30 Delicious Recipes to Make With a Can of Coconut Milk

You Can Go the Sweet or Savory Route

Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Mil
The Spruce

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 30

    Easy Coconut Rice Made in a Rice Cooker

    Easy Coconut Rice Made in a Rice Cooker

    The Spruce

    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.

  • 02 of 30

    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 jalapeno, for tons of flavor.

  • 03 of 30

    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.

  • 04 of 30

    Poached Chicken Thighs in Coconut Curry with Cilantro

    Poached Chicken Thighs in Coconut Curry with Cilantro

    Jonathan Lovekin/Getty Images

    When you want to impress guests, but don't want to be chained to the kitchen, try this chicken that's ready in 30 minutes, but tastes like you cooked all day. Use a mixture of coconut milk and chicken broth to poach inexpensive thighs and diced sweet potatoes, adding fresh cilantro for extra flavor. Serve with white or brown rice.

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  • 05 of 30

    Baked Curried Chicken With Coconut Milk Sauce

    Baked Curried Chicken With Coconut Milk Sauce

    Cyril Riseng/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Tender chunks of chicken in a flavorful curried coconut milk sauce make a warming dinner on winter evenings. Flaked coconut adds fantastic flavor to the baked chicken and golden raisins add an extra, sweet surprise. Serve with rice and green peas for a complete meal.

  • 06 of 30

    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 30

    Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk

    Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk

    belchonock/Getty Images

    Looking for a tasty vegan side dish to serve at holiday dinners? Create a gluten-free vegan mash by boiling sweet potatoes until fork tender, then mashing with coconut milk, ginger, curry, olive oil or vegan margarine, and salt and pepper to taste.

  • 08 of 30

    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. Drizzle them with maple syrup for serving and to[ with extra shredded coconut.

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  • 09 of 30

    Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Soup

    Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Soup

    Sandra O'Claire/Getty Images

    It takes only 20 minutes to whip up this delicious vegan pumpkin soup that tastes like fall in a bowl. Make it all year round using canned pumpkin puree and coconut milk, vegetable broth, onion, vegan margarine, and fragrant spices. Even better? The soup can be frozen for up to two months.

  • 10 of 30

    Thai Beef Coconut Curry

    Thai Beef Coconut Curry

    D.Schmidt

    Juicy chunks of beef mingle with ripe tomatoes, and a surprise hit of sweet pineapple in this tasty Thai-style dish coconut curry. The combination of flavors is outstanding, and the colorful medley of ingredients looks pretty on the plate, too. Serve with steamed white rice or basmati rice.

  • 11 of 30

    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.

  • 12 of 30

    Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

    Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

    The Spruce

     

    Tom ka gai is a popular Thai soup that sings with sweet, salty, spicy, and sour flavors. The medley of tender sliced 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.

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  • 13 of 30

    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.

  • 14 of 30

    Coconut Creme Brulee

    Coconut Creme Brulee

    Burwell Photography/Getty Images

    Creme brulee is a popular dessert at fine-dining restaurants. Break through the caramelized brown sugar topping and you'll uncover a smooth, creamy custard inside. Recreate this impressive dessert at home with our easy-to-follow recipe that uses both coconut milk and sweetened coconut flakes for deeply nutty flavor.

  • 15 of 30

    Grilled Salmon with Lemongrass-Coconut Sauce

    Grilled Salmon with Lemongrass-Coconut Sauce

    Joff Lee/Getty Images

    Dress up grilled salmon steaks with this gourmet-inspired fish dish that's a step above the usual cookout fare. Assemble the tasty sweet, sour, and spicy sauce in minutes, then use it as a marinade and as a tasty finishing sauce. Serve with coconut rice for a party-worthy meal.

  • 16 of 30

    Thai Coconut Ice Cream

    Homemade Thai Coconut Ice Cream

    Stone-soup/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    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.

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  • 17 of 30

    Vietnamese Coconut Chicken Curry

    Vietnamese Coconut Chicken Curry

    Nancy Lopez-McHugh

    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.

  • 18 of 30

    Vegan Coconut Oatmeal

    Vegan Coconut Oatmeal

    Getty Images/Arx0nt

    Quick-cooking oatmeal with coconut and almond milks 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.

  • 19 of 30

    Coconut Tres Leches Cake

    Coconut Tres Leches Cake

    Creative Commons/Hungry Dudes

    Coconut tres leches cake makes a special dessert for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. The name of this popular Latin, sponge-style cake means "three milks," because it is soaked it in three types of milk (including coconut, in this recipe). Chill to set, then frost with whipped cream, and top with toasted coconut.

  • 20 of 30

    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 entree, 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.

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  • 21 of 30

    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.

  • 22 of 30

    Gluten-Free Thai Coconut Noodles With Shrimp or Chicken

    Gluten-Free Thai Coconut Noodles With Shrimp or Chicken

    Lori Andrews/Getty Images

    Creamy soups usually rely on dairy, but this richly satisfying carrot soup gets its silky texture from coconut milk. Make it in 30 minutes with a handful of ingredients for a healthy, gluten-free vegan and vegetarian lunch or starter that tastes great hot or cold.

  • 23 of 30

    Coconut Couscous

    Coconut Couscous

    Kai Schwabe/Getty Images

    Couscous may look like rice, but is actually a tiny pasta. Adding coconut milk to the steaming liquid for couscous gives it a creamy texture and infuses it with nutty flavor. Serve it as a side dish for roasted meats and seafood or combine it with tofu and toasted nuts for a nutritious vegan meal.

  • 24 of 30

    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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  • 25 of 30

    Vegan Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce and Coconut Rice

    Vegan Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce and Coconut Rice

    Getty Images

    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.

  • 26 of 30

    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.

  • 27 of 30

    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.

  • 28 of 30

    Curried Sweet Potato Soup With Coconut Milk

    Curried Sweet Potato Soup With Coconut Milk

    Jules/Flickr/CC 2.0

    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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  • 29 of 30

    Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding With Dates

    Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding with Dates

    The Spruce

    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.

  • 30 of 30

    Coconut Pudding Cake

    Coconut Pudding Cake

    Claudia Totir/Getty Images

    Coconut pudding cake is a traditional, gluten-free Thai dessert with a homey, comforting texture. When making it for guests, you can bake the easy-to-assemble filling in individual ramekins, so each person gets their own miniature treat to enjoy.