I love the taste of coconut milk; in fact, I use it in my coffee from time to time to give it that coconut flavor that I love so much. I have made a lot of recipes that call for coconut milk over the years, but until recently, I never encountered one that called for coconut cream. When I saw the recipe, it made me wonder if the two could be interchanged, and if not, what makes them different? Here’s what I found out.

What is the Difference between Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk is very similar to cow’s milk in consistency. It is created by simmering coconut shavings in water. It is often used as a milk replacement, and can also be used as the base of a creamy soup. Coconut cream is much thicker in consistency than coconut milk. It is made the same way, but instead of using equal parts of coconut and water, you use four times the coconut, which makes the cream much thicker.

This thicker consistency makes it ideal for desserts and sweeter treats.

Does Coconut Milk Taste Like Coconut?

Absolutely, it is not an intense coconut flavor, but it does add a slightly nutty, coconut flavor to recipes that call for this type of milk. Many people have a digestive system that disagrees with cow’s milk, so delicious culinary coconut milk is a great substitute.

Coconut Cream Nutrition

Coconut cream is a very nutritious food to add to your diet in moderation. It is very low in cholesterol and sodium, and it adds quite a bit of protein and potassium to your daily intake. If you are counting calories, it is important to note that the coconut cream calories count for one cup is about 784.

Chai Creme de Coconut

One of the things that I like to make out of coconut milk is Chai Crème de Coconut. This is an adult beverage that requires the following ingredients:

  • One ounce of light rum
  • One ounce of dark rum
  • Three ounces of chai tea
  • Three ounces of maple coconut milk (this can be made by adding maple syrup to your coconut milk)
  • A dash of Nutmeg
  • A handful of toasted coconut
  • Whipped cream

To create this drink, shake together the rum, the tea, and the coconut milk. Add some ice to the shaking glass and continue to shake. Strain the mixture over a glass of ice. Top the drink with whipped cream, and garnish it with nutmeg and pieces of toasted coconut.

Organic Coconut Cream Candy

If you are looking to create something sweet with coconut cream, then you will want to consider this candy. It is one of my favorite treats to make, and you can add in chocolate, chai, vanilla, orange, lime, or any other flavor to create your own unique dessert. For the base recipe, you will need:

  • Two cups of coconut cream
  • ½ a cup of honey (you can add up to ¼ of a cup more if you want a sweeter candy)
  • Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • Coconut flakes (optional)

To start, you will need to warm the coconut cream in a small bowl until it can be stirred easily. Then mix in the honey, the salt, and the vanilla extract. Press the mixture into small candy molds or shape them and place them on a baking sheet. If you want to add the coconut flakes, you can roll the shaped candy in the coconut to coat it. Chill the candy to harden a bit and enjoy. If you are storing the candy for later, use an airtight container that you can keep chilled in the refrigerator.

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry

One of my favorite dishes to make that uses coconut milk is Thai chicken coconut curry. It is a spicy, yet sweet take on the dish that will have you going back for seconds. You can serve this over rice, quinoa, or even without any starches at all if you prefer. To create this curry dish, you will need:

  • Two tablespoons of coconut oil (any oil will work in a pinch)
  • One diced onion
  • One pound of diced chicken breast
  • Three cloves of minced garlic
  • One tablespoon of freshly chopped ginger
  • Two tablespoons of coriander
  • 13 ounces of coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded carrots
  • Three tablespoons of curry paste or powder (choose based on your heat preference)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Three cups of fresh spinach
  • A tablespoon of lime juice
  • One tablespoon of brown sugar (more for a sweeter curry)
  • ½ of a cup of fresh cilantro

To create this dish, you will need to start with a large pan. Sauté the onion in oil over medium-high heat until the onion becomes soft and translucent. This should take about five minutes. Add the chicken and continue to cook for another five minutes. Stir often as the chicken cooks, and then add the garlic, ginger, and coriander. Continue sautéing until fragrant, which should take about a minute or so.

Add in the coconut milk, the curry, the carrots, the salt, and the pepper. Stir thoroughly, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about five minutes. If you want your curry to be thicker, you can cook it a bit more to reduce the amount of liquid in the pot. When it is the right consistency, add the lime juice and the spinach and allow it to cook for a minute or two. Taste the curry, and then add more curry for heat or more brown sugar for sweetness. Garnish with cilantro, and enjoy.

Final Thoughts

If you were wondering the difference between coconut cream and coconut milk, the main difference is that the coconut milk is made from equal parts water and coconut, while the coconut cream is thicker because it has much more coconut in the mixture than water. If you have little experience with coconut milk or cream, try the recipes above to see the great flavor that they can add to your food taste.


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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