53 Recipes To Make With A Can of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk doesn’t deserve to be put in a ‘soups and stews’ box. Its rich flavor and creamy texture can enhance everything from seafood to casseroles. Coconut milk's light sweetness lends itself well to desserts and breakfast breads, while the natural fats can tone down even the most overwhelming spices. With the wide variety of dishes you can make from a single can, coconut milk deserves a shelf in your pantry year-round.
Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef
This single-skillet supper is a quick ticket to rich, exotic flavor. Don't shake the coconut milk before opening; you want to keep the thick cream layer separated.
Satay Soba Noodle Bowl
It’s amazing how many delicious meals can come from a can of coconut milk, and little nut butter, and a handful of other pantry staples. Here, with a rich and creamy shortcut satay sauce, soba noodles and frozen edamame are transformed into a scrumptious vegetarian main within a matter of minutes. In other words, during extra-chaotic weeks (as in, so chaotic you haven’t made it to the grocery store lately), this speedy supper is here for you. If you want to customize the dish with other fresh ingredients, go for it! This noodle bowl is a great base for creativity. If you just happened to have a block of tofu in the fridge, go ahead and crisp it up in some oil and add layer it on top of the noodles—you won’t be sorry.
Coconut Milk Shrimp
"I grew up with this recipe in northeast Brazil," says Perlla Fonvielle. These days, she makes it with wild Oregon shrimp.
Thai Chicken Pizza
Lemon-Coconut Chess Bars
Coconut milk adds a hint of tropical flavor to these delightfully tangy bars. From bake sales to bridal showers, these bars are perfect for entertaining. For the smoothest filling, whisk together the dry ingredients, and then stir in the wet ingredients until smooth. This will prevent tiny lumps of flour from forming.
Roasted Carrot and Coconut Soup
Avocado and coconut milk give this vegetarian soup a decadent, buttery texture; fiber-rich lentils and beans make it surprisingly filling. Keep your pantry stocked with these staples to help you throw this soup together in no time.
Thai Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls
Add fresh curry paste to canned coconut milk and nut butter, and you have an instant, wonderfully complex satay sauce. Use as a dip, in stir-fries, or drizzled on this gluten-free veggie bowl.
Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Coconut and pecans are a match made in Southern dessert heaven, so these cupcakes are divine. Coconut extract and coconut milk (be sure to shake the can) make the pecan-filled cake taste and smell sensational.
Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Coconut-Curry Tempeh Bowls
Be sure to cook the tempeh until golden brown and crisp to add a nice layer of nutty flavor to this dish.
Coconut Snowball Sundae
Most of us are probably under the impression that making ice cream is hard. Not everyone has an ice cream maker conveniently tucked away at home for such occasions, which has us often reaching for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or Talenti Gelato. However, this homemade Coconut Snowball Sundae only has 10 grams of sugar per serving (in comparison, many store-bought ice creams can have upwards of 30 grams) and also has zero cholesterol. While we can’t encourage choosing ice cream as a healthy snack option, our Coconut Snowball Sundae is a smart choice if you’re planning to indulge. Making ice cream is as easy as whisking together five ingredients, pouring them into a pan, and freezing for four hours. Seriously! Once frozen, remove the ice cream from the pan, coarsely chop it, throw the pieces into a blender and process until you have a smooth, creamy texture. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about a minute (yum!), and drizzle over your ice cream. And that’s all, dessert lovers. But if you want a healthier take on a sundae, skip the hot fudge and top off a bowl of coconut ice cream with toasted unsweetened coconut flakes and almonds, fresh stemmed cherries, and mint sprigs.
Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)
This classic chicken and coconut soup gets its rich and dynamic flavor from quintessential Thai ingredients: coconut milk, lemongrass, fresh ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, chile paste, basil, and cilantro. While warming and thoroughly comforting, this dish comes together incredibly quickly. Of course, it's even better the next day after the flavors have had time to rest and fully meld within the thick and satisfying, savory-sweet broth. Just saying--doubling this recipe to guarantee leftovers wouldn't be a terrible idea.
These succulent spiced ribs are sure to make their way into your most-requested slow cooker recipes repertoire. Simmering low and slow in coconut milk and a rich combination of aromatics allows these pork ribs to gently cook to tender, flavorful perfection. Serve them over a bed of warm basmati rice. And if you find yourself with leftovers, shred the meat from the bones and layer into corn tortillas with fresh toppings for a serious taco upgrade.
Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
Sublimely creamy, this is the perfect make-ahead dessert.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
We love the heat level in this slow cooker take on tikka masala to fend off winter chill. If the spice kick is too much for your family, you can cut the red pepper down by half without losing any of the dynamic flavor layers.
Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Soup
This velvety-smooth sweet potato soup feels like fall and tastes company-worthy sophisticated, but it’s ready to serve in under 30 minutes. How? We tap a flavor-packed store-bought satay sauce to serve as the base of the soup, and the rest is easy. Thai peanut satay sauce delivers bold, complex flavors—from elements like garlic, lemongrass, coconut milk, and warming spices—with only as much effort as it takes to open the bottle on your end. We opted for Thai Kitchen brand sauce, but feel free to use whatever brand you like. This flavorful soup is equally awesome for a weeknight dinner as it is as an opening course for a holiday dinner party, and no one would ever guess it’s as easy as it is to whip up. Plus, this Thai-inspired bowl of comfort is completely vegan, making it a great option to serve when entertaining friends who maintain a plant-based diet. It’s also a great option to prep on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week. To save even more time, go for pre-chopped onions.
Coconut Lime Chia Pudding Pops
Cool-down with a nutritious and creamy, summer treat. Don't have a popsicle mold? That's ok. Use a mason jar! Mix ingredients in a small mason jar, shake, add crushed raspberries, a spoonful of chia pudding, and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. Not only is this method mess-free but it's also super cute!
Chicken Saté Wraps
Coconut milk, curry powder, and peanut butter bring Indonesian flair to a quick-fix sandwich.
The complex flavors of this Thai curry come from powdered coconut milk and peanut butter, plus multiple kinds of dehydrated vegetables. For a faster option than boil-in-bag rice, you can bring instant. The recipe comes from the outdoor cooking experts behind the blog Dirty Gourmet, dirtygourmet.com.
GEAR Nalgene bottle (for measuring), 2-qt. backpacking saucepan, backpacking stove and fuel, small knife, spork, small cutting board, backpacking ladle
Tyler Malek's Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Soft-Serve
Tyler Malek, head ice cream maker for Salt & Straw, is known for inventive flavors like this one. Roasting makes the berries extra juicy, and coconut cream makes the soft-serve nice and rich. It's a great choice for vegans. For ice-cream-parlor styling, you can pipe the soft-serve into ice cream cones using a large pastry bag fitted with a wide star tip. Or just scoop it into bowls.
Instant Pot Coconut Rice
This easy recipe for coconut rice couldn’t be more simple or delicious. Ready in just 20 minutes, it makes the perfect delicately sweet and nutty base for any of your favorite curry recipes. Once you have the basic formula for making Instant Pot rice down, you can branch out with other flavor profiles as well, such as saffron rice and green rice.
Vegetable and Chickpea Curry
Aromatic Indian spices mingle with chickpeas, green beans, and potatoes. Coconut milk is stirred into the cooked curry for a creamy finish. Serve over quick-cooking couscous.
Ultimate Coconut Cake
"Ultimate" is no exaggeration here—this cake features coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut extract, and (of course) flaked coconut. Given this cake's incredibly moist layers, intense coconut flavor, and lighter-than-air filling, our test kitchen chefs fought over the leftovers.
Sheet Pan Thai Red Curry Mussels
Easy weeknight dinners don’t get any more impressive than these sheet pan mussels. Bold aromatics come together with curry paste and rich coconut milk for an incredible broth that goes right on the sheet pan to steam the mussels and infuse them with flavor. We keep the prep time low on this restaurant-quality dish by opting for prepared ginger, garlic, and lemongrass paste; however, feel free to substitute fresh, whole ingredients. In fact, if you have some time to spare, you could even try your hand at making your own curry paste.
Salmon with Coconut Lime Cilantro Sauce
Mustard seeds add flavor and crunch to this sauce, inspired by Samin Nosrat's Indian chutney in her new book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (Simon & Schuster, $35). We love it on salmon, with spiced coconut rice (basmati rice mixed with toasted mustard seeds and unsweetened shredded coconut).
Wine pairing: La Follette 2014 Chardonnay (North Coast; $22).
Curried Cauliflower Gratin
Serve this hearty side over cooked brown rice for a meatless main dish.
Piña Colada Sorbet
Three kinds of coconut products—coconut water and milk and cream of coconut—offer the best flavor and texture. Look for coconut water by the fruit juices. For an adult treat, drizzle rum over your serving.
Golden Milk Tea
Turmeric is the golden child (pun intended) of the nutrition world, loved for possible benefits such as lowering inflammation and blood sugar levels, boosting brain health, and more. Here it’s steeped with rich coconut milk, and the combo is touted to help you sleep better. The warm, soothing sipper is reminiscent of chai tea; however, unlike traditional chai, which can be quite sweet, this drink is just barely sweetened to allow the spices to shine. Be sure to use refrigerated coconut milk (found with soy milk and nut milks in the dairy case) and not canned coconut milk.
Chicken Curry Moon Pies
Toasting the cumin brings out its flavor, and a bit of Madras curry powder makes this a savory pie that's as appealing to grown-ups as it is to kids.
Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake
Layer crisp meringues and coconut cream to make a fabulous and flourless dessert that works for Passover celebrations or anytime you need a dairy- and gluten-free dessert that impresses. Coconut cream has a rich texture and subtle sweetness and also happens to be dairy free. Look for canned coconut cream (not coconut milk, coconut water, or cream of coconut), and chill it well before you whip it up.
Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut-Lime Sauce
Mango sticky rice is a sweet, creamy, and tangy dessert that's popular street fare in Thailand. Luckily, you won’t have to cross the Pacific to enjoy this Thai treat—we’ve devised an easy way to make sticky rice with mango at home. Find sticky rice, also called Thai sweet rice or glutinous rice, at Asian markets. The traditional method calls for soaking the rice overnight, then steaming it in a bamboo steamer basket. Our clever method steams the rice in a shallow perforated metal colander placed inside a pot of boiling water (you can also use a mesh colander, but it’s more difficult to clean). While the sticky rice steams, cut the mango and whip up the indulgent coconut-lime sauce. Cooked sticky rice doesn’t keep well, so for the best flavor and texture, enjoy this dish as soon as possible.
Who knew that a ripe avocado could add such a rich flavor and silky smooth texture to a batch of homemade popsicles? With a pop of fresh citrus juice and sweetened with a little agave nectar, these fun, kid-approved frozen desserts are the perfect summer treat.