What To Do With Leftover Coconut Milk: A Complete Guide and Delicious Recipes!

If you are wondering what to do with leftover coconut milk, we have various creative and tasty ideas to use every last drop. 

Coconut milk is a popular food ingredient in traditional Southeast Asia, Oceania, South Asia, and East African cuisine.

It is used for cooking in West Africa, the Caribbean, and tropical Latin America. Also, certain Indian cuisine dishes make use of coconut milk.

The growing vegan diet movement put coconut milk on the global map. It makes an excellent dairy substitute alongside scrumptious desserts and smoothies.  

Besides satisfying a sweet tooth, it enhances the flavor of curries and stews no matter what diet you follow.

Keep reading to learn more about coconut milk, its health benefits, and delicious recipe ideas.

Storage of Coconut Milk

How to store leftover coconut milk?

If you make coconut milk, store the leftovers in an airtight glass container in your fridge. It usually lasts around 2-3 days. 

Notably, this is a fresh product with little or no preservatives. For this reason, we recommend you use freshly made coconut milk the same day you make it.

Equally, canned coconut milk must be decanted into an airtight glass container and kept in the fridge. While it may last an extra day or two, the sooner you use it, the better.  

Can you freeze leftover coconut milk?

Leftover coconut milk can be frozen for up to one month. We suggest you portion it into an ice tray with a sealable lid.  

If your ice tray does not have a lid. You can use a ziplock bag that fits the ice tray. The ice tray method allows you to pop out the exact amount you need for whatever you are preparing.

Alternatively, put the entire amount of leftover coconut milk into a ziplock bag or airtight plastic container.

When you defrost coconut milk, the solids fall to the bottom, making the liquid grainy. We suggest using defrosted coconut milk in cooking and baking recipes where the granular texture blends in with the finished product.

Once defrosted, coconut milk is less flavorsome. We recommend using any leftovers timeously to keep the flavor intact.  

Learn more: Does Coconut Milk Go Bad?

5 Ways to Use Left Over Coconut Milk 

Coconut milk is super rich and creamy. Therefore, several recipes out there may not require a whole can. 

If you have leftover coconut milk, try out these quick and easy ways to use it.

1.Add it to your coffee

Coconut milk is delicious in coffee. The subtle coconut back taste brings and new and exciting twist to your coffee-drinking experience. Notably, coconut milk is more “oily” than dairy milk. 

So, your coffee may have an oily look. Don’t panic! This process is normal and will not alter the taste.

Try out this Thai-inspired iced coffee recipe!

2. Use it in your oatmeal or overnight oatmeal

The children will love this whether you make fresh oatmeal in the morning or prepare it overnight. Adding coconut cream enriches the nutrition and flavor alongside creaminess. 

Also, enjoy this breakfast with fruit such as mango and berries. Here is a super coconut oatmeal recipe!

3.  Make a Glaze (Vegan Frosting)

Substitute dairy milk with coconut milk in a glaze for cakes or cupcakes. In particular, this glaze enhances the flavor if you are making a baked treat with coconut. 

For a simple and delicious vegan glaze recipe, have a look here!

4. Freeze it

You can freeze it using ice trays, a plastic airtight container, or a ziplock bag. It is an excellent idea to portion it in a way that when you defrost if you use it all.

Leftover frozen coconut milk ice cubes make delicious additions to smoothie and cocktail recipes. 

Don’t worry too much about the “graininess” associated when defrosting it. The textures in both smoothies and cocktails are similar.  

5. Use it in your Baking

For the experimental baker, you can substitute dairy milk with coconut milk. Whip up some morning pancakes for the family and serve them with fresh fruit, honey, or syrup.

Give these scrumptious pancake recipes a go!

Coconut Milk‘s Health Benefits and Side Effects

Is coconut milk the healthiest milk?

Coconut milk doesn’t contain a high amount of protein and is slightly lower in calories than other milk alternatives. 

However, it does have a slightly higher fat content than dairy milk. In addition, it is higher in saturated fat than other plant-based milk alternatives.  

For this reason, consume coconut milk sparingly and not a primary milk choice.  

Is coconut milk good for you?

Coconut milk contains vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron

These essential vitamins and minerals assist in boosting your immune system, regulating calcium and phosphorus in the body, and acting as an antioxidant protecting cells.

If you replace dairy milk with coconut milk, the calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D content is lower.  

It is an excellent idea to look out for coconut milk fortified with these vitamins and minerals. Alternatively, consume other food products that contain these nutrients.  

Top Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

  • It is lactose-free
  • Contains medium chain fatty acids
  • Has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties
  • May support cardiovascular health
  • May reduce stomach ulcers

Side Effects of Coconut Milk

It is a high-calorie food and very high in saturated fat. For this reason, excessive use of coconut milk may result in weight gain and raised blood cholesterol levels. 

That said, coconut milk is delicious and, when used sparingly in a varied diet, is perfectly fine.  

Canned coconut milk is available as a reduced-fat product with about half the amount of fat content.

We suggest you check to coconut content, as this may impact the creaminess of your dish.  

Also, coconut allergies are infrequent, making coconut products an excellent go-to for several dishes. 

On the whole, coconut milk is a healthy and nutritious ingredient to incorporate into your diet sparingly.

Interesting Facts

Is coconut milk actually milk?

Coconut milk is milk made using grated coconut meat from mature coconuts. Then, by simmering the grated meat in hot water, the result is coconut milk. 

While you can make coconut milk, it is readily available canned from several grocery store outlets.  

The cream rises to the top if you leave fresh coconut milk to stand. In Thai cuisine, this cream is often used as a frying medium. So why not give this a try too?

Typically, coconut milk is thicker than dairy milk with a rich and creamy texture. Not to be confused with coconut water, the mirky-looking liquid found inside young green coconuts. 

As the coconut matures, the water is replaced by coconut meat and ready to extract to make coconut milk.

How to Use Coconut Milk

Tasty, thick, and creamy, there are several creative ways to use coconut milk.  For example, a Green Thai curry or Red Thai curry recipe would be amiss without this finishing ingredient. 

Moreover, coconut milk complements vegan dishes by adding a creamy and flavorsome boost to stews, soups, curries, and desserts.  

Your family and friends will be astonished at how creamy and delicious vegan meals and sweet indulgences can be.

Equally, it pairs well with meat, chicken, and fish.  

Next time you make your favorite curry or stew needing a creamy touch, try coconut milk. It is always a great idea to expand your recipes and food experiences.  

Can you drink coconut milk directly?

Coconut milk is a tasty ingredient to use in cooking and baking. While you can add some to smoothies and cocktails, these are small quantities. 

Also, it is ideal for adding a creamy richness to your dish. Therefore, enjoy coconut milk as an ingredient and not a straight beverage. 

How to Select the Best Coconut Milk 

With so many brands available in the marketplace, here are a few tips to assist in selecting the best  coconut milk options.

  1. Read the label:  keep an eye out for a product that only contains water and coconut.  Where ever possible, avoid added emulsifiers, as these interfere with the natural separation process of coconut milk.
  2. Opt for a BPA-free can:  purchase coconut milk from reputable companies that use BPA-free cans, such as Goya and Thai Kitchen Organic
  3. Try cartons:  coconut milk in cartons is usually unsweetened and contains less fat and few calories than canned options
  4. Choose Light: if you prefer coconut milk with lower calorie content, we suggest you go for a light option
  5. Make your own at home:  the ultimate fresh choice and easy to prepare

Final Coconut Thoughts

Coconut milk is an excellent product to keep in your pantry. It is versatile and the ideal ingredient to add creaminess to several vegan dishes.  

Yet, it pairs equally well with meat, chicken, and fish. Next time you make a curry or stew needing a creamy touch, add coconut milk. 

We recommend adding coconut milk to your favorite soup recipe.  In particular, it complements a roasted tomato soup perfectly. 

Your family and friends will be astonished at how a creamy “vegan” soup is, in fact, creamy!

Lastly, we understand the economic pinch has us needing to minimize food waste.  

So, what is your recommended way to use leftover coconut milk? We would love to hear from you!

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