Have a can of coconut milk in your pantry? From sweet to savoury, we’ve uncovered the top dreamy recipes using coconut milk for you to try at home.

More and more of us are going dairy free. In 2019, the UK plant-based milk market was valued at $320.6 million, making up 15 per cent of European consumption. For the lacto-intolerant, it’s about wanting to minimise digestive problems, but for many others, eschewing dairy is a way of lowering the environmental impact of what we consume, as well as wishing to avoid the hormones and antibiotics that can be passed through milk.

The good news is that plant-based milk is not a bland or tasteless alternative to the real deal. Far from it; many even prefer the taste. But amidst the plethora of fashionable cartons, there is one stalwart that’s been in our cupboards this whole time and is particularly good for cooking with: coconut milk.

Coconut milk is so rich and creamy, you might never guess that it's actually dairy free. It is, then, 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 using coconut milk.

Keto Recipes Using Coconut Milk

If you’re avoiding carbs right now or seeing results from sticking to a keto diet, then coconut milk is your friend, proving that you needn’t go without rich, creamy foods. Coconut milk is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add flavour, texture, and fat to many keto-friendly recipes.

One case in point is this excellent Two Ingredient Chocolate Mousse from the Low Carb Kitchen. The easiest recipe ever, all you need do is melt your chocolate, whisk your milk, combine them and then refrigerate for three house. Et voila, a tasty, keto-adhering easy recipe using coconut milk that no dinner party guest would even identify as ‘diet’ food, let alone baulk at.
Find the recipe here.

Those reject the idea of keto regimes on account of having to forego the sweet stuff would do well to get acquainted with the joys of keto recipes using coconut milk. This sugar-free keto Coconut Ice Cream recipe is gluten-free, egg-free and no-churn – and yet doesn’t compromise even slightly on creamy flavour.
Find the recipe here.

Looking for something savoury yet rich and delicious without flouting the keto rulebook? This Keto Coconut Chicken and Cauliflower Curry is gorgeous, good for you and even feeds your gut microbes thanks to the excellent medley of spices and veg. Of all the chicken recipes using coconut milk, this is our favourite.
Find the recipe here.

Soup Recipes Using Coconut Milk

Coconut milk was made for soups, especially those at the heartier end of the scale. During the cold months, who doesn’t delight in a thick, veg-packed warmer to drink from a lovely earthenware bowl or even mug? Coconut milk makes an amazing base liquid for all kinds of soups – if you want a warmer, richer, creamier taste, just throw in a can of coconut milk and enjoy!

It is the season of Sunday roasts – and what better way to use up your leftovers than in a soup? Comforting, healthy and delicious, coconut milk thickens up the whole affair beautifully.
Find the recipe here.

Cooking for a vegan household? This Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry Soup couldn’t be any more comforting – not to mention nourishing – if it tried. Plus, it comes together in minutes.
Find the recipe here.

The beautiful earthiness of mushroom soup is wonderful at any time of year. Keep yours from being too thin by adding coconut milk, as per this recipe from the Coconut Merchant, which also features tasty thyme.
Find the recipe here.

Chicken Recipes Using Coconut Milk

Some flavours and textures just go together, the culinary equivalent of best pals. Chicken and coconut milk are two such. From tenderising chicken to creating the perfect creamy chicken dish, every seasoned cook knows how good dishes using coconut milk and chicken can taste.

We love a good coconut chicken curry that’s easy as well as tasty. As this recipe advises, don’t skimp on the rice; you’ll want it for mopping up all that creamy, coconutty goodness afterwards.
Find the recipe here.

We love lime as a complementary flavour when used with coconut milk; it cuts through the creaminess and delivers a welcome light zing. This Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken recipe is always a crowd-pleaser.
Find the recipe here.

You can reply on Waitrose for a fail-safe recipe. This beautiful Coconut Chicken is a case in point, balancing lightness, creaminess and spice to absolute on-point perfection.
Find the recipe here.

Cake Recipes Using Coconut Milk

Do you love cake? Veganism is, happily, entirely compatible with cake consumption, thanks to a few clever substitutes, chief amongst them coconut milk. You can use coconut milk in cake mix the same way you'd use regular milk to achieve a light coconut and subtly delicious nutty note to baked goods.

This 1970s throwback Coconut Poke Cake is as good now as it was then. Wonderfully moist, it is soaked in creamy coconut milk before being smothered in whipped topping.
Find the recipe here.

Did you get your fill of banana loaf during lockdown? Why not, then, try your hand at this Vegan Coconut Loaf Cake, which is both moist and moreish, and which, crucially, eschews animal products entirely.
Find the recipe here.

Why use only one milk alternative when you can have two? This Coconut and Condensed Milk Cake is one for those with seriously sweet teeth. We love it when two of our favourite things come together.
Find the recipe here.

Cookie Recipes Using Coconut Milk

Calling all cookie monsters! If you need a non-dairy alternative to milk for baking cookies, you can substitute coconut for milk in the majority of recipes.

These Coconut and Lime cookies not only taste delicious, but – with their half chocolate-dipped dessicated coconut exterior – look the part too. We love them.
Find the recipe here.

Smoothie Recipes Using Coconut Milk

In addition to the deliciously creamy taste, using coconut milk in your smoothies will help keep you fuller for longer.

This Dairy-Free Mango And Coconut Smoothie Recipe takes minutes to prepare; is delicious; and fills the hunger gap in the healthiest of ways.
Find the recipe here.

Looking for a really good Banana and Coconut Smoothie recipe? We love the addition of pineapple juice and a pinch of all-spice in this one.
Find the recipe here.

By Nancy Alsop
February 2022

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