Can you freeze coconut milk? Coconut milk is one of the popular milk alternatives. Some people use it for drinking purposes, others as a flavoring in recipes. People using coconut milk for cooking or baking purposes often choose to buy it in cans while drinkers often buy it in cardboard containers. Most recipes don’t use a whole can (or a whole container) of the product so you’ll be left with some leftover coconut milk after preparing the dish.
You can drink the rest of the milk or use it in another recipe. Unfortunately the amount of coconut milk you’re left with almost never matches the quantity that other recipes call for. But if you can’t find a way to use the coconut milk leftovers, the liquid will go bad within a few days. So, the only way to preserve this lactose free milk alternative is to freeze it. The good news is – you can freeze coconut milk, it freezes pretty fine. Let’s discuss this process in some details.
How freezing affects coconut milk
Similarly to cow’s milk, you can freeze coconut milk. Probably the most important thing about freezing coconut milk is that it separates easily. Because of that, you need to stir it or mix it after defrosting. If it resists coming back together you can try warming it up a little. That should help.
Image used under Creative Commons from Emily Barney
Coconut milk after freezing and thawing should taste pretty much the same as fresh coconut milk does. Its texture, however, might be slightly different. Because of that, frozen and thawed coconut milk should be fine in recipes that don’t rely on the consistency of this dairy free milk alternative. If you mix it with other ingredients you shouldn’t be able to notice the mentioned difference in texture. If your dish depends on coconut milk’s consistency, the best thing you can do is to try the frozen and thawed coconut milk in that dish and decide whether you’re fond of the results. To preserve the best quality of coconut milk after thawing, you shouldn’t keep it in the freezer for more than 2-3 months. Let’s discuss some issues related to freezing this coconut beverage.
Tips concerning freezing coconut milk
Coconut milk should be frozen in an airtight container. If you’ve got your leftover coconut milk, you should pour it into another container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. If you would like to freeze it in its cardboard container, it’s a good idea to pour a little from the container, so the container won’t get damaged by expanding coconut liquid. Because coconut milk consists mostly of water, it expands while freezing.
If you plan to use only a part of the container at a time (e.g. for cooking purposes), it’s best for you to buy a few small plastic containers and freeze the milk in them. Using ice-cube trays is also a great idea. This way you can always thaw only as little coconut milk as you need. To do that just pour the liquid into the ice-cube trays and put them into the freezer. Once frozen, you should remove coconut milk ice-cubes from trays, put them into a freezer-safe bag and put the bag into the freezer. Labeling the container (or bag) with the date is also a good idea.
Thawing coconut milk
Coconut milk thaws very slowly. Slower than you’d expect. If you’d like to thaw it in the refrigerator, it’ll take a few days to thaw it entirely. To accelerate the process of thawing you can use a microwave set on defrost or put it in a pot (or sink) of cold water.
One more thing – many people find it more convenient to use powdered coconut milk in recipes that use only a small amount of this liquid. That’s of course a matter of personal preferences.
As you can see, this milk alternative can be easily frozen, but it takes some time to thaw coconut milk. You can freeze coconut milk, but you should remember that its texture might be a little different after thawing.