Coconut milk has become a staple ingredient in kitchens around the world. Made from the flesh of coconuts, this non-dairy milk adds a rich, creamy flavor to curries, soups, and desserts. It also has a ton of health benefits as it contains healthy fats, is anti-inflammatory, lactose-free, and rich in antioxidants and electrolytes.
But what do you do when a recipe calls for coconut milk, and you don’t have any on hand or are looking for a non-dairy alternative? Don’t worry; there are plenty of substitutes for coconut milk that can get the job done! From nut-based milk to plant-based alternatives, we’ll walk you through the best substitutes to keep your cooking game on track!
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is a common substitute for coconut milk since it has a mellow, nutty flavor that goes well with many dishes. It is also much lower in calories and fat than coconut milk, making it a healthier option. However, unlike coconut milk, almond milk is not as creamy and may not provide the same richness to dishes.
You can replace coconut milk with almond milk in baked dishes, soups, and smoothies. Typically, the substitution may be done in a 1:1 ratio. Remember that almond milk might not have the same richness as coconut milk, so you might need to add a thickener like cornstarch to get the desired consistency.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup almond milk.
2. Soy Milk
If you’re looking for a plant-based substitute for coconut milk, soy milk is a terrific option. It offers a similar consistency to coconut milk and can give curries, soups, and sauces a creamy richness. Soy milk is also a healthful option because it has a respectable quantity of protein.
When substituting soy milk for coconut milk, keep in mind that soy milk has a slightly nutty flavor compared to the distinctly sweet and creamy flavor of coconut milk. When used in savory recipes, this variation in flavor is typically undetectable, but it could be noticeable in desserts.
To use soy milk as a substitute for coconut milk, it’s best to use it at a 1:1 ratio. Some recipes may require adding a little bit of oil or coconut cream to thicken the consistency, but overall, soy milk will do just fine.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup soy milk.
3. Oat Milk
Oat milk is also a great alternative to coconut milk because of its creamy, velvety texture that closely mimics coconut milk. It also has a neutral flavor profile that won’t overpower the flavors of your dish.
Another great aspect of oat milk is its low calorie and fat content, making it a healthier option for those watching their diet. However, it doesn’t have the same level of richness and thickness as coconut milk, so it won’t work for all recipes that require coconut milk.
You can use oat milk in many dishes, from smoothies to baked goods. For substitution, simply replace the amount of coconut milk called for in a recipe with an equal amount of oat milk. Keep in mind that oat milk may not hold up as well in recipes that require the thickness and richness of coconut milk, such as curries or creamy soups.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup oat milk.
4. Rice Milk
Rice milk is a popular milk substitute, especially for people who have nut or dairy allergies. It has a mild, neutral flavor and is naturally sweet because it is prepared by combining rice and water. It has a thinner consistency and is a wonderful option for baking or cooking meals in which a milder taste is preferred.
Rice milk may be used as a direct substitute for coconut milk in a wide range of dishes, such as smoothies, baked goods, and soups. Keep in mind that rice milk is not as thick as coconut milk, so the amount used may need to be adjusted to get the required consistency. Furthermore, rice milk may not be appropriate for dishes that call for the smoothness of coconut milk, such as curries.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup rice milk.
5. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk, made from hemp seeds, has a light and nutty flavor and is also loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a nutritious substitute for coconut milk, especially in recipes that would benefit from a lighter milk flavor.
Hemp milk may be utilized in smoothies, baked items, and sauces. When substituting it for coconut milk, start with a 1:1 ratio. However, you should know that hemp milk is significantly thinner and has a watery consistency. So, you may need to add a thickening agent to get the right balance.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup hemp milk.
6. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is made by blending cashews with water, offering a great option for anybody seeking a vegan and dairy-free alternative to coconut milk. It has a nutty flavor and is naturally sweet, making it a good option in desserts.
Cashew milk is a versatile ingredient that may be used to make soups, sauces, smoothies, and baked items. When substituting it for coconut milk, use it in equal amounts, and you can then add more if needed. Compared to other milk alternatives, cashew milk has a richer consistency, so it’s perfect for making creamy dairy-free ice creams as well as vegan cheese sauces and dips.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup coconut milk.
7. Whole Milk or Heavy Cream
Whole milk and heavy cream are both high in fat and calories, making them attractive choices for anybody looking for a creamy, thick substitute for coconut milk. And despite the lack of coconut taste, both options offer a creamy consistency and a rich flavor that is comparable to coconut milk.
Whole milk and heavy cream are versatile ingredients that may be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, curries, and desserts. They’re also fantastic for baking since they add a lot of flavor to baked products. If you’re using only whole milk, you might want to add a pinch of cornstarch to the mixture to thicken it and make it more like coconut milk.
Suggested ratio: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup whole milk or heavy cream.