It’s part of a health craze that’s been around for some time now but the benefits of coconut milk aren’t going to go away. With a variety of brands and different types available it can be hard to tell what product is best for your needs. There are canned cuisine-ready products that are ideal for making Thai curry as well as those better for baking.
Many people have started using coconut milk as a vegan alternative to cow’s milk. You can add it to your coffee, use it in baking, or whip it to make chilled desserts. For instance, you can boil it with condensed milk, salt, and butter to make a sauce that can be drizzled on any dessert.
You can also use coconut milk to make your own yogurt, but you have to culture it using probiotic capsules. If you want to skip this process and enjoy traditional Indian yogurt whenever you crave for it, then whole milk Dahi might be for you.
Coconut milk also allows you to combine different flavors according to your preferences. When mixed with sweeteners or spices, coconut milk can make a great dip. You may also consider using coconut milk when making cocktails and smoothies to give them a distinct tropical taste.
Whatever diet you are trying (people following a Paleo lifestyle use a lot of coconut milk), or meals you are making, there are some great options. To help you find one of the best coconut milk available we have created the following list of the reputable brands and great tasting products for you to try.
Quick Summary of Best Coconut Milk
So Delicious Dairy-Free Organic Coconutmilk Beverage
With a big pack of 6 included, you can get your hands on the best coconut milk around. Not only is this reputable brand known for making its creamy organic product GMO-free, but it can also be used in a variety of cuisines and even made to make a dairy-free coffee. Unsweetened and made in the USA it will stay fresh in the fridge for around a week after opening.
The only fault we can find is that it contains guar gum as a thickener but the benefits should outweigh this for some people as it has been fortified with vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, folate, and magnesium. Note that this is a coconut milk drink so not tailored towards cuisine but it is a great way of getting the benefits of coconut milk into your diet.
- Value in the six pack
- Great tasting beverage
- Contains guar gum
Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk 12 pack
With any coconut milk, you want to know it is from a reputable source and with Native Forest a lot of people will be glad to see you can get organic coconut milk. This means it is GMO-free and it also contains no Guar gum which is an emulsifier that can leave some people feeling bloated so it’s good to see this version is giving you none of it.
You only get the goodness of Sri Lankan palms. All the nutritional facts are displayed on the side and just a quick shake of the can before opening can ensure you pour a creamy fluid that is ready to be turned into curries and soups
- Contains no guar gum
- Organic coconut milk
Aroy-d Coconut Milk 100% Original Net 8.5 Oz.(pack of 12)
One of the most reputable brands in coconut milk, it is one of those products you are glad to see is produced in Thailand. The coconut milk contains no thickeners or stabilizers and is BPA-free although the cartons are more likely to be damaged in transit, it is still a rare occurrence.
You’re getting some of the best tasting coconut milk here and it’s not diluted at any point so you’ll be turning this pack of 12 into some delicious Thai green or use it to make a healthier French toast. One of the best alternatives to dairy with no gluten it’s a creamy, healthy alternative that is easy to get on with although some people have an issue with the quality of recent batches, this is one of the best value ways of getting coconut milk into your diet.
- Great value with the 12 pack
- Made in Thailand
- BPA free
- Cartons aren’t as sturdy as cans
Jiva Organics Organic Coconut Milk 13.5 Oz (Pack Of 12)
For some of the best coconut milk on the market, you have to pay a little more but the peace of mind that comes with buying a quality product means you get to reap the benefits. These include the fact that it is free from guar gum as well as BPA and as you might expect from this brand, it is certified organic.
Full fat at 18% and with no additives so it is not sweetened – only how you would expect coconut to be. As with any coconut milk, it may solidify a little when cold so you can place the can in a little hot water to separate it before shaking. To top it all off, this product is produced in a facility that will only handle coconuts.
- No additives
- BPA and guar gum free
- A bit more expensive than other brands
Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
No list of the best coconut milk would be complete without an entry from Thai Kitchen. This is a 24 pack of 5.46 fl oz cans of all-natural gluten-free coconut milk that brings rich texture and flavor to brighten up a variety of meals. These small cans can be doubled up for larger meals or used to make a soup for one.
One gripe we have is that they contain guar gum, although this is common in a lot of brands and doesn’t impact the taste it is something many people prefer to go without. However, the size is handy for a lot of cooks and for unsweetened coconut milk, it is one of the best.
- 24 pack is good value
- Contains guar gum
Chaokoh Coconut Milk, 13.5 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Best For Soup
Another big name in the industry, this smooth coconut milk is rich in flavor without being too intense making it great for soups. It is produced in Thailand which is a common source of quality coconut milk and in the 6 pack here you are getting good value for the price.
One benefit is that it does not contain guar gum like other brands who choose to thicken their product that way but some customers have commented that their cans arrived dented although this seems to be a rare occurrence. All in all, this is one of the best tasting coconut milk from a famous brand and you will be getting plenty of it to make lots of nutritious meals.
- No guar gum
- Reputable brand
- Some cans have arrived dented
Coconut Milk Guide
Ask anyone who knows anything about nutrition and they will tell you that coconut milk is a great alternative to dairy. It’s also entirely vegan since it doesn’t contain animal products. Not just that, it has unique flavors that make it perfect for trying to replicate authentic Asian cuisines at home.
This is only going to be possible when you choose a reliable product as it is easy to pick up something that contains unnecessary additives or is known for poor consistency. It’s best to check the label to ensure no gluten-containing ingredients are added. Also, look for added sugars, preservatives, and artificial thickeners when choosing coconut milk.
The best way to avoid buying a 12 pack of a sub-par product that has a gray consistency and is full of additives is to know what to look for. We have created the following guide to make sure you only buy one of the best coconut milk brands.
What To Look For In Coconut Milk
One of the best ways of ensuring you are getting quality coconut milk is by making sure it is organic. There are plenty of great products outside of the organic versions and a lot of brands will produce both but when you know there are no unnatural preservatives and of course, you get the benefit of low to no pesticides.
Because water is added to coconut milk to give it the cuisine-ready texture, you need to make sure the product is overly watery and on the other end of the scale, not too thick. A lot of the time you should look for something that is around 50% water although some products won’t go into great detail. As long as the consistency is good, you can make all the meals you expect to.
Note that coconut milk with a thick and creamy consistency will have a higher fat and calorie content. Conversely, coconut milk with a thinner consistency will contain less fat and calories. Its consistency might be closer to a regular milk beverage.
This is something you should pay close attention to as it can significantly affect the type of food you are making. Unsweetened coconut milk means it can be used in any food as even in baking you can sweeten the cake yourself. It’s an easy mistake to make but coconut milk is naturally sweet so you don’t need to buy the sweetened types.
This is where you might be tempted to buy lite-coconut milk but consider how this might impact the dish. Yes, it can be good to add half lite and half full fat into a soup but when it comes to other dishes such as curries, the consistency might ruin the dish.
The Right Product
There are significant differences between coconut milk for cuisine and coconut milk as a beverage so make sure you get the right product for your needs. It’s the sort of mistake you might make the first time and although the excellent health benefits transfer between both products, you don’t want to have all the ingredients for your soup except for the main one.
On the flip side, adding cuisine coconut milk to a smoothie isn’t going to turn out well.
A lot of brands still use cans that contain BPA’s which is something to look out for but check on those that do not. A lot of the time they are replacing BPA’s with other harmful chemicals so be sure you are staying on the safe side.
Buying a 6 or 12 pack is a good way of stocking up on the type of ingredient that can quickly become a staple food in your cupboard. Coconut milk is versatile and can be used to make a variety of meals so consider it a good thing to always have some to hand.
Canned Vs Carton
For coconut milk, this can make a big difference in the quality of the product. Although canned coconut milk is the best way of ensuring it arrives at your door safely, it can be dented in transit. Some people are more bothered by this than others but one of the major differences is that coconut milk does tend to separate in cans.
This is easily rectified by putting it in warm water before using it and giving it a thorough shake – then the coconut milk will be good to go.
Carton coconut milk is good because the risk of BPA’s being used is reduced as a lot of canned products can still contain them. The only issue is they are less robust to knocks. Neither cans or cartons affect the taste which is the main concern here.
The best thing about both canned and carton coconut milk is they are both recyclable.
How To Store Leftover Coconut Milk
If you are pouring coconut milk from a can and have enough left over to store, it is always best to put it in an airtight container. You should avoid leaving it in the can although it is tempting for convenience, the coconut milk will develop a metallic taste over the coming days and you will end up throwing it out.
Why Does Some Coconut Milk Contain Guar Gum?
Guar gum is a popular thickener that is used in a lot of coconut milk although some will proudly tell you that theirs does not contain this emulsifier. It is a cheap way of ensuring the texture is consistent and can cause side effects in some people. It is common in processed foods so stay on the natural side and avoid it if you can.
What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Water?
The most obvious place to start is the consistency. Coconut water is just coconut milk that is diluted even further with the cream removed to make it into a beverage rather than an ingredient for cuisine.
What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream?
Again the texture is very different, coconut cream being thicker as it is only made from the fat without dilution. Coconut cream is great in soups for thickening the mix and is often used as a dairy-free alternative in desserts.
Does Coconut Milk Taste Like Coconut?
The short answer is yes it does. However, when mixed into a meal it adds a creamy texture but combines with other flavors well for a subtle coconut taste.
When used in the right way, coconut milk can be a healthy alternative and is an exciting ingredient that you can use to try some new cuisines. The better products will have a creamy consistency and have you reaching for more so remember to keep that cupboard well-stocked.
It’s also good to have a coconut milk beverage in your fridge so you can grab a carton and reap the many benefits.