Coconut milk (and cream!) is one of my favorite ingredients to use in cooking. It's so versatile and I love the subtle sweetness it adds to dishes. I've compiled a list of some of the best recipes using coconut milk, from smoothies to cocktails, from soups to desserts, from breakfast to main courses - I've got you covered!
I always have a can of coconut milk in my cupboard, it's such a great way to add flavor into dishes! It's perfect for Indian and Thai cooking, but it also has a tonne of other uses too! It's a great dairy free alternative to milk and it's so versatile you can use it in fish, chicken, beef and vegan dishes. Thank you to all of my blogger friends who contributed to this amazingly delicious list of recipes!
What is coconut milk?
Coconut milk shouldn't be mistaken for coconut water, which is the clear liquid inside of the nut. Coconut milk is opaque and milky white and it is the liquid that is extracted from grated coconut pulp that is simmered in water. Coconut cream is made in the same way as the milk, and it is the thick layer that forms on top when the milk separates.
Is it healthy?
Coconut milk has been used in Indian and Asian cooking for centuries and it has grown in popularity in the Western world as a dairy-free milk substitution. Medical News Today covers the health benefits of coconut milk in depth, but here's the quick lowdown:
- Weight loss - coconut milk contains something called MCT. MCTs stimulate energy and can reduce body weight and waist size.
- Heart health - coconut milk has a high fat content, but it's a good fat which helps to break down cholesterol and remove it from the body.
- Boosts immune system - coconuts contain something called lauric acid which has antioxiant properties. Researchers found it can regulate the growth of healthy cells.
- Coconut milk is a calorie rich food, but it is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
What's the difference between lite and regular?
Lite coconut milk contains the same ingredients as regular coconut milk, but it contains more water so it is lower in calories. A quarter cup of regular coconut milk contains around 120 calories where as lite contains about 40. If you are trying to lower your calorie intake it can be a good swap, however, it is much more diluted and therefore, so is it's flavor. Personally I would rather cut calories somewhere else!
What's the best coconut milk to buy?
Not all canned coconut milks are the same, it's always best to check the label. Avoid any with added sugar and grab something with the fewest ingredients ie coconut and water.
Does it fit into my diet?
Here's the good news, if you follow any of these diets, then you can include coconut milk in your recipes!
- low carb
- Whole30 (if the brand you buy doesn't contain sulfates)
Coconut Milk Recipes - Smoothies & Breakfasts
A Berry Oat Smoothie with Coconut Milk is the perfect start to your morning. Fresh ingredients make for a nutritious, easy and tasty vegan breakfast that’s ready in 5 minutes.
This easy beet smoothie is packed full of vitamin C for a cold busting and tasty drink. Just 5 minutes to make and a handful of ingredients to help boost your immune system. A vegan smoothie packed full of nutrients.
Coconut Recipes - Soups
Roasted Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup is packed full of spicy Thai flavours. The combination of ginger, garlic, lemongrass and red chilli’s take this soup to another level. The addition of paprika gives adds a depth to each spoonful and helps create that beautiful colour.
Coconut Cauliflower Soup by Rhubarbarians
Coconut cauliflower golden soup with kefir recipe! A healing, turmeric golden milk soup with creamy cauliflower, sweet coconut, and tangy kefir. So much goodness in one bowl!
Spicy Thai Shrimp Soup by West Via Midwest
Spicy Thai Shrimp Soup is so much better than takeout. Plump succulent shrimp in coconut curry broth with hints of lime and lemongrass for authentic Thai flavors. Additions of sliced mushrooms, red pepper and rice make weeknight dinner a delicious experience.
Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup by 40 Aprons
This tom kha soup recipe (or Thai coconut chicken soup) is absolutely perfect. Rich and creamy yet tangy and salty, this Thai coconut chicken soup recipe is filling but light and positively bursting with flavor. The very best tom kha gai recipe I’ve ever made or tried. With Whole30, paleo, and vegan options, too.
Coconut Milk Recipes - Seafood Dishes
Mussels are such a great shellfish, sustainable, cheap, quick to cook and freaking delicious. The natural saltiness of the mussels deeply flavours the Thai sauce that they are served in. The flavours in these Thai Mussels work so well together, I guarantee you won’t just cook them once!
This super quick and easy meal is perfect for the days when you are running short on time. Made in one pan on the stovetop, this poached cod is cooked in coconut milk for a flavorful dish made with just a handful of simple ingredients. Ready to serve in just 20 minutes.
Tapado Recipe by Beyond Mere Sustenance
Tropical flavors abound in this easy and healthyish Tapado Recipe! Make it on your stove top, or speed up the process using your Instant Pot. Either way, the dish is replete with fresh fish and shrimp, plantains, sweet potatoes, in a savory and delicious coconut broth!
Thai Red Curry with Shrimp, Pumpkin and Spinach by Everyday Delicious
Thai red curry is one of our favorite dinners. Delicious, crispy and juicy shrimp, in an aromatic sauce with a tender and sweet pumpkin/squash and spinach. It‘s really quick to make and packed with flavor.
Easy Coconut Fish Curry by Tara Teaspoon
Homemade doesn’t have to mean hard work! Coconut Curry Fish is a quick and tasty take on a classic Sri Lankan dish using supermarket basics.
Prawn Kare Lomen (Copycat Recipe) by Sprinkles and Sprouts
Spiced prawns, a rich spicy coconut broth, ramen noodles, fresh beansprouts and shredded cucumber. This Prawn Kare Lomen is amazing! Packed with fresh flavours, it is definitely a dinnertime treat! A great wagamama copycat recipe that you can easily make at home, especially now it has been removed from their menu!
Quick and Easy Indian Curry Mussels by Krumpli
These Indian curry mussels site right at the top of my must make recipes. This recipe combines one of my favourite ingredients and my favourite national ‘cuisine’.
Coconut Milk Recipes - Vegan Dishes
This easy, one pot chickpea & spinach curry is packed full of flavour for a great, no fuss weeknight dinner. Inspired by Indian cuisine, this healthy vegan curry is quick to make and also perfect for meal prep.
This green lentil daal recipe is Indian inspired and packed full of tasty spices. It’s ready in less than 45 minutes, made in one pot and perfect for meal prep. It also happens to be vegan, so it’s perfect for your meat free Monday!
Coconut Milk Recipes - Meat Main Courses
Creamy Tomato and Turmeric Chicken is an easy skillet recipe and perfect for a quick and tasty weeknight meal. Chicken is marinated and cooked with a coconut milk sauce for a flavorful curry like recipe with Indian influences. A simple 30 minute recipe that the whole family will love.
This Beef Curry Stew is slow cooked in the oven for a deep and rich flavour. An easy one pot meal that’s perfect for meal prep and freezer meals. Cooked in Indian Spices and coconut milk to warm your soul.
Chicken Coconut Thai Curry is an easy and tasty weeknight meal. Chicken is marinated in coconut milk and spices, breaded, and cooked in a sweet and spicy curry sauce. A dairy free and low carb dinner. You are going to love this one pan healthy meal!
This recipe for crispy chicken satay with peanut sauce can be made on the BBQ or in the oven. It can be eaten hot or cold, on it’s own as an appetizer, or as part of a main meal.
Indian Style Beef Kabobs by From A Chef's Kitchen
Indian-Style Beef Kabobs with Cilantro – Coconut Sauce are a delicious and exotic way to shake up your grilling routine. Best of all, they’re easy enough for a weeknight!
Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs by Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs will be your new favorite main dish! The easy marinade infuses the chicken with incredible flavor and you’ll want to double the recipe to have leftovers all week long
Coconut Milk Recipes - Sweets and Desserts
Coconut Truffles with Brazil Nut or Almond Butter by Pinch Me I'm Eating
Chocolate covered coconut truffles with Brazil nut or almond butter are a rich, decadent, and easy gourmet dessert perfect for parties (or for treating yourself)! Best of all, you can make them in advance!
Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Macadamia Nuts by Karen's Kitchen Stories
This chocolate coconut ice cream with macadamia nuts is such a chocolatey, creamy, and crunchy treat.
Toasted Coconut Cream Rum and Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake by Half Baked Harvest
People will freak over this cake and be in total awe and amazement over you!
Coconut Milk Recipes - Drinks and Cocktails
French Hot Chocolate with Salt by Champagne Tastes
This decadent, vegan-friendly Salted French Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud) is a European-style hot cocoa that’s made with dark chocolate, whole milk & cream (or coconut milk & coconut cream), and topped with flavorful gourmet salt.
Sweet Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk by Little Sugar Snaps
Sweet Iced Coffee with coconut milk is easy to make and stores well in the fridge. Make a large batch and save yourself a few trips to the coffee shop this summer.
Pineapple Coconut Rum Cocktail by Jessica In The Kitchen
This Pineapple Coconut Rum Cocktail is only 5 ingredients and the perfect summer drink! So yummy and so refreshing, it’s a taste of the Caribbean!
How to make your own homemade coconut milk
Homemade plant based milks are all the rage right now - you know exactly what goes in to them and they are actually not that hard to make! Check out this how to guide from Clean Eating Kitchen to make your own!
For more ideas in the kitchen, check out these other recipe collections!
I love hearing from you!! If you have tried any of these recipes or have one to share with me, be sure to drop a comment below!