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Here are all the best coconut milk recipes! There are so many uses of this plant based milk, from smoothies to curries to ice cream.

Substitutes for coconut milk in curry
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Got a can of coconut milk and not sure how to use it? We’re here to help. Coconut milk is rich and creamy, a great way to add body and depth to a recipe. It’s becoming popular in vegan and plant based recipes as a stand-in for dairy. And what’s a great curry without a hefty swirl of coconut milk to make it creamy?

Many recipes that call for varying amounts of coconut milk, leaving you with a container in your fridge that might stay there for days. (Yep, it happens often around here.) So what are the best uses for coconut milk? Here we’ve compiled all our favorite coconut milk recipes, including both recipes that use a full can and ones that use smaller amounts. From curries to smoothies to waffles, you’ll have no shortage of inspiration!

And now, the best coconut milk recipes to use up a can!

Reference the amount of coconut milk needed listed under each recipe.

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Cauliflower curry

Cauliflower Coconut Curry

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


Everybody loves this coconut curry! This easy dinner recipe is warm-spiced, nutrient packed, and ready in just over 30 minutes. Dinnertime win.


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 pound sweet potato (4 cups chopped)
  • 1 head cauliflower (5 cups chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder*
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Brown or white rice, for serving


  1. Make the rice according to How to Cook White RiceHow to Cook Brown Rice, or Instant Pot Rice.
  2. Dice the onion. Chop the sweet potato into bite-sized chunks (do not peel). Chop the cauliflower into florets.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 2 minutes, then add the sweet potato and saute 3 minutes. Add cauliflower and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and saute another 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the cauliflower and sweet potato are tender.
  4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. When the vegetables are tender, add the chickpeas and 4 cups spinach and stir for 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Add another ½ teaspoon kosher salt to taste, adding additional salt if necessary.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with brown rice.


*Using a high-quality curry powder is key to a complex taste in this curry. Using a full-fat coconut milk is also recommended versus light coconut milk, as it imparts a satisfying richness.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Curry

Here are a few related resources that you might enjoy:

  • 8 Substitutes for Coconut Milk For when you’re fresh out of it…there are plenty of options! These 8 ingredients work as substitutes for coconut milk in curry and beyond.
  • Curry Lentil Soup This vibrant curry lentil soup is ultra cozy and healthy! It’s a hearty plant based recipe that’s filling enough for lunch or dinner.
  • Healthy Chocolate Milkshake Another tasty sweet treat, this healthy chocolate milkshake has a good-for-you spin with coconut milk and Mejdool dates!
  • Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake Did you know you can also use our star ingredient in vegan ganache? Take a look at this shiny chocolaty cake topping.

Last updated: December 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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