Coconut milk powder is a versatile ingredient used in many recipes, from curries to smoothies. Made from dried, shredded coconut meat ground into a fine powder, it adds richness and subtle coconut flavor to dishes.
However, you may sometimes need a substitute if you run out of coconut milk powder or want to avoid coconut.
Thankfully, many alternatives can mimic the texture and flavor of coconut milk powder.
What is Coconut Milk Powder?
Coconut milk powder is made by drying coconut milk or coconut cream until all the moisture evaporates. The dried coconut solids are then ground into a fine powder.
It has a high fat content, around 20-25% fat. When mixed with water, it forms a rich, creamy coconut milk that can be used in recipes instead of canned coconut milk.
Coconut milk powder is convenient because it has a long shelf life of 6-12 months. It also saves fridge space unlike canned coconut milk.
Some key benefits of coconut milk powder:
- Adds creaminess and richness to dishes
- Provides subtle coconut flavor
- Shelf-stable, non-perishable
- Vegan and dairy-free
- Easy to store and transport
Coconut milk powder is used in:
- Curries, stews, soups
- Sauces and gravies
- Baked goods like cakes, cookies
- Smoothies and shakes
- Coffee creamer
Key Takeaway: Coconut milk powder is made from dried, powdered coconut meat. It mimics canned coconut milk but has a longer shelf life.
Why Use a Substitute?
There are several reasons you may need a substitute for coconut milk powder:
You ran out of coconut milk powder: Having a stock of substitutes allows you to still follow recipes if you run out of coconut milk powder.
Allergies or intolerances: Some people have coconut allergies or intolerances. Substitutes provide alternative options.
Avoiding coconut: If you want to avoid coconut for dietary reasons, substitutes let you mimic the properties of coconut milk powder.
Cost savings: Some substitutes are cheaper alternatives to coconut milk powder.
Change in flavor or texture: Substitutes can provide a different flavor or texture variation to a dish instead of coconut.
Dietary restrictions: Substitutes like nut or grain milks cater to specialized diets like paleo, keto, or vegan.
So whether for convenience, health, or cost savings, having coconut milk powder alternatives handy gives you flexibility in the kitchen.
Best Substitutes for Coconut Milk Powder
Here are the top recommended substitutes for coconut milk powder:
1. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is essentially a thicker, more concentrated version of coconut milk. It contains less water and more coconut solids than coconut milk.
It has a very similar flavor and texture to coconut milk powder when reconstituted. The thicker consistency also mimics the creamy richness of coconut milk powder.
To use it as a substitute:
- Add 1 cup coconut cream to a bowl.
- Slowly pour in water while whisking until it reaches a creamy, milk-like consistency.
- Add 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired thickness.
- Use the reconstituted coconut cream in a 1:1 ratio to replace coconut milk powder.
Coconut cream may be easier to find than coconut milk powder in stores. Just be careful not to confuse it with "cream of coconut", which contains added sweeteners and flavors.
2. Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk
As coconut milk powder is dried coconut milk, fresh canned coconut milk makes an obvious substitute.
Look for unsweetened coconut milk with at least 17% fat content. Avoid "light" coconut milk which is too thin. Shake the can well before using to incorporate the thick coconut cream at the top.
The thickness of canned coconut milk closely mimics the consistency when coconut milk powder is reconstituted. It provides the same rich coconut flavor.
Substitute canned coconut milk in a 1:1 ratio for coconut milk powder. Reduce any added water in the recipe by the same amount.
One difference is canned milk obviously doesn't have the same long shelf life. Refrigerate after opening and use within 5 days.
3. Soy Milk Powder
Soy milk powder is made from ground soybeans. It's a versatile dairy-free substitute for coconut milk powder.
It has a mild beany flavor that won't overwhelm other ingredients. It also blends smoothly into recipes.
Soy milk powder contains around 8 grams of protein per 1⁄4 cup serving. It adds protein and nutrition to dishes.
Use soy milk powder in a 1:1 ratio for coconut milk powder in recipes. Add extra water as needed to reach the desired consistency.
Keep in mind soy milk powder can curdle at high heat. Avoid boiling it.
4. Cashew Milk Powder
Cashew milk powder offers a rich, creamy texture similar to coconut milk powder. It's made from soaked, blended cashews dried into a fine powder.
It has a slightly sweet, nutty taste that works well in both sweet and savory recipes. Add it to curries, baked goods, smoothies, or coffee.
Replace coconut milk powder with an equal amount of cashew milk powder. Add water until the consistency matches the recipe requirements.
Cashew milk powder is shelf-stable and vegan. Those with nut allergies should avoid it.
5. Regular Milk Powder
Surprisingly, plain dairy milk powder can substitute for coconut milk powder.
It won't provide the same coconut flavor. But it mimics the creamy texture and richness that coconut milk powder lends to recipes.
Substitute regular milk powder in a 1:1 ratio for coconut milk powder. Add water to reconstitute it to the consistency needed for the recipe.
Any type of milk powder works - skim milk powder, whole milk powder, goat milk powder, etc.
6. Almond Milk Powder
For a nutty, non-dairy powder, try almond milk powder. It's made from ground almonds and has a sweet, creamy taste.
Almond milk powder contains about 50 calories and 2 grams of protein per serving.
It can be used cup-for-cup in place of coconut milk powder in recipes. Add enough water until the consistency is right for the dish.
Keep in mind it doesn't have the same high fat content as coconut milk powder. So it provides less richness than coconut powder.
7. Rice Milk Powder
Rice milk powder, also known as rice flour, offers a gluten-free, soy-free substitute.
It has a neutral flavor and super fine, powdery texture almost identical to coconut milk powder.
Rice milk powder is sweeter than coconut powder, so it works especially well in desserts like puddings, ice cream, or custards.
Replace coconut powder with rice milk powder in a 1:1 ratio by volume in recipes. Add liquid to reach the needed consistency.
8. Oat Milk Powder
Looking for a nut-free, budget-friendly choice? Use oat milk powder.
It has a natural sweetness and creamy texture when mixed with water. Oat milk powder contains 7 grams of protein per serving.
You can find instant oat milk powder for convenience. Or make your own by blending and drying oats.
It works well in baked goods, smoothies, or to give creaminess to coffee. You can substitute equal amounts of oat milk powder for coconut powder.
9. Nutritional Yeast
Whisk 1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast into 1 cup water until smooth. Use it cup-for-cup in place of coconut powder.
The egg yolk-like yellow color resembles coconut powder. It blends smoothly into recipes with a velvety texture.
Keep in mind it does not mimic the coconut flavor. But it provides a richness and body similar to coconut milk powder.
How to Substitute in Recipes
When substituting for coconut milk powder in recipes, keep these tips in mind:
- Look for non-sweetened, unsweetened versions of milk powders avoid added sugars.
- Use equal measurements of substitutes to replace coconut milk powder.
- Add enough water so the consistency matches what the recipe needs once the powder is blended.
- For thicker textures, let the mixture sit for 5 minutes after mixing to fully thicken before using.
- Reduce any other liquids in the recipe by the same amount of coconut milk powder replaced.
- Add a few drops of coconut extract to infuse coconut flavor if desired.
- For curries, stews or soups, stir the powder into a ladle of hot liquid before adding it to the pot to prevent clumping.
- Test the consistency and flavor and adjust seasonings to taste after substituting.
With the right techniques, these substitutes for coconut milk powder can seamlessly blend into your favorite recipes!
Recommended Brands of Milk Powder Substitutes
When purchasing milk powder substitutes, look for high-quality brands to get the best results:
- Coconut milk powder - Anthony's, Let's Do Organic, MaraNatha
- Soy milk powder - Now Foods, Bulk Supplements, Hoosier Hill Farm
- Cashew milk powder - Thrive Market, Sunbest
- Almond milk powder - Almond Breeze, Now Foods
- Oat milk powder - Hoosier Hill Farm, Youki
- Rice milk powder - Ener-G Foods, Ebro Foods
- Nutritional yeast - Bragg, Bewise, Sari
Searching for "dairy-free" or "vegan" is an easy way to find coconut-free substitutes. Always check the ingredients to verify no coconut products are included.
Key Takeaway: Carefully compare brands and read labels when purchasing substitutes to get versions without coconut or unnecessary additives.
Is coconut flour the same as coconut milk powder?
No, coconut flour is made from dried, defatted coconut meat ground into a flour. Coconut milk powder contains the coconut fat/cream and mimics the properties of coconut milk.
Can I use coconut water as a substitute?
Coconut water won't work as a sub because it doesn't contain the coconut fat or creaminess of coconut milk powder.
Can I use cream of coconut?
Cream of coconut contains added sugars so it won't mimic the flavor of coconut milk powder. Read labels carefully to find unsweetened coconut cream without additives.
Which substitute is healthiest?
For the healthiest fat and calorie profile, choose substitutes like soy, almond, oat or rice milk powder over full-fat coconut cream or whole milk powders.
Can I make my own substituted coconut milk powder?
Yes, you can make your own by blending any milk or cream alternative, spreading it thin to dry, and grinding into a powder. Homemade allows you to control the ingredients.
How long do substitute powders last compared to coconut milk powder?
Most milk powder substitutes last 6-12 months. Coconut milk powder's shelf life is on the longer side, around 18-24 months. Refrigerating substitutes or coconut milk powder will extend their shelf life.
While coconut milk powder has unique properties, many alternatives can mimic its rich consistency and provide creaminess to recipes.
Substituting equal amounts of a non-dairy milk powder while adjusting water to get the right texture makes swapping coconut milk powder easy.
Homemade nut milks, soy milk powder, and even rice or oat milk powder act as seamless stand-ins. With so many options like almond, cashew, or rice milk powder, you can pick the perfect coconut-free substitute to suit your recipes.