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Here are the best substitutes for coconut milk! There are plenty of options if you’re out of coconut milk, allergic, or just don’t like the flavor.

Coconut milk substitute

Perhaps you’re out of coconut milk, allergic to coconut, or maybe you don’t like the flavor. Whatever the case, never fear: your recipe is not ruined! There are many substitutes for coconut milk that will work as an alternative.

Coconut milk is a milk extracted from the pulp of coconuts. It is very rich and has a high fat content. Coconut milk is a traditional ingredient used in Southeast Asian and East African cuisine, as well as Latin American and Caribbean foods. Many recipes call for coconut milk to thicken a sauce or soup and make it creamy: it also adds a subtle coconut undertone. But never fear: there are many coconut milk substitutes that will do the job!

10 substitutes for coconut milk

1. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt adds creaminess and body much like coconut milk does in a sauce. It’s a little tangier than coconut milk, so use a modest amount. It works well in curries, soups or smoothies that call for coconut milk.

2. Heavy cream

Some curries or Indian dishes call for heavy cream as a thickener, so this is another choice that works well. Heavy cream adds a richness that’s perfect with curry and soups. Use it as a 1:1 substitute for coconut milk.

3. Half and half

This is another great choice for a curry or soup, since half and half has dairy-fat that mimics coconut milk. Use it as a 1:1 substitute for coconut milk.

4. Sour cream

Sour cream is yet another dairy product that works well as a thickener in curries and soups! Sour cream has a sweeter, more distinctive flavor than Greek yogurt; it’s a better match to the fat content found in coconut milk.

5. Milk

Use a milk with a high fat content to mimic the richness of coconut milk, like whole milk or at least 2%. The consistency will be more watery than coconut milk, so use less than the recipe calls for. If you like a coconut flavor, add a little coconut oil.

6. Cashew cream

Now for the dairy-free coconut milk substitutes! Cashew cream is a thick creamy paste made from soaked cashews that can be made in a blender! It’s perfect for making plant-based recipes creamy. Try this cashew cream recipe.

7. Almond milk

Almond milk can work as a substitute for coconut milk, but the main drawback is that it has a much thinner consistency that’s similar to water. Before adding it, you can mix in 1 teaspoon cornstarch, which would thicken the entire sauce. Another option if you do like coconut flavor is to add coconut oil as well, which would also add richness that almond milk lacks.

8. Soy milk

While soy milk is a little thicker than almond milk, it’s still much runnier than coconut milk. Consider using it and adding cornstarch to thicken or coconut oil for richness.

9. Oat milk

Oat milk is a widely available dairy-free milk that’s our favorite for substitutions. The texture is thicker than almond milk and soy milk, but still thinner than coconut milk. Again, try adding cornstarch for thickness and coconut oil for richness.

10. Silken tofu

Silken tofu when blended can work as a coconut milk substitute. Blend equal parts silken tofu and non-dairy milk or water to make a creamy liquid that works as a 1:1 substitute.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try any of these substitutes in the comments below.

Coconut milk

A few coconut milk recipes

Here are a few of our favorite curry recipes, soups, and smoothies that feature coconut milk:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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7 Comments

  1. Just wondering, for the Heavy Cream of Sour Cream subs, what should the ratio be? My recipe calls for a 13.5 fl oz can of Full Fat Coconut Milk (I’m out and can’t get to the store for just one thing) and I’m planning to use Heavy Cream, should i also use 13.5 fl oz or should I adjust it?

    1. Good question: I would go 2 parts heavy cream to 1 part water — so you can do 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup water (to equal the 1.5 cups in 13 ounces). Let us know how it goes!

  2. If a cookie recipe calls for coconut milk could I substitute half-and-half or heavy cream, thank you

  3. I love coconut milk but am on a low sat-fat diet, and it is very high as you know. Even coconut flakes are pretty much a no-no. So cooking my favorite Thai dishes is a challenge…