Coconut Milk Recipes

Coconut milk adds rich sweetness to every dish it graces

Rich and tropical with a subtle sweetness, coconut milk appears in all sorts of dishes, from curries to cakes to cocktails. While you can make it yourself, you don't need to—canned coconut milk is readily available in stores. To show off the sweet liquid's versatility, we've rounded up our favorite coconut milk recipes.

Coconut milk is used to thicken and sweeten curries from all over the world. In India, Goanese shrimp curry is made with both grated coconut and coconut milk, and our Telangana chicken is flavored with coconut, lime, garlic, ginger, cardamom, and more.

Moving over to Southeast Asia, we have a coconutty Thai yellow curry with beef, potatoes, and homemade curry paste, as well as multiple meat mains that are marinated with the milk. Across the world in Jamaica, a popular breakfast is fragrant curry chicken with lime juice, garlic, and ginger.

And naturally, coconut milk has its place in desserts. Our coconut cake from Thomas Keller actually uses coconut four ways; desiccated coconut and coconut milk and extract flavor the batter, while sweetened shredded coconut is strewn between the layers and on top. Because of its high fat content, coconut milk is also useful in making vegan ice cream. It mixes with cashew milk to make the base for our vegan peanut butter and chocolate chip ice cream.

Find all these dishes and more in our collection of coconut milk recipes.

Summer Rambutan Curry
Summer Rambutan Curry
After stumbling upon fresh rambutans, test kitchen assistant Jake Cohen used this Malaysian tropical fruit to make this spicy and sweet summer curry. Get the recipe for Summer Rambutan Curry »Matt Taylor-Gross
Coconut Rice and Red Beans
Coconut Rice and Red Beans
If you prefer, you can use canned red kidney beans in this satisfying side dish, served alongside Braised Oxtail with Butter Beans. Simply skip the first step and rinse one 15-oz. can of beans before adding them to the pan in step two.Matt Taylor-Gross
Goan Coconut Cake (Baath)
Goan Coconut Cake (Baath)
A hint of rosewater adds sweet, floral aroma to this moist, dense semolina cake, packed with four types of coconut. Refrigerating overnight gives the semolina time to soak up the sweet coconut liquid, resulting in a softer, more tender crumb.Matt Taylor-Gross
Coconut Pistachio Semifreddo
Coconut Pistachio Semifreddo
Anna Watson Carl relies on sweetened condensed milk to add richness to this frozen dessert flavored with coconut milk, lime zest, and toasty pistachios. Simply macerated peaches provide a fresh, fruity counterpart.Matt Taylor-Gross
Coconut Horchata
Coconut Horchata
This version of the classic Mexican rice-based drink, which writer Sara Deseran adapted from one at Fresno's El Mercado Super, is made with a mix of coconut milk and coconut water for a beverage that is both luxurious and refreshing. Get the recipe for Coconut Horchata »Romulo Yanes
Sesame-Topped Semolina Cake with Coconut (Shwekyi Senyinmakin)
Sesame-Topped Semolina Cake with Coconut (Shwekyi Senyinmakin)
This sticky-sweet cake, made with semolina flour and coconut milk, is commonly served at holidays and special occasions in Myanmar.Laura Sant
Philippine Vinegar-Braised Greens (Kangkong Adobo)
Philippine Vinegar-Braised Greens (Kangkong Adobo)
"Filipinos love anything with adobo sauce, and kangkong is one of my favorite vegetables to eat." – Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao Get the recipe for Philippine Vinegar-Braised Greens (Kangkong Adobo) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
This vegan ice cream from Brooklyn's Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream takes a classic flavor combination, peanut butter and chocolate, and uses cashew milk to make for an extra rich ice cream.Farideh Sadeghin
Roasted Cherry Colada
Roasted Cherry Colada
A classic piña colada gets an extra deep flavor with the addition of smoky roasted cherries.Matt Taylor-Gross
Philippine Paella
Philippine Paella
Part Spanish, part Filipino, made with rich coconut milk and hard-cooked eggs for garnish. Get the recipe for Philippine Paella »Matt Taylor-Gross
Telangana-Style Curried Chicken Stew
Telangana-Style Curried Chicken Stew
Carved out of ten former districts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangan officially became India's 29th state in June 2014. For this eponymous dish from Telangana home cook Padma Reddy, the skin is removed from the chicken to allow the flavors of the marinade—coconut, lime, garlic, ginger, cardamom, mace and more—to penetrate. Get the recipe for Telangana-Style Curried Chicken Stew »Ingalls Photography
Grilled Chicken and Toasted Coconut Salad (Ayam Jeruk)
Grilled Chicken and Toasted Coconut Salad (Ayam Jeruk)
For this vibrantly spiced Balinese dish, finely shredded grilled chicken is tossed in an aromatic sambal with lime juice and toasted coconut.Ingalls Photography
Curried Chicken
Curried Chicken
Bathed in fragrant curry- and ginger-infused coconut milk, this stew is a popular breakfast dish at Kingston cafes.Landon Nordeman
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
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
Thai Pork Satay (Muu Satay)
Thai Pork Satay (Muu Satay)
Coconut milk imbues this pork satay with a subtle sweetness.Todd Coleman
Coconut Milk Caramels
Coconut Milk Caramels
Chewy, pleasantly salty caramels are flavored simply with coconut milk and sugar.Anna Stockwell
Coconut Lime Preserves
Coconut Lime Preserves
Rich coconut milk and tangy lime meld in a sweet tropical spread from Stéphane Mazières, former chef at Hôtel Le Toiny in St. Barths.Michael Kraus
Coconut Beluga Lentils
Coconut Beluga Lentils
At Turtle Bay Estate House on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, chef Anthony Dawodu enriches lentils with sweet coconut milk.Andre Baranowski
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
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
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
Coconut Rice Pudding (Sombi)
Coconut Rice Pudding (Sombi)
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
Southern Thai-Style Mussel Satay (Hoi Malaeng Puu)
Southern Thai-Style Mussel Satay (Hoi Malaeng Puu)
This satay gets its tangy fieriness from red curry paste and tamarind. Get the recipe for Southern Thai-Style Mussel Satay (Hoi Malaeng Puu) »
Thomas Keller's coconut cake
Thomas Keller's Coconut Cake
Thick Italian meringue is sandwiched between moist layers of cake, which is topped off with sweetened shredded coconut in this recipe from chef Thomas Keller.Helen Rosner
Stewed Kidney Beans (Mchuzi Wa Mbaazi)
Stewed Kidney Beans (Mchuzi Wa Mbaazi)
Coconut milk gives these long-simmered beans a smooth, supple texture that balances the bright flavors of garlic, onion, and chiles.James Fisher
Puerto Rican Eggnog (Coquito)
Puerto Rican Eggnog (Coquito)
Coconut and rum flavor this tropical eggnog.Penny De Los Santos
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
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
Goanese Shrimp Curry (Sembharachi Kodi)
Goanese Shrimp Curry (Sembharachi Kodi)
In Goa, a tiny, palm-fringed state on the western coast of India, seafood is central to the cuisine. Beloved regional specialty sembharachi kodi, or shrimp in a coconut curry, is prepared a number of ways, but always with the freshest local shellfish simmered in a rich, chile-spiked coconut sauce. Get the recipe for Goanese Shrimp Curry (Sembharachi Kodi) »Ingalls Photography
Bianchini
Bianchini
This cloudy, coconuty version of a bellini comes from Manhattan restaurant Lievito.Helen Rosner
Balinese Tuna Satay (Satay Lilit)
Balinese Tuna Satay (Satay Lilit)
This Balinese-style tuna satay is adapted from Janet De Neefe's Fragrant Rice. Get the recipe for Balinese Tuna Satay (Satay Lilit) »Todd Coleman
Shrimp Satay (Satay Udang)
Shrimp Satay (Satay Udang)
Ground macadamia nuts enrich this spicy Singaporean-style shrimp satay. Get the recipe for Shrimp Satay (Satay Udang) »Todd Coleman
Smita Chandra's Malabar Mussels
Smita Chandra's Malabar Mussels
Dishes from the south Indian state of Kerala, along the Malabar Coast, are heavily influenced by the area's abundant supply of seafood. In this Anglo-Indian recipe from cookbook author and cooking instructor Smita Chandra, mussels gathered from local waters are cooked with tomatoes in a richly spiced coconut broth.Ingalls Photography
Filipino Beef Short Ribs Adobo (Adobong Tadyang)
Filipino Beef Short Ribs Adobo (Adobong Tadyang)
Whole garlic cloves perfume the braise for this tangy beef dish from Marvin Gapultos' The Adobo Road Cookbook (Tuttle, 2013). Get the recipe for Filipino Beef Short Ribs Adobo »Romulo Yanes
Steamed Thai Fish Custard
Steamed Thai Fish Custard
Typically steamed in intricately folded banana leaves, these Thai fish custards are baked in leaf-lined ramekins set in a water bath.Todd Coleman
Seafood Soup (Iraü Lau Juyeirugu)
Seafood Soup (Iraü Lau Juyeirugu)
Fresh basil, oregano, and sage lend their fragrance to this hearty soup loaded with five different types of seafood.Joseph De Leo
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
Padang-Style Chicken Curry (Gulai Ayam)
Padang-Style Chicken Curry (Gulai Ayam)
Chicken thighs can also be used to make this aromatic Indonesian curry.Ingalls Photography
Indonesian Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing (Gado-Gado)
Indonesian Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing (Gado-Gado)
This popular Indonesian salad lends itself to creativity; nearly any combination of raw and cooked vegetables, along with rice or thin noodles, can be used. An addictive, aromatic peanut sauce ties it all together.Ingalls Photography