38 Recipes to Make with That Can of Coconut Milk in Your Pantry

updated Sep 10, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Every time I buy a can of coconut milk, I always end up with a half-used can somehow. I put it in a resealable container, but inevitably forget about it in my fridge cemetery (the top shelf). Well, not this week. To help use up the full can once and for all, I’m rounding up some great recipes with coconut milk. Some call for just a few tablespoons or maybe a half-cup to help make use of what’s left over, while some put the whole can to work.

Adding some coconut milk to a dish is a great way to mix things up for dinner, dessert, and even breakfast. Just the scent of it freshens things up. Here are 35+ recipes with coconut milk that’ll give you a great excuse to open up a can of unsweetened goodness ASAP.

Sweet Breakfasts

I definitely suggest you kick your day off with something sweet and coconut-rich, whether it’s a morning treat like pancakes or a weekday standard like oatmeal.

1 / 6
Coconut and Ginger Oatmeal
Swapping your regular milk with coconut milk when making oatmeal is nothing but a game-changer.
Go to Recipe
2 / 6
Homemade Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt
If you're looking for a fun and simple project, definitely give this homemade coconut yogurt a try.
Go to Recipe
3 / 6
Chocolate Coconut Avocado Smoothie
The combination of coconut milk and avocado make this smoothie extra rich and creamy.
Go to Recipe
4 / 6
Breakfast Barley Bowl with Mango, Coconut, and Banana
Barley isn't all that common at the breakfast table, but this recipe will convince you to dig into it regularly.
Go to Recipe
5 / 6
Vegan Coconut-Oat Pancakes
You don't just have to be vegan to enjoy these hearty, perfectly sweet pancakes.
Go to Recipe
6 / 6
The Best Chia Pudding
We promise no fuss and no slimy texture in this classic chia seed pudding.
Go to Recipe

Creamy Soups

A generous splash of coconut milk lends instant creaminess to so many soups. You’ll also get nutty flavor, to boot.

1 / 7
Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
This chicken noodle soup is packed with flavor, thanks to lime juice, red curry paste, and the creamy richness of coconut milk.
Go to Recipe
2 / 7
Roasted Red Kuri Pumpkin & Coconut Soup
If you can't find Red Kuri squash, acorn, butternut, or even sweet potatoes can be used instead.
Go to Recipe
3 / 7
Creamy Coconut Cauliflower Soup
Answer the call of creamy comfort food with this nourishing, Whole30- and Paleo-friendly soup.
Go to Recipe
4 / 7
Thai Coconut Soup
This lightly creamy soup is the perfect way to start a Thai-inspired meal.
Go to Recipe
5 / 7
Last Minute Spicy Coconut Wonton Soup
Simmer frozen dumplings in broth, coconut milk, and lime zest and dinner is done.
Go to Recipe
6 / 7
Coconut-Galangal Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Kai)
If you can smash things, cut things, and boil water, you can pull off this rich-tasting soup on the first try.
Go to Recipe
7 / 7
Quick Coconut Chicken Soup
Simmered in a silky coconut broth, diced root vegetables take on heady aromas of ginger and lemongrass in this comforting chicken soup.
Go to Recipe

Main and Side Dishes

Keep a can or two of coconut milk handy in your pantry and an inspired main or side dish is never far away. It’s just the thing to turn a regular ol’ chicken dinner into an exciting one.

1 / 15
One-Pan Coconut Milk-Braised Chicken
This creamy coconut milk-braised chicken is made entirely in one pan.
Go to Recipe
2 / 15
Slow Cooker Coconut and Green Curry Pork
Let the slow cooker do all the work in this hearty pork curry.
Go to Recipe
3 / 15
One-Pot Coconut-Cilantro Rice with Chicken
Store-bought rotisserie chicken keeps the cooking to a minimum, and snow peas and cilantro add a pop of freshness to an otherwise pantry-friendly meal.
Go to Recipe
4 / 15
Slow Cooker Chicken in Coconut Milk
Learn how to cook a whole chicken in coconut milk with fresh basil and ginger for a luscious but easy dinner.
Go to Recipe
5 / 15
Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon
Serve this stewy mix over roasted sweet potatoes, rice, or simply with crusty bread.
Go to Recipe
6 / 15
Cold Coconut Rice Noodles with Poached Shrimp, Mango, and Thai Chile
Coconut milk lends just the right about of richness to this chilled noodle dish.
Go to Recipe
7 / 15
20-Minute Coconut Chickpea Curry
Use your favorite curry paste as a base for this one-pot weeknight dinner.
Go to Recipe
8 / 15
Crispy Sesame-Lime Tempeh with Coconut Curry
If you've never cooked with tempeh before, you’ll want to give this flavor-drenched, veggie-packed curry a try. The nutty, chunky tempeh is perfectly complemented by a flavorful marinade. Baking it produces a bit of crust without the mess and oiliness of frying.
Go to Recipe
9 / 15
Coconut Curry Shrimp
This quick red curry is filled with shrimp, bell peppers, and bok choy, and comes together in a single pot.
Go to Recipe
10 / 15
30-Minute Green Curry Braised Salmon
If you're in a salmon rut, you can do no better than this quick and tasty recipe.
Go to Recipe
11 / 15
The Ultimate Vegan Mac and Cheese
This vegan mac and cheese is made with sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and nutritional yeast for the finest plant-based comfort food.
Go to Recipe
12 / 15
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk & Vanilla Bean
These sweet potatoes are so decadent, they're practically dessert.
Go to Recipe
13 / 15
Curried Corn and Coconut Rice
You'll never cook rice another way once you've enriched it with coconut milk.
Go to Recipe
14 / 15
Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk (Adobo sa Gatâ)
We added coconut milk to the iconic Filipinx dish, making it the most luxurious version yet.
Go to Recipe
15 / 15
Gising-Gising (Pork Simmered in Coconut Milk and Shrimp Paste)
In this popular Filipinx recipe, ground pork is simmered in coconut milk, green beans, and bagoong, a special ingredient that boosts umami.
Go to Recipe

Flavorful Desserts

The natural sweetness of coconut means it’s a naturally winning ingredient in desserts. Whether you’re using it to flavor a buttery cake or swapping it in for cream to make a vegan treat, it never fails.

1 / 11
Coconut Panna Cotta
This coconut panna cotta is made with coconut milk and cream, gelatin, and sweetened with maple syrup making it a lovely dessert for many different diets.
Go to Recipe
2 / 11
Tipsy Coconut Tres Leches Cake
This recipe bumps up the flavor by spiking both the cake and the sweet milky syrup with a drizzle of dark rum and lots of coconut.
Go to Recipe
3 / 11
Coconut Cream Fool with Raspberries
Feel free to try this recipe with other berries, like blueberries and blackberries, too.
Go to Recipe
4 / 11
Triple Coconut Poke Cake
This triple coconut poke cake gets its rich coconut flavor from coconut cake, pudding, and fluffy coconut topping.
Go to Recipe
5 / 11
Dairy-Free Raspberry & Coconut Froyo
This frozen yogurt is so nice and creamy, you'll never really believe it's dairy-free.
Go to Recipe
6 / 11
The Best Classic Coconut Cake from Scratch
Learn how to make a classic, fluffy coconut cake at home with a few supermarket shortcuts.
Go to Recipe
7 / 11
Cinnamon-Hazelnut Pavlova with Coconut Cream & Exotic Fruit
This fruit-filled dessert is nothing short of a show-stopper.
Go to Recipe
8 / 11
Vegan Banana & Chocolate Coconut Pie
Chocolate, banana, and coconut join forces into this decadent pie.
Go to Recipe
9 / 11
Coconut Milk Bread Pudding
This Indian-inspired bread pudding is studded with candied ginger and pistachios and made fragrant with cardamom.
Go to Recipe
10 / 11
Chocolate Coconut Cake
Because the only thing better than chocolate cake is chocolate coconut cake.
Go to Recipe
11 / 11
Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Tart Cherry Sauce
This rice pudding made with coconut milk and almond milk is every bit as luscious as the whole milk and heavy cream versions.
Go to Recipe