Delicious Coconut Cream Alternatives

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Imagine indulging in the creamy, tropical flavors of coconut without actually using coconut cream. Sounds too good to be true? Think again! In this article, we will explore some incredible alternatives to coconut cream that are just as delicious and versatile. Whether you have dietary restrictions, limited access to ingredients, or simply want to try something new, these cream of coconut substitutes are sure to satisfy your cravings. Get ready to discover a whole new world of creamy goodness!

Understanding Coconut Cream

What is coconut cream?

Coconut cream is a rich and creamy substance extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts. It is commonly used as a key ingredient in various dishes and desserts, thanks to its smooth texture and deliciously tropical flavor. Unlike coconut milk, coconut cream has a higher fat content, making it thicker and more indulgent.

Uses of coconut cream

Coconut cream serves as an excellent ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes. It adds a delightful creaminess to curries, soups, and sauces, enhancing their flavors with a subtle coconut undertone. In sweet creations, like smoothies, puddings, and ice creams, coconut cream imparts a luscious richness that is hard to replicate.

Nutritional value

Coconut cream is not just a treat for your taste buds; it also offers several nutritional benefits. It contains healthy fats that can promote brain function and heart health. Additionally, coconut cream is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and E, iron, and magnesium. However, it is important to consume coconut cream in moderation due to its high calorie and saturated fat content.

Reasons for Seeking Coconut Cream Alternatives

Dietary restrictions

Some individuals may follow dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming coconut cream. For example, those on a low-fat diet may opt for alternatives with lower fat content. Additionally, individuals following a specific eating plan, such as a ketogenic or paleo diet, may choose to avoid coconut cream due to its higher carbohydrate content.


Coconut allergies are relatively common, and individuals with these allergies must avoid coconut-based products, including coconut cream. An allergic reaction to coconut can range from mild symptoms, such as hives or itching, to more severe reactions like difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis. It is crucial for those with coconut allergies to find suitable alternatives to avoid any potential health risks.

Lack of availability

In some regions, coconut cream may be difficult to find or may not be readily available. This can be frustrating for individuals who want to explore recipes that call for coconut cream. In such cases, it becomes necessary to seek out alternatives that are more readily accessible in local grocery stores or online.

Dairy-Based Alternatives

Regular cream

One of the simplest alternatives to coconut cream is regular dairy cream. Whether heavy or light, dairy cream can be used as a replacement in recipes that call for coconut cream. It offers a similar rich and creamy texture, although it may have a slightly different taste profile. Keep in mind that regular cream is not suitable for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies.

Condensed milk

Condensed milk is another dairy-based alternative that can be used in place of coconut cream. It has a thick and sweet consistency, which brings a unique richness to dishes. When using condensed milk as a substitute, it’s important to adjust the added sugar in the recipe accordingly since condensed milk tends to be quite sweet on its own.

Greek yogurt

For a tangy and creamy alternative to coconut cream, Greek yogurt can be a fantastic choice. Its thick and velvety texture works well in both sweet and savory recipes. Greek yogurt can be used as a replacement in soups, dressings, and even decadent desserts like cheesecakes. However, it is important to note that Greek yogurt does have a distinct tangy flavor that may alter the taste of the final dish.

Cream cheese

Cream cheese is a versatile alternative to coconut cream, especially in desserts and baked goods. Its smooth and creamy texture adds a delightful richness to frostings, fillings, and creamy desserts. While cream cheese may not provide the exact coconut flavor, it can complement other ingredients to create a delicious end result.

Non-Dairy Alternatives

Soy milk and oil

Soy milk and oil can be combined to create a dairy-free alternative to coconut cream. By blending soy milk with a small amount of oil (such as vegetable or canola oil), a thicker and creamier consistency can be achieved. This mixture can be used in place of coconut cream in recipes. Keep in mind that the taste will be different, so it is essential to consider the flavor profile of the dish when making the substitution.

Almond cream

Almond cream is a popular non-dairy alternative to coconut cream. Made by blending blanched almonds with water, almond cream has a smooth and slightly nutty flavor. It can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, adding a creamy texture and a touch of richness. Almond cream is widely available in stores or can be made at home for those who prefer a DIY approach.

Cashew cream

Cashew cream is another delightful non-dairy alternative that can be used in place of coconut cream. By soaking cashews and then blending them with water, a creamy consistency similar to coconut cream can be achieved. Cashew cream has a mild and slightly sweet flavor, making it a versatile choice for various recipes, including sauces, dressings, and desserts.

Rice milk

Rice milk, made from milled rice and water, is a suitable alternative for those with both dairy and nut allergies. While rice milk generally has a lighter consistency compared to coconut cream, it can still add a subtle creaminess to recipes. Rice milk works particularly well in dishes that require a lighter texture, such as smoothies, soups, and light sauces.

Recipe Adjustments When Using Alternatives

Changes in texture

When substituting coconut cream with alternatives, it is important to consider the potential changes in texture. Some alternatives may be thinner or thicker than coconut cream, which can affect the overall consistency of the dish. To achieve a similar texture, adjustments may need to be made by adding thickening agents, such as cornstarch, or by reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe.

Changes in flavor

Each alternative to coconut cream has its own distinct flavor profile. While some may have a mild taste that blends well with other ingredients, others may have a stronger and more pronounced flavor. It is crucial to consider how the alternative will impact the overall taste of the dish and make adjustments accordingly. Adding additional seasonings or spices can help balance any flavor discrepancies.

Adjusting cooking times

Due to variations in water content and fat content, cooking times may need to be adjusted when using alternatives to coconut cream. For example, if using a thinner alternative, the cooking time may need to be reduced to prevent overcooking or thinning out the dish. On the other hand, if using a thicker alternative, slightly longer cooking times may be necessary to ensure proper cooking and flavor development.

Homemade Coconut Cream Alternatives

How to make almond cream at home

To make almond cream at home, start by soaking blanched almonds in water overnight. Drain the almonds and blend them with fresh water until smooth and creamy. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to remove any remaining almond particles, and voila! You have homemade almond cream ready to be used as a coconut cream alternative.

Making cashew cream

Making cashew cream at home is a straightforward process. Begin by soaking raw cashews in water for a few hours or overnight. Drain the cashews and blend them with fresh water until creamy and smooth. Depending on the desired thickness, you can adjust the amount of water used. The resulting cashew cream can be used as a substitute for coconut cream in a variety of recipes.

Preparing rice milk from scratch

To prepare rice milk, start by rinsing uncooked rice under cold water. Place the rinsed rice in a blender with fresh water, and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any grit or larger particles. The resulting rice milk can be stored in the refrigerator and used as a non-dairy alternative to coconut cream in your favorite recipes.

Considerations When Choosing an Alternative

Personal taste preference

When selecting an alternative to coconut cream, it is essential to consider personal taste preferences. Each alternative has its own flavor profile, which may not be identical to coconut cream. Experimenting with different options and finding the one that closely matches personal preferences can help create a satisfying culinary experience.

Nutritional requirements

For individuals with specific nutritional requirements, understanding the nutritional content of different alternatives is crucial. Some alternatives may have lower fat or calorie content, while others may offer additional vitamins or minerals. Consideration should be given to individual dietary needs and goals when choosing a coconut cream alternative.

Cost and availability

Cost and availability are practical factors to consider when seeking alternatives to coconut cream. Some alternatives may be more readily available in certain regions, while others may be easier to find online. Additionally, the pricing of alternatives can vary, and it is important to find options that suit both the budget and accessibility.

Health Benefits of Coconut Cream Alternatives

Vitamin content

Coconut cream alternatives, especially those made from nuts like almonds and cashews, can provide a range of essential vitamins. These alternatives can be excellent sources of vitamin E, vitamin B, magnesium, and healthy fats. Incorporating coconut cream alternatives into a balanced diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Caloric content

For those watching their calorie intake, coconut cream alternatives can offer a lower-calorie option compared to traditional coconut cream. Alternatives made from soy milk, rice milk, or lower-fat dairy products can provide the desired creaminess without adding excessive calories to meals or desserts.

Allergen-free alternatives

Coconut cream alternatives made from nuts, soy, or rice provide excellent options for individuals with allergies or intolerances. These alternatives can be enjoyed without the risk of triggering adverse reactions. It is essential to read ingredient labels carefully and choose alternatives that are certified allergen-free if necessary.

Recipes Using Coconut Cream Alternatives


Coconut cream alternatives work exceptionally well in curries, providing that creamy and flavorful base that is characteristic of coconut-based curries. Whether using a dairy-based alternative like regular cream or non-dairy alternatives such as almond cream or rice milk, the richness and texture can still be achieved, enhancing the deliciousness of the dish.


Coconut cream alternatives open up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to desserts. From creamy puddings and custards to silky-smooth ice cream, alternatives like cashew cream, almond cream, or even Greek yogurt can lend themselves beautifully to create indulgent and satisfying sweet treats.

Baked goods

When it comes to baked goods, coconut cream alternatives can be a game-changer. Whether used in cakes, cookies, or pastries, alternatives like condensed milk, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese can add moisture, richness, and a delectable creaminess to your favorite baked creations. Get ready to delight your taste buds with these decadent treats.

Storing and Shelf-Life of Coconut Cream Alternatives

Refrigeration requirements

Most coconut cream alternatives should be refrigerated to maintain their freshness and quality. If using a homemade alternative, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume within a few days. Commercially produced alternatives typically come with specific storage instructions, so it is important to follow the recommended guidelines for the best results.

Expiration and use-by date

Just like any other perishable food item, coconut cream alternatives have expiration dates and use-by dates. It is essential to check the packaging or label for expiration information and use the alternatives within the designated time frame. Using expired alternatives can affect the taste, texture, and overall quality of your dishes.

Long-term storage options

If you desire a longer shelf-life for your coconut cream alternatives, freezing can be an option. Some alternatives, like almond cream and cashew cream, can be successfully frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags. It is important to thaw them in the refrigerator before use to maintain their taste and consistency. However, it is recommended to consume the alternatives within a reasonable time frame to ensure optimal quality.

In conclusion, coconut cream alternatives offer a wide range of options for those seeking alternatives due to dietary restrictions, allergies, or availability. Whether opting for dairy-based alternatives or exploring non-dairy options, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preferences, nutritional requirements, and accessibility. With a variety of options available, experimentation in the kitchen becomes an exciting journey, allowing you to enjoy the creaminess and versatility of coconut cream without compromising on taste or health considerations.