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Canned coconut milk vs. Refrigerated Coconut milk?

by (45)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:33 PM
Created November 11, 2011 at 10:53 PM

I see lots of recipes calling for coconut milk (Marks Daily Apple, Everyday Paleo cookbook, etc...). They never specify if it is the canned stuff or the one I can find in the refrigerated alternatives to cows milk section? When I make shakes which am I supposed to use? The canned tastes way better so it makes me worry it's the wrong one. Thoughts?

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7223 · November 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM

If you want coconut milk like you find in the refrigerated case, but don't want all the additives, all you have to do is add water to a can of coconut milk until you have the right consistency. Throw in a bit of vanilla if you like and refrigerate.

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7223 · November 12, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Gloppy stuff? I guess I just don't look at it that way. I prefer a nice thick coconut milk--for whatever purpose. It's great you found a brand that works for you, but looking at the nutritional info, it has less fat and fewer calories per (same size) serving than Native Forest, so it sounds like the only reason it is less "gloppy" (your words, not mine) is that it is more watered down--although still not to the extent that the refrigerated stuff is.

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11142 · November 12, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Actually there is a coconut milk made by Goya, called Leche de Coco, which has the consistency of thick milk instead of the gloppy stuff made for sauces.

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3742 · November 12, 2011 at 12:07 AM

I didn't realize that BPA-free canning was available yet - nice! All the boxed coco milks also seem to contain additives. Too bad no refrigerated ones exist w/o additives, as it's likely fresher and would be more nutritious.

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7223 · November 11, 2011 at 11:24 PM

You should definitely always look at the labels, but the refrigerated coconut milk will not be the right consistency for the recipes because it is intended as a beverage. It may work ok in soups (it would just have less body and flavor), but for curries and especially desserts it could give you very poor results.

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4 Answers

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7223 · November 11, 2011 at 11:00 PM

The canned is what you want for recipes. The stuff in the refrigerator section is much more watered down and will not work the same in recipes (and always has a bunch of other additives).

The brand I use is Native Forest. It's organic and in BPA-free cans.

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7223 · November 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM

If you want coconut milk like you find in the refrigerated case, but don't want all the additives, all you have to do is add water to a can of coconut milk until you have the right consistency. Throw in a bit of vanilla if you like and refrigerate.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca
7223 · November 12, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Gloppy stuff? I guess I just don't look at it that way. I prefer a nice thick coconut milk--for whatever purpose. It's great you found a brand that works for you, but looking at the nutritional info, it has less fat and fewer calories per (same size) serving than Native Forest, so it sounds like the only reason it is less "gloppy" (your words, not mine) is that it is more watered down--although still not to the extent that the refrigerated stuff is.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e
11142 · November 12, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Actually there is a coconut milk made by Goya, called Leche de Coco, which has the consistency of thick milk instead of the gloppy stuff made for sauces.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25
3742 · November 12, 2011 at 12:07 AM

I didn't realize that BPA-free canning was available yet - nice! All the boxed coco milks also seem to contain additives. Too bad no refrigerated ones exist w/o additives, as it's likely fresher and would be more nutritious.

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37177 · November 11, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Either way, the label tells the story. Some canned brands are just coconut and water, but others have several other things listed. Be sure you know and understand what you're buying.

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7223 · November 11, 2011 at 11:24 PM

You should definitely always look at the labels, but the refrigerated coconut milk will not be the right consistency for the recipes because it is intended as a beverage. It may work ok in soups (it would just have less body and flavor), but for curries and especially desserts it could give you very poor results.

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7324 · November 11, 2011 at 10:55 PM

I would go with canned. All of the refrigerated ones I've seen have at least several additives, including carageenan.

Native Forest canned is BPA free too.

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78417 · November 12, 2011 at 2:14 AM

I'm headed to Mexico and will get mine from the trees in the back yard- no BPA's!

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