It’s natural to wonder how long does coconut cream last? Coconut cream is a handy ingredient and not just if you love cooking. Coconut cream can be a handy skincare product as well as having other uses.
In fact, I like to always have a can of this cream in my pantry and have occasionally made my own coconut cream.
Of course, once you start making your own cream of coconut or when you come across an old one in the pantry, or if you have it in the refrigerator? How long can you keep coconut cream?
I have all the answers you need here as I walk you through what coconut cream is, whether it goes bad, how long it lasts in different environments, and how you can store them to keep it as long as possible.
What Is Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream is actually relatively straightforward to make. Describing how to make it is the easiest way to understand what it is.
It is made simply from coconut meat and water. There are multiple ways to process this to make a cream. One is to place coconut flesh and water in a blender. Blend it to a pulp and then strain out the liquid.
Put this liquid in a jar or container and let it sit. It will separate into coconut milk at the bottom and the creamier coconut cream at the top.
So coconut milk and coconut cream are made in the same way, but the cream is thicker with a higher fat content.
Of course, you don’t need to make your own cream of coconut.
Bought coconut cream can sometimes have other ingredients like guar gum added to thicken and stabilize it.
It is vegan and used in many Asian dishes as well as other cuisines.
Does Coconut Cream Go Bad?
Yes, it can go bad. While it can last a while in an unopened can, once it is opened or any fresh coconut cream should be used quickly. You can see some tips below for how to store it to help it last as long as possible.
How Can I Tell If Coconut Cream Is Bad?
Coconut cream is like any other type of food when you want to know if it has gone bad or not. My best tip is to trust your gut. You usually know when something is not right with your food.
Below, I walk you through what to check to determine if your cream has gone bad. You can work it out using your sight, smell, and touch. If it fails any step, throw it out.
The first step is just for canned coconut cream but the other steps are for homemade coconut cream as well.
Step 1: Examine The Can
If it’s in a can, start by examining it. Are there any bulges? Swelling? Holes? If anything unusual, toss it out.
Step 2: Examine The Cream
If you are checking an unopened can, it’s time to open it.
Is there any sign of mould or film on the surface? Is it a yellow or dark color? In any of these cases, throw it out.
It is normal for the cream to separate with the fattier parts rising to the top. This is not a sign that it is bad, and you can mix it back together.
Step 3: Sniff The Coconut Cream
This is usually the most telling step – are there any unexpected smells?
Any sour or rancid smells mean the coconut cream is off, although I would throw it out if it has any unusual smell.
Step 4: Have A Small Taste
If you still aren’t sure, have a small taste. If it tastes sour or just not right, toss it out.
How Long Does Coconut Cream Last?
So how long does coconut cream last? It depends on how you store it. I talk more about storing below. In this section, I walk you through the coconut cream shelf life, fridge life, and freezer life.
Store-bought cream of coconut will come with a best-before date. Note that this is the date the manufacturer believes that the product may start degrading in quality. It is not the date it goes bad. This means it is likely to still be good to use for a few weeks past this date.
This does require storing the can in a cool, dark, dry pantry. Heat, light, and humidity can impact how long the coconut cream can last.
Opened or homemade coconut cream will not last long in the pantry or on a shelf. It should be stored in the refrigerator. If you won’t use your cream within the timeframes listed below, consider freezing it.
|The Coconut Cream Is…||It Is Stored In The…||It Will Last For…|
|Unopened Can||Pantry||A few weeks past the expiry date|
|Opened Can||Pantry||Less than a day|
|Refrigerator||Up to a week (ideally use in a few days)|
|Freezer||Up to 6 months|
|Freshly Made||Pantry||Less than a day|
|Freezer||Up to 6 months|
All of these timeframes assume you are storing the coconut cream correctly as per recommendations in this article.
How Long Does Coconut Cream Last In Fridge?
In the refrigerator, coconut cream can last up to a week. This assumes the coconut cream is stored in an airtight container. Homemade coconut cream is likely to last less time than canned coconut cream.
How To Store Coconut Cream
To get the timeframes for the coconut cream shelf life listed above, you need to store your coconut cream correctly. Here are some tips to store it for the best lifespan possible.
Storing In The Pantry
Only unopened cans of coconut cream should be stored in the pantry. These can last many months as long as your pantry is cool, dark, and dry. Humidity and high temperatures can shorten the lifespan of canned coconut cream.
Storing In The Refrigerator
Opened or fresh coconut cream should be stored in the fridge.
I recommend placing any cream of coconut in an airtight glass or plastic container. It should not be stored in the tin as this can transfer the metal taste of the can to the coconut cream.
How To Freeze Coconut Cream
The best thing to do if you won’t use your coconut cream before it goes bad is to store it. This is a great way to extend its lifespan by a possible six months.
Manufacturers of coconut cream don’t tend to recommend this as they want their product at its absolute best when you consume it and freezing it can discolor it slightly and change its consistency. However, it should be fine to use still.
I recommend you freeze your cream using an ice cube tray. Once it is frozen, put the cubes in a freezer container or bag, all set to use.
When you are ready to use the cream, you can defrost it in your fridge or by placing it in the microwave. If you are cooking with it or making a smoothie, you can place the cube(s) directly in your cooking or blender.
It can make for an interesting alternative to adding ice cubes to your smoothies.
Risks of Consuming Coconut Cream That Has Been Open For A Long Period
Consuming open coconut cream can lead to bacterial contamination, foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli, spoilage due to molds and yeasts, and rancidity and unpleasant taste. It’s essential to exercise caution and check for spoilage signs before consumption. Exposure to air can also cause the oxidation of fats, compromising the cream’s quality and safety.
Can I consume coconut cream after the expiration date?
While the expiration date is a guideline for the best quality and flavor, the cream may still be safe to consume after the expiration date. However, it’s recommended to use your judgment and assess its freshness by checking for any signs of spoilage such as an off smell, mold growth, or an unusual texture.
How can I store it to maximize its freshness?
To maximize the shelf life of the cream, it’s important to store it properly. After opening, transfer the leftover cream to an airtight container or a covered bowl. Label the container with the date of opening and place it in the refrigerator, preferably in the coldest part. Avoid storing it in the door as the temperature may fluctuate more frequently.
Is homemade coconut cream different in terms of shelf life?
Homemade coconut cream may have a shorter shelf life compared to commercially packaged coconut cream, as it lacks preservatives. It’s best to follow the same guidelines for refrigeration and consumption within a few days of making it.
Can I use coconut cream that has separated?
Yes, coconut cream can separate when stored or chilled. This is a natural process, and the cream can still be used. Simply give it a gentle whisk or stir to bring it back to a smooth consistency before incorporating it into your recipes.
I hope you have found this guide on how long coconut cream lasts useful. How long it lasts depends on where and how you store it. For example, canned coconut cream which is unopened is able to last months whereas once it’s opened, its shelf life decreases dramatically.
Freezing your coconut cream can be a way to increase its lifespan again.