Is Solid Coconut Milk Safe? (Explained)

Coconut Milk Solid
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Coconut Milk Solid

Have you ever opened a can of coconut milk only to find that there’s a solidified creamy/waxy layer on top with thick, syrupy water underneath? This is completely normal and your coconut milk is still safe to use!

The solidified stuff at the top is called “coconut cream” so if your recipe asks for that, scoop it off the top. If the recipe asks for “full-fat coconut milk” then blend the solid and liquid parts together and use that.

Warming it slightly will melt the solid part and help it to blend into the consistency of dairy cream.

How is Coconut Milk Made?

It’s made from the grated flesh of ripe coconuts. The creamy liquid is pressed out and the solids are discarded.

Don’t confuse it with coconut water, which is the clear watery liquid found in the center of a ripe coconut. (This is also good for you too, by the way.)

What Types Are There?

Unless you live in the Philippines, you will probably buy your coconut milk in cans. There are different varieties available and they have different uses.

  • 6%-fat milk. This is a good dairy milk substitute that you’d use, for example, over your breakfast cereal.
  • 15% -fat milk. This is good for cooking and baking. It’s also delicious in coffee.
  • 21%-fat coconut cream. This is wonderful for whipping and using as a dessert topping or in ice cream.

Why doesn’t all canned coconut milk turn solid?

Some canned coconut milk contains additives like guar gum to stop this from happening. So actually if you want a pure product, the cans that solidify are best.

Coconut milk in can
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Coconut Milk

Coconut cream is a soft solid at room temperature. When buying canned coconut milk, make sure to shake the can; if there is no noise of liquid sloshing inside, it’s the right choice.

It will have a thick, rich cream on top, and there will be a watery layer below. Once you have opened the can, use a spoon to scoop the contents out.

Separated coconut milk
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Even milk from the same brand can have a different consistency and texture at different times, so don’t worry about this.

Melting the Solid Coconut Milk

To melt your solid coconut milk if you want to mix both layers together, simply put the can into a jug of hot water for a few minutes. Give it a shake now and then and it will blend.

Alternatively, open the can and mix it with a stick blender. If you bought full-fat coconut milk, it will usually always be solid. This is ideal for creamy curries or soups, or even as a coffee creamer.

Refrigerated Coconut Milk

If you put a coconut milk can in the fridge, the contents are going to solidify. However, you can prevent this solid-state by stirring the coconut milk properly before putting it into the fridge.

Is Solid Coconut Milk Safe?

To answer the original question – yes, solid coconut milk is safe to consume. It has not gone off. It is normally solid when put in the fridge and even at room temperature.

Can of coconut milk
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You can scoop out the solid coconut milk to use in recipes or blend it with the liquid at the bottom.

Don’t Waste It!

Many recipes call for just a tablespoon or two of coconut milk. One ends up opening a whole can and it can be difficult to know what to do with the remainder. Here are a few ideas:

  • Freeze the rest in ice cube trays for future recipes.

  • Use it as a coffee creamer. You can keep it covered in the fridge for up to a week to use in your coffee.
  • Use it as an ice cream base.
  • Add it to smoothies.
  • Add it to meals. Coconut milk adds a luxurious, comforting touch to dishes like casseroles, curries, soups, and even mashed potatoes.

Chicken curry in a sauce of coconut milk
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  • Use it in desserts like ice-creams, brownies, and truffles.
  • Use it as a whipped cream substitute. Simply chill your can of coconut milk and scoop off the solidified part. Add a couple of spoons of sugar and whisk it vigorously. It will form soft peaks.

  • Make coconut milk yogurt.
  • Make a hair mask by combining 2 tablespoons coconut milk and a teaspoon of honey. Put it on dry, unwashed hair and leave it for an hour. Shampoo it out.

To Conclude

We think everyone should have a can or two of full-fat coconut milk in their cupboards! It’s the perfect non-dairy substitute for dairy cream and milk for those with food sensitivities or vegans.

And if it solidifies, all the better because this shows the can contains no artificial additives.

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