Coconut Milk Recipes – There is literally so much you can do with coconut milk in the kitchen! Whether you’re whipping up your favorite curry for dinner, frying shrimp, making cocktails, or baking a cake, coconut milk can easily be the star ingredient. If you’re a fan of coconut milk (and even if you aren’t), then, believe me, you need these 35 insanely good recipes in your life.
Coconut milk’s creamy texture makes it an excellent replacement for regular milk if you need dairy-free recipes. It’s also why it makes a perfect addition to soups, stews, sauces, and even your morning cup of coffee. But there’s so much more to coconut milk than that.
Let’s just take a minute to talk about the flavor of coconut milk. I love its unique taste because you can pair it seamlessly with both sweet and savory flavors. Who wouldn’t love an ingredient that can satisfy the sweet tooth and fill you up for dinner?
If you store any leftover coconut milk in an airtight container in the fridge, it will stay good for 3-5 days. Discard coconut milk when it starts to spoil. If the color gets darker, smells sour, or starts to curdle, it’s time to toss it.
Coconut milk isn’t always bright white. In fact, natural coconut milk can look slightly grey or off-white. Some coconut milk brands contain added chemical whitening agents, so you may have thought it should be bright white.
I love coconut milk because it tastes great and is fun to cook with, but coconut milk is actually pretty good for you too! It has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties, which is why some studies suggest it can destroy disease-causing organisms. Impressive, right?
Coconut Milk Drinks
Coquito is also known as Puerto Rican eggnog, but you don’t have to wait for the holidays to roll around to enjoy this tasty treat. It’s so cool, rich, and cozy, thanks to ingredients like sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, two ingredients you can easily make from scratch, coconut milk, rum, and warm spices. I like to call it eggnog’s sassy cousin because of its exotic, tropical flair.
2. Chai Tea Latte
Who doesn’t love a good chai tea latte? Thanks to coconut milk, this recipe is so deliciously sweet, spicy, and extra creamy. It makes for a great afternoon pick me up (especially when paired with East African doughnuts 😋) and is super easy to make. Also, you can control the sweetness level and use any sweetener you like. Three cheers for customizable drinks!
3. Pina Colada
This drink will take you to the tropics even when it’s the middle of winter and snowing outside. 🌴 It’s perfect for any celebration or just a night in with friends. My husband and I love to enjoy this coconut pineapple cocktail along with our favorite shrimp kabobs or coconut shrimp. Delish!
Sweet Coconut Milk Recipes
4. Coconut Cream Pie
This flaky, buttery pie crust filled with the smoothest coconut custard literally melts in your mouth, making it one of my favorite dessert recipes. It’s also topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes, adding interesting textures to a dessert loaded with flavor. Serve it with a blended Thai iced coffee for a well-rounded tropical dessert experience.
5. Coconut Cake
This recipe features a yellow cake topped with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut flakes. It’s light, it’s airy, it’s to die for. 🤤 Also, it’s the perfect cake to take to any party or gathering and pairs well with a hot cup of coffee or ginger tea.
6. Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
If you’re feeling bored with your daily bowl of oatmeal, try this Jamaican cornmeal porridge instead. It will have you looking forward to breakfast again. Caribbean spices and coconut milk come together in this recipe to make a warm, comforting, sweet morning meal that is filling and energizing without being too heavy. Make your own vanilla extract for this recipe, and then top it off with some fresh fruit. Mango and blueberries are my favorites! 🥭🫐
7. Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes)
These little vegan donuts are so totally delicious. Then dip them in a decadent caramel sauce for a real melt-in-your-mouth experience. After that, serve them up with a chai tea latte, and you’ve got the perfect combo for dessert or a snack. Go ahead and try to eat just one. I dare you! 😜
8. Arroz con Leche
Creamy Mexican rice pudding is heavenly, and you can serve it hot on a cold day or chilled on a hot day, making it pretty versatile as desserts go. And, of course, you can replace the milk with coconut milk for a dairy-free recipe. You can serve it solo or add some toppings to fancy things up. Fresh fruit, toasted nuts, caramel sauce, or honey, for example.
9. Braised Chicken in Coconut Milk
This whole chicken recipe is super juicy and so tender it just falls off the bones. You can add some veggies to the pot and make a whole meal of it, too. It’s one of my favorite recipes for an easy weeknight dinner packed with flavor. Then pair it with some coconut rice, and you’ve got a meal that won’t yield any leftovers. 😉
10. Coconut Shrimp
Who knew this classic appetizer was so easy to make? Shrimp dipped in coconut batter and then rolled in coconut flakes, breadcrumbs, and spices make a decadent starter or main course. Although coconut shrimp are usually fried, you can bake them if you prefer. Feel free to get creative with the dips and sauces, too. I like to offer them a couple of sauce options, one of which I always include is Caribbean pepper sauce. 💥
11. Coconut Rice
Cooked to tender perfection with a good dose of coconut flavor, this will be your new favorite rice recipe. It calls for minimal ingredients, including homemade coconut milk. (Don’t be intimidated, it’s easier than you think.) It’s quick and delicious and pairs well with so many dishes like chicken curry, shrimp curry, Jamaican steamed fish, and Caribbean fish stew, just to mention a few.
12. Coconut Jollof Rice
This one-pot wonder takes chicken and rice to the next level. It’s so aromatic, flavorful, and delicious. A tomato base and savory chicken broth with herbs and creamy coconut milk round out this rice dish so perfectly. Serve it up with a side of veggies, say pineapple ginger-glazed carrots, for example, and you’ve got the 👏 perfect 👏 dinner. 👏
13. Grill Caribbean Coconut Shrimp
Quick and easy, perfect for an appetizer or main course, grilled Caribbean coconut shrimp is a recipe you’ve got to try. Garlic, thyme, and of course, coconut milk are what make these shrimp flavorful and juicy. Fire up the grill and serve this shrimp with your favorite side dish. I love to pair it with Mexican rice and pineapple cucumber salad myself. 😉
14. Coconut Fried Rice
This is not your average fried rice, guys and gals. Coconut milk takes things to the next level, making this rice extra fluffy and flavorful. I love to whip up this quick midweek meal when my family and I are in the mood for something different. Make a whole takeout meal at home by whipping up some orange chicken and crab rangoon to go with. 🥢
15. Coconut Shrimp Stew
Coconut shrimp stew is a straightforward, savory meal that is quick and delicious. Thanks to oh-so-creamy coconut milk and juicy shrimp in a tomatoey sauce, you’ll go back for seconds in a heartbeat. Spice it up with cayenne pepper if you want, or leave it mild. And if you’re a real coconut milk fanatic, then definitely serve this stew over a steaming bed of coconut rice.
16. Chicken Curry
Chicken curry is always on the menu at my house. The spices are spot on, and the creamy sauce is just so darn good. I like my curry with a good kick to it 🥵 but you can make this dish as spicy or as mild as you please. You can also opt to cook chicken curry in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker. Both methods are super easy, and prep time is minimal. It’s easy, flavorful, and a real crowd-pleaser. Do serve this meal with some homemade white bread because you’ll want to mop up every last drop of the sauce. 😋
17. Jamaican Rice and Peas
Who knew a dish of rice and peas could be such a flavor explosion? This Jamaican dish is packed with flavor, so it goes amazingly with curry goat or jerk chicken. Scotch bonnet peppers add heat, then coconut milk balances the spiciness with its creamy texture. Loads of other spices make it easy to see why this is such a classic dish in Caribbean cuisine.
18. How to Boil Corn
If you never boiled corn with coconut milk, you’ve been missing out. This recipe makes corn on the cob extra delicious when cooked with just a few flavorful ingredients. Whenever I make this dish, I feel like I’m on summer vacation in the islands – so deliciously comforting! Serve it up alongside Southern fried chicken or a salmon burger, then sit back while the rave reviews from friends and family roll in. 🤩
19. Mulligatawny Soup
This recipe takes what is essentially chicken and rice soup and amps up the flavor. Southern Indian flavors and vibrant colors make this dish nothing short of a five-star gastronomical experience. So impress your guests at your next dinner party by serving this soup with fun sides like homemade pita bread and fried plantains.
20. Caribbean Rice and Beans
Similar to Jamaican rice and peas, this recipe combines rice and kidney beans with plenty of herbs and spices for a flavorful end product. Of course, you can use any beans you like if you want to customize the recipe. And don’t forget to add a little Creole spice or Jamaican jerk seasoning to heat things up a bit if you dare. Complete your meal by serving this rice dish with pernil or pulled pork.
21. Peri-Peri Marinated Chicken Skewers
I love these chicken skewers so much! I try to make a batch anytime we grill out around here. The peri-peri marinade features spicy peppers balanced with lemon juice, spices, and coconut milk. The marinade makes for some amazingly flavorful chicken, and when you make a big batch, any extra marinade can double as a dipping sauce. 🙌
22. Chickpea Curry
A vegetarian favorite, chickpea curry is a hearty, complex dish with a rich and satisfying flavor. Ready in about 30 minutes, mainly using pantry staples ingredients; you’ll be surprised how easy and delicious this dish is. Serve it up with hot steamed rice and some homemade flatbread, and you’ve got a healthy meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
23. Curry Fish
This curry fish recipe is another flavor-packed dish. It results in a thick, creamy fish stew that goes beautifully with coconut rice and your favorite bread. Ginger, homemade curry powder, and coconut milk are the secret ingredients that make this a five-star recipe.
24. Vegetable Soup
You’ll never think vegetable soup is bland again after trying this recipe. Earthy spices, perfectly cooked veggies, and creamy coconut milk make this soup perfectly cozy. It’s great for a cold winter night but not so heavy that you couldn’t serve it in the summertime. Just be sure to make some homemade cornbread for dipping purposes. 😉
This is another Caribbean staple that sometimes replaces bread. It’s a thick, flatbread made with freshly grated cassava. Then soak it in coconut milk for a subtle hint of sweetness. Usually, it’s eaten for breakfast or served as a side dish. It’s often paired with Callaloo or Jamaican escovitch fish.
Coconut Milk Baked Goods
26. Coco Bread
A Caribbean staple, this bread is just slightly sweet. So it makes a great breakfast or snack alongside a coffee or ginger tea. You can add just about any filling you’d like to this neatly folded baked treat, or you can serve them as is alongside your favorite dish. They also pair great with savory dishes like parmesan-crusted tilapia or picadillo.
27. Samoan Coconut Bread Rolls (Pani Popo)
These rolls are sweet and fluffy, similar to Hawaiian rolls but with a richer flavor that comes with a hint of coconut. The best part? These rolls have a rich, gooey coconut sauce on the bottom. 🤤 The combinations of textures and flavors are absolute perfection.
28. Coconut Bread
This little loaf is super easy to make and super tasty. Moist coconut bread topped with a lime glaze for a citrus kick makes it one of my favorite loaves to bake. I’ll even let you in on a little secret: You don’t even need a mixer to make it! Serve it with a cup of hot ginger tea for the ultimate flavor trifecta.
29. Hawaiian Coconut Bread Roll
Coconut milk and crushed pineapple make these bread rolls sweet and tropical. They are super easy to make and are so delicious fresh from the oven and smothered in butter. Serve them with any Caribbean main course, such as jerk chicken or Caribbean grilled chicken salad, for a true island feast.
30. Coconut Sweet Bread
Freshly grated coconut and a cream cheese glaze make this cake-like bread a real treat. A variety of warm spices makes it incredibly aromatic, and the taste is so rich and deep. If you really want to go crazy here, serve a slice of this bread with some rum raisin pineapple ice cream. Don’t mind if I do! 😝
31. Coconut Bake
Watch out, coconut lovers! This bread is a triple threat because it features coconut flakes, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Bakes are traditional Caribbean bread that goes well with saltfish or coleslaw, or any other number of meals. It’s a yeast bread but doesn’t need a lot of kneading, so it’s not at all time-consuming to make. This recipe is 100 percent vegan and 100 percent indulgent.
32. Cassava Coconut Cake
This gluten-free cake is so moist and flavorful. And it also only takes about 10 minutes to prep. Cassava and coconut milk are a match made in heaven, as you’ll find out. Serve it with a hot chai tea latte. You can top the cake and your latte with some homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce if you’re feeling a little extra. 😉
33. Tres Leches Cake
A spongey cake moistened with three kinds of milk and a homemade whipped cream topping make this one special dessert. This cake is best served chilled, so it makes a great make-ahead dessert. It’s easy to make, fun to decorate, and super tasty! Serve it with some hot coffee with a dash of homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream for a delightful pairing. 👌
34. French Toast Bake
Did someone say brunch? In my honest opinion, this French toast bake is the perfect brunch item. Layers of French toast with a crumbly, cinnamony top will make all your coffee cake dreams come true. Plus, the French toast is soaked in coquito, a sweetened coconut rum drink, which makes for a seriously divine breakfast casserole.
35. Johnny Cakes
With just six everyday ingredients, johnnycakes are so quick and easy to make. Essentially the Caribbean biscuit, these “cakes” go perfect with anything you’d enjoy a biscuit with. Then again, they’re great on their own too. 💁🏾♀️ Try them with jam or garlic butter or pair them with a broccoli cheese soup or a chicken stew. They go with just about anything.
So there you have 35 of my favorite recipes using coconut milk. Most are dairy-free, but they’re all mouthwateringly delicious. Are you hungry for more fabulous recipes? Then sign up for my newsletter to keep up with the latest. Thank you!