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How To Thicken Coconut Milk – 4 Best Ways

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Coconut milk is a great ingredient that can add creaminess to any soup or curry dish. And if you’re a milkshake or smoothie lover, then you may have used coconut milk at least once to impart that creamy texture to your drink!   

But many times, with an incorrect watery consistency, the delectable coconut milk can also ruin your dish. And no foodie likes their smoothie watery!

So, how do you thicken coconut milk? There are four ways to thicken coconut milk. You can either use coconut flour or cornstarch, you can reduce it, or you can add a mashed potato slurry. Using coconut flour is the best method, as it doesn’t alter the coconut milk taste and retains the volume.

Read on to know more about all the various methods that can help you thicken coconut milk!

The 4 Best Ways To Thicken Coconut Milk 

There are mainly four ways to thicken coconut milk. Depending upon your choice, you can choose any of the suggested methods below and get that perfect consistency of coconut milk.

Coconut Flour

If you are not willing to let go or dilute the coconut flavor even by a small margin, then the addition of coconut flour should be your choice.

Since coconut flour is a by-product of coconut, adding it to coconut milk will not impact the flavor. In fact, coconut flour works as a great natural thickening agent with a delicious coconut flavor.

Follow the simple steps below to thicken your coconut milk by adding coconut flour:

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a pan and put it on medium heat.
  2. Then, take a small amount (approximately 1/2 cup) of coconut milk from the pan to a separate cup and add a small quantity (roughly 1 tablespoon) of coconut flour to it. Stir it well to ensure that there are no lumps.
  3. Add this prepared mixture into the pan, stir the coconut milk properly, and bring it to a boil.

The best thing about this method is the coconut flavor remains intact. So, there is not even a little compromise on the flavor profile!

A word of caution, though: you may notice a slight change in the taste of your coconut milk. It may become a bit sweeter.

Corn Starch

Corn starch is popular as a thickening agent of soups and desserts. If you are willing to allow a bit of alteration in taste, you can use corn starch to thicken your coconut milk.

Follow these simple steps to make your coconut milk thick using corn starch:

  1. Take 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and make a slurry by adding cold water to it. For every 1 cup of coconut milk, you need 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
  2. Add the slurry to the coconut milk and whisk it for 1-2 minutes to ensure no lumps.
  3. Do not overcook the corn starch, or else you’ll end up with the watery coconut milk all over again.

Reducing

If you do not have a problem with volume loss, reducing over low heat is a great way to thicken coconut milk. And, you won’t have to compromise on the taste here!

Follow these steps to make your coconut milk thicker via reducing:

  1. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer and leave uncovered to allow water to evaporate.
  2. Stay near the pot at all times so that you don’t end up evaporating the entire bowl of coconut milk.
  3. Boil the milk until you’ve reached your desired thickness.

Adding Potatoes After Reducing

If you have followed the steps in method 3, but the thickened coconut milk is too sweet for your liking, then this is the best method for you!

You can follow the below steps to reduce the sweetness of concentrated coconut milk. Note that this technique requires the addition of potatoes to coconut milk.

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add the potato to the boiling water. 
  2. Once the potato is soft and cooked, peel the boiled potato and mash it properly.
  3. Make a slurry with the mashed potato. You can use either the starchy boiling water or some coconut milk.
  4. Add the prepared slurry to the rest of your coconut milk.

The above method not only reduces the sweetness of coconut milk but will also help you to increase the coconut milk’s volume!

How To Thicken Coconut Milk Into Cream

Coconut cream is used as a key ingredient in several curries, vegan desserts, and dairy-free dishes. While you probably have cans of coconut milk in your pantry, having coconut cream is a little less common.

But don’t worry! You can make coconut cream using coconut milk at your home.

Follow these steps correctly to get tasty coconut cream from coconut milk:

  1. Let the coconut milk sit uncovered in the refrigerator for 12-16 hours.
  2. After 12-16 hours, the milk will curdle to make a layer of milk fat at the top.
  3. Skim the fat from the curdled milk.
  4. Whisk the curdled milk until it forms an even consistency of cream.

Coconut cream is just a thick version of the coconut milk that we use. 

You can use coconut cream in your dishes instead of milk to save time. It tastes just like coconut milk, and you can easily alter its consistency.

However, is your coconut milk still not thickening into cream? We may just have the answer for you!

If you have tried everything, but your coconut milk still won’t thicken into cream, it means that your coconut milk has an additive known as emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers are chemical substances that don’t allow water and fats to separate from each other. 

If your milk has added emulsifiers, you won’t be able to make your coconut milk thick or get a fatty layer at the top. 

How To Make Thick Coconut Milk At Home

Many of the homemade coconut milk recipes turn out to be watery. But, if you want to make thick and creamy coconut milk at home, then follow this quick recipe:

  1. Take 3 cups of shredded coconut and 4 cups of water.
  2. Let the shredded coconut soak in hot water for 10 minutes. You should refrain from using boiling water.
  3. Take the soaked coconut and add it to the blender and blend it for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Keep stopping and stirring to scrape the sides.
  5. Use a dishcloth to strain the paste of soaked coconut into a large bowl.
  6. You have your thick and creamy coconut milk ready.

You can use this homemade creamy coconut milk as an added punch of flavor to your smoothies or curries!

Can You Use Thickened Coconut Milk Instead of Cream?

You can use coconut milk instead of cream to add a rich flavor and texture to your dish! You can use coconut for everything from curries to desserts. 

Additionally, using milk is convenient since it does not require work to adjust consistency. Just make sure that you are using thickened coconut milk for the best outcomes.

What Can Coconut Milk Be Used For?

If you have a couple of cans of coconut milk stocked in your kitchen and you’re looking for a way to use it in a delicious dish, then here are some irresistible ways to use coconut milk in cooking.

  • Soup: Incorporate coconut milk into the soup as one of the liquid ingredients.
  • Curry: Coconut milk adds a rich texture to curries and enhances the taste of fish, vegetables, and stew.
  • Smoothie: Pick out your favorite fruit and blend it with coconut milk to make a refreshing smoothie.
  • Whipped Cream: Use the method we provided above to turn coconut milk into cream and top it up on your cakes and crepes. Add a pinch of sugar if you want a sweeter taste.
  • Replace Dairy: Veganize your recipes by substituting milk and cream with coconut milk and coconut cream, respectively.
  • Yogurt: Look up a quick recipe for making homemade coconut milk yogurt and enjoy the delicacy.
  • Cocktail: Mixologists use coconut milk to give a slightly sweet twist to the cocktails and make them exotic.
  • Icecream: Just throw in your favorite fruit and coconut milk into the processor and enjoy soft-serve ice cream.
  • Latte: Add coconut milk to your freshly brewed coffee for a beautifully flavored latte. Use a blender if you want to make foam on top of your latte.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the best ways to thicken coconut milk, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

How can I make light coconut milk thick?

You can thicken light coconut by simply reducing it over medium heat for a few minutes. After it reaches your desired consistency, you will have a bowl full of thickened light coconut milk without compromising its taste!

Why does coconut milk turn gray?

Coconut protein has a natural variance of colors. However, due to the differences in the processing of coconut milk, healthy milk may appear to be slightly gray even though it has not yet been past the expiration date

However, it is best to check the expiration date once if your coconut milk shows a gray tint, just to be sure.

Final Thoughts

While thickening coconut milk is fairly simple, there are many things that can go wrong. Some of those include incorrect consistency, changes in the flavor profile, and reduction in quantity.

So, carefully select the method that works best for you, and incorporate the delicious coconut milk in your dishes!

Up Next: Parts Of Corn – The Complete Breakdown

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