Coconut milk is a healthy alternative to dairy milk or almond milk. It’s usually sold in larger containers, so it’s natural to wonder about how to safely store leftover coconut milk for later. Even if you’re used to buying canned coconut milk in smaller containers, you probably don’t want to waste it just because a recipe only called for part of a can or carton. So, can you freeze coconut milk or not?
The answer isn’t exactly straightforward. Some manufacturers don’t recommend freezing coconut milk, probably because the texture and taste can change compared to fresh coconut milk. If a slightly grainy texture and weaker taste won’t bother you, then there’s no reason you can’t safely freeze coconut milk.
How To Freeze Coconut Milk
You can freeze coconut milk by just pouring it into any freezer bag or freezer safe container if you’ll need larger quantities for future recipes. But if the whole reason you need to freeze coconut milk in the first place is because you don’t use that much, there’s another method for smaller portions that’s quite simple. All you need is an ice cube tray and an airtight container or freezer bag.
First, pour the leftover coconut milk into an ice cube tray and then let it freeze solid. Shake out the cubes and transfer them into a bag or container. This way, if you need a small amount here and there, you can open the bag and take out a cube or two at a time for extra convenience without having to worry about thawing coconut milk in one huge bag.
If you have too much coconut milk, canned coconut milk, or coconut cream for one tray, you can use multiple ice cube trays to create batches. This way, you can thaw the coconut milk at different times without having to thaw all of it together.
The same idea applies to measuring coconut milk before you freeze it. For example, if your favorite curry always calls for a single cup of coconut milk, then you can freeze coconut milk in single-cup containers or labeled bags in the desired quantities. That way, you won’t have to count out cubes of coconut milk or weigh a freezer bag to estimate how much you have.
Can You Freeze Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream has a higher overall fat content than coconut milk. It’s popular for vegan dishes because it has a thicker consistency that can be used to make richer dishes or desserts. Coconut cream can even be used to make vegan whipped cream and frosting.
In its regular form, coconut cream can easily be frozen using the same process as regular coconut milk. Since coconut cream is thicker and less diluted compared to coconut milk that comes in a carton, it can maintain its original consistency slightly better.
How To Defrost Coconut Milk
When you’re ready to thaw coconut milk or frozen canned coconut milk, simply remove the coconut milk from the freezer and place the container into the fridge overnight. Once the frozen coconut milk is thawed, you can transfer it to an airtight container of your choice and leave in the refrigerator until you want to use it.
Coconut milk can also be defrosted by leaving it out at room temperature for approximately 1 hour. This method is only recommended if you’re using cubes since the coconut milk will thaw quickly at those sizes without taking so long that the coconut milk could spoil.
Another method is to place a bag of coconut milk cubes into a container of cold water. The temperature difference will be enough to defrost the coconut milk without causing it to heat up too quickly, which can be a problem with faster methods like microwaving.
Lastly, if you’re making soup or another hot dish, you can simply toss the cubes straight from the fridge or freezer into the pot. This will thaw the coconut milk while the rest of the meal is cooking anyway.
What Is The Best Way To Use Defrosted Coconut Milk?
After freezing coconut milk, the defrosted coconut milk may have a separated appearance and a rougher texture. This can be partially fixed by using a hand blender or immersion blender to mix the previously frozen coconut milk until it’s a smoother consistency. The texture is less important if you choose to use the thawed coconut milk as an ingredient instead of as a beverage.
Thawed coconut milk can be mixed into curry, smoothies, desserts, or any other favorite recipe. This will help conceal any taste or texture issues from the freezer.
Can You Freeze Thawed Coconut Milk Again?
Once you’ve thawed coconut milk or frozen canned coconut milk, you should use the entire batch or discard the leftover coconut milk. Attempting to refreeze coconut milk will only worsen any problems from freezing coconut milk the first time, including any graininess or separation of the solids and liquids.
Plus, thawing and refreezing coconut milk can lead to bacterial growth and spoil the milk. Since freezing isn’t enough to kill off many types of bacteria, it isn’t possible to reset the clock on food safety by popping it back into the fridge or freezer.
So, can you freeze coconut milk? Yes, you can…just know that it could lead to some consistency problems when defrosting again. If you plan to use it as a regular drink it might not be the best idea but if you’re going to use it in a recipe with lots of other ingredients you probably won’t notice that much of an issue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can You Freeze Coconut Milk From a Can?
Canned coconut milk is thicker than that from a carton but not as thick as coconut cream. Its water content is lower, which can keep it from separating as much as fresh coconut milk. You can freeze canned coconut milk using the same methods as freezing coconut milk from a carton, so don’t panic if you have leftover canned coconut milk after making your latest dish.
How Long Can You Freeze Coconut Milk?
Once frozen, leftover coconut milk can last for up to 3 months as long as it’s properly stored. Consuming frozen coconut milk sooner rather than later will help with the grainy texture, but allowing it to stay frozen for several months is fine if the slight changes won’t bother you. It all depends on the future use of the coconut milk and your personal preferences.