Cooking with Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a favorite from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean, adding its rich, creamy texture and unmistakable flavor to everything from soups to cakes to cocktails. From traditional uses like curries to more unusual ones like a creamy take on the Bellini, these are some of our favorite recipes that feature coconut milk. For the best canned varieties, see chef Andy Ricker's guide to buying coconut milk.

Thai Red Curry with Roasted Duck

For the best results when you're making this sweet and spicy dish, ask the counterperson at your local Chinese market to cut the roasted duck into pieces. We recommend using the Mae Ploy brand of canned coconut milk; its high fat content makes for a rich and luxurious curry. See the recipe for Thai Red Curry with Roasted Duck »André Baranowski
See the RecipeAndré Baranowski
See the RecipeLandon Nordeman

Banana, Coconut, and Tapioca Pearl Soup

This creamy, sweet dessert is a favorite Vietnamese street snack.Ariana Lindquist

Indonesian Chicken Curry

INDONESIA In this dish, based on one in SAVEUR editor-in-chief James Oseland's Cradle of Flavor, cinnamon and lemongrass give the silky sauce fragrance and spice. See the recipe for Indonesian Chicken Curry »Andre Baranowski
Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk (Kuku Wa Nazi)

Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk (Kuku Wa Nazi)

Coconut milk is used in chicken stews from Southeast Asia to Africa, from which this fragrant dish hails.James Fisher
Coconut Gelatin with Glazed Strawberries

Coconut Gelatin with Glazed Strawberries

The New York City-based chef Pichet Ong uses gelatin and citrus juice to coat strawberries in a sweet sauce before plating them with cubes of coconut-flavored gelatin. Get the recipe for Coconut Gelatin with Glazed Strawberries »Michael Kraus

Gulai Sayur (Indonesian-Style Collard Greens Curry)

Collard greens, collard greens recipes
Coconut milk balances the spicy notes of chile in this Indonesian-style curry with collard greens.Todd Coleman

Young Coconut Cream Pie

Young coconuts and coconut water lend a fresh flavor to a creamy chilled classic.Courtesy Barbara Hansen

Pok Pok

Chef Pichet Ong, of Spot Dessert Bar in New York City, gave us this recipe for pok pok, an ice cream sandwich based on those he ate as a child in Bangkok. See the recipe for Pok Pok »Todd Coleman
Pastel de Tres Leches con Coco This velvety cake is drenched in coconut milk and topped with poached peaches. See the recipe for Pastel de Tres Leches con Coco » Back to Mexico Feeds Me »Todd Coleman
Hot Coconut Milk Punch

Hot Coconut Milk Punch

Coconut milk adds richness to this warm bourbon cocktail.Todd Coleman
See the RecipeTodd Coleman
Curried Chicken

Curried Chicken

Bathed in fragrant curry- and ginger-infused coconut milk, this stew is a popular breakfast dish at Kingston cafés.Landon Nordeman
Hominy Porridge

Hominy Porridge

Dried hominy takes hours of cooking, but it yields a luscious porridge. This recipe comes from Kingston-based caterer Dian Watson.Landon Nordeman

Vegetable Run-Up

This version of rundown, typically made with mackerel, was renamed by chef Yvonne Peters-Hope of Ashanti Oasis Vegetarian Restaurant, who gave us the recipe for this meat-free take on the savory breakfast stew.Landon Nordeman
Puerto Rican Eggnog (Coquito)

Puerto Rican Eggnog (Coquito)

Coconut and rum flavor this tropical eggnog.Penny De Los Santos
Coconut Milk Caramels

Coconut Milk Caramels

Chewy, pleasantly salty caramels are flavored simply with coconut milk and sugar.Anna Stockwell
Hoppers

Hoppers

Made using a batter similar to crêpes, Sri Lanka's crispy-edged rice flour hoppers are formed into edible bowls and filled with toppings ranging from onion sambol to a simple steamed egg.Todd Coleman
Smoked Coconut Cheesecake

Smoked Coconut Cheesecake

This coconut cheesecake with a thick whipped cream topping looks typical enough, but it's perfumed with musky, flowery aromas and flavored with notes of caramel and smoke.Todd Coleman
Sombi (Coconut Rice Pudding)

Sombi (Coconut Rice Pudding)

More like a creamy porridge than a pudding in consistency, this sweet dish is commonly eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack in Senegal.Todd Coleman
Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

You can buy the green curry paste to make this Thai classic at any Asian market, but it's so easy to make, and the results are so fragrant and flavorful, that it's more than worth making from scratch.Maxime Iattoni

Hudutu

Garifuna cooks make a starchy plantain mash akin to African fufu and serve it with this basil- and culantro-laced stew. See the recipe for Hudutu (Fish and Coconut Stew with Mashed Plantains) »Penny De Los Santos
Rice and Beans with Coconut Milk (Resanbinsi)

Rice and Beans with Coconut Milk (Resanbinsi)

Coconut milk is an essential ingredient in many Garifuna dishes, including this creamy take on rice and beans.Penny De Los Santos
Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts

Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts

Coconut milk gives these donuts from Seattle's Top Pot donut shop a super-moist interior and a gratifying crust.Todd Coleman
Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

Instead of searing the meat before cooking it in liquid, as is done with a Western-style braise, beef rendang reverses the process. Slowly simmering beef chuck with Indonesian spice paste, coconut milk, and lemongrass yields an amazingly tender, rich dish that's great with both white rice or crusty bread. Get the recipe for Beef Rendang »James Oseland

Pandan-Coconut Ice Cream

Pandan-Coconut Ice Cream
Often used in southeast Asian curries and Indian rice dishes, pandan leaf lends a subtly exotic savory note to this coconut ice cream.Laura Sant
Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes (Kaeng Karii)

Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes (Kaeng Karii)

The dried spices in this complex, coconut-enriched Thai curry from chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok reveal its South Asian origins. Ricker's advice, from his October 2013 article The Star of Siam: "Follow the recipe exactly the first time, then adjust the seasonings and the coconut milk. Put your stamp on it. After all, that's what the Thai do."Penny De Los Santos
Green Curry with Fish and Eggplant (Kaeng Khiaw Waan)

Green Curry with Fish and Eggplant (Kaeng Khiaw Waan)

Thai-style dumplings add a nice, bouncy texture to this green curry.Penny De Los Santos
Coconut Lime Custard Pie

Coconut Lime Custard Pie

This cream-topped pie is filled with a thick coconut milk custard that perfectly complements the zip of fresh lime juice and grated zest. Get the recipe for Coconut Lime Custard Pie »Andrew Ingalls

Bianchini

Bianchini
This cloudy, coconuty version of a bellini comes from Manhattan restaurant Lievito.Helen Rosner