Use It Up: 11 Recipes to Make the Most of Coconut Milk

Don’t let leftover coconut milk go to waste! Use it up in breakfast recipes like grab and go chia cups, quick and easy dinners like coconut shrimp or wrap up the day with coconut cupcakes.

Three images side by side. On the right are three mason jars of Grab-and-Go Oatmeal Chia Cups topped with berries and sliced almonds. The center photo are Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo. The image on the left are two plates of Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles.

I’m one of those people that saves every scrap of food. Look in my fridge and you’ll find mini containers strewn throughout containing leftover beans or tomato sauce that I don’t want to toss down the drain.

More often than not, I’ll find a use for these leftover ingredients. When it comes to coconut milk, I might stir it in my morning oatmeal or swirl in a warming soup. Even if you only have a little coconut milk leftover from last night’s curry it’s easy to find a way to use it up.

For the recipes below, look for brands of canned, unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk (not coconut extract). It might also have water, guar gum in the ingredient list. Cream of coconut, coconut water and coconut cream are different products that have different uses.

What about lite coconut milk? Well, it will work most of the time but because it has less fat, it does not have the same amount of coconut flavor. Be sure to check the recipe before making substitutions as it can impact the final dish.

When storing leftover coconut milk, make sure you date the container and keep it refrigerated. It’s best to use coconut milk within seven days. You can also freeze it by pouring it into ice cube trays. It will keep in the freezer for up to one month.

  • Grab-and-Go Oatmeal Chia Cups

    Grab-and-Go Oatmeal Chia Cups
    Sally Vargas

    I’m all about finding easy, breezy breakfast options, especially on school days. Sub the milk for coconut milk and layer in mason jars on the weekend for breakfast all week long.

  • Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo

    Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo
    Jaden Hair

    My family loves shrimp, especially when breaded and fried! Two tablespoons of coconut milk added to the batter enhances the coconut flavor. These make a great appetizer or serve alongside Ginger Beef Stir Fry to complete the meal.

  • Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

    Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles
    Lisa Lin

    This recipe uses store bought green curry paste but you could always make your own. Coconut milk is added to the chicken to create a creamy curry sauce sure to delight everyone at the table.

  • Curry Chickpea-Loaded Baked Potatoes

    Baked Potatoes with Chickpeas
    Erin Alderson

    Speaking of curry, how about this vegan version for your next baked potato bar? Baked potatoes are an inexpensive and nutritious option for weeknight cooking. It can be made ahead and quickly warmed up whenever the troops are hungry.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Coconut Rice and Beans

    Jamaican Rice and Peas
    Elise Bauer

    Heading to Jamaica with this tasty and filling side dish of long grain rice and kidney beans cooked in coconut milk and spices. Serve with Jerk Chicken.

  • Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

    Coconut Cupcakes
    Elise Bauer

    Use a cup of coconut milk in place of the usual dairy variety, boosts the coconut flavor in these tender cupcakes. Of course, the coconut doesn’t stop there, sweetened shredded coconut is in both the cake and frosting.

  • Coconut Banana Cream Pie

    Coconut Banana Cream Pie
    Cindy Rahe

    Use up overripe bananas and leftover coconut milk in the same recipe! The pie custard uses both whole milk and full-fat coconut milk for a luscious filling. The graham cracker crust is a cinch and can be made ahead of time if needed.

  • Vegan Chocolate Frosting

    Vegan Chocolate Fudge Frosting
    Megan Gordon

    Coconut milk is a great dairy alternative for anyone following a vegan diet or with a dairy intolerance. An added bonus is that chocolate and coconut is a classic flavor combination, meaning this frosting tastes spectacular even if dairy is still on the menu.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Paleo Hot Cocoa

    Paleo Hot Cocoa
    Sabrina Modelle

    You’re gonna want to keep this recipe in your back pocket for when the temperature drops. Make the chocolate syrup and then mix it with warm coconut milk for a deliciously cozy drink.

  • Coconut White Russian

    Vegan Coconut Milk White Russian
    Garrett McCord

    While the kids are sipping on hot cocoa, how about a drink for the grown-ups? It's super simple – just vodka, coffee liqueur and coconut milk. This cocktail is perfect for using up leftover coconut milk because it's easy to adjust the amounts to your personal preference. Cheers!

  • Coconut Golden Milk

    Latte with turmeric and coconut milk
    Alison Conklin

    This is a coconut milk take on haldi doodh, a therapeutic drink rooted in Ayurveda, India’s holistic healing system. It’s a warm, comforting drink is infused with turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla and sweetened with maple syrup.