You may think of coconut as mere shreds of chewy sweetness that top dessert, but there are healthier reasons to consider the humble coconut. Cooking with coconut milk brings in a sweet, creamy flavor.
It’s lactose-free and lower in carbohydrates than regular dairy milk.
If you cook for people on a restricted diet; whether vegan, low-carb, or dairy-free, these recipes with coconut milk are elevated to perfection by the addition of coconut milk.
If you’re wondering what to cook with coconut milk, we’ve got everything from breakfasts to desserts. There are dishes to love in this list of coconut milk recipes.
1. Coconut Rice
Making Coconut Rice is just as easy as making plain steamed rice. You simply add the coconut milk in with the water, salt, and a pinch of sugar. This is one of the best uses for coconut milk.
This side pairs perfectly with Asian-inspired curries and just about any kind of spicy or savory dish. It works on the stovetop or in your electric rice cooker. You can top this dish with herbs, cilantro, or diced fruit.
Tip: Be sure to rinse your raw jasmine rice with water until it runs clear to remove the starch for fluffier rice.
2. Coconut Ice Cream
If you’re on a restricted diet, you may be missing ice cream terribly. We’ve got the solution! Coconut Ice Cream is a delicious and healthy way to satisfy your cravings.
Even if you’re not a fan of coconut, the base of ice cream is coconut milk, and it has a far more subtle flavor than shredded coconut.
You can also flavor this coconut milk recipe with coffee, chocolate chips, or your favorite fruit flavors. The possibilities are exciting. Use sugar or your favorite sugar substitute, even maple syrup to sweeten and flavor this delightful dessert.
3. Coconut Milk Cake
This moist and tasty cake uses both shredded coconut and coconut milk combined to make a delicious coffee or snack cake that everyone will love.
Scratch cakes are so much better than mixes. Don’t be afraid, they are not hard to make. The result is so worth the little bit of extra effort to put it all together.
You can substitute your favorite sugar substitute for white sugar if you are looking for a sugar-free option.
This recipe is not dairy-free unless you substitute dairy-free butter. If you do, expect the flavor to be a bit less rich.
4. Thai Chicken Coconut Curry
Simply reading this recipe makes our mouths water. This is a healthy and deliciously savory dish with an amazing depth of flavor. It’s only 4 carbs per serving (before you add rice or naan).
The spice blend is the perfect balance with the creaminess and taste of coconut milk. You can’t go wrong with garlic and ginger.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the Thai red curry paste. It gives the dish the perfect amount of bite. Don’t forget the fresh lime. Lime juice brightens the flavors and brings out the amazing curry taste.
5. Coconut Milk Chicken Breasts
This Coconut Milk Chicken Breast recipe cooks up tender and savory in just one pan! The spice profile along with the onion and tomato gives this canned coconut recipe a wonderful depth of flavor.
You can adjust the cumin and paprika to your personal taste, adding more cayenne for an extra kick of spice.
This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can also substitute dark meat chicken if you prefer.
This dish works with fresh or canned tomato. Use Mexican blend (with peppers and onion) and diced tomatoes for another layer of flavor.
6. Creamy Coconut Smoothie
This is one of our favorite healthy coconut milk recipes. Simply substitute coconut milk for Greek yogurt and use your favorite fruits to whip up this amazing smoothie.
Coconut milk is a fantastic dairy-free option that adds a wonderful creaminess and level of sweetness to your recipe.
Try it with banana and strawberry or blueberry. Add some chia seeds or vanilla whey powder for a protein boost.
You’re going to want to make these the next time you’re craving a smoothie for breakfast or a post-workout snack.
7. Easy 2 Ingredient Coconut Yogurt
What can I make with coconut milk? Yogurt! It’s true. Two simple ingredients and you can make your own healthy coconut milk yogurt. All it takes is some probiotic capsules and of course, coconut milk, a little bit of time, and you’ve got delicious Greek-style non-dairy yogurt.
It takes a day or two to activate, then once it does, you simply refrigerate, and enjoy!
Top this coconut yogurt with fruit, seeds, or further sweeten with a little maple syrup or agave.
Coconut milk yogurt has the same creaminess and tangy flavor without lactose. It’s a healthy recipe the entire family can enjoy.
8. Coconut Chia Pudding
Want a rich and tasty treat for breakfast or dessert? Try this Coconut Chia Pudding. It’s easy to make with light coconut milk. and the high protein boost of Chia seeds.
This is a great one to make ahead and refrigerate or freeze. You can sweeten this treat further by adding a little maple syrup or honey. A topping of your favorite fruit preserves can be substituted for sweetness.
You can change up this recipe by adding the crunch of granola, nuts, or seeds, or by adding some flavored whey protein powder for chocolate or vanilla flavoring.
9. Coconut Fish Curry
This recipe for Coconut Fish Curry is a savory and delicious dish that fills your craving for Indian or Asian-inspired spice blends.
The secret ingredient in this dish is the shrimp paste and coriander. These two ingredients add yet another layer of flavor to this wonderful seafood dish.
You can substitute any hearty fish for the hake. It needs to be substantial enough to stand up to the sauce and spices. We recommend you keep the prawns but be careful not to overcook your fish.
10. Sweet Coconut Oatmeal
This Sweet Coconut Oatmeal is one of our favorite recipes using coconut milk. It’s uncomplicated and delicious and elevates your boring oatmeal to a whole other level.
This is a recipe that you can make ahead and reheat in the microwave. It’s great for busy mornings on the run out the door to get kids to school or when you’re running late for work.
Sweeten with honey and brown sugar or your favorite sweetener. The whole family will love the creamy texture and flavors of coconut milk and cinnamon. Add some fruit for another layer of taste and texture.
11. Coconut Milk Pancakes
This Coconut Milk Pancake recipe is a great alternative to plain or buttermilk. The addition of canned coconut milk gives your pancakes a fluffy texture and great taste.
The secret ingredient to this recipe is coconut oil for that extra layer of coconutty flavor. If you want, even more, add some shredded coconut into the batter as you cook, or top your pancakes with some shreds.
The trick to making these perfect coconut pancakes is not to overwork your batter and to let it sit for a few minutes before you start cooking the pancakes.
12. Coconut Milk French Toast
Here’s a delightful dairy-free recipe for lovers of the classic French toast. Use light or full-fat coconut milk for a creamy and rich texture and nutty flavor.
The trick to making excellent French toast is to use bread that is a bit stale. This coconut milk recipe lends itself to more rustic, heartier bread.
Top your French toast with fruit, powdered sugar, jam, or your favorite syrup for a rich and decadent flavor that your entire family will love.
13. Thai Coconut Soup
This Thai Coconut Soup recipe with lemongrass gives you an authentic Thai flavor that rivals your favorite restaurant’s coconut soup. This recipe is sure to be a favorite at your table.
The secret ingredient in this soup is the fish sauce. This sauce along with the addition of mushrooms gives this soup the wonderful umami depth of flavor that elevates this version of coconut soup to a higher level.
You can reduce the amount of coconut milk in the recipe for a more subtle flavor or substitute vegetable or fish stock for one can of coconut milk.
14. Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry is a delightful vegetarian dish with all of the Indian-inspired spices and flavor you’ve been craving.
This dish uses straight turmeric, but you can substitute red or green curry paste to add variety. Yellow lentils can be substituted for brown lentils. It’s all about the color and variety of this dish.
Adjust the cayenne pepper and curry seasoning to your personal taste.
Serve with your favorite jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro for a beautiful presentation.
This dish saves well, and even tastes better on the second or third day after the flavors have a chance to meld.
15. Coconut Bread Pudding
This might be the most decadent and delicious bread pudding recipe you will ever undertake. Coconut Bread Pudding is a wonderfully sweet and rich dessert that is sure to be a hit at any holiday gathering or potluck event.
This is a versatile recipe. Try it with other flavors or use raisin or cinnamon bread substituted for the French loaf called for in the recipe.
You can increase or decrease the volume of coconut flavor by the amount of extract you use or substitute almond, vanilla, or rum flavor in place of the coconut extract. This recipe allows you to be creative and work with what you have on hand.
16. Coconut Milk Latte
This Coconut Milk Latte is a Starbucks copycat recipe with some additions. It’s a delightful and dairy-free version that you’re going to want to perfect.
Now you can have your favorite Coconut Milk Latte, without the travel and expense. This is a great recipe to delight your friends at your next brunch or get-together.
It tastes more authentic without the vanilla and cinnamon, but we think it’s better with that addition. You can be the judge and decide for yourself.
17. Curry-Coconut Sauce
This Curry-Coconut Sauce is one that you’re going to want to perfect and keep in your personal sauces for special occasions; like Tuesday. This is a sauce that works for veggies, chicken, shrimp, or other seafood.
It’s easy to prepare, and you can adjust the level of spice to your dish and your personal preference by adjusting the curry spice and the red pepper flakes.
You can omit the salt if you’re using soy sauce. We recommend you use the low sodium version for best results.
18. Coconut Golden Milk
Golden Milk has been used in Ayurveda for nutritional health for thousands of years.
It’s become more widely known in recent years as a delightfully tasty and healthful beverage that supports overall health and gives a warm feeling any time of year.
This recipe for Coconut Golden Milk is a dairy-free version that you can make on your stovetop for a warm and nutritious beverage before bed or whenever you crave something warm and comforting.
If you plan on adding honey to sweeten your Golden Milk, be sure to add the honey last.
Fun fact: Honey loses its beneficial properties when you heat it up.
19. Coconut Creamed Corn
Creamed corn is a summer staple for most of us. This Coconut Creamed Corn recipe is a spicier take on the standard southern version.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the red pepper flake. It’s optional in this recipe, but we recommend it for another layer of flavor in this delicious corn side dish.
Take this coconut creamed corn to your next summer BBQ or get-together and you can be sure you’ll have lots of requests for the recipe.
20. Dairy-Free Mango-Coconut Pudding
This Dairy-Free Mango Coconut Pudding is one of the best around Its two ingredients. Mangoes and coconut cream combine to make a delicious and creamy treat that we predict will be your secret recipe for every special occasion.
This is a simple and elegant presentation. Top with a sprig of mint and some minced mango or your favorite seeds.
Be sure to chill your coconut cream before blending for the best results. You can add or substitute your favorite fruits for variety. Orange-Mango and Pineapple-Mango are two other winning combinations
21. Easy Coconut Milk Alfredo Sauce
This recipe is a rich and tasty Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce that uses nutritional yeast and tapioca starch to give the sauce a cheesy taste and thicker consistency.
The secret ingredient in this dish is liquid smoke. This is an optional ingredient but we recommend that you include it for the delightful smoky layer of flavor it provides when it melds with coconut milk.
The best thing about this sauce is that it’s not just for pasta. This sauce works with chicken and vegetable dishes and with rice as well.
22. Poached Cod In Coconut Milk
The strong and savory spices are tempered by the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk in this poached cod recipe.
Saute your aromatics then add the milk and chili paste or blended chilis. You can substitute tomato paste for a sweeter and milder sauce.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the fish sauce. It gives a deeper flavor profile to this delightful cod recipe.
Tip: Be sure to monitor the cooking of the fish fillets once you add them to the sauce. The biggest mistake people make is overcooking the fish.
23. Make Your Own Coconut Milk
Did you ever want to make a coconut milk recipe and realize you didn’t have any coconut milk? The good news is you can make your own with just a couple of simple ingredients.
Toss them in the blender along with anything you want to use to sweeten or flavor the milk and blend it to the right consistency. If it’s too thick, you can add water to thin it out a bit.
This milk when sweetened makes for a great additive to any recipe or as a stand-alone coffee creamer or base for coconut ice cream.
24. Simple Coconut Frosting
This Simple Coconut Frosting works as a dairy and egg-free frosting for any kind of baked good.
You can substitute coconut cream for the milk for a thicker texture and stronger coconut flavor. If you still want more coconut taste, top your frosting with some shredded coconut.
This frosting makes a beautiful presentation on any kind of cake, cupcake, or snack cake. It’s so easy to make and always well-received no matter the occasion.
You can use vegetable-based food coloring to make this any color you choose based on what you’re serving.
25. Tofu Coconut Curry
This Tofu Coconut Curry is one of those one-pan wonders that’s ready inside of an hour and tastes like you’ve been cooking all day.
This one is vegan and vegetarian friendly and oh so tasty! Tofu takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it in, so this dish is going to be filled with garlic and ginger, coconut, and curry.
This is the perfect dish for your meatless Monday or any day of the week. This works over rice, noodles, or veggies and has the delightful creaminess of the coconut and curry spices and crunch of the vegetables.
26. Thai Pumpkin Soup
There’s nothing better than a savory warm soup on a cold day, and this Thai Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk is one of the best.
This is a one-pot meal that melds the flavors of pumpkin, ginger, and cilantro (coriander), with coconut milk for a delicate balance that makes this soup a favorite wherever you serve it.
Use your immersion blender to get this soup to the perfect smooth consistency. Garnish with a swirl of coconut cream and parsley or cilantro and serve.
27. Thai Banana in Coconut Milk
It doesn’t matter if you want this Thai Banana in Coconut Milk for dessert, a snack, or even for breakfast. This combination just works no matter what time of day you serve it.
This is a naturally sweet dish so you don’t need to further sweeten it. A pinch of salt helps to contrast the flavors. If you really want it sweeter you can add agave or a dollop of maple syrup.
The trick to perfecting this dish is to time it and pay attention so you don’t overcook the banana or it will be too mushy.
28. Creamy Vegan Milk Chocolate
Oh. My. Goodness. This Creamy Vegan Milk Chocolate using coconut sugar is one of the best recipes we’ve found for a sweet and chocolaty treat.
It’s low in sugar and uses coconut cream and coconut oil. In spite of this, the coconut flavor is not overpowering.
You can use either raw cacao powder or unsweetened cacao powder for amazing results. We can almost guarantee that this vegan milk chocolate will disappear in a hurry.
Tip: Use your coconut cream at room temperature, not chilled, for best results.
29. Coconut Tres Leches
This Coconut tres leches cake is exactly what it says it is. Three different types of milk and two kinds of flour combine to make this cake a delightful take on the traditional Tres Leches.
This recipe delivers a rich and nuanced set of sweet flavors as expected with a distinct coconut layer in the mix. The toasted coconut is what takes it over the top.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the lime zest. This burst of citrus flavor is a wonderful surprise amidst the sweetness of the cake.
30. Creamy Coconut Mixed Berry Popsicles
These Creamy Coconut Mixed Berry Popsicles are certain to be a crowd-pleaser at your next get-together or summer BBQ.
They’re so tasty and easy to make that you might find yourself making them all year round, even in winter.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can use the core ingredients and change up the fruit blend to suit whatever is in season.
So make the mixed berry, and make some pineapple, peach, or creamy orange. The possibilities are endless. So break out the popsicle molds and get busy!
31. Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink
If you like the original, you’re going to love this Starbucks Copycat Pink Drink. It’s a sweet and fresh-tasting concoction that you can make for any brunch or luncheon.
This refreshing coconut milk recipe boasts fresh fruit and passion tea that is sure to be a hit no matter when you serve it.
If the sweetness of the coconut milk and fresh strawberries isn’t enough, you can add a splash of agave or maple syrup to sweeten it to your preference.
32. Coconut Milk Cookies
This recipe for coconut milk cookies is easy and yields chewy, sweet carob or choco-chip coconut cookies that are bound to be a favorite at your house.
The secret ingredient in these cookies is brown sugar, which gives the cookies a more substantial texture and taste than plain white sugar.
You can use canned coconut milk or make your own according to the recipe included with the cookie instructions. We recommend unsweetened coconut shreds and full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream for best results.
32 Easy Coconut Milk Recipes
- 2 cup long grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Combine rice, coconut milk, salt, water, and sugar in a large pot over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Remove the pot from the burner and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork before serving.
- Top with sesame seeds (optional).