10 More Ways to Use Up Leftover Coconut Milk

updated Sep 19, 2022
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(Image credit: Jessica Goldman Foung)

When a recipe calls for coconut milk, you often end up with a little left over, which leads to the question of how to use the extras. The good news is that whether you freeze it in an ice cube tray for future smoothies, spritzers, and curries, or use it throughout the week, there are endless ways to work this non-dairy milk into your sweet and savory dishes alike. And often, even a little splash will prove enough to transform the flavor profile (and texture!) of a dish.

So the next time you find yourself with some half-used coconut milk in the fridge, pick one of the following ideas so you use it, don’t lose it.

When You Have Most of the Can

  • Chia Pudding: Add a little sweet, nutty flavor to your next batch of chia pudding. Simply substitute whatever coconut milk you have on hand for some of the original liquid listed in the recipe.
  • Microwave Oats, Granola, Cereal: Add some richness and decadence to these quick morning treats with your leftover coconut milk. Again, use whatever you have on hand and then complete the dish or recipe with another kind of milk.
  • Oven-Baked Chicken or Fish: Keep oven-baked poultry and fish juicy by nestling them in a coconut bath. If cooking small portions, you do not need much milk. Add some simple tomato sauce or fresh, diced tomato for a little extra cooking liquid, as well as a boost of umami to balance out the sweetness of the coconut.
  • Sautéed Greens: Transform your favorite leafy vegetables into a creamy side dish. Simply sauté leeks, kale, or spinach in a little oil first, and just as they start to wilt, add the coconut to finish them. To season, add a sprinkle of salt or garlic powder, or stick to an Asian profile with sesame seeds, a curry blend, or fresh lemongrass.
  • Zoodles: Once you’ve created your spiraled vegetables, flash-cook them in a little coconut milk to both soften the noodles as well as create a faux white sauce. The noodles will turn “al dente” within a few minutes and the coconut milk will slightly thicken. To serve, top with cooked shrimp, bread crumbs, or a toasted pumpkin seed crumble.

When You Have Just a Splash

  • Coffee, Tea, or Matcha Latte: Forget the half-and-half and top off your morning joe with a glug or two of leftover coconut milk. Add some coconut oil for extra buttery creaminess.
  • Ceviche: Right before serving your next homemade ceviche, add a little coconut milk to take it to the next level. White fish and shrimp work best — and it doesn’t hurt to reduce it first in a small saucepan and then cool before pouring over the fish.
  • Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Squash: Use coconut milk to amp up the creamy factor of your next whipped spuds. Balance out the sweet flavor by adding earthly herbs, like dill and cilantro, and strong spices, like turmeric, chili powder, and smoked paprika.
  • Scrambled Eggs: Add a soft, fluffy texture to your eggs with the help of a little coconut milk. Then cook as usual, but don’t be afraid to play with the flavor or other fun additions.
  • Rice, Beans, and Lentils: Whether you make freshly cooked grains and legumes or reheat those leftovers, give them a creamy makeover (or second-day revival) with a touch of coconut milk. After cooking the rice, beans, and lentils through, add the coconut milk right before serving, stirring well. Stir in until well-combined, then serve warm.

What’s your favorite way to use up leftover coconut milk?

→ More ways to use coconut milk: 5 Ways to Use Leftover Coconut Milk