Coconut milk is one of my favorite products. It’s so useful for so many uses from cooking curries to making my skin glow!

For this reason, I always have at least a couple of cans of coconut milk in the back of the cupboard. This means that sometimes, I’m not sure how long they have been there and whether I should still use them.

Likewise, when I do use some coconut milk, I rarely use the whole can. So what should I do with it? How long does canned coconut milk last in fridge once opened?

I answer all this as well as how you can tell if canned coconut milk has gone bad and what you can do to store it so it’s useful for as long as possible including the answer to can canned coconut milk be frozen.

Does Canned Coconut Milk Go Bad?

Does Canned Coconut Milk Go Bad?

So can canned coconut milk go bad? Yes! Most definitely.

About how long this takes depends on how it is stored and whether you have opened the can or not as the canned coconut milk shelf life is much longer when it has never been opened. So don’t open a can until you are sure you will use it.

Canned coconut milk

How Long Does Canned Coconut Milk Last?

So how long is canned coconut milk good for? The following is a summary based on whether the can has been opened or not.

The can is….How long canned coconut milk lasts…
ClosedThe expiry date + a few months stored in a cool pantry
OpenedUp to a week in the refrigerator (ideally used within a few days)
Opened and content frozenUp to six months

It’s worth remembering that the best before date printed on a tin of coconut milk is the date at which the manufacturer thinks the coconut milk will remain at its best quality. So while ideally you would use it by then, you’ll likely find it is fine to use after this date for at least a few months.

When you want to use it, open it up as long as the can isn’t damaged and check it hasn’t gone bad (the next section tells you what to look for). It is possible it may have changed color or texture slightly and still is fine.

Canned coconut milk that is unopened should be stored in a cool, dry pantry. Once opened, cover the coconut milk or keep in a sealed container in your fridge. This way, it will last up to a week (more details about this and some other options below!).

How Do You Know If Canned Coconut Milk Has Gone Bad?

Coconut milk is like many other types of food when it comes to working out if it has gone bad or not. My first tip is to trust your gut. If it seems like it’s gone bad, it probably has!

Below are the things to check to see if the canned coconut milk has gone bad. If it fails any step, toss it out. These steps are mostly the same whether the can has just been opened or the coconut milk is already in the refrigerator.

canned coconut milk
Canned coconut milk – take a good smell and look to see if it has gone bad

Step 1: If it’s an unopened can, look for damage

If there are any bulges, holes, anything, throw it out.

Step 2: Sniff the coconut milk

The best indicator of whether the coconut milk is bad or not is to sniff it. If it’s in an unopened can, open it first.

If there’s any off odor, toss it. Anything sour or rancid smelling is bad, although really if it doesn’t just smell coconutty then it’s probably no good.

Step 3: Look for mold

If there’s any sign of mold or a film on the surface, toss it.

Step 4: Study the appearance of the coconut milk

If the milk appears chunky, a darker color than usual or has started to curdle, toss it.

However (and this is where it is slightly tricky), thick milk separation is completely normal. It’s common for the fat in the coconut milk to float to the top while the thinner liquid sinks to the bottom. This is not a sign the coconut milk has gone bad.

Simply stir the coconut milk and it should go back together again. Or remember to shake the coconut milk before opening if it’s a fresh can to help prevent this problem.

Step 5: Have a small taste

Finally, if the coconut milk as passed all these other tests and you want to be 100% sure it’s ok, have a small taste. If it tastes off at all, toss it.

How To Store Canned Coconut Milk

So what’s the best way to store canned coconut milk so it will keep as long as possible?

As mentioned above, when unopened keep it in a cool, dry pantry away from humidity. Humidity is its worst enemy!

Coconut milk in airtight container in refrigerator
Coconut milk in airtight container in refrigerator

Once open, either seal the coconut milk can or keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. A container can be the best option as it stops the milk absorbing the “tin” flavor of the can.

Coconut milk can absorb flavors from other food in the refrigerator so try to put it in an area of the refrigerator without any strong smelling foods.

In either case, mix the coconut milk before using it again. In a sealed can, you can shake it easily. In a container, you may be better off using a spoon. It depends on your container.

If you are wondering, can I freeze leftover canned coconut milk? The answer is yes. Keep reading for how!

Read our full guide to storing coconut milk here.

Can I Freeze Canned Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk in ice tray for how long can you freeze coconut milk
All ready to freeze

Freezing canned coconut milk is a great way to extend its life as it can last up to six months in a freezer. It’s also a great way to always have coconut milk on hand as you can simply defrost it whenever you need it.

So the answer to can you freeze leftover canned coconut milk is yes!

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Pour the coconut milk into an ice cube tray or a container – I find ice cubes are a great way to go as then I have full control over how much I defrost in future.
  2. Freeze until solid – this will take at least a few hours.
  3. Transfer the cubes into a freezer bag or container – then keep them in the freezer until required.
Frozen coconut milk cubes - can i freeze coconut milk from a tin
Frozen coconut milk cubes

This is a great option for leftover canned coconut milk.

You can then simply defrost in the refrigerator or microwave. There some other options for defrosting here too.

Once defrosted, give the milk a good mix as its normal for the fat content of the coconut milk to separate from the thinner liquid content.

You can find my full guide to freezing canned coconut milk here. I also include photos of how defrosted coconut milk compares to fresh canned coconut milk and the results of my taste tests!

Coconut milk after defrosting compared with fresh - can i freeze leftover coconut milk
Canned coconut milk after defrosting (left) compared with fresh (right)


Coconut milk is a great ingredient that I love to always have around. Hopefully, this article has helped you answer whether canned coconut milk goes bad (yes!) and how long this takes as well as given you some handy hints about how to best store canned coconut milk so you can keep it as long as possible. You’ll never have to wonder can you freeze canned coconut milk again!

Read my full guide to storing coconut milk here. Another way to use up coconut milk is by making a face mask. Read my favorite recipe and instructions here and find all my guides to the best coconut products here.


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