Can I substitute coconut cream for coconut milk?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can I substitute coconut cream for coconut milk?”  and will discuss what coconut cream and milk and how to use them.

Can I substitute coconut cream for coconut milk?

Yes, you can substitute coconut cream for coconut milk. Everything about coconut is rich, delicious, and packed with brain-boosting, fat-burning, and stimulating medium-chain fatty acids. In your local grocery, you may have seen a range of coconut “milk” options.. There’s a boxed version, a canned version, milk, and cream to choose from. Although there may not appear to be much of a difference between them, there are numerous that may make or break a dish. We’ve broken it out for you here.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a creamy beverage made from the puréed flesh of coconut and water. It’s a common component in curries and as a basis for Laksa in Indian, Asian, and Caribbean cuisines. Coconut milk is commonly marketed in cans and has the viscosity of extremely thick cow’s milk. Its thick texture makes it a great ingredient for smoothies, soups, and stews.

Another form of coconut milk will most likely be seen alongside dairy-free milk. This sort of coconut milk is even more diluted, so it’s more of a beverage than a culinary component. When savory recipes call for coconut milk, canned coconut milk is usually meant.

 Coconut Milk: How to Use It

Coconut milk is so versatile that once you taste it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. For curries, soups, smoothies, and as a dairy-free coffee creamer, it’s the ideal thickness. With coconut milk as the foundation, you can even make your dairy-free ice cream. For additional taste, mix in some raw cacao and nut butter, or crushed cherries.

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream, on the other hand, is much thicker than coconut milk since it contains far less water when combined. It may be used in meals and desserts that call for thick, heavy cream, or it can be used to replace coconut milk in recipes by diluting it with water. The good news is that if you have a can of coconut milk on hand, you can make coconut cream in only one night. Simply freeze the can overnight, then remove the thick top layer of coconut cream the next day.

Coconut Cream: How to Use It

While coconut cream may be used in the same way as coconut milk, its thicker texture allows you to try out new recipes. Because coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk, it may be used to produce dairy-free whipped cream for fruit, pies, ice cream, milkshakes, and hot drinks. Coconut cream may also be made into a thick icing for cakes. In general, when you want a creamy texture with a little liquid, use coconut milk; when you want a more solid texture, use coconut cream.

Canned Coconut Milk

Coconut milk and cream in cans are widely available, even in mainstream supermarkets. You’ll probably find more than one brand of canned coconut milk and cream if you go to a local health food store. You should pay great attention to their labeling in this situation. The first thing to look for is if a brand’s can liner contains BPA (bisphenol-A).

BPA is a chemical found in plastics and cookware that may leak into your food, causing infertility, breast and prostate cancer, and a variety of metabolic problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).  

 Fortunately, BPA-free canned coconut products are now available from numerous companies. Always check for BPA-free cans when purchasing canned coconut milk. Another thing to keep an eye out for when buying canned coconut is additives. Companies will sometimes add preservatives, emulsifiers, or stabilizers to their products, which you should avoid. Also, take in mind that “lite” coconut milk may be available.

To reduce the calorie count, they generally contain more water and have some fat eliminated. Because of their thin nature, they don’t usually hold up well in recipes. Furthermore, the lipids in coconut milk are beneficial to your health!

Carton of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk from a can or a box can be used in the same way as canned coconut milk. This may be your best choice if you can’t locate BPA-free canned coconut. Many packaged varieties, however, include preservatives, synthetic vitamins, extra water, and processed sweeteners, so read the label carefully.

Preservatives, synthetic vitamins, added water, and processed sugars are all common ingredients in packaged coconut milk. You’ll also note that most coconut milk cartons aren’t meant for cooking. If you just plan on drinking coconut milk, as previously said, carton coconut milk will suffice. If you want to cook with it, though, the canned variety is the way to go.

Other FAQs about Coconut that you may be interested in.

At what temperature does coconut milk solidify?

Can I use coconut oil for treating scars?

Can I substitute coconut milk for whole milk?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I substitute coconut cream for coconut milk?”  and discussed what coconut cream and milk and how to use them.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.