Coconut milk boasts a whole host of nutritional benefits. It’s rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, and multiple B vitamins.
Coconut milk also includes iron and selenium.
Given all the health benefits, it makes sense that you’re looking for a way to extend your coconut milk’s storage life.
Well, here’s some good news: freezing coconut milk is a great option!
That goes for the thin coconut milk you use in drinks or the thicker, canned type you use in cooking. The latter has more fat in it and is often called coconut cream.
Whichever type you have, we’ll detail how to freeze them, any changes you can expect, and if it’s the right option for you.
Here’s the lowdown: Coconut milk lasts for 2-3 months in the freezer. Therefore, if you have unopened, shelf-stable coconut milk with a use-by date of over half a year, it’s probably not worth freezing it.
Should You Freeze Coconut Milk?
Whether you have coconut milk or coconut cream, expect a fair bit of texture change. Both types of coconut milk are high in water content.
Your coconut milk drink will likely be grainy after thawing, while the proteins and fats in your fatty coconut milk will have separated, like other fatty dairy products.
Don’t worry – all you need to do is give your coconut milk a good shake or mix. That will sort out a lot of the separation. If you want to be extra safe, blend your coconut milk.
However, your coconut milk won’t be nice to consume on its own. Instead, you should use frozen and thawed coconut milk in dishes you cook, where you won’t be able to detect the texture change.
This is crucial: do not freeze coconut milk in the can. Freezing causes coconut milk to expand, leading to an exploding can and a messy freezer.
How To Freeze Coconut Milk
The easiest way to freeze coconut milk is to pour it into an airtight container, leaving at least 1 ½ inches of empty space at the top. Seal the container properly, then pop it in the freezer.
It’s that simple!
When it comes to defrosting, ideally, you want to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator.
However, if you’re in a hurry, you can always submerge your container in lukewarm water on the counter. That should thaw your coconut milk within a few hours.
However, thawing your coconut on the counter isn’t recommended – the outsides of the coconut milk will defrost faster and start going bad.
If you know you’re always in a rush when thawing, consider flash-freezing your coconut milk in ice cube trays for 2 hours before transferring all the frozen cubes to an airtight container. That should save on freezer space.
Because ice cubes have a larger surface area than a big block of frozen coconut milk, they will thaw faster – a few hours in the refrigerator max! Plus, they’re a lot easier for flexible portion sizes.
You should measure how much coconut cream is in each section of your ice cube tray as well, making sure to leave a little space for expansion at the top. If you forget, one ice cube is approximately two tablespoons of coconut milk.
You can also add frozen coconut milk cubes straight into your cooking and let them defrost in the pot.
How’s that for convenient?
How Long Does Frozen Coconut Milk Last?
Frozen coconut milk lasts for 2-3 months.
If you freeze coconut milk in ice cube trays and don’t transfer them to an airtight container, expect the storage life to only be around one month.
After your coconut milk is thawed, consume it within 4-5 days, and never refreeze.
Other Storage Methods For Coconut Milk
Not 100% sure freezing is the right option for you? Let’s run through the other alternatives for storing coconut milk.
With coconut milk sold in the unrefrigerated section of the grocery store – either fatty coconut cream cans or shelf-stable thin coconut milk – you should keep it in a cool, dark, dry place. Think pantry or a kitchen cupboard far away from any heat sources, like the oven or cooker.
In your cabinet, shelf-stable unopened coconut milk will last 6-12 months. If you’ve stored it well, expect your coconut milk to last a month or so after the best-by date.
For coconut milk sold in the refrigerated section (probably the drinking kind), store it in the refrigerator as soon as you’re home.
As long as your refrigerated coconut milk stays unopened, it should last a whole week past its expiration date. But don’t store your coconut milk drink in the refrigerator door – it’s the warmest part of the fridge, so it won’t last extra time if stored there.
Once you’ve opened coconut milk, whichever type you have, you should keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. There, it should last for up to 1 week.
The Round-Up On Freezing Coconut Milk
There you have it: everything you need to know about freezing your coconut milk drink and coconut cream. Here’s a quick rundown of the main points:
- In an airtight container, coconut milk lasts 2-3 months in the freezer.
- In ice cube trays, coconut milk lasts one month in the freezer.
- If you have shelf-stable coconut milk that you haven’t opened yet, it’s probably not worth freezing. Unopened cans and bottles sold unrefrigerated will last 6-12 months in your pantry!
- However, opened coconut milk only lasts for up to a week in your refrigerator, so freezing is a great option here.