Green Curry with Fish and Eggplant (Kaeng Khiaw Waan)
Penny De Los Santos

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 »
See the Recipe André Baranowski
See the Recipe Landon Nordeman

Banana, Coconut, and Tapioca Pearl Soup

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

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 »

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.

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 »

Gulai Sayur (Indonesian-Style Collard Greens Curry)

Coconut milk balances the spicy notes of chile in this Indonesian-style curry with collard greens. Get the recipe for Gulai Sayur (Indonesian-Style Collard Greens Curry) »

Young Coconut Cream Pie

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

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 »
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

Coconut milk adds richness to this warm bourbon cocktail.
See the Recipe Todd Coleman

Hominy Porridge

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

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.

Coconut Milk Caramels

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


How to make Sri Lankan hoppers »

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. Get the recipe for Smoked Coconut Cheesecake »

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.

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.


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) »

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.

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. Get the recipe for Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts »

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 »

Steep it for Killer Custard and 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.

Coconut Lime Custard Pie

Coconut Lime Custard Pie


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