In this article, What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream? we’re going to cover the difference between coconut milk and cream, it isn’t what it sounds like!

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a thin liquid that has the rough consistency of cow’s milk. It’s actually made by simmering shredded coconut and water in an equal ratio. This method means that a can of coconut milk can begin to separate, but when it’s been combined back together, it’s perfectly fine to add to your food.

Coconut milk forms the base of many of my recipes as it can help to lend them a unique, creamy flavor that pairs brilliantly well with curry powder as well as other spices and herbs. I also love to use coconut milk in desserts.

Check out How To Make Coconut Milk 2 Ways.

Favorite Recipes Using Coconut Milk

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is much thicker and richer than coconut milk is. It’s made in a very similar way, however!

The difference is that in the recipe for coconut cream, much more coconut is used, relative to water. Typically, four parts shredded coconut are simmered in one part of water. This results in a much thicker, richer, and more concentrated liquid, which can be used to add an intense coconut flavor to a dish.

Interestingly, coconut cream is also used in many Southeast Asian curries and soups, as it can lend a similar, but not identical, flavor to coconut milk. As well as the flavor it imparts, it has an inherent thickness which can be very useful. If you’re serving street food, having a thicker stew or curry may be preferable to a more watery one.

Favorite Recipes Using Coconut Cream

There are also two other coconut-based liquids which can be found in recipes. It’s important to remember that these ingredients are neither coconut milk nor coconut cream. 

Firstly, there’s coconut water. This is the thin, translucent liquid that can be found inside of a whole coconut. While this ingredient might not be used in many cooking recipes, it may be used in some smoothies or milkshakes. For those recipes, make sure to use coconut water instead of coconut milk or cream.

Lastly, there’s also the cream of coconut. This ingredient is a sweetened version of coconut cream. Typically, it’s used in desserts and mixed drinks, but because it has been sweetened, it isn’t interchangeable with coconut cream.

If you’re in a bind, a more suitable replacement for coconut cream would be standard dairy cream.


I hope you have learned What’s The Difference Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream? Coconut milk and coconut cream can both add a wonderful flavor to any number of dishes from curries to soups, but make sure to use the right one in your recipe.

If you use the wrong one, you could be adding too much flavor, fiber, and color to the dish. In that case, you’d need to start again if you were hoping to make your meal perfectly faithful to the recipe you’re using. Whichever ingredient it is that you need, we hope this article has helped you learn the difference. Happy cooking!

coconut milk and coconut cream in cans

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