What's the best coconut milk to buy?
What's the healthiest?
Even though most stores or online sources carry several coconut milk options, you have to be careful.
Otherwise, you might end up coming home with additives or preservatives like caseinate, guar gum, or carageenan. Or sweeteners!
No, thank you! We just want the coconut milk. 🙂
And I can help you out with sourcing the best and healthiest coconut milk — get the whole scoop on today's #AskWardee. 🙂
The Question: What's The Best And Healthiest Coconut Milk To Buy?
Dawn M. asks:
What is the best coconut milk to buy for all these smoothies and other recipes that call for it?
There are so many brands of coconut milk out there that I can't possibly cover them all. Though I do have my favorites and we will get to those!
So to arm you with the most information possible as you wade through your choices, I think it's important to cover the qualities you should be looking for… so you can evaluate the brands in your area.
So… look for these characteristics:
- Organic — Yes, just like our other food choices, it's best to opt for organic and therefore avoid food laced with pesticides, herbicides, and such.
- No BPA — Often canned coconut milk comes in BPA-lined cans. Look for brands that claim to have BPA-free containers.
- No extra ingredients — Coconut milk often comes with other ingredients, additives and/or preservatives. Pick a coconut milk that pretty much only has coconut and water.
Forms Of Coconut Milk
There are several forms of coconut milk…
- Homemade — just shredded coconut and water (Here's a FREE guide for making your own dairy-free milks!)
- Powdered — blend with water and chill
- Cream concentrate — also blend with water and chill
- Canned — full fat or “lite”
- Refrigerated cartons
- Shelf-stable cartons
I'm not going to talk about the refrigerated or shelf-stable cartons of coconut milk because I have yet to find a brand that doesn't have additives or other undesirables. If you know of a brand that sells 100% pure coconut milk in refrigerated or shelf-stable cartons, please comment below!
The cans are very convenient (but also costly). The flavor and results from starting with a powder or making your own are superior, in my opinion.
My Top 3 Picks
Ok, now I'm going to share my top picks with you. I can't cover all options nor have I tried all options, so compare this with your own knowledge and experience. 🙂
1. Homemade Coconut Milk from Organic Shredded Coconut
Homemade coconut milk is sooo easy. (You knew I was going to say this right?)
You can sweeten or add sea salt or vanilla — all to taste or to suit your usage.
If there's one shortfall, it's this: if the shredded coconut is defatted (it usually is), the coconut milk is always going to be “lite” rather than creamy and fatty.
Yep, it's super easy and you can get different thicknesses depending on how much water you use. Homemade coconut milk keeps 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
By the way, you can make other dairy-free milks. I've got recipes for you in my FREE Dairy-Free Milk Recipes & Substitutions Guide.
2. Homemade Coconut Milk from Organic Coconut Milk Powder (Wilderness Family Naturals)
Making your coconut milk from Organic Coconut Milk Powder is less work than option #1 (no straining and less blending), but it costs a bit more. However, the results are so amazing!
The coconut milk turns out soooo creamy and delicious. You vary the amount of powder to water to get your desired consistency (from a light coconut milk to a thick coconut cream). It's the utmost in great results and versatility.
Note: in order to make a nice, usable powder, Wilderness Family Naturals' organic* coconut milk powder contains 3% maltodextrin. It's derived from tapioca, not corn or dairy. Many other coconut milk powders on the market contain not only much more maltodextrin but it's from corn or dairy. Wilderness Family Naturals uses as little as possible so you get a nice powder AND a high-quality, coconut-rich dairy-free product. To me, it's not a problem at all.
*Only the organic coconut milk powder from WFN is dairy-free and uses tapioca-sourced maltodextrin. Their non-organic coconut milk powder contains sodium caseinate instead (from milk). I only recommend the organic powder.
3. Canned Organic Coconut Milk (BPA-Free)
Canned coconut milk is very convenient. Just open a can and use. When shopping, make sure to choose BPA-free cans and a coconut milk with fewer ingredients (preferably just coconut and water).
The brand that matches my criteria (BPA-free cans, no guar gum or other additives, no sweetener) is Natural Value's Organic Coconut Milk.
Also, thanks to listener Sue M., we can add Native Forest's Simple Organic Coconut Milk to the list. Thanks for checking with them, Sue!
Let me know in the comments what your favorite form of coconut milk is!
- Organic Coconut Milk Powder
- Natural Value Organic Canned Coconut Milk (BPA-free, no additives)
- Native Forest's Simple Organic Coconut Milk (BPA-free, no additives)
- FREE Traditional Cooking Video Series
- FREE Dairy-Free Milk Recipes & Substitutions Guide
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Do you use coconut milk? How do you choose which one to buy?
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