Cooking With Coconut Milk

Get the facts on coconut milk―and discover how to use it in such recipes as corn chowder, ginger chicken, rice custard, noodles, and more. 

  • Sara Quessenberry

Coconut milk sometimes separates into a thick layer of coconut cream atop a watery liquid. To recombine the two, shake the can before opening it. If necessary, pour the contents into a bowl and break up any large chunks with a spoon.

Recipes

Glossary

  • Coconut milk is made from fresh shredded coconut that is simmered in water then strained to form a rich, creamy liquid.
  • Light coconut milk contains little if any coconut oil and therefore has less fat, fewer calories, and―alas―the lackluster flavor to prove it.
  • Cream of coconut is a mixture of coconut cream and sugar that's thicker and sweeter than coconut milk. The two can't be used interchangeably; save this for piña coladas.
  • Coconut juice (or water) is the electrolyte-rich liquid inside a fresh coconut.