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Can You Reheat Coconut Milk? – The Complete Guide

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Coconut milk is a delicious dairy-free milk option that is sweet and satisfying. You can use it for nearly anything you would use typical dairy milk for but the plus side is, there is no dairy. This makes coconut milk an optimal solution for anyone who has any kind of intolerance to dairy. 

Coconut milk is easy to heat up and it’s so delicious this way. Do you remember enjoying warm milk as a child? There’s just something about that warm milk that makes it irresistible. It’s comforting and soothing and it’s a wonderful sweet treat, with nutrition hidden inside. 

Once you’ve heated coconut milk before can you store it and reheat it? Since coconut milk is not a dairy product you can heat and reheat it quite easily using either the stovetop or the microwave. 

We’ve put together an extensive guide to walk you through all of the aspects you should know about coconut milk and also the proper ways to heat, store, and reheat your coconut milk to ensure you don’t lose any of the integrity of the product. 

Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about reheating coconut milk, and then some. 

A Guide to Coconut Milk

Coconut milk comes in many different forms, from canned to carton to full fat to fresh. Each of these has its own unique qualities and uses and it basically boils down to preference or what you are using it for that might differentiate which you should go for. 

Here are some of the primary forms of coconut milk you might find when you go looking for it. 

  • Carton coconut milk
  • Coconut cream milk – full-fat content
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Coconut milk powder

If you are using coconut milk primarily for drinking or cold with cereal, then the carton coconut milk is most likely the most suitable option. But there are varieties of coconut milk for a reason. A lot of Asian dishes use coconut milk in the sauce, and this is typically canned coconut milk. 

Regardless of the form of coconut milk, it all comes from the same place – the meat of a coconut. Coconut milk and coconut water are extracted from separate parts of the coconut. Milk is made from the coconut meat while water is found in the center.

Coconut milk makes a great alternative to dairy milk but it also has a lot of uses that milk could never have for you because of the dairy properties. For decades (and more), coconut milk has been a staple in foods like Thai, Vietnamese, Asian, Indian, and Filipino dishes. 

Coconut milk is not limited to these areas but rather has a proven history there. It’s made a more recent debut in other locations and was mostly considered a dairy alternative, but it really is so much more than that. 

We think it’s important to understand how each type of coconut milk might be used and how it may affect your process when you are using it. In the following section, we will break down each type of coconut milk in a deeper explanation. 

The Different Forms of Coconut Milk Explained 

As we mentioned previously, coconut milk comes in various forms and each form has its own unique uses. For that reason, we are going to break down each one for you and tell you what they are mostly used for as well as walk you through the various processes for storing and reheating each kind. 

We determined that for the purposes of this guide, it would be easiest to separate each type of milk and break down these details in each category so you can keep the information straight between types of milk. 

Let’s start with carton coconut milk. 

Coconut Milk in a Carton

If you pick up a carton of coconut milk at the local grocery store and take a look at the ingredients, here is what you are most likely to find. 

The static ingredient list will say something like:

Coconut milk made from filtered water and coconut cream, cane sugar, 2% or less of a vitamin and mineral blend (calcium carbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12), sea salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust bean gum, Gellan gum, and natural flavors. 

As you can see, there is much more to a carton of coconut milk than simply coconut milk. It’s been through a bit of a process in order to make it comparable to dairy milk in consistency and texture and to sweeten the flavor. 

You can also purchase unsweetened coconut milk in the carton in order to avoid the processed sugars that carton coconut milk often contains. You will also notice that the vitamins and nutrients are additives rather than simply the original form of the minerals. 

Storing Coconut Milk in a Carton

Our primary focus here is on reheating coconut milk in various forms. But you should be familiar with how that could affect the storage methods. When you buy the coconut milk, you may notice it’s not from a refrigerator section. 

This is fine until you open the milk. Once it has been opened, it should be stored in the fridge to prevent it from going bad.

You can also freeze the coconut milk as well to extend the shelf life. Refrigerated coconut milk lasts about 10-12 days while frozen coconut milk lasts about 6 months. 

To store your coconut milk, it needs to be in a sealed container. With coconut milk from a carton, you can store it in the carton while it is stored in the fridge. If you are storing it in the freezer, you should transfer it to an airtight container. 

Once you have heated your coconut milk for whatever you may be using it for, you can store it again as well. This process follows the same rules as storing it fresh. However, you should not pour heated coconut milk back in the carton, so just put it in an airtight container of some sort. 

Reheating Carton Coconut Milk

The recommended method for reheating your coconut milk is the stovetop but you can use the microwave if you prefer. Here are your steps:

  1. Allow the milk to thaw if frozen by moving to the fridge for 24 hours. 
  2. Shake the coconut milk up well. 
  3. Place in a saucepan. 
  4. Turn your heat to medium-high.
  5. Use a whisk to stir the coconut milk through the warming process. We recommend a constant whisking motion for the best results. 
  6. When the coconut milk begins to simmer, remove it from the heat. 
  7. Use and enjoy!

As you can see, reheating your coconut milk is a simple process. 

If you prefer to reheat the coconut milk in the microwave, place it into a microwave-safe container and heat for 1 minute. Stir well.

You may need to add additional time in increments of 30 seconds if this does not get it warmed through. Be mindful to stir each time it finishes. 

Full-Fat Coconut Milk (Coconut Cream)

Coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk is a bit different to work with because it is thicker and creamier than your typical coconut milk. It has a higher fat content and is best used for cooking or baking purposes. 

While you can heat, store, and reheat this form of coconut milk it is not an ideal solution. Full-fat coconut milk usually comes in a can so it is recommended that you just wait to open the can until you need the milk. 

Inevitably, though, you’re bound to not use the whole can so you need solutions. 

Storing Coconut Cream

Storing coconut cream is very similar to storing other forms of coconut milk. The primary difference is that since it is a canned product, you will need to store it in your own airtight container. 

Many people store it in sealable containers because it is thick and that makes it easier to work with. 

Once you have selected your storage method, you can store your coconut cream in the fridge for about 7-10 days or you can pack it up and store it in the freezer for 4 months. 

When you remove it from the freezer, it will need time to thaw before you use it. You can thaw coconut cream for 24 hours and it will still appear frozen. However, it will be thawed sufficiently to work with for reheating purposes. 

Be sure to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator and to use it within about 7 days of thawing time. 

Reheating Coconut Cream

Reheating coconut cream (full-fat coconut milk) is quite similar to reheating your other forms of coconut milk. However, in this case, we do not recommend the microwave reheating process. 

Since coconut cream is a full-fat product that makes it thicker and creamier, the best way to reheat it is on the stovetop.

Here are your steps:

  1. Allow the milk (cream) to thaw out if you stored it in the freezer. 
  2. Place the full-fat coconut milk into a sauce pan. If it seems extra thick, add a teaspoon of water. 
  3. Turn your heat to medium and allow the cream to warm. 
  4. Stir the cream constantly through the entire process with a spoon or whisk. 
  5. When the cream begins to simmer, remove it from the heat. 
  6. Serve and enjoy. 

As you can see, this process is much the same as the process shared for carton coconut milk. The primary difference is you really don’t need to constantly whisk this version but you will certainly want to stir it repeatedly. 

This is because it is a thicker version of coconut milk and whisking it may cause it to break down and become too thin. 

Canned Coconut Milk

Canned coconut milk is a bit different from carton coconut milk in the way that it is originally processed and made. It is similar to full-fat coconut milk but there are some variables. 

If you were to pick up a can of coconut milk and compare it to a carton, you would see a noticeable difference. Canned coconut milk is closer to the pure form of coconut milk and does not contain additives or sugars for the most part. 

An ingredient list for canned coconut milk would look more like this:

Organic coconut milk from organic coconut water and guar gum. 

Do you see a vast difference in the ingredient list and what your canned coconut milk contains? Canned coconut milk also has dense nutrition, including natural vitamins and minerals but they are not processed or added into the milk like the kind in the carton. 

Canned coconut milk can last on your pantry shelf for an extended period of time and is best stored that way until you are ready to use it. 

However, if you open up a can and you don’t need it all you can store it much like the other types of milk. Canned coconut milk is thicker than carton coconut milk directly from the can but will resemble the same consistency when heated. 

Storing Canned Coconut Milk

Storing your canned coconut milk is, once again, very similar to storing your other types of coconut milk. Before it is opened, simply store it in your pantry with other canned goods. After it has been opened, it should be refrigerated. 

Store in your fridge for up to 10 days and store in your freezer up to 6 months. 

Reheating Canned Coconut Milk

Reheating your canned coconut milk is best done on the stovetop. You can use the same methods for the microwave as you did for carton coconut milk if that is what you prefer. 

Here are the directions for stovetop reheating. 

  1. Allow milk to thaw if needed. 
  2. Pour into a sauce pan. 
  3. Place the sauce pan on medium heat on your stovetop. 
  4. Stir or whisk continuously as the milk heats to prevent thickening or curdling. 
  5. When milk begins to simmer, it is ready. 
  6. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Related Questions

We hope that you have found this guide to be informative and useful for the purposes of reheating coconut milk in its various forms. 

We invite you to take a look at our question and answer section for some additional information. 

Can Powdered Coconut Milk Be Reheated?

Powdered milk, like this one on Amazon, is highly processed to get it into powdered form.

It is not recommended to reheat. Rather you should only mix as much powdered milk as is needed at the time of use. It can be heated initially for use. 

Is Coconut Milk Healthy?

Coconut milk does contain a lot of minerals and nutrients that are naturally found in the coconut. The healthiest form is canned coconut milk as coconut milk in the carton or in powdered form has undergone processing and typically contains additives and sweeteners. 

Coconut milk is high in nutrients and even contains MCTs that can be nutritional. 

What if Coconut Milk Boils?

It is extremely important to watch your milk closely while reheating and stop it when it barely reaches a simmer.

Boiling the coconut milk will ruin it and it will not taste very good. Your coconut milk is more likely to curdle or taste overcooked if you allow it to boil. 

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