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Substitute for Coconut Milk

There’s nothing worse than being halfway through a recipe, then discovering you’re missing an important ingredient!

If you’re cooking a dish that includes coconut milk on its list of ingredients – and there’s no time to run to the store to grab some – then you’ll be pleased to hear there are a few great alternatives you can use instead! 

Paleo Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup Photo

What you need to look for in a coconut milk substitute

Coconut milk is rich and creamy, adding a level of luxury to any dish that uses it. Equally, then, any substitute you use needs to the same thing, so the resulting dish comes out the way you expect.

One important thing to remember is that coconut milk is lactose-free. If you are cooking for someone who is intolerant to lactose, any substitute you choose must be free of lactose, too.

Coconut Chicken Curry Picture

Coconut milk substitutes

Evaporated milk

Our favorite alternative to coconut milk, evaporated milk is wonderfully rich and creamy, so it’s ideal for curry sauces and soups.

Evaporated milk is not lactose free. Use at a 1:1 ratio.

Heavy cream

Even higher in fat that coconut milk, heavy cream has a rich texture that works well in sauces and soups. 

Heavy cream is not lactose free. Use at a 1:1 ratio.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup Picture

Coconut cream

Coconut cream is much richer and thicker than coconut milk, so it provides plenty of creaminess to sauces along with that coconut flavor. 

Coconut cream is lactose free. Water down to a pourable texture with water, then use at a 1:1 ratio.

Almond milk

An ideal replacement in baked goods and smoothies, almond milk has a lower fat content than coconut milk. This means that it won’t be ideal for dishes where a rich creaminess is important (a curry sauce, for example). To reproduce that coconut flavor in your baked goods, add a little coconut flour too.

Almond milk is lactose free. Use at a 1:1 ratio.

Soy milk

Plant-based soy milk is thicker than almond milk, but still not as rich as coconut milk. If you want to use it in a sauce, try making it creamier by adding a little coconut oil.

Soy milk is lactose free. Use at a 1:1 ratio.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup Pic

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt has a lovely, thick texture and adds just as much creaminess to a dish as coconut milk. And whilst it’s not lactose-free, the lactose in yogurt is often well tolerated by people who are sensitive to it. If you want that coconut taste, look for a coconut flavored yogurt.

Greek yogurt is not lactose free (but contains less lactose than other dairy products). Use at a 1:1 ratio, thinning with a little water if required.

Recipes to try that use coconut milk (or one of the above alternatives)

Chicken and Shrimp Curry 

Paleo Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Muffin Tops