50 Delicious Recipes to Make With a Can of Coconut Milk

You Can Go the Sweet or Savory Route

Vegan Impossible Swedish Meatballs

The Spruce/Leah Maroney

Coconut milk is so rich and creamy, you might never guess that it's actually dairy free. That makes it a wonderful replacement for cream in so many recipes, from spicy curries to decadent-tasting desserts. If you've been wondering how to use the can of coconut milk that's been sitting in your pantry, we're here to inspire you with these delicious recipes.

  • 01 of 50

    Malai Prawn (Creamy Prawn Curry)

    Malai Prawn (Creamy Prawn Curry)

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Known by the shortcut name Malai prawn, this creamy prawn curry is a highly flavored Bengali delicacy. It features heads-on prawn (though you can substitute shelled and deveined jumbo shrimp) cooked in a thick coconut milk gravy with whole spices. Serve it over jeera rice for a delicious taste of the Indian subcontinent.

  • 02 of 50

    Easy Coconut Rice Made in a Rice Cooker

    Coconut rice recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Use your rice cooker to make restaurant-style coconut rice for serving with curries, stir-fries, and seafood dishes. All you need is jasmine-scented white rice, coconut milk, dry shredded coconut, and salt to serve up fragrant rice in 20 minutes.

  • 03 of 50

    Chinese Raspberry Snowflake Cake

    Chinese Raspberry Snowflake Cake

    The Spruce/Liv Wan

    Chinese raspberry snowflake cake is a traditional Chinese dessert with an evocative name. Cute and fruity, the creamy, gelatin-based cake is coated with coconut shreds, resembling freshly fallen snow. It's best eaten straight from fridge on hot summer days, and makes an ideal bridal shower treat.

  • 04 of 50

    Dirty Chai Latte

    Dirty Chai Latte

    The Spruce/Leah Maroney

    Iced dirty chai lattes (it's the added espresso that makes them "dirty") are sweet, creamy, and nicely-spiced. It's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up on a hot day. Use coconut milk in place of dairy for a nutty, slightly floral flavor that is just right for summer.

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  • 05 of 50

    Bibingka (Filipino Coconut Rice Cake)

    Bibingka (Filipino Savory Coconut Rice Cake)

    The Spruce/Arlyn Osborne

    Bibingka is a coconut rice cake eaten at Christmas celebrations in the Philippines. More savory than sweet, it is typically garnished with cheese, coconut shreds, and duck egg slices. Our street-food-style version turns the traditional recipe into individual servings, for easy sharing and snacking.

  • 06 of 50

    Fresh Coconut Layer Cake

    Fresh Coconut Layer Cake

    The Spruce/Teena Agnel

    This gorgeous two-layer coconut cake makes a wonderful dessert for Easter, Mother's Day, and other special occasions. Coconut milk makes it ultra-moist and fluffy, and grated coconut is included in the batter for good measure. Frost with the coconut icing and top with fresh coconut shreds.

  • 07 of 50

    Jamaican Bammies (Cassava Bread)

    Jamaican Bammies (Cassava Bread)

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    You need just 3 ingredients, and 30 minutes, to whip up a plate of Jamaican bammies, the thick flatbread fritters traditionally served with fried fish or salt fish. They're made by soaking grated cassava (also called yuca) in full-fat coconut milk, and frying or baking until crispy and golden-brown.

  • 08 of 50

    Thai Basil Shrimp

    Thai Basil Shrimp

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

    When your summer garden or farmer's market is bursting with fresh basil, use it to transport your tablemates to Thailand. Our restaurant-style Thai basil shrimp takes under 30 minutes to prepare, and is always a hit. Coconut milk adds a fragrant note and a creamy texture to the cooking sauce for shrimp.

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  • 09 of 50

    Vegan Buttercream Frosting

    Vegan Buttercream Frosting

    The Spruce

    In just 5 minutes, and with 4 ingredients, you can whip up a vegan buttermilk frosting to rival any from a bakery. It's the perfect creamy frosting for finishing off a vegan cake for a party, or icing vegan cupcakes destined for the bake sale.

  • 10 of 50

    Vegan Impossible Swedish "Meatballs"

    Vegan Impossible Swedish "Meatballs"

    The Spruce/Leah Maroney

    Skip the run to the store when you're craving Ikea meatballs. There's no need to leave home, or sacrifice a vegan diet, with our genius recipe for Swedish "impossible" meatballs. The rich and creamy plant-based gravy is made with coconut milk, and the toothsome vegan meatballs will fool even carnivores.

  • 11 of 50

    Okinawa Sweet Potatoes

    Okinawa Sweet Potatoes

    The Spruce/Christine Ma

    Say aloha to purple mashed potatoes. This eye-catching Hawaiian side dish features Okinawa sweet potatoes mashed with coconut milk, garlic, sea salt, and a dash of black pepper. While the starchy potatoes need to boil longer than yellow spuds, they're just as easy, and the result is far more fun.

  • 12 of 50

    Virgin Piña Coladas

    Virgin Piña Coladas

    The Spruce

    Get the party started with virgin piña coladas. This popular tropical cocktail Puerto Rican is a summer party essential, and everyone invited can enjoy our non-alcoholic version. It's easy to make in the blender, for garnishing with maraschino cherries (and an optional paper umbrella).

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  • 13 of 50

    Vegan Mardi Gras King Cake

    Vegan Mardi Gras King Cake

    The Spruce/Christine Ma

    Celebrate Mardi Gras with a colorful king cake. Traditionally baked with a figurine of a baby inside, for one lucky guest to find, it's a cake that takes some effort to assemble, but yields festive and delicious results. Our vegan version uses coconut milk and dairy-free soy margarine, so everyone has a chance at good luck.

  • 14 of 50

    Tahitian Poisson Cru (Marinated Raw Fish)

    Tahitian Poisson Cru (Marinated Raw Fish)

    The Spruce/Qi Ai

    Poisson cru is a Tahitian dish of raw fish or shellfish marinated in citrus juice and coconut milk. It will remind you of Latin American ceviche and Hawaiian poke, but with a distinctly creamier taste. Use the freshest raw seafood you can find for this cooling, elegant appetizer that goes great with tortilla chips.

  • 15 of 50

    Coconut Ice Cream

    Coconut Ice Cream

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    This luscious Thai-style coconut ice cream is a gorgeously simple dessert with tons of tropical coconut flavor. It is easy to make in just a few steps with simple ingredients, and no ice-cream maker required. Plan time for freezing at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

  • 16 of 50

    Gluten-Free French Toast

    Gluten-Free French Toast

    The Spruce/Abbey Littlejohn

    Even those not eating gluten-free will be delighted with this moist, sweet, vanilla-scented French toast. Using coconut milk in place of dairy adds an extra rich flavor your family will love. It's a no-brainer for weekend breakfast.

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  • 17 of 50

    Gluten-Free Creamy Vegan Carrot Soup With Coconut

    Creamy vegan carrot soup

    The Spruce

    Luxuriously creamy and refreshing, with not a drop of dairy in sight, and loaded with fresh, vegetable flavor, this 7-ingredient carrot soup has got it going on. It's also gluten-free, and suitable for vegan diets. It's wonderful for a soup and sandwich lunch, and goes well with holiday mains.

  • 18 of 50

    Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry

    Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry

    The Spruce

    With some help from the Instant Pot pressure cooker, this take-out style Thai chicken curry could not be any simpler. It's a healthy and flavorful weeknight family meal that cooks in under 30 minutes, with purchased red curry paste, coconut milk, diced chicken breast meat, and fresh vegetables.

  • 19 of 50

    Caribbean Tembleque de Coco (Coconut Pudding)

    Caribbean Tembleque de Coco (Coconut Pudding)

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

    Creamy, jiggly, and delicious, this beloved Caribbean coconut pudding is fun to serve and eat. With only 4 ingredients needed, and just an hour of chilling time, the "trembling" dessert is the perfect choice when you're hosting dinner guests, and find yourself rushed for time.

  • 20 of 50

    Tanzanian Pilau Rice

    Tanzanian Pilau Rice

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Tanzanian pilau rice is a fragrant, spiced East African side dish, and a nice change from everyday steamed white rice. It cooks up easily in 30 minutes, for a tasty accompaniment to meaty stews and plant-based curries . Try adding a can of stewed tomatoes for an easy, one-pot vegetarian meal.

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  • 21 of 50

    Thai Iced Tea

    Thai Iced Tea

    The Spruce/Emily Baker

    If you enjoy milky black teas and spiced teas such as masala chai, you'll love Thai iced tea. It is a creamy and cooling mixture of steeped black tea, spices, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut milk. It's also cheaper than coffeehouse drinks, and can be made ahead for your fridge.

  • 22 of 50

    Tom Yum Soup

    Tom Yum Soup

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

    Tom yum soup is a popular Thai takeout order for good reason. This fragrant soup could easily be a satisfying meal in itself. It features an intoxicating, rich, creamy, garlicky, citrusy broth, swimming with plump pink shrimp, fresh shiitake mushrooms and zucchini coins.

  • 23 of 50

    Trini Pelau (Trinidadian Chicken With Pigeon Peas)

    Trini Pelau (Trinidadian Chicken With Pigeon Peas)

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

    Trini pelau is an iconic, sweet, and spicy one-dish Trinidadian meal that will blow your mind. Budget-friendly chicken thighs are marinated in tangy, Caribbean-style seasonings, and then combined with pigeon peas, fresh herbs, rice, coconut milk, bell and Scotch bonnet peppers atop a base of burnt brown sugar, which gives the dish its signature coloring and flavor.  

  • 24 of 50

    Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

    Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

    The Spruce/Sonia Bozzo

    Fans of The Great British Bake Off will know about hot cross buns. While these fluffy, spiced sweet buns with a crisscross of icing on top are most often served at Good Friday celebrations in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, they are always welcome at the table. As a bonus, we've made them gluten-free and dairy-free.

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  • 25 of 50

    Meen Kulambu (South Indian Fish Curry)

    Meen Kulambu (South Indian Fish Curry)

    The Spruce

    Enjoy a taste of South Indian cuisine with this healthful fish curry known as meen kulambu. It is a saucy fish dish infused with tangy tamarind, coconut milk and flesh, and curry leaves. You can make it using any available fresh or thawed frozen white fish fillets, such as cod, halibut, or tilapia.

  • 26 of 50

    Coconut Creamed Corn

    Coconut Creamed Corn

    Molly Watson

    Meet the most unique creamed corn you've ever tasted. This recipe is miles creamier than canned versions and makes an easy, delicious holiday side dish. Make it with full-fat coconut milk, plus lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and fresh jalapeño, for tons of flavor.

  • 27 of 50

    Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding With Dates

    Arroz Con Dulce: Puerto Rican Rice Pudding

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    You'll swoon for this sweet, stovetop rice pudding, which will fill your kitchen with homey aromas and makes a comforting dessert. The rice is steeped in a simmering liquid infused with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, cooked with creamy coconut milk and studded with golden raisins and sweetened coconut flakes.

  • 28 of 50

    Matcha Mochi Bars

    Matcha Mochi Bars

    The Spruce/Mateja Kobescak

    Matcha mochi bars are a special treat for matcha green tea lovers. Chewy, gooey, and sweet, with delightful green tea flavor inside, they are a fabulous treat for your book club, or a trendy addition to bake sales. Serve them fresh from the oven to enjoy the crunchy, just-baked sugar crust.

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  • 29 of 50

    Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

    Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

    The Spruce

    Elvis himself would approve of our retro blue Hawaiian cocktail. With its sky-blue hue that will remind you of a swimming pool, and a bewitching combination of rum, pineapple, blue curacao liqueur, and coconut cream, it's like a tropical getaway in a glass.

  • 30 of 50

    Thai Chicken Stir-Fry With Coconut, Chili, and Lime

    Thai Chicken Stir-Fry With Coconut, Chili, and Lime

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Why order take-out, when in just 20 minutes you can cook up a restaurant-style Thai chicken stir-fry at home? Our versatile recipe can be made with either chicken breasts or thighs, and tweaked with whatever veggies you have on hand, and the simple stir-fry sauce will please every palate. 

  • 31 of 50

    Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff

    Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff

    The Spruce/Leah Maroney

    Mushroom stroganoff is an indulgent, plant-based comfort food you'll want to add to your weeknight rotation. It's entirely meatless, but full of creamy, savory goodness, and takes only 30 minutes to pull off. Follow the tips in the recipe for making it vegan, using vegan butter and full-fat coconut milk.

  • 32 of 50

    Dole Whip Dessert

    Dole Whip Dessert

    Leah Maroney

    When you can't make the trip to Disney World, you can still enjoy the theme park's famed dole whip treat. Basically a pineapple soft serve, it's a snap to whip up in the blender, with just 4 ingredients. It's full of tropical flavor, and makes a kid-pleasing summer dessert.

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  • 33 of 50

    Thai Massaman Lamb Curry

    Thai Massaman Lamb Curry

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Massaman lamb curry is a satisfying, one-pot meal that is rich in nutrients. Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients — the dish is pretty easy to assemble, and the flavor is divinely satisfying. Serve it over cooked jasmine rice for a delicious taste of Thailand at your table.

  • 34 of 50

    Bebinca (Layered Goan Dessert)

    Bebinca (Layered Goan Dessert)

    The Spruce/Teena Agnel

    Known as the queen of Goan desserts, bebinca is a must-have at any celebration in the Indian state of Goa. The custardy, multi-layered cake is built out of thin layers of clarified butter, and a tropical-tasting, coconut-infused batter. While you will need time to cook the layers separately, the result is a truly special cake like no other.

  • 35 of 50

    Keto Hot Chocolate

    Keto Hot Chocolate

    The Spruce/Haley Hazell

    Even if you are avoiding sugar, you can warm up with hot chocolate on chilly days. Our keto-friendly hot chocolate is indulgently rich and creamy, made with with coconut milk and real cocoa powder, and not a hint of sugar in sight. Enjoy it plain, made extra chocolatey with sugar-free chocolate chips melted in, or spiked with peppermint extract.

  • 36 of 50

    Coconut Pancakes

    Coconut Pancakes

    D. Schmidt

    Fluffy coconut pancakes are a fabulous way to start any day. The easy batter includes coconut milk, shredded coconut, and coconut oil, giving these pancakes a heavenly aroma. Serve drizzle with maple syrup and a sprinkle of shredded coconut.

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  • 37 of 50

    Easy Vegan Tofu Satay in Coconut Sauce

    Easy Vegan Tofu Satay in Coconut Sauce

    The Spruce

    Look after vegans at your summer backyard parties with this super-tasty tofu satay. With only a handful of ingredients, including coconut milk and peanut butter, this meatless main is budget-friendly and easy to make. Even carnivores will want to get in on the insanely delicious satay sauce.

  • 38 of 50

    Southern Coconut Poke Cake

    Southern Coconut Poke Cake

    Diana Rattray

    Start with a boxed white cake mix to make this rich and moist Southern-style coconut poke cake. It is so-called because you poke holes in the warm, baked cake before pouring a delicious mixture of coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk over top. Finish with whipped topping, top with coconut flakes, and chill to set.

  • 39 of 50

    Chicken Khao Soi

    Chicken Khao Soi

    The Spruce/Cat Lau

    Chicken khao soi is a northern Thai comfort food dish that always hits the spot on rainy days, or whenever you crave noodles for dinner. It is a hearty, one-dish meal of tender egg noodles and stewed chicken, cooked in a rich coconut milk curry, all topped with zesty fresh lime, cilantro, and shallots.

  • 40 of 50

    Vegan Stir-Fry With Hoisin Sauce and Coconut Rice

    Vegan Stir-Fry With Hoisin Sauce and Coconut Rice

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Stir fries make great dinner on busy weeknights. This quick and colorful vegan stir-fry with tofu, bell pepper, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and coconut rice is filling and nutritious and easy to make with jarred hoisin sauce and a few other readily available ingredients.

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  • 41 of 50

    Vietnamese Coconut Chicken Curry

    Vietnamese chicken curry recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    You've tried Indian and Thai curries—now try this tasty Vietnamese chicken curry. Coconut milk adds luxurious texture and mild sweetness to a satisfying melange of tender chicken pieces, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, all seasoned with ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and curry powder.

  • 42 of 50

    Chi Chi Dango Mochi Dessert

    Chi Chi Dango Mochi Dessert

    Hideki Ueha

    In Japan, where mochi (rice cake) desserts are popular, chi chi dango is a favorite treat, especially among kids. With its candy-like appearance and pillowy soft texture—which comes from baking the coconut-infused mochi in the oven—it's a unique treat for young and old alike.

  • 43 of 50

    Vegan Coconut Oatmeal

    Vegan Coconut Oatmeal

    Getty Images/Arx0nt

    Quick-cooking oatmeal with coconut and almond milk is a wonderful way to ease yourself into morning. This healthy vegan breakfast takes only minutes to prepare, smells amazing, and tastes like a special treat, with three kinds of coconut, plus brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.

  • 44 of 50

    Thai Crab Salad With Creamy Coconut-Lime Dressing

    Thai Crab Salad With Creamy Coconut-Lime Dressing

    The Spruce/D.Schmidt

    Looking for a healthy dinner recipe for two? This zippy main course Thai crab salad takes 30 minutes to assemble and is special enough to impress. It's the ultimate seafood slaw, with sweet cooked crab meat, crunchy fresh veggies and crunchy peanuts, in a creamy coconut-lime dressing.

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  • 45 of 50

    Tom Ka Gai (Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk)

    Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Tom ka gai is a popular Thai soup that sings with sweet, salty, spicy, and sour flavors. The medley of sliced tender chicken and earthy mushrooms in a well-seasoned, lemony coconut milk broth is out-of-this-world delicious and especially comforting when you are nursing a cold. Add cooked rice noodles to make it a satisfying dinner in one bowl.

  • 46 of 50

    Indian Coconut Vegetable Curry

    Indian Coconut Vegetable Curry

    The Spruce/Anastasiia Tretiak

    Simmer cauliflower, green beans, carrots, and zucchini in a simply delicious coconut curry sauce, for a healthy vegan and vegetarian entree to serve with cooked rice. Turmeric, curry powder, coriander, and cumin add amazing flavor to this wholesome dish.

  • 47 of 50

    Vegan Chocolate Coconut Truffles

    Vegan Chocolate Coconut Truffles

    Elizabeth LaBau

    Wow vegan friends with these decadent dairy-free chocolate coconut truffles. Using coconut milk instead of cream produces rich treats that are just as smooth and silky as the classic version, if not more so.

  • 48 of 50

    Curried Sweet Potato Soup With Coconut Milk

    Curried Sweet Potato Soup With Coconut Milk

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Creamy, aromatic curried sweet potato soup makes a nutritious, warming lunch or light dinner on chilly days. Roasting the sweet potatoes before combining them with coconut milk and other ingredients gives it a gorgeous depth of flavor.

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  • 49 of 50

    Vietnamese Peanut Sticky Rice With Coconut Milk

    Vietnamese Peanut Sticky Rice With Coconut Milk

    ADX Collections/Getty Images

    Peanut-butter loving kids will gobble up this fragrant rice that makes a great side dish, light vegan entrée, or even an alternative to oatmeal at breakfast. Start the day before by soaking peanuts and glutinous rice in warm water overnight, before boiling them with coconut milk and a little salt and oil. Garnish with shredded coconut and peanuts for a crunchy finish.

  • 50 of 50

    Vegan Coconut Curried Lentils

    Vegan Coconut Curried Lentils

    Jolinda Hackett

    Transform an inexpensive bag of lentils into a filling vegan dinner you will look forward to eating with this 30-minute Indian-style stove-top curry. All you need is lentils, coconut milk, onion, and a few dried spices. Serve over quinoa, couscous, or cooked brown rice.