Open a can of coconut milk and not sure what else to do with it? This meal prep hacks post is all about using canned coconut milk 3 ways. Discover easy recipes ranging from soup to coffee creamer to one-pot dinners to desserts, all using inexpensive canned coconut milk!
At least once a week the same question comes up on my social media channels “what do I do with the rest of my canned coconut milk?”
I get it – who wants to open a full can of coconut milk for like a tablespoon, then let it sit in the fridge and go to waste?! Not this girl!
Canned coconut milk usually comes in two forms – regular otherwise known as ‘full-fat’ coconut milk, and light coconut milk. Some brands also offer canned coconut cream, which is basically the same thing as full-fat coconut milk.
- Light coconut milk is coconut cream diluted with water. It’s thinner and may be more suitable for soups and thinner creams.
- Full-fat coconut milk and coconut cream is suitable for thickening a sauce, in baked goods, or frozen treats. I’ll explain more below.
I use full-fat, canned coconut milk the most when making recipes or incorporating in random meals. Why? I like the thicker consistency and feel it yields the best results when being the most versatile form. You can always thin out full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream with water if needed.
Don’t be alarmed if you open a can of coconut milk and there’s a solidified cream at the top and thick, syrup-like water in the bottom – it’s totally normal. If a recipe calls for coconut cream – that stuff at the top is what you want! If a recipe calls for full-fat coconut milk, I’ll usually blend the cream and the liquid together so it’s the same consistency as heavy cream.
But not all canned coconut milk will have the thick cream separation at the top – it really depends on the brand. If you need coconut cream and your can is already mixed once you open, you can usually scoop out thicker parts of the milk and still use it in recipes calling for coconut cream.
Phew, now that we got the basics covered, let’s dive in to all the ways to use canned coconut milk!
Canned Coconut Milk 3 Ways
#1: Coffee Creamer
Using coconut milk as coffee creamer is hands down my favorite way to use it. I’ve been a fan of coconut milk as a creamer in my morning coffee for 4+ years now, and have never looked back! I’ll blend a can of full-fat coconut milk until well-combined and store in the refrigerator all week, then add a few spoonfuls to my coffee every day. So easy and so creamy! But if flavored creamers are more your gig, try this Paleo Snickers Coffee Creamer.
And if pumpkin spice is more your jam during those cool, fall mornings, this pumpkin spice lattes is just the ticket.Print
Canned Coconut Milk 3 Ways – Recipe #1 Pumpkin Spice Latte
This healthier, lightened-up version of the classic pumpkin spice latte is a naturally sweetened, paleo, and dairy free treat you can make at home for just pennies.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 minute
- Total Time: 3 minutes
- Yield: 1 serving 1x
- 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream
- Brew coffee and pour into a blender
- Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, coconut cream (full-fat coconut milk)
- Blend well and serve!
#2: Soups and Creams
Canned coconut milk is SO perfect to make soups extra creamy, one-pot meals totally comforting, and baked casseroles THAT much better. When a traditional recipe calls for heavy cream, simply swap it out with full-fat coconut milk for a paleo and dairy free version of the same recipe.
Try this Chicken Cauliflower Coconut Curry Soup.
Canned Coconut Milk 3 Ways – Recipe #2 Chicken Cauliflower Coconut Curry Soup
This easy meal is made in just minutes and is paleo and Whole30 compliant. Double the recipe if serving a family!
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1-2 servings 1x
- 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup cauliflower florets (cut in small florets)
- juice of one lime
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- optional: fresh cilantro and raw cashews
- Pour the coconut milk in a small pot over stovetop
- Add the lime juice, ground ginger, Thai curry paste, and salt. Mix well
- Place the cauliflower florets in the coconut milk and bring the liquid to a boil. Once a boil is reached, lower the heat and bring to a simmer
- Cut the chicken breast into cubes and add to the pot
- Continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the cauliflower has softened slightly
- Top with fresh cilantro and raw cashews if desired
And other recipes like these!
This Creamy Mushroom Sage Chicken or this Turkey Spinach Artichoke Hash are super comforting one-pot meals, or these Grain Free Leftover Turkey Pot Pies, all using coconut milk in the ingredient lists. Don’t worry, these won’t taste coconutty at all!
Canned coconut milk is perfect for making decadent desserts, the dairy free way! Everything from frozen treats to brownies to balls. Here are some ways I use coconut milk in healthy treats. It’s one of the sweetest (and arguably best) forms of this canned coconut 3 ways post!
Coconut milk can also be used to make rich chocolate pudding. Here’s a recipe for one I used in my Chocolate Chia Pecan Pie Parfaits.Print
Canned Coconut Milk 3 Ways – Recipe #3 Chocolate Pudding
Rich and decadent chocolate pudding. Dairy free and naturally sweetened using just three simple ingredients!
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Combine the coconut cream, cocoa powder, and maple syrup. Stir well (or blend)
- Refrigerate at least one hour
And there you have it! Time to make canned coconut milk a pantry staple for simple meals you and the whole family will love!
Find out other ways you can use one ingredient three ways with these posts below: