Cooking Tips

Don’t Waste Your Leftover Coconut Milk! Here’s How to Use It

Some recipes call for only part of a can of coconut milk. Don’t waste the rest.

Published Apr. 11, 2022.

We’ve all been there: After using only half a can of coconut milk for a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes or a warming chicken noodle soup, you store the other half, dreading that it will sit, unused, before it finds its final resting place among the other compostables.

Unused ingredients are not only a waste but also a missed opportunity for delicious meals that might become regulars in your weekly repertoire.

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For example, these sensational Shrimp Tostadas with Coconut and Pineapple Slaw call for only half a can of coconut milk. Having made a splash in Cook’s Country’s February/March 2022 issue, these deceptively simple fried tortillas look like the pageant queens of the tostada world and are heightened by the inclusion of a sweet and spicy slaw.

Shrimp Tostadas with Coconut and Pineapple Slaw

Shrimp cooked in coconut milk make the perfect tostada topping, along with a quick sweet and spicy slaw.
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Cook’s Country Senior Editor Jessica Rudolph understood not wanting to spare a drop of this creamy, tropical milk, so she has suggested a few other simple ways to use up the rest of the can.

  1. Make smoothies: Blend leftover coconut milk with banana, plain yogurt, and frozen fruit plus flavorings of your choosing. Try frozen mango chunks with lime zest and fresh mint, frozen pineapple chunks with grated fresh ginger, or frozen raspberries with cocoa powder.
  2. Substitute coconut milk for some (or all) of the milk in oatmeal or pudding recipes. If you’re a coconut lover, drive home the coconut flavor by garnishing your bowl with toasted shredded coconut.
  3. If all else fails, you can freeze leftover coconut milk in airtight containers. Once thawed, the coconut milk might separate slightly, but you can blitz it back together easily with a blender for straight-from-the-can creaminess.

If you want to try something new with your coconut milk, why not try browning it on the stove? The resulting rich, nutty sauce can be used in recipes for Arroz con Titoté (Colombian Coconut Rice) and Coconut Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Snow Peas.

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