Coconut cream is an essential ingredient in many recipes, from curries and soups to pies and desserts. Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy the exotic taste of coconut cream due to allergies or dietary restrictions. Fortunately, there are many tasty options for those looking for the perfect substitute for coconut cream.
These delicious alternatives still offer great flavor and texture. This food guide will tell you more about this creamy ingredient and what you can use in its place.
Coconut cream is a thick cream that has an intense coconut flavor. After all, it comes from the flesh of coconuts itself. That said, coconut cream is rich and nutty.
It offers a great texture and a full-bodied taste to dishes, so it is perfect for making rich and creamy dishes. You can use it in savory and sweet recipes, including smoothies, sauces, and dips.
Coconut cream has a high fat and low carbohydrate content. For this reason, it is a staple ingredient for people following a keto diet.
You can find coconut cream in most supermarkets. But it’s equally easy to make at home. All you need to do is toss coconut flesh into a food processor and add water. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
Strain the mixture using a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth to get the coconut milk. Then, refrigerate your homemade coconut milk. After a few hours, you’ll see the cream rise on top. Scoop it out, and you’ll have coconut cream.
If this process is too time-consuming, you can start with canned coconut milk instead. Refrigerate the can and scoop out the cream on top afterward.
So, why would you need a substitute for coconut cream? There are several reasons.
The first and most common reason you’d look for a coconut cream alternative is that you cannot find it. For instance, you may have gone to the local grocery store, and they’re all out.
Of course, you can always order online, but delivery is costly, and you might sometimes have to wait a few days. You are better off with an accessible substitute, then.
Even when coconut cream is keto-friendly and vegan, it is high in fat and calories. For this reason, people with diets geared towards avoiding fat won’t find coconut cream a suitable ingredient. If this is the case for you, you need to look for a substitute for coconut cream.
Coconut cream comes from coconut flesh and has a distinct nutty and tropical taste. If your recipe calls for it, you can also expect your dish to have that flavor.
But you can opt for a substitute if you do not particularly love the coconut taste. That way, you can enjoy your dish more.
If you’re on a particularly tight budget, coconut cream might not be the best ingredient for you. Some alternatives will enable you to cook your dish without breaking the bank.
Here is a list of our top 5 coconut cream substitutes.
One of the best coconut cream substitutes is heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Heavy whipping cream has the same consistency and color as coconut cream. That said, it will not affect the texture and appearance of your dish.
However, heavy cream is not dairy-free and has no coconut flavor. And if your recipe’s main flavor comes from coconut, expect a different-tasting dish.
Tips: Fix the lack of coconut flavor by adding some desiccated coconut or coconut extract. Use an equal amount of heavy whipping cream to coconut cream.
Regular whipping cream is another dairy product you can use instead of coconut cream. This swap works exceptionally well for recipes calling for whipped coconut cream.
You can use it as you would coconut cream – add it to dishes that need a similar creamy texture. Whipping cream also does a great job in drinks, so you can use it to make rich beverages.
Tips: Chill whipping cream before use for a better texture. Whip it if you need more volume, and add coconut extract if you need the coconut flavor.
Just like heavy whipping cream, use a 1:1 ratio of whipping cream to coconut cream as a substitute.
Another excellent substitute for coconut cream is half and half. This dairy product is a combination of half milk and half cream.
Because of these ingredients, it can lend a milky and creamy taste to your dishes. However, half and half is not as thick as coconut cream and lacks the coconut flavor as well.
Tips: Start with a small amount of half and half and add more until your reach the desired consistency.
You can use a 1:1 ratio of half and half to coconut cream. But you might have to reduce your other liquid ingredients to avoid an overly watery dish.
Soy creamer is another great coconut cream substitute. It is dairy-free, so it is perfect for people with sensitivity to lactose.
Soy creamer combines soy milk with other additives to lend a creamy flavor to your dishes. Plus, soy milk is a great source of protein, so soy creamer can add a protein boost to your recipe.
But then again, soy creamer won’t have a coconut flavor. You should use it in dishes where the coconut taste is insignificant.
Tips: Use a 1:1 soy creamer to coconut cream ratio as a substitute. Adjust the amount of liquid ingredients to compensate for soy creamer’s consistency.
Cashew cream is a vegan alternative. This cream comes from soaking cashews and blending them with water. The resulting mixture is creamy and can vary in color, depending on the cashews you use.
Not that cashew cream has a distinct nutty flavor that is different from coconut cream.
Tips: Use cashew cream in dishes where the nutty flavor will jive with the other ingredients. If you want a blank canvas, go for other substitutes.
On the other hand, if you want something thicker and richer, you can opt for cashew nut butter instead.
Substitute coconut cream with an equal amount of cashew cream or cashew butter.
You can use any substitute above for dishes and desserts that call for coconut cream. These alternatives will work in sweet and savory dishes alike.
Choosing the best among the alternatives we presented all boils down to your preference. Some come with a distinct flavor that can affect the taste of your dish. While some do not have a distinct taste, so they are more versatile.
It is always best to do a taste test or a sample batch before going all in with the swapping.
Use them in the following recipes:
Some of the alternatives in the list above have a thinner consistency than coconut cream. If that is the case, you can start by using a smaller amount than coconut cream in the recipe.
Add more in small increments until you get your preferred texture. Or, you can use a 1:1 substitution ratio and just reduce the amount of your other liquid ingredients.
All swaps here also lack a coconut flavor. For people who dislike the coconut taste, that is perfect. However, if the dish needs a coconut flavor, you can fix it with desiccated coconut.
But beware that desiccated coconut can change the texture of your dish. For some dishes, though, bits of coconut are welcome.
But if desiccated coconut doesn’t work for your dish, adding a few drops of coconut extract will also do a great job.
There are plenty of alternatives for coconut cream. Heavy whipping cream is among the best, as it has the closest texture match. Flavor-wise, cream of coconut is a winner, but it’s a lot sweeter. Cashew cream and soy creamer are vegan options. Other swaps include rice milk, coconut water, almond milk, and coconut butter.
Yes, yogurt is a great substitute for coconut cream. It has a thick consistency and the creamy taste that coconut cream boasts. The great thing about yogurt is that it comes in plain and flavored versions. If your dish needs a coconut taste, then go for coconut-flavored yogurt. But if not, you can opt for Greek yogurt, and you’ll have a great replacement.
Yes, you can use milk instead of coconut cream. But to replicate the creaminess of coconut cream, you’ll have to use high-fat milk. Whole milk is a great choice regarding flavor. But texture-wise, milk will always be thinner than coconut cream. You’d have to use ⅓ the amount of coconut cream when substituting it with milk.
So, what can you use as a substitute for coconut cream? Take your pick because there are plenty of choices. Coconut cream is vegan, and if you like an equally vegan swap, cashew cream and soy creamer are great options. If you want the coconut taste, you can substitute coconut milk for coconut cream, too. Just expect a lighter flavor.
If dairy is okay, then heavy whipping cream and half and half are also great. In a pinch, even evaporated milk can work. At the end of the day, you’d have to consider the flavor, consistency, and dietary needs.