode.
Keep the coconut ice cream in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let the container sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to soften a bit before you scoop and serve.
Learn What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream? Coconut milk and cream are both, unsurprisingly, products derived from coconuts. Like cow milk and cream, though, they are slightly different in their nature as well as their usages.
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In this article, What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream? we’re going to cover the difference between coconut milk and cream, it isn’t what it sounds like!
Coconut milk is a thin liquid that has the rough consistency of cow’s milk. It’s actually made by simmering shredded coconut and water in an equal ratio. This method means that a can of coconut milk can begin to separate, but when it’s been combined back together, it’s perfectly fine to add to your food.
Coconut milk forms the base of many of my recipes as it can help to lend them a unique, creamy flavor that pairs brilliantly well with curry powder as well as other spices and herbs. I also love to use coconut milk in desserts.
Favorite Recipes Using Coconut Milk
- Coconut Lentil Curry
- Butternut Squash Coconut Curry
- Golden Milk Turmeric Tea
Coconut cream is much thicker and richer than coconut milk is. It’s made in a very similar way, however!
The difference is that in the recipe for coconut cream, much more coconut is used, relative to water. Typically, four parts shredded coconut are simmered in one part of water. This results in a much thicker, richer, and more concentrated liquid, which can be used to add an intense coconut flavor to a dish.
Interestingly, coconut cream is also used in many Southeast Asian curries and soups, as it can lend a similar, but not identical, flavor to coconut milk. As well as the flavor it imparts, it has an inherent thickness which can be very useful. If you’re serving street food, having a thicker stew or curry may be preferable to a more watery one.
Favorite Recipes Using Coconut Cream
- Cherry Coconut Ice Cream
- Baby Eggplant Coconut Curry
- Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala
There are also two other coconut-based liquids which can be found in recipes. It’s important to remember that these ingredients are neither coconut milk nor coconut cream.
Firstly, there’s coconut water. This is the thin, translucent liquid that can be found inside of a whole coconut. While this ingredient might not be used in many cooking recipes, it may be used in some smoothies or milkshakes. For those recipes, make sure to use coconut water instead of coconut milk or cream.
Lastly, there’s also the cream of coconut. This ingredient is a sweetened version of coconut cream. Typically, it’s used in desserts and mixed drinks, but because it has been sweetened, it isn’t interchangeable with coconut cream.
If you’re in a bind, a more suitable replacement for coconut cream would be standard dairy cream.
I hope you have learned What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream? Coconut milk and coconut cream can both add a wonderful flavor to any number of dishes from curries to soups, but make sure to use the right one in your recipe.
If you use the wrong one, you could be adding too much flavor, fiber, and color to the dish. In that case, you’d need to start again if you were hoping to make your meal perfectly faithful to the recipe you’re using. Whichever ingredient it is that you need, we hope this article has helped you learn the difference. Happy cooking!
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This thick and creamy coconut whipped cream is totally dairy free, with just three ingredients… and it has the exact same texture as real homemade whipped cream!
The Best Coconut Whipped Cream
Did you know that you can make your own easy homemade whip cream from a can of coconut milk?
1 can coconut milk, optional sweetener of choice, and that’s it!
The resulting whipped cream will blow you away with how luxuriously rich and creamy it tastes, as you shake your head and wonder, “How can this possibly be vegan?!”
Vegan Whipped Cream Recipe
Just one or two ingredients, and you’re on your way to the perfect coconut milk whipped topping, good for serving with pies, cakes, fresh strawberries or sliced fruit, pancakes, waffles, milkshakes, as frosting for cupcakes, or on top of any of the following healthy ice cream recipes:
There’s NO heavy cream, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, and no gums, stabilizers, gelatin, or cornstarch required for the recipe.
And it can be gluten free, low carb, paleo, whole30, cholesterol free, and keto friendly.
The cream whips up just like dairy whipped cream and can be substituted in most recipes that call for Cool Whip or heavy cream.
Shown above, on top of my Vegan Pecan Pie
Coconut Milk Whip Cream – FAQ
What Kind Of Coconut Milk?
Use either full fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream. The recipe will not work with reduced fat coconut milk or carton coconutmilk beverage found the refrigerated section of the grocery store from companies like Silk, Califia Farms, Almond Breeze, and So Delicious.
Do I Have To Chill It First?
I usually like either storing a can in the fridge to have on hand when needed or chilling the coconut milk overnight, because the results will be thicker and non-runny.
But if you open the can and the cream inside is already super thick (see the photo below) you can skip the overnight refrigeration and simply freeze for about 10 minutes before whipping it up. Try not to shake the can at any point, because you want to keep the cream on top separate from the watery part underneath.
Leftover Coconut Milk? Make Chocolate Truffles – 2 Ingredients
What If My Coconut Cream Isn’t Whipping?
It’s rare, but every now and then you may encounter a can of coconut milk that is chalky and rock hard or simply won’t whip or firm up.
Coconut milk brands I’ve had the most success with for making coconut milk whipped cream include Whole Foods 365, Sprouts, Thai Kitchen Organic, Trader Joes, Native Forest, and Nature’s Charm Coconut Whipping Cream.
Can I Make Different Flavors Of Whipped Cream?
You absolutely can! Try adding a few drops of almond or pure peppermint extract, a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp of instant coffee, or 1 tsp of lime, orange, or lemon zest.
Or add a scoop of peanut butter or half a banana for a delicious mousse-like dessert.
Of course, you can always go with my personal favorite and make it chocolate by using the following recipe for Vegan Chocolate Mousse.
How To Make Coconut Whipped Cream
Start by chilling a can of full fat coconut milk or cream in the fridge overnight.
Once it’s cold, open the can and transfer just the thick and creamy part to a bowl. Either discard the rest or save it for another recipe.
With either a stand mixer or hand beaters (or a fork if it’s all you have), whip with the sweetener and optional vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
Above – watch the recipe video of making coconut whip cream
Questions and Answers – Coconut Milk vs. Cream of Coconut
I have a recipe for a pina colada cake that calls for Cream of Coconut or Coconut Butter. I cannot find it, only coconut milk. Is it the same thing? Thanks for your help! – Karen (1/08/01)
Coconut milk – Coconut milk is not the juice found inside a coconut, but the diluted cream pressed out from the thick, white flesh of a well-matured coconut. Coconut milk is a rich, creamy liquid made from water and coconut pulp. It is a staple ingredient in Thai curries and in beverages, sauces, soups, and desserts throughout Southeast Asia. Unsweetened coconut milk is available in cans at well-stocked grocery stores and Asian markets. Do not substitute cream of coconut.
Cream of Coconut, Coconut Cream, or Coconut Butter – Cream of coconut is a smooth, thick liquid made from fresh coconuts. It is thick and very sweet, and commonly used in mixed drinks. Can usually be found in your local grocery stores and liquor stores, available in liquid and powdered forms.
Substitutes for Cream of Coconut:
Sweetened condensed milk with coconut extract to taste
1 cup top layer of canned coconut milk (not low fat) – do not shake or stir can before skimming
1 cup heavy whipping cream (35%) plus 1/2 cup coconut cream powder
Learn how easy it is to make homemade Coconut Butter.
Coconut butter is simply just coconut flakes blended into a buttery consistency. It is so easy to make and so much cheaper than purchasing coconut butter.
Over the past few years, whipped coconut cream has become one of my favorite tricks I’ve come up with in the kitchen. I love whipping up (literally) a batch for dinner guests, not even bothering to tell them it isn’t heavy whipped cream. I love how amazed people are when I tell them that it’s totally vegan and just 3 simple ingredients. I have shared how to make this glorious stuff within several of my recipe posts before, but I thought what better way to kick off my new Tutorial Tuesdays series than with this favorite how-to!
Plus, since canned coconut milks can vary drastically, I wanted to give you my comparison of 5 different coconut milk brands. You’ll be shocked at how different each one is. Because of the vary degrees of whipability (is that a word?) – the results and the work can be quite challenging if you choose incorrrectly. Due to the different stabilizers in each brand and sometimes even where the coconuts originate from, these can cause the much needed separation of the coconut cream from the water to just not work – no matter what you do.
Outside of the varying brands, I have also read that extra air in the can, may also cause less separation to occur. This isn’t something I have tested too much myself, but if you want to shake cans of coconut milk at the store, I say go for it. You are listening for little to no swishing around of the liquid in the can.
Whipped coconut milk is creamy, rich and thick, much like traditional whipped cream and the coconut flavor is very faintly there. Not nearly what you would expect it to be. The best part about homemade whipped coconut cream is all of it’s many uses and how much you can vary the flavor. You can add raw cacao powder for a chocolate cream, muddle some fruit and fold that in, maybe a squeeze or two of your favorite citrus, or even just a good quality all natural extract, you can even add a bit of your favorite liqueur. It would be hard to choose my favorite way to customize my homemade whipped coconut cream, but the easy part is actually making it. So, let’s get to it.
Refrigerate one can of full-fat coconut milk overnight (see my brand selections at the bottom of this post). Carefully open up the can.
There will be a layer of firm, waxy, thick white layer of coconut cream on top.
Carefully scoop out the firm, waxy, thick white layer of coconut cream and add it to your bowl. (chill the bowl if you’d like)
Save the coconut water for another use, like smoothies.
With your mixer or hand beaters on high speed, whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks. Mix in your sweetener and vanilla extract, if using.
Voila, homemade whipped coconut cream, in minutes.
What is coconut butter?
Coconut butter is thick, creamy, coconut puree, made from finely blended shredded coconut. It has a similar texture to creamy peanut butter with a lightly sweet, subtle coconut flavor. Coconut butter is 80% fat; 1 tablespoon has roughly 9 grams of fat (8 grams of which are saturated), 3 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. The saturated fats in coconuts increase the body’s ability to use ketones – fatty acids that fuel cells more efficiently than simple carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc).
When coconut butter is around 75° F and higher, it’s consistency is thick and runny. When it’s temperature is around 70° F and lower, however, it’s consistency is more solidified and crumbly, with the fat separated to the top of the dry matter. To loosen up the coconut butter, place the jar in a bowl of warm/hot (not boiling) water for 5-10 minutes and stir vigorously.
Consistency 70° F and under.
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How is it made?
Coconut butter is made by blending dried, shredded coconut until completely smooth. If you have a high quality food processor, you can make some of your own by blending dried shredded coconut in your food processor for 10-15 minutes, exactly how all nut butters are made. However, because my food processor isn’t as capable as others, my homemade coconut butter attempt end up with lil’ clumps of coconut in runny pools of liquid, so I stick with the jarred, store bought varieties.
Uses of Coconut Butter:
Converting Coconut Butter into Coconut Milk
Coconut butter can be easily converted into coconut cream by mixing 1 part coconut butter with 1 part water (1/2 c coconut butter + 1/2 c water), or converted into coconut milk by mixing 1 part coconut butter with 5 parts water (3 tbsp coconut butter + 1 c water). Simply shake or blend coconut butter directly into warm or cool water, although if mixed directly into cold water, the milk will be a little gritty. With this same concept in mind, in place of coconut milk in smoothies I simply use water as my main liquid and add 2-3 tablespoons of coconut butter.
Try Using Coconut Butter as Coffee Creamer
In place of half & half or other creamers, blend 1-2 tablespoons of coconut butter straight into coffee, chai tea, black tea, and other hot beverages until frothy and milky in color.
Additionally, when coconut fat is mixed with caffeine and consumed on an empty stomach (before breakfast), the entrance of adenosine – chemicals that induce sleepiness – are temporarily halted from entering the brain by caffeine, and coconut’s fats encourage the body to reach for ketones instead of glucose, as a fuel source, allowing you to go longer lengths of time without feeling hungry.
However, there’s little scientific evidence to support the hunger reducing/energy enhancing effects of the combination of medium chain triglyceride fats (the ones found in coconut) and caffeine. Albeit, I find the concoction to be very effective in keeping me focused, alert, and energized for 3-5 hours before getting hungry.
Coconut butter blended with a French Press coffee.
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Coconut butter can also be used on bread, as the main ingredient in icings, or eaten by the spoonful… which I do all the time, by the way.
Ever since I discovered I could replace both coconut milk and coconut cream with coconut butter, it’s become a staple in my pantry that I use on average of three times a day; I really do love this stuff.
Can you tell how much of this stuff we use?
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How to Make Coconut Milk or Cream from Coconut Butter
- Servings: about 1 cup
- Time: 1 minute
- Difficulty: Easy
The easiest method of making coconut milk or cream.
- 1 c hot water (it doesn’t need to boiling)*
- 3 tbsp coconut butter
- 1/2 c hot water*
- 1/2 c coconut butter
- Combine coconut butter and water in a blender or sealable cup and blend or shake for 10-15 seconds, until creamy and smooth.
- Use in coffee, soups, and in any application where coconut milk or cream is called for. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When ready to use again, reheat in a sauce pot over medium heat until the solids are liquified and shake or blend to homogenize the mixture.
*Cold or room temperature water can also be used, however, it will most likely be slightly gritty.
“My absolute FAVOURITE, I LOVE this stuff and I’ve used it so much since I got my hands on a jar. Who knew that making your own coconut milk could be so simple! It’s the easiest thing to add to recipes if a sauce needs thickening or if a dish needs just a tiny bit more oomph as it has a rich coconut aroma and flavour. With creamed coconut, you make as much or as little as you need which means there’s less waste; it’s more economical; and environmentally friendly, with less packaging to throw away.” – Lucy
No need to ever buy canned coconut milk again (and end up throwing half away!) – make as much or as little coconut milk as needed. It’s also great for adding a creaminess to dishes.
- 500g Jar = 6 x 400ml Cans of Coconut Milk
- Gluten and Dairy Free
- Nut and Peanut Free
- Non GM and No Additives
- Fair Trade
- Recyclable glass jar and easy peel label
Our Creamed Coconut from the Philippines is unsweetened, fresh, organic coconut kernel which has been dried and pureed and naturally contains some coconut oil.
It adds a rich creaminess to dishes and is perfect for making your own coconut milk.
How to use
With your jar of Creamed Coconut, it’s natural for the coconut oil to separate from the coconut meat. The oil will solidify and sit on the top – if you look at the side of the jar, you can see this as white at the top and then the coconut meat shows as a creamy colour. The oil needs to be mixed in with the coconut meat to use – warm the jar (we stand ours in a bowl of hot water at 64C, for around 30 minutes; or in colder weather you could stand the jar on a warm radiator), then stir and mix it together. We do not recommend using a microwave to heat this product as it can burn.
This is particularly important if making coconut milk, to make sure it blends properly. For a delicious, all natural coconut milk simply blend Lucy Bee Creamed Coconut with room temperature or warm water, using more or less depending on the richness required.
It can also be stirred into casseroles and sauces; used as a dairy free creamy frosting for bakes and cakes; or simply use as a vegan spread.
Where am I From?
Why Fair Trade?
This Fair Trade premium improves the lives of those workers involved in producing the Creamed Coconut through:
- Funds to feed undernourished children
- Coconut (re)planting programs for sustainability
- Student subsidy for children of coconut farmers
- Community development projects
- Fair wages
- Life insurance for workers
- A low-interest lending programme for farmers
Best Creamed Coconut recipes
Creamed Coconut can be used to make coconut milk or added to sauces for creaminess. It also works well in bakes such as:
How to make coconut milk
Firstly, make sure any separated oil is mixed back into the creamed coconut (this will appear as white at the top of the jar – to mix in, warm the jar and stir into the creamed coconut). To make 200ml of coconut milk, use a high-speed blender and blend 40g Lucy Bee Creamed Coconut with 170ml lukewarm water. If you leave the milk to stand, shake before using.
See this video How to Make Coconut Milk here https://www.lucybee.com/video-creamed-coconut-milk/
What is Creamed Coconut?
Creamed Coconut is dried, shredded and pureed coconut flesh. It has a rich, creamy texture which can transform dishes.
What do you do with Creamed Coconut?
Creamed Coconut can be used in numerous way: make coconut milk; use as a dairy free breakfast milk alternative; stir into soups for a rich creaminess; use when cooking grains such as porridge or rice; use in any recipe requiring coconut milk and you only need to make as much as needed, rather than opening a can and throwing half of it away; in bakes and cakes; and, of course, in curries!
What’s the difference between creamed coconut and coconut milk?
Creamed coconut is dried and pureed coconut flesh.
Coconut milk is made either by:
- blending together coconut cream and water(or with ours, it’s coconut water)
- or soaking shredded coconut flesh in hot water. Coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off. The liquid that’s left is then squeezed through a cheesecloth to make coconut milk.
6. Can I use your Creamed Coconut to make coconut milk for my infant son with dairy allergies and does it contain the necessary nutrients as a replacement for milk, for a 1 year old?
You can replicate coconut milk using our Creamed Coconut, room temperature water and a blender.
In this particular instance (a one year old with dairy allergies), it’s worth noting that our Creamed Coconut is not fortified with any micronutrients (calcium, vitamin D, B12). So, if you were to use Lucy Bee Creamed Coconut as an alternative to a fortified milk, be aware that you would need to make sure these nutrients are available elsewhere in the diet.
The great thing about our Creamed Coconut is that you can make the milk whenever you need it, and the exact amount required.
If you store the creamed coconut milk in the fridge, the creamed coconut and the water will separate because it has no stabilisers in it. To use, simply shake or blitz it together again to combine.
If using bought, pre-made coconut milk, it’s worth looking at the labelling of ingredients since a lot of companies use sugar(s) or fruit juices to sweeten their drinks as well – this is just something to be aware of.
7. Does Lucy Bee Creamed Coconut contain any soya?
Our producer confirms that our “Creamed Coconut does not contain soya nor any of its derivatives. Soya, moreover, is not present or used in the same facility as the Creamed Coconut is produced.”
8. What is the white layer on the top of the Creamed Coconut?
This is the naturally occurring oil which has solidified and separated. Please refer to ‘How to Use’ to see how to mix this back in before using the jar.
9 What’s the best way to remove the Creamed Coconut from the jar?
Care needs to be observed when removing this from the glass jar. In cooler weather, the creamed coconut is more solid in the jar so it might be worth slightly warming the jar before trying to remove it. We tend to stand it in a bowl of hot water, about 64C, for 30 minutes to soften it and then make it easier to remove with a spoon.
Please avoid using sharp instruments as these could cause the glass jar to break.
If you’ve ever picked up a box of coconut milk from the store and read the ingredients, it probably looked something like this: water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, guar gum, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors…
The list of ingredients in most store bought coconut milks is absolutely ridiculous, especially since you only need 2 ingredients to make it – COCONUT AND WATER!
I’m here to show you 3 ways to make coconut milk with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. I think some of you might be shocked at how easy it is…
Watch the brand new Food Babe TV episode here:
This is why I don’t buy store bought coconut milk, just look at all the unnecessary ingredients…
Earlier this year when Starbucks made their big announcement that they were going to start offering coconut milk, they failed to mention the most elementary thing – what the ingredients are! But some of you have sent me pics of the box it comes in, and I hate to admit that I’m not surprised:
Starbucks Coconut Milk Ingredients: Water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2 .
Packaged coconut milks are full of unnecessary additives like these :
Carrageenan – I’ve written extensively about carrageenan since 2012, when I found out that it’s used in many dairy-substitutes like nut milks. Carrageenan is added as a thickener and to keep ingredients from separating as an emulsifier, but it’s known to cause digestion problems and is contaminated with“degraded carrageenan”. Tests have found as much as 25% degraded carrageenan in “food-grade carrageenan” (the kind used in some coconut milks). As reported in the news recently, a new study published in Nature, found that emulsifiers may be contributing to the “rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract”. Many mainstream brands are removing (or have removed) carrageenan from their products, like Silk and So Delicious – but it’s still found at Starbucks and in Coconut Dream brand.
Gellan Gum, Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum – These ingredients are known to cause stomach issues like bloating and gas in people who have sensitive digestive systems. I personally try not to consume these ingredients on a regular basis especially for foods that I have often like coconut milk and other nut milks.
Added Sugar – There is no need to sweeten coconut milk, and you can always sweeten it with sweeteners you prefer at home. Also, some of us would like to drink a coconut milk Starbucks latte without added sugar, and if customers want a sweet drink they can request that sweeteners are added when they order.
Natural Flavors – If they simply used more coconut cream and less “thickening agents”, would these fake flavors be needed? This proprietary concoction of chemicals could contain just about anything naturally-derived, and as recently reported on CNN, may contain “anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume”.
Synthetic Vitamin D2 – This form of vitamin D isn’t natural (created in a lab), and you’ll often see it added to non-dairy products. Vitamin D2 has been shown to be insufficient and not suitable for fortification, but food manufacturers continue to needlessly fortify their products with it.
Corn Dextrin & Xanthan Gum – These are more thickening agents, typically made from GMO corn. Xanthan gum is often derived from corn, and its consumption can cause gastrointestinal issues. Corn is an increasingly common allergen and more people are reporting an intolerance to eating corn-based products. What’s corn doing in coconut milk, anyway?
The bottom line: None of these ingredients belong in coconut milk, and they certainly don’t improve the nutritional value.
The crazy thing is that coconut milk is one of the easiest things to make in the world (as you can see from the video above). There’s absolutely no reason to ever buy coconut milk at the grocery store (or from Starbucks) when it literally takes less than five minutes to make – and you don’t even need to crack a coconut!
Affiliate Note: Hi, friends! Just a a quick reminder – some of the links on this site are affiliate links, and so I may earn a little cash on qualifying orders. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and is a nice way to help support this site! I also want to point out that I don’t promote products I haven’t actually tried or products that I don’t trust. 🙂
Over the past decade, I’ve been slowly trying to make more and more of my food from scratch to eliminate unnecessary packaging and ingredients from my diet. Plus, most of the time, making things from scratch can save you some cash over the store-bought versions. Lately, I realized I was buying a lot of canned coconut milk to make coconut cream with and also a lot of coconut milk in the cartons to put in my tea and coffee. So, I thought I’d start making homemade coconut cream and coconut milk to cut down on the cost, the additives and the packaging.
I’ve made coconut milk in the past by taking dried coconut flakes/shreds (also called dessicated coconut) and blending it with water, so I thought I’d expand on that idea and work out the ratios to try and make both coconut milk and coconut cream.
Because there are so many different coconut products out there with similar names (sometimes even the same name!!), I thought I’d quickly define what exactly what I mean when I say “coconut milk” and “coconut cream.”
- Coconut milk: The thin, more watery type of coconut milk that you buy in either the refrigerated dairy section or in asceptic, shelf-stable boxes.
- Coconut cream: The thick, rich, fatty cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk when chilled. This is the base for vegan and paleo whipped cream.
Tools Needed to Make Homemade Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Making your own coconut milk and coconut cream at home doesn’t require a lot, in fact you just need two things!
A Good Blender
So, like with making homemade hemp tofu, a blender is also necessary for making coconut milk and coconut cream from dried coconut flakes. I bought a Vitamix 5200 years ago, and it’s still going strong and I use it multiple times per day. Do you need a Vitamix? Of course not, but I figured it’s worth mentioning. I think high speed blenders are worth the investment, if you want to be able to make nut butters, nondairy milks, soups and frozen treats, but for this project, you can totally just use a regular blender. It may not be quite as effective, but it still works!
A Nut Milk Bag
No, really, that’s what it’s called. Nut milk bags are typically just a mesh bag used to make homemade almond milk (or whatever kind of nondairy milk you want) and can even be used to make homemade tofu. They’re easy to clean and come in handy for squeezing the excess liquid out of zucchini and cauliflower when using them in recipes.
Ingredients For Making Homemade Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Really, the only thing you need is dried coconut. I buy mine in bulk from my local health food store, but you can also find it online at many different retailers. There are a few optional ingredients, though, so I’ll mention those briefly as well:
- dried/dessicated coconut (make sure it’s not fat free!!)
- sea salt (optional)
- vanilla powder or vanilla extract (optional, not AIP)
- stevia (optional, not AIP)
Why the sea salt? Adding in a tiny pinch of sea salt can bring a little more depth to other flavors. This is especially nice if you are also adding in vanilla.
The vanilla and stevia serve more obvious purposes – I really like vanilla flavored coconut milk. Of course, if you are on following a strict Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), you likely won’t want to add either of these.
How to Make Homemade Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Because the processes are interrelated, both recipes will be written here as one long-form recipe.
With just two ingredients, you can have coconut milk for soups, smoothies, and baking.
Submitted By: Vitamix
4.5 servings (4.5 c)
- 4 cups (960 ml) water
- 2 cups (150 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure the lid.
- Start the blender on its lowest speed, then quickly increase to its highest speed.
- Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use throughout the week. Shake well before using. Double this recipe if more milk is needed for the week. Unstrained milk can be used in cooking and baking, but for smooth sauces or drinking, strained coconut milk should be used.
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|Serving Size||1 serving (247 g)|
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