Q. I love making tropical drinks during the summer months, and coconut milk adds that tropical flavor that I enjoy. Sometimes I find that I have leftover coconut milk that I can’t use right away. I don’t want to throw it away but don’t know what else to do with it. Can you freeze coconut milk?
A. The short answer is yes, although thawed coconut milk will not retain the same texture as coconut milk that has never been frozen. Thawed coconut milk will retain its same taste, but not texture. If you plan to use coconut milk in recipes that aren’t dependent on its consistency for their success, then the change in texture shouldn’t matter. It will no longer be thick and creamy after being frozen and thawed.
To freeze coconut milk, give it a good stir to thicken it up. Freeze the coconut milk in a freezer safe container or freezer bag with a little bit of room for expansion, as the high water content in coconut milk will expand upon freezing. Label and date the package and use coconut milk within six months of freezing for the best results.
Thawing coconut milk is a bit different from thawing most things. It tends to take a very long time to thaw on its own, even when placed in the refrigerator overnight. Some people recommend thawing it on the defrost setting in the microwave or over low heat in a saucepan, but both of these methods resulted in a very watery, grainy coconut milk. So, if you have the patience, letting it thaw on its own is recommended despite the extra time that it can take.
Coconut milk will still be watery regardless of which method is used to defrost it, so it’s not great for recipes that require its texture to remain intact. It still works fine in smoothies or recipes where the coconut milk flavor but not texture is key, such as rice or other recipes that will soak up the liquid.
Another option for taking advantage of frozen coconut milk it to use it in recipes that are best consumed frozen, such as popsicles, frozen coffees, or milkshakes. Coconut milk’s texture and flavor lend themselves to creamy, delicious frozen desserts, so this may be a more satisfying use of leftover coconut milk. Use coconut milk as a substitute for regular dairy milk in recipes for a tastier, dairy free alternative to frozen desserts and drinks.