Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Milk: What’s The Difference?

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Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits which is found in a lot of recipes and on numerous menus. The term coconut refers to three layers of the fruit, the fruit itself, the seed, and the tree. And all three layers are widely used to make a plethora of dishes and beverage products.

Coconut milk and cream are just some of the by-products of this amazing fruit. You may have seen these products a lot of times and may have confused one for the other. So, let us help you understand the differences between the two and make your next grocery store trip a less confusing one.

The difference between coconut cream and coconut milk is similar to the difference between cow cream and cow milk. They’re both made up of the same ingredients but the cream has a much higher fat content as compared to coconut milk. Also, the cream has very little water or almost no water content in it. So, it is a lot denser than the milk.

If you want to know more about the differences, read on!

What Is Coconut Cream?

Coconut cream is made by mixing four parts of the coconuts with one part of water. It is very similar to thick whipping cream.

The thickness of this cream is because of its high-fat content. Its fat content is between 20% to 50%.

What Is Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk is a liquid that is extracted from the pulp of matured coconuts. It has a thick consistency and a rich texture.

A lot of Thai dishes use coconut milk in their ingredients. Not just in Thai, it’s also a very common ingredient in Hawaiian, Indian and Caribbean dishes as well.

This milk is very rich in nutrients, like fat, protein, vitamin c, iron, etc. Experts believe that coconut milk contains some unique proteins that may be very good for your health.

Coconut Cream vs Coconut Milk: Comparison Table

The table below summarizes all the differences between coconut cream and coconut milk.

CategoryCoconut CreamCoconut Milk
OriginSoutheast AsiaCaribbean
TasteProcessed, sweet in taste, very creamySlightly sweet
TextureThick, creamy, less/no water contentTick, creamy and small amount of water present
Colormilky-whiteMilky-white, opaque
Fat content19-22%Usually 9%-15%, light coconut milk has around 9% fat
NutritionHigh-fat content, carbohydrates,High in carbs

Differences Between Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk

If you’re curious to know the differences between coconut cream and coconut milk in deep, we’ve got you covered!


Coconuts originated in Southeast Asia and the islands of the Indian subcontinent. Traders of Portuguese origin bought coconuts which were grown near the Indian Ocean to the coasts of Africa, then to the Caribbean and Brazil.

Coconut milk has been used as an ingredient in food for more than 2000 years now, all over the world.


Coconut milk has an intense coconut taste, just like you would imagine. But, it is still a little nutty. Unlike coconut water which you find in young coconuts, the milk is made by using the meat of matured coconuts and then mixing that in water.

It is sweet and floral and may be very good for your health. Milk also tastes very meaty and savory.

Coconut cream, on the other hand, is thicker and contains a lot more fat than milk. It has a mellow taste making it a perfect substitute for whipped cream, in case you’re vegan. It is used as a taste enhancer in many dishes, like Thai curry, chocolate mousse, to give it a velvety touch.


Coconut milk and cream have almost the same texture. They’re both milk-white, thick. Also, coconut milk is chunky because of its high-fat content and less water in it.

Nutritional Value

Coconut milk is very rich in its nutritional content. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs help in weight loss and also help stimulate energy through a process called thermogenesis.

It is also very rich in vitamins and minerals, some amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

Coconut cream is basically just a thicker version of coconut milk, as it contains very less water. It is also a very good source of potassium, which is vital for maintaining the health of the cells in your body.

But, the cream has a relatively higher fat content which doesn’t make it as healthy as coconut milk.


Traditionally, coconut milk is made by grating the white part that is found inside the coconut and mixing this pulp with a small amount of hot water. The grating process is either carried out manually or using a machine.

Coconut milk can be divided into two subtypes: Coconut cream and thin coconut cream. Coconut cream contains 20-50% fat while thin coconut milk contains 5%-20% fat.

Coconut cream is extracted from pressing the grated coconut pulp using a cotton cloth. Sometimes a small amount of hot water may be added to it, but usually, coconut cream is made without any water.

Health Factor

You may think that due to high-calorie content these products may not be good for health. But, despite the fat, none of these cause any health-related problems, like heart diseases, etc.

Coconut milk and cream contain saturated fat. These types of fats increase the good cholesterol in the body while lowering inflammation.

But if we still were to compare, then coconut milk would win in being the healthier option.

Can You Use Coconut Cream Instead Of Coconut Milk?

Yes! You can definitely use coconut cream in place of coconut milk. You will need to dilute the cream with some amount of water since it is a lot denser than the milk.

What Can I Use As A Substitute For Coconut Milk?

There are a bunch of options available that can be used in place of coconut milk. Some of them are soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, etc.

Final Thoughts

Coconut milk is an excellent product, not just as an ingredient for that Thai curry that you are planning to cook, but also for an excellent milk alternative.

Contrary to what many people may believe, consuming any of these products does not affect your health negatively. It may help you improve your health.

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