Whether it’s due to personal preferences or unavailability, you can count on one of these 5 top coconut milk substitutes to save the day!
Coconut milk is one of the most loved ingredients that make dishes taste creamy and dreamy, from savory curries to sweet desserts. But what happens when you are out of coconut milk or need to avoid it for other reasons, such as personal preferences or unavailability That’s when coconut milk substitutes come to the rescue!
Our top picks for coconut milk substitutes are:
- Almond Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Soy Milk
- Oat Milk
- Greek Yogurt
As to which is the best substitute, that decision is up to you! But before we discuss each in detail to help you decide, let’s first understand coconut milk and what makes it a popular choice.
Understanding Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a creamy liquid came from the flesh of coconuts, often associated with tropical regions. But its delicious flavor has made it a staple in diverse global cuisines.
It’s simply made by blending scraped coconut kernel with water and then straining the mixture through a strainer.
This alternative to dairy milk offers a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that works wonders in curries, soups, and desserts. Its addition to recipes provides a luxurious and smooth texture that’s challenging to replicate.
Even so, there are great alternatives that come pretty close and might be better options for some people.
Top Substitutes for Coconut Milk
To help you decide which substitute to go for, I’ll discuss their flavor, how they compare to coconut milk, and the dishes they work best in.
It’s suitable for dishes where the coconut’s creamy texture isn’t essential. You can incorporate it into smoothies, soups, sauces, and baked goods.
Use almond milk in a 1:1 ratio with coconut milk in most recipes.
Pro tip: Add a thickener, such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder, to achieve the same consistency as coconut milk if you want to attain that texture.
While cashew milk lacks the tropical undertone of coconut milk, it can be an effective substitute for coconut milk due to its creamy texture and mild flavor.
It works well in curries, soups, desserts, and sauces where coconut milk is typically used.
Use the same amount of cashew milk as you would for coconut milk.
Soy milk can serve as an potential substitute for coconut milk, especially for those looking for different plant-based options. Its fat content is slightly lower than coconut milk’s, and it isn’t as thick.
Given that soy milk has a distinctive bean-like taste, you can introduce coconut flavoring to your soy milk to somewhat mimic the topical and slightly sweet taste of coconut milk.
For most recipes, replace coconut milk with soy milk at a 1:1 ratio.
Oat milk proves to be a superb choice for lattés or coffee beverages. Unlike coconut milk, which is rich in fat and ideal for creating coffee foam, oat milk offers a moderate fat content. It doesn’t curdle easily, so it’s good for high-heat recipes. It’s naturally sweet, but doesn’t have the tropical flavor of coconut milk.
Substitute oatmilk for coconut milk at a 1:1 ratio.
While Greek yogurt might not be the first option you consider, it can be a clever stand-in for coconut milk, thanks to its luxuriously thick texture.
Keep in mind that Greek yogurt is tangy, while coconut milk is tropical and mildly sweet. This difference can affect a dish’s flavor, so you might need to tweak seasonings or other ingredients.
To substitute, mix 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of water for every cup of coconut milk needed
Pro tip: You can opt for coconut-flavored Greek yogurt for an extra touch of coconut flavor.
How to Use Substitutes in Recipes
Now that you have these coconut milk substitutes, how do you use them in your favorite recipes? Here’s a guide on using these substitutes effectively.
- Start with equal measurements. As a starting point, use a 1:1 ratio when substituting. Depending on the substitute’s consistency or potency, adjustments may be needed.
- Taste as you go. Especially when dealing with flavor substitutes, always taste your dish as you add the substitute to ensure the flavor remains balanced.
- Adjust for consistency. Remember that not all substitutes have the same consistency as coconut milk. If you’re aiming for a creamier texture, consider adding a touch of cornstarch or flour.
- Flavor tweaks. Since substitutes have their distinct flavors, you might need to adjust the seasoning to match your taste. A pinch of salt or a dash of sugar can make a big difference.
- Experiment. Cooking is an adventure, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Try different substitutes in your favorite recipes and see which one you like best.
The bottom line
Sometimes, you have to be creative and work with what you have. Whether you go for almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, oat milk, or Greek yogurt, the key is to embrace the flexibility in cooking and cater to your taste preferences.
This approach allows for culinary exploration, opening up new avenues of flavor and texture. Also, it turns moments of scarcity or limitation into opportunities for innovation and fresh twists in your dishes.
More About Coconut Milk
- Almond Milk - 1:1
- Cashew Milk - 1:1
- Soy Milk - 1:1
- Oat Milk - 1:1
- Greek Yogurt - 3/4 c yogurt + 1/4 c water for 1 c coconut milk
- Replace coconut milk with one of our 5 recommended options.
- Use one of the above ratios when substituting for coconut milk in a recipe.