Here at Delish, we always have a can (or two or three) of coconut milk in our kitchen cabinets. Why? Because that simple can can spin So many basic ingredients to a delicious meal, from breakfast to dessert. From special occasions to easy weeknight dinners, there’s a recipe here for everyone. Check out our list of 40 coconut milk recipes – you’d be coconuts not to try them.
If you’re not familiar with cooking with coconut milk, let’s break it down for you: For these recipes, you’ll want to find the kind, which is a blended combination of water and coconut meat. There’s also boxed coconut-free milk, which has a much higher concentration of water than coconut meat, and coconut water, the liquid found in young green coconuts — neither will work well here. If you’ve ever opened a can of coconut milk and noticed that the coconut cream has risen to the top, don’t worry. You can use both parts for most coconut milk recipes, but if you want an extra creamy coconut flavor, put your can in the fridge to let them separate and only use the coconut cream on it. This is especially useful in dessert or drink recipes such as our coconut coconut lemonade, our lemon coconut pie, our vegan cheesecake or our coconut ice cream. Be careful not to accidentally mix it with cream by coconut, to which sugar is often added.
Coconut milk is popular in many Asian cuisines and you may have come across it in Thai and Indian food. We’d be remiss not to highlight one of coconut milk’s best ingredient friends: curry powder or paste. We love the flavor profile, whether we’re slurping down a bowl of comforting soup noodles, like our Thai coconut noodles with red curry or our creamy ramen soup with chicken; ladle sauce over seafood, as in our salmon with coconut curry; marinate chicken, as in our curry chicken & garlic golden rice; or feast on a thick and tasty stew, such as our coconut chicken curry or our ribeye panang curry. They’re the perfect match because coconut milk can help calm the curry spice without diminishing the flavors.
Coconut milk is also a great way to take your average pasta and rice dishes to the next level. Try making coconut rice, and we bet you won’t be making plain white rice for a while. Make it into a casserole, such as our Chicken and Coconut Rice Casserole, or serve it with your favorite protein, such as in our Mahi Mahi with Avocado Crema. Try adding it to some of your old standbys — we’ve added it and miso to our favorite bolognese, and now have a new favorite weeknight pasta dinner.