Coconut cream vs coconut milk, what’s the difference? Coconut milk and coconut cream are two different coconut products often used in paleo and vegan recipes. Below I’ll break down the difference between the two products and give examples of how to use them in your kitchen.
There’s a ton of coconut products at the grocery store these days and for a good reason! Coconuts are fantastic and are a great milk alternative! But sometimes, it can be challenging to know the difference between these products and how to use them.
Coconut Cream vs Coconut Milk
If you’re wondering what coconut milk vs. coconut cream is, know that these products are similar but have different fat percentages.
- First, I’ll start with coconut milk. Coconut milk is made from juiced coconut flesh and coconut water and contains between 9%-15% fat. However, there are other types of coconut milk. Coconut milk with less than 9% fat is called lite coconut milk and is what you’ll find in coconut milk cartons. Canned coconut milk is usually full-fat and is a great whole milk replacement. Coconut milk from the carton is generally thinner and lower fat and is excellent for drinking and using for cereal and beverages.
- Coconut cream This product is created by mixing four parts coconut with 1 part water. It is higher fat content than coconut milk and contains 19% – 22% fat. Coconut cream is equivalent to heavy whipping cream, with a thicker consistency, and is great substitute in most recipes that call for heavy cream. If you use coconut cream instead of heavy cream, you will notice a milk coconut flavor in your dish. You can purchase coconut cream in cans and cartons.
How To Make Coconut Cream from Coconut Milk
Can I substitute coconut milk with coconut cream? Yes, You can substitute coconut milk for coconut cream in recipes. If you’re in a fix and need coconut cream, you can make some if you have a can of full fat coconut milk. First, you’ll need to refrigerate the canned coconut milk. Then, you’ll scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can and use it in recipes that call for coconut cream.
How To Make Coconut Milk from Coconut Cream
If you need coconut milk and only have coconut cream, you can easily make coconut milk by mixing four tablespoons of coconut cream with 3/4 cup of warm water. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to make coconut milk.
How To Use Coconut Cream
Looking for a dairy-free whipped cream? Well, coconut cream is perfect for that. Make coconut whipped cream with a stand mixer or hand mixer, sweetener (I like to use honey or maple syrup) and vanilla extract. Another great way to use this ingredient is to add to curry, use it to thicken soups, and can be used in desserts like homemade chocolate coconut milk ice cream, and tastes incredible when used in baking treats like coconut flour cake and coconut pancakes. Add coconut cream or coconut milk to smoothies instead of using dairy milk. You can add coconut cream to your coffee, or make homemade coconut creamer by mixing coconut cream with vanilla extract and maple syrup. I have also used it to make dairy-free frosting!
Creamed Coconut vs. Coconut Cream
You may see products called creamed coconut or coconut butter. While these products have similar names, they are not coconut cream, but are instead a spread made with dried coconut meat. Want to learn more about coconut butter? Check out my blog post about coconut butter here.
Cream of Coconut vs Coconut Milk
Cream of coconut is a simple syrup mixture that’s made with coconut milk instead of water. It’s perfect for beverages and especially tastes wonderful in tropical cocktails. You only need a can of coconut milk and sugar to make cream of coconut. Coconut milk is not interchangeable with coconut cream; instead, make coconut cream at home with this recipe.
Coconut Milk and Cream Nutritional Facts
Below are the nutrients found in coconut milk and coconut cream:
One cup coconut milk contains 200 calories, one gram of fiber, 18 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of protein, and 0 grams of cholesterol.
One cup coconut cream contains 450 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 40 grams of saturated fat, and 4 grams of protein.
My Favorite Brands of Coconut Milk and Cream
It’s best to avoid canned coconut milk and coconut cream with additives or guar gum. Below are my favorite brands made with simple ingredients. (If you want a more in-depth explainer, here’s my full research on the best coconut milk brands and best coconut cream brands.)
- Natural Value Pure Coconut Cream: I really like natural value products. Their coconut milk and coconut cream only contain two ingredients: coconut and water!
- Aroy-D: This is a widely available brand that I’ve used often in my kitchen. It comes in a convenient carton, rather than a can. Aroy-D is available in bulk on amazon.
- Native Forest: Another great coconut milk that I’ve found at many health food stores.
- Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream: This is a cheaper brand of coconut milk that’s availalble everywhere, even Costco carries it in the cases. I use Thai Kitchen coconut milk in a lot of my kitchen testing since it’s so economical.
- Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream: Trader Joe’s is another great option and I love that their coconut milk is additive free and organic.
Yes, both full-fat and lite coconut milk are different types of coconut milks and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
You should store leftover coconut milk in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and freeze for up to a month.
Coconut milk is made from juiced coconut meat and water and contains between 9%-15% fat. This is considered full fat coconut milk. Any other coconut milk that has less than 9% fat is considered lite coconut milk.
No, coconut whipped cream is made by whipping up coconut cream with a hand mixer. Coconut whipped cream also contains sugar or a sweetener.
You can make coconut cream from canned coconut milk, by refrigerating the canned coconut milk overnight and scooping off the coconut cream from the top of the can.
Yes, they are the same product and can be used interchangeably.
- Cream of Coconut Recipe
- How To Use Coconut Milk Powder
- How To Freeze Coconut Milk
- Coconut Butter Recipe
How To Make Coconut Cream (or Coconut Milk)
If you need coconut milk and only have coconut cream, you can easily make coconut milk from canned coconut cream. You can also make coconut cream from canned coconut milk! Here’s how to do it!
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Beverage
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
How To Make Coconut Milk
- 3/4 water, hot or warm
- 4 tablespoons coconut cream
How To Make Coconut Cream
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
How To Make Coconut Milk
- Whisk 4 tbs of coconut cream with 3/4 cup of warm or hot water.
- This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of coconut milk.
How To Make Coconut Cream
- Refrigerate the canned coconut milk for 8-12 hours. Open the can and scoop out the thick cream on top of the coconut milk. Discard the water at the bottom.
Store leftover coconut milk or cream in the fridge for up to a week, or store in the freezer for up to a month.
- Serving Size: 1 cup (Coconut Milk)
- Calories: 120
- Fat: 12g
- Carbohydrates: 1g