When you open a can or carton of coconut milk you may wonder if you can freeze any leftovers. Simply put, yes. Coconut milk can be frozen if you store it properly. Fortunately, freezing coconut milk is very easy and it freezes well. It is a staple ingredient that is great in raw or cooked recipes plus it is used in savory or sweet recipes.
This is why so many people use coconut milk often. Being able to store it in the refrigerator or freezer when you have a partially used can is a great way to save money and cut down on food waste. Save your leftover coconut milk and freeze it so you can make yummy recipes, like vegetarian chickpea curry whenever you have a craving.
You can safely freeze coconut milk but the texture will change and result in a quality that may be less creamy. Once thawed or defrosted, it will lose some of its water content and separate. Do not worry, it is still going to be tasty and work in your recipe. Just like when you shake your can before using it, you will just need to stir or shake up that previously frozen coconut milk to combine it together.
How to Freeze Coconut Milk
Opened cans or cartons of coconut milk will last in the refrigerator for a week. After that, the shelf life is limited and may not be safe or fresh. If you are not able to use up the leftover coconut milk within a week, it is best to freeze it to use later. Hopefully, when you used coconut milk for your recipe, you combined the coconut water portion with the coconut fats so that it was evenly distributed. This is key with most recipes and will ensure the frozen coconut milk is still creamy and rich when you use it later.
Canned Coconut Milk Vs Boxed
To help ensure your coconut milk does not curdle or separate when cooking, you want to make sure you stir or shake it up before using. When you open a can of coconut milk it typically has a thick layer on the top which is the creamiest part. It is good to see this, it means you have good quality coconut milk without any stabilizers.
Coconut milk in cartons often does have stabilizers and will not separate as it does in the can. Either way, before storing it in the freezer, shake or stir to combine.
Storing Coconut Milk in the Freezer
If you have partially used a can or carton of coconut milk that opened amount that is remaining can still be frozen. To freeze leftover coconut milk you will want to get it into an airtight container. I recommend stirring it and pouring it into an airtight container.
You can also pour coconut milk into a freezer ziplock bag, squeeze out any excess air, and seal it. Never store an opened can of coconut milk in the refrigerator or freezer, always transfer it to a container or Ziploc bag. Below is my favorite step-by-step guide on how to freeze opened but unused leftover coconut milk.
Freezing in Ice Cube Trays
To freeze coconut milk in small amounts, an ice cube tray is perfect. Pour coconut milk into an ice cube tray and freeze for 6 hours. Once solid, pop the frozen coconut milk cubes out of the tray and place them into an air-tight container or Ziploc bag. Seal to keep as much air out as possible.
It is great as a milk substitute in my Mango Pineapple Smoothie too. No need to defrost. Throw a few frozen coconut milk chunks and blend until creamy.
How Long Does Coconut Milk Last in the Freezer
Frozen coconut milk can last for up to 2 months in the freezer. As long as it is stored properly in an airtight container or sealed Ziploc bag, coconut milk will be safe to use for about 8 weeks and kept in the freezer.
Keep in mind, anything that has a freezer burn should not be consumed and thrown out. Freezer burn not only affects taste but also the safety of the product so you do not want this to happen. If it does, please throw out the frozen coconut milk.
How to Defrost Coconut Milk
To defrost coconut milk, simply place the Ziploc or container in the refrigerator. Plan this ahead of time when you want to use it. Depending on the amount, it can take a few hours or overnight to defrost safely in the refrigerator. I do not recommend any other method of defrosting coconut milk such as in the microwave or with a warm water plunge.
How Long Will Thawed Coconut Milk Last
Once you have defrosted your frozen coconut milk, you will want to use it rather quickly. Since coconut milk that has been frozen changes in water content and may separate, you want to use it right away.
Thawed coconut milk will last for 3 days in the refrigerator and stored in an air-tight container. Keep in mind when you will be using it so you can defrost it in the 3-day window.
RECIPES & USES FOR FROZEN COCONUT MILK
It is best to use previously frozen and now thawed coconut milk in recipes where it will be cooked or baked. It can be used in soups, curries, dips, or desserts. I suggest only using it when it is not the main component and is a small ingredient along with other ingredients. Frozen coconut milk is also great to use as a coffee or tea creamer, in smoothies, or in cocktails.
Here are a few recipe ideas for using leftover or frozen coconut milk.
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How to Freeze Coconut Milk?
- Ziploc Bags
- air-tight freezer storage containers
- canned coconut milk
- boxed/carton coconut milk
- Stir or shake up any leftover coconut milk. Be sure it is combined as best you can.
- If using an air-tight container, pour the coconut milk into it. Snap or seal the lid on tight to be sure it keeps out as much air as possible.If using a Ziploc bag, pour the coconut milk into it. Roll the empty part of the bag to press out any air and only have the section with milk remaining. Press and seal tightly.
- Place the container or ziplock bag in the freezer. Freeze coconut milk for up to 2 months.
- To defrost, place a container or ziplock n the refrigerator. It will defrost slowly between 2 - 12 hours depending on how much of a solid block of coconut milk you are working with to thaw. Use defrosted coconut milk within 3 days.
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