Learn about the basics of cooking vegan with this five-star collection of Vegan Recipes with Coconut Milk. Here you will find mind-blowing vegan dessert recipes, tasty vegan main courses and sides, comforting vegan soup recipes, creamy smooth beverages, and more – all containing an important vegan recipe-changing ingredient: Coconut milk.
Table of contents
- Why use coconut milk in vegan recipes?
- Lite coconut milk vs full-fat coconut milk vs coconut cream
- Beverages using coconut milk or coconut cream
- The best vegan dessert toppings and creamy dips made possible with coconut milk
- Ice cream and other frozen desserts using coconut cream or coconut milk
- Savory main courses, side dishes, and sauces using coconut milk
- Rich and creamy vegan soups made possible with coconut milk
Why use coconut milk in vegan recipes?
Coconut milk lends a creamy richness that one would typically get with using dairy milk or cream. Luckily the creamy layer of coconut cream found at the top of canned coconut milk also gives a rich creamy smooth texture to many recipes.
When you are trying to veganize your family-favorite non-vegan recipes, coconut milk is the perfect substitution for dairy cream and milk. While there are many awesome vegan recipes out there, sometimes you want the comfort of a familiar favorite.
Whether you are trying to make creamy soups like mom used to make, your favorite creamy main course, or smooth and lush dessert, coconut milk or coconut cream will work as a direct substitution for most non-vegan recipes!
Lite coconut milk vs full-fat coconut milk vs coconut cream
If you have a recipe already developed with coconut milk or coconut cream as an ingredient, then read the ingredients and follow the directions. Those recipes were developed and tested to use a particular type of coconut milk.
If you are working on veganizing your own recipes, I suggest you start with using the creamy top layer found in a can of full-fat coconut milk. You might need to experiment a bit to get it just right.
It's important that you use canned coconut milk and NOT the coconut milk that comes in a carton. The canned coconut milk has the right amount of fat to make your recipe creamy and smooth. Coconut milk in a carton just doesn't have enough fat.
And speaking of fat… yes, recipes containing coconut milk do contain fat. Some recipes will work if you substitute in creamy plant milk (such as oat milk) but no, the final product won’t be as thick and creamy as it would be if you had followed the recipe and used coconut cream.
It’s always your choice of course if you want to save the fat and calories or cook the richest and creamiest dishes. If I’m cooking for myself then I’m happy to save the fat. But if company is coming for dinner or holiday brunch, then I’m all about using the best ingredients for the best outcome!
Skimming the coconut cream
Unless the recipe calls for the full can of coconut milk, it’s best to skim the cream from the top and use the rich, thick layer of coconut cream. Under the creamy fatty layer you can find the thin watery layer of coconut water. I usually just throw that our or freeze it into ice cube trays to use in smoothies.
To get the best results when you skim the coconut cream from your can, it's important that the can of coconut milk be undisturbed before opening it. Shaking the can around will cause the creamy layer and the watery layer to mix and your recipe won't be as creamy and rich.
If you accidentally shook the can of coconut milk a little too much, simply pop it in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes. As it cools, the thick coconut cream will start to harden and rise to the top.
You can see the creamy layer of coconut cream. Unless the recipe calls for the whole can of coconut milk, you will want to avoid using the thin coconut water found under the layer of coconut cream.
Beverages using coconut milk or coconut cream
Coconut milk and coconut cream both lend a creamy smooth finish to your plant-based beverage. It’s important to follow the directions of your recipe and use the type of coconut milk suggested. Some of my recipes for vegan beverages call for the whole can to be used but most use only the cream skimmed from the top. Read and follow the directions for the best outcome.
The Best Tasting Vegan Eggnog
You will not believe the incredibly authentic taste of this vegan eggnog! The secret ingredients are jello instant pudding and rum flavoring. Add a few other seasonings and plant milk and you will be happily surprised at the rich and creamy flavor of this cashew-free, egg-free, and dairy-free eggnog!
Boozy Vegan Shamrock Shake
This boozy vegan version of the Shamrock Shake is for grown-ups only. Make it with dairy-free coconut ice cream or other vegan vanilla ice cream of choice, along with three varieties of alcohol – including creme-de-menthe – for a minty, creamy, boozy green shake.
Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Dairy-Free
This dairy-free pumpkin spice coffee cream is the real deal with pumpkin puree, coconut milk, your choice of plant-milk, and spiced just right with pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Add to your morning coffee for that comforting seasonal beverage you've been waiting for!
Vegan Peppermint Mocha Latte in the Instant Pot
Rich, creamy, with that classic peppermint mocha flavor, this vegan easy recipe for peppermint mocha latte is dairy-free and made in the Instant Pot for a fun delicious peppermint cocoa coffee surprise!
Instant Pot Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Dairy-Free
This vegan peppermint hot chocolate is creamy and delicious with a smooth chocolate peppermint flavor. The best part is that it is dairy-free! Made with your favorite plant milk and coconut milk. Make it in the Instant Pot for an easy, tasty, minty, hot chocolate drink you can surprise your loved ones with. Top with crushed peppermint candies, mini marshmallow, or chocolate chips for a festive holiday drink.
Instant Pot Vegan Hot Chocolate
This dairy-free vegan hot chocolate recipe is fun and easy to make in your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Made with non-dairy milk and coconut milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and lots of chocolate, it is rich and creamy for a delightful hot chocolate recipe your loved ones will thank you for.
Homemade Vegan Chocolate Liqueur with Coconut Milk
Rich and creamy, this homemade vegan chocolate liqueur is made with coconut milk and mixes well to make your favorite chocolately adult beverages.
The best vegan dessert toppings and creamy dips made possible with coconut milk
Vegan dessert toppings made with coconut cream are not only smooth and creamy, but get nice and thickened when they cool in the fridge – all thanks to the use of coconut cream!
Vegan Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce with Coconut Milk
Rich and smooth, this vegan homemade salted caramel is everything that caramel should be! Made without the dairy; this recipe uses coconut milk and vegan butter. You won't find an easier more delicious vegan salted caramel!
Coconut Milk Whipped Topping Experiment (with Recipe)
You can learn how to make whipped topping with a can of coconut cream.
Easy Microwave Chocolate Dipping Sauce, Dairy-Free
Rich and creamy, this easy microwave dairy-free chocolate dipping sauce is made with coconut cream and oil, vegan chocolate chips, and a hint of cinnamon. It is perfect for dipping fresh fruit, cookies, or sweet bread.
The Fudgiest Vegan Chocolate Sauce – Made with Coconut Milk
You can make a rich fudgy creamy vegan chocolate sauce with coconut milk and vegan butter. Heat it up with cocoa powder, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla and you've got a luscious silky fudge sauce.
Coconut Date Syrup – Whole Food Plant Based
If you are looking for a truly plant-based syrup, try this Coconut Date Syrup. It is oil-free and uses only a few, wholesome ingredients – including coconut milk!
Easy Vegan Chocolate Ganache, Rich, Smooth, and Creamy
Rich and creamy! This vegan chocolate ganache made with coconut milk and vegan chocolate chips is so easy to make! Drizzle on cake, brownies, cookies, ice cream or more for a rich and chocolate vegan treat.
Ice cream and other frozen desserts using coconut cream or coconut milk
Coconut cream is the best ingredient I’ve found to replace dairy heavy cream in vegan ice cream recipes. Coconut milk does tend to freeze harder than dairy cream does, so you will need to set your frozen ice cream on the counter for a few minutes to soften before serving.
Unless, of course, you are using a Ninja Creami to make Vegan Ninja Creami recipes. The Ninja Creami “creamifies” your vegan ice cream into a smooth and creamy finish! At least half of my recipes use the Ninja Creami which makes the very best vegan ice cream!
The Creamiest Vegan Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Coconut Milk
This recipe for vegan Sweet Cream Ice Cream is creamy and smooth. It uses coconut milk, sugar, a banana, maple syrup, and vanilla for a delicious dairy-free sweet and creamy frozen treat.
Easy Strawberry Banana Ice Cream – Vegan with Coconut Milk
Rich and creamy, made with coconut milk, fresh sugared strawberries and bananas, a little vanilla and salt, this vegan strawberry ice cream is made in your ice cream maker for a delicious frozen vegan treat.
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream with Coconut Milk
Rich and creamy, sweet and spicy, this vegan pumpkin ice cream is delicous and is sure to please your pumpkin lovers.
Pina Colada Ice Cream, Vegan
This Pina Colada ice cream is so easy to make with canned pineapple chunks in juice, coconut cream, banana, maple syrup, and of course a little rum extract, this creamy delicious dairy-free frozen tropical dessert will remind you of relaxing on a beach at sunset, sipping a Pina colada, and letting your cares go by.
Peaches and Cream Ice Cream with Coconut Milk (Dairy-Free)
Sweet and juicy, this dairy-free peaches and cream ice cream with coconut milk is made from canned coconut milk, fresh peaches, and a hint of amaretto for a summery-fresh flavor that will bring back the memories of a summer day.
Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream, Dairy-Free
Vegan orange creamsicle ice cream is made with orange juice concentrate, French vanilla pudding mix, a little sugar, vanilla extract, oat milk, and coconut cream, and is an absolute dream come true! The creamy smooth orange-vanilla flavors taste just like an orange creamsicle. You will want to make this dairy-free frozen dessert again and again!
Lemon Ice Cream with Coconut Milk, Dairy-Free
Sweet and lemony-tart, this dairy-free lemon ice cream with coconut milk is made from canned coconut milk and lemonade concentrate you can buy the freezer section or make at home in your Instant Pot. It's creamy and flavorful and will bring back the memories of a summer day.
Vegan Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream Copycat Recipe
Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream is the best! If you are missing creamy coffee-flavored ice cream, you are going to love this healthy copycat vegan version made with instant coffee, oat milk, coconut cream, maple syrup, and sliced bananas. It’s rich and creamy and will remind you of a sweet creamy iced coffee.
Chocolate Almond Ice Cream with Rich Mocha Flavor (Vegan)
This recipe for vegan almond mocha ice cream is the creamiest chocolatey non-dairy ice cream out there! Make it with coconut milk, Medjool dates, oatmeal, almond butter, and coffee in your ice cream maker for a frozen delight your whole family will love!
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, Dairy-Free
This luscious creamy purple/blue blueberry cheesecake ice cream is 100% dairy-free! It's made with fresh blueberries, coconut cream, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a secret ingredient – vegan mayo! This recipe was developed for the Ninja Creami, but could be made using another ice cream maker. See notes below.
Vegan Banana Pudding Ice Cream
Creamy, smooth, and delicious, this Vegan banana pudding ice cream is made with coconut cream, real bananas, banana pudding mix, and Golden Oreos. Delight your tastebuds with the silky sweet flavor of old-fashioned banana pudding, frozen and served for an elegant frozen dessert that everyone will remember!
Savory main courses, side dishes, and sauces using coconut milk
People always ask if vegan savory dishes taste too much like coconut when coconut milk or coconut cream is used as an ingredient. I don’t think so. Most of my savory recipes made with coconut milk are highly flavored and the seasonings blend very well with the coconut flavor.
If you are seriously opposed to the slightest hint of coconut flavor then you might want to substitute creamy oat milk. But, there is really nothing else out there that makes vegan food as creamy and smooth as coconut milk. I have occasionally been able to find vegan cream and have successfully used that. Unfortunately, vegan cream is hard to find; but I am happy using coconut cream instead.
Creamy Spicy Peanut Sauce with Coconut Milk
Spicy peanut sauce is made extra creamy with coconut milk and flavorful with chili peppers, garlic, ginger and lime juice. Perfect as a dip for spring rolls, or veggies. Drizzle on baked tofu or your favorite Asian-inspired plant bowl.
Savory Sweet Potato Casserole (Vegan)
This vegan savory sweet potato casserole is a rich and decadent dish that will add an elegant touch to your family’s table. It is made with coconut milk and infused with sage and rosemary and is adapted from the (non-vegan) savory sweet casserole found in Bon Appetit.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Brown Sugar (Vegan)
This special occasion sweet potato casserole is made rich with vegan butter and topped with brown sugar and pecans.
Plant-Based Pumpkin Pasta with Walnut Sage Sauce – Creamy and Delicious
This is the best Pumpkin Pasta with a creamy walnut Sage Sauce – rich and flavorful, and great for all seasons. Made with solid pumpkin pack, coconut milk, white wine, sage, black lentils, and walnuts. This pumpkin pasta is creamy and delicious and sure to please!
Creamy Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts (Vegan)
Instant Pot Brussels sprouts with shallots and fennel is a rich and creamy dish. Lite coconut milk makes it creamy; while white miso and nutritional yeast are added for a cheesy flavor. Top with hazelnuts for a delicious combination of flavors and textures. This creamy vegetable side dish will soon be a family favorite at your special get-togethers.
Easy Coconut Lime Crema, Dairy-Free
This rich and creamy coconut lime crema is super easy to whip up and made with only a few simple ingredients: coconut cream, lime, garlic powder, and salt. It is delicious drizzled on soups, cauliflower tacos, plant bowls, or veggies.
Butternut Squash Curry with Chickpeas
This butternut squash curry dish with chickpeas makes a delicious plant-based meal. Made with lite coconut milk, fire-roasted tomatoes, spinach, shallots, and spices, you will have a complete meal or a hearty side dish.
Roasted Butternut squash Sauce with Curry and Coconut Milk
This roasted butternut squash Sauce is seasoned with curry, thyme, smoked paprika, and other seasonings. It is cubed and roasted to perfection along with onions, peppers, and tomatoes, then blended with coconut milk for a sauce that can go on rice, veggies, or pasta.
Rich and creamy vegan soups made possible with coconut milk
I have saved the best for last! Making creamy vegan soup is my specialty and using a little coconut cream is the best way to bring a rich and creamy texture to my comforting soup recipes. Check back often because I’ll be adding more soon!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Lime Cream Drizzle
This highly flavorful roasted butternut squash soup is flavored with poblano and jalapeno peppers, and a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzle with coconut lime cream sauce for a delicious flavorful soup you won't soon forget.
Easy Vegan Corn Chowder
This easy vegan corn chowder uses onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, frozen corn, veggie broth, and lite coconut milk. Feel free to use all the shortcuts available in your grocers' produce department and have this corn chowder on your table with minimal effort.
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
A creamy warm coconut curry butternut squash soup is just what you need on a cold winter day! This butternut squash soup is whole-food-plant-based. It is dairy-free and oil-free. You’ll get all the flavor with this healthy vegan butternut squash soup without missing any of the added oil or dairy.
Creamy vegan Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Rosemary
Butternut squash and red pepper soup is creamy and smooth, rich, and a little spicy, with herbal undertones from fresh chopped rosemary. This vegan roasted red pepper and butternut squash soup is completely dairy free, getting its creamy texture from coconut milk – a vegan creamy soup-making secret.