Best Substitutes for Coconut Milk in Curry

If you have a serious hankering for some delicious curry but find yourself short of, Coconut Milk, don’t despair try these other substitutes that will work well in place of coconut milk in any curry:

  1. Coconut Cream
  2. Coconut Milk Powder
  3. Home made Coconut Milk
  4. Greek Yogurt
  5. Heavy Cream
  6. Sour Cream
  7. Cashew Cream
  8. Milk
  9. Powdered Milk
  10. Soy Milk
  11. Almond Milk
  12. Oat Milk
  13. Evaporated Milk
  14. Water

Now keep on reading to learn how to correctly use these substitutes to get the taste as close as possible just as if you were using regular coconut milk.

1. Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is thick and rich and is made from simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water whereas Coconut milk, has the liquid consistency of cow’s milk and is made from simmering one part shredded coconut in one part water . 

To use Coconut Cream as a substitute for Coconut Milk it should be mixed with water. You should get 2 tbsp. of coconut cream and three quarters of a cup of water. If you want lighter coconut milk, simply add as much water as you would like and mix until you have a smooth consistency.

Do not confuse coconut cream for cream of coconut. Cream of Coconut is a mix of coconut cream and sugar which makes it is very sweet and more suited for desserts rather than curries.

2. Coconut Milk Powder

If you are having trouble finding canned coconut milk but find its powdered form, it can be used as a substitute.

To substitute, simply mix the Coconut Milk Powder Mix with warm water to make coconut milk. For a thinner consistency, add one tablespoon of Coconut Milk Powder to one cup of warm water and mix well. For a thicker and more creamy consistency, add three tablespoons of Coconut Milk Powder.

3. Home Made Coconut Milk From Coconut Flakes

If can’t find fresh coconuts don’t worry, shredded unsweetened store bought flakes work just as well to make coconut milk.

To make coconut milk from the shredded flakes take 1 1/2 unsweetened coconut shreds/ flakes and 4 cups of warm water. Place in a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Strain using a cheese cloth in a clean container.

Use as required in the recipe and refrigerate any remainder.

If you’re lucky to live somewhere where you can easily find coconuts then you’ll know how easy and healthy it it is to make your own coconut milk using the freshly shredded coconut flakes. Just in case you have a fresh coconut but are not sure how to make the milk you can click here to see a video.

If you happen to have a fresh coconut, don’t confuse the coconut milk for coconut water, they are different things, the Coconut Water is the clear liquid within a young coconut that you get when you open a coconut.

4. Greek Yogurt

You can use unflavored Greek yogurt in place of coconut milk to your curry as it adds creaminess and body much like coconut milk does in curry.

To replace 1 cup (240 ml) of coconut milk, mix 1 cup (240 ml) of Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water. If you want it thinner, slowly add more water until you reach your desired consistency.

However Greek yogurt is a little tangier than coconut milk, so keep this in mind when deciding how much water you should add to thin the the yogurt.

5. Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream adds a richness and creaminess that works well in any curry, as a substitute for coconut milk, but the consistency of the heavy cream is too thick compared to coconut milk, so it must be diluted with water to mimic that of coconut milk .

To substitute heavy cream for coconut milk use 2 parts heavy cream to 1 part water to get the desired consistency of coconut milk.

6. Sour Cream

Sour Cream is another dairy alternative that can work well in curries as an alternative to coconut milk.

But remember that the flavor of sour cream is more distinct and tart than that of Greek Yogurt or Heavy Cream so use it moderately until you get the desired flavor and consistency. This too may be diluted with water to lessen the potent flavor.

7. Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is a thick creamy paste made from soaked cashews. It has a smoother, creamier texture than other nut milks and mimics the consistency of cow’s milk. It’s naturally low in calories and protein but packs more fat than most plant-based milks plus it is easy to make and delicious.

You can use cashew cream instead of coconut milk as it is just as creamy as coconut milk.

You can swap cashew milk in at a 1:1 ratio in most recipes.

8. Milk

If you’re in a pinch and need to add some richness to your curry, regular milk can work as an alternative to coconut milk. Higher fat milk tends to work better in the curry as it will be better able to imitate the consistency of the coconut milk.

However, milk has a thinner consistency so less milk will be needed as called for by the recipe.  If you like a coconut flavor, you can add a little coconut oil.

9. Powdered milk

Powdered milk can also be used in curries instead of coconut milk.

To get the powdered milk to the consistency of coconut milk, mix two tbsp. powdered milk with 1 cup of water, If you love the flavor of coconut try adding a tbsp. of coconut oil to the mixture.

10. Soy Milk

Soy milk is another dairy free option that can replace coconut milk.

But Soy milk is much thinner than that of coconut milk so to thicken the consistency, you can try adding 1 tsp corn starch to the soy milk and if you love the flavor of coconut try adding a tbsp. of coconut oil to the mixture.

11. Almond Milk

Almond milk can also be used as a coconut milk substitute. However, it is thinner than that of soy milk and coconut milk so to thicken the almond milk, corn starch must be added to improve the watery consistency. Coconut oil may also be used to improve the flavor of the curry.

12. Oat Milk

Oat milk also has the same problem like that of the other non dairy options above, too thin in consistency and lacking the richness in flavor.

However these non dairy option are widely available and can be found in most people’s homes. To correct the problems with consistency and flavor try mixing in cornstarch before adding it to the curry and adding coconut oil for richness would be our recommendations.

13. Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is an excellent substitute for coconut milk in curries or creamy dishes and can be used at a 1:1 ratio. But remember the flavor of this milk will be different than that of coconut milk so you might want to consider adding a splash of coconut oil for that coconut flavor

14. Water

Now if you don’t have any of the other options above, water maybe your only option just add a little at a time until your curry reaches the consistency you want.

Alternatively adding some coconut oil and additional spices for flavor. For some thickness to your curry, try adding a tbsp. of butter for a velvety curry. However, be warned that without the creaminess of a milk option the flavor will be different.

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