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Coconut Milk Recipes

August 31, 2020

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by Slow The Cook Down

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!

Six pictures of coconut milk recipes with text overlay

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.

Collage of nine coconut milk recipes

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!

  • vegan
  • vegetarian
  • keto
  • low carb
  • paleo
  • Whole30 (if the brand you buy doesn’t contain sulfates)
  • dairy-free
  • gluten-free

Collage showing different coconut milk recipes featured in the article

Coconut Milk Recipes – Smoothies & Breakfasts

Berry Oat Smoothie with Coconut Milk 

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.

A Berry oat smoothie on a marble work surface, with fresh fruit around it


Easy Beet Smoothie – A Cold Busting Drink

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.

A tall glass of beet smoothie, garnished with a lemon slice


Coconut Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits by Sugar and Charm 

These easy coconut chia seed pudding parfaits are the perfect healthy treat and look pretty darn cute too! If you haven’t made chia seed pudding before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple and delicious it is! 

Coconut chia pudding in two glasses

Healthy Breakfast Quinoa with Coconut Milk and Apples by Andie Mitchell

A good morning starts with a hearty meal, like this warm, healthy breakfast quinoa with coconut milk and apples. It’s wholesome, sweet, filling, and only 275 calories. 

Breakfast quinoa with coconut milk in a white bowl


Coconut Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal by Tastes Lovely

Delicious coconut banana steel cut oatmeal, made with coconut milk and sweetened with coconut sugar. Topped with toasted coconut flakes and pecans. A healthy and flavorful vegan and gluten free breakfast that is refined sugar free. Make a big batch and reheat throughout the week!

coconut oatmeal in a brown bowl


Coconut Recipes – Soups

Roasted Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup

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.

roasted sweet potato soup in a blue and white bowl


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!

coconut and cauliflower soup in a white 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.

Spicy Thai soup in a black bowl


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. 

Tom kha soup in a black bowl

Coconut Milk Recipes – Seafood Dishes

Thai Mussels

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!

Thai Mussels in a white bowl


Poached Cod in Coconut Milk

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.

Overhead shot of poached fish in a skillet with fresh cilantro garnish


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!

A bowl of Tapado on a work surface


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.

Thai red curry in a white bowl


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.

coconut fish curry on a square white plate


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!

Prawn kare lomen on two black bowls


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’.

Indian mussels in a white bowl

Coconut Milk Recipes – Vegan Dishes

Chickpea and Spinach Curry with Coconut Milk

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.

A big bowl of chickpea & spinach curry on a white marble tabletop, styled with the ingredients used in the dish


Green Lentil Daal

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!

Overhead shot of green lentil daal in a bowl with a piece of ripped naan bread in the bowl


Curried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut Milk by Bojon Gourmet

This curry is my current favorite use for the Asian varieties of eggplant. Adapted from Nigel Slater, it has all the spice of a traditional baingan bartha, but with the feel of a hearty stew. 
eggplant curry with coconut milk in a large serving dish
Creamy Coconut Garlic Mushrooms by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken 
Spoon this over mashed potatoes a tofu steak, or whatever sounds yummy to you, and don’t be surprised when you go for seconds, and thirds, and lick the spoon, and your fingers, and the pan, and the stove… ok don’t lick the stove.
coconut milk mushrooms in a skillet

Coconut Milk Recipes – Meat Main Courses

Creamy Tomato and Turmeric Chicken

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.

The cooked dish in a skillet on a wooden chopping board

Beef Curry Stew with Coconut Milk

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.

Beef curry stew with coconut milk in a large pot with wooden spoon


Chicken Coconut Thai Curry

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!

Close up of chicken in coconut Thai curry sauce garnished with fresh herbs.


Crispy Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

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.

skewers of crispy chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce on a wooden serving board


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!  

beef kabobs on a serving platter


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

Grilled thai chicken thighs on a white plate



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!  

coconut milk truffles on a cake stand

Vegan Coconut Cake by Delighted Baking
Egg free & Dairy Free Coconut Loaf Cake is a soft and incredibly moist cake. It has a melt in mouth coconutty flavour which would make you love this cake even more!

coconut milk cake on a white plate


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.

Coconut ice cream in a bowl


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 crepe cake


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.

A mug of hot chocolate made with coconut milk


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.

Coconut Iced Coffee in a glass mug


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!

coconut pineapple cocktail in three glasses

Coconut Chai Hot Toddy by Running to the Kitchen
This coconut chai hot toddy is made with a generous splash of dark rum, spices and creamy coconut milk for the perfect cozy holiday drink.
coconut hot toddy in a mug

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!

Pinterest image. Coconut milk recipes with text overlay

For more ideas in the kitchen, check out these other recipe collections!

Popcorn to Make Movie Night Special

13 Savoury Pumpkin Recipes

Cheese and Meat Recipe Roundup

Irish Themed Cocktails for St Patrick’s Day

8 Must Try Easy Mussel Recipes

Spooky Halloween Cocktails

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!

For more tasty treats, food inspiration and fun, be sure to follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest – come say hi!

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  • Reply
    Tamara Andersen
    August 3, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    OMG! Coconut milk is one of my very favorite ingredients, and you’ve got so many glorious sounding recipes featuring it… all in one place. YUM! Thanks for including my Tapado!

    • Reply
      Slow The Cook Down
      August 3, 2019 at 7:47 pm

      I love the variety of recipes you can use it in! Thanks so much for contributing your dish – looks so yummy!

  • Reply
    Alanna Taylor-Tobin
    August 3, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    This round up is epic!! Thanks so much for including my eggplant curry recipe – one of my favorites this time of year!

    • Reply
      Slow The Cook Down
      August 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm

      Ah thanks! I love eggplant so had to include your gorgeous recipe – planning to make it soon!

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