Coconut milk is such a great product. It tastes good and works so well in cooking and then also has a whole lot of other uses with it being great for skincare and more.
I use coconut milk a lot so I always have some around. This means that it’s important for me to know exactly how to store leftover coconut milk.
I also use a variety of coconut milk, making homemade coconut milk when I can as well as sometimes buying carton coconut milk, and I always have a few cans in the back of the pantry.
For this reason, I am on top of how to preserve coconut milk for all different types of coconut milk.
In this article, I’ll walk you through exactly how to store coconut milk as well as share the answers to whether coconut milk goes bad, how long coconut milk lasts, and how to freeze coconut milk – the best answer to how to store unused coconut milk for as long as possible!
Does Coconut Milk Go Bad?
First of all, does coconut milk go bad? Yes, it can. It’s not a miracle product, and if you don’t use it in a timely manner, it’ll go bad.
You can refrigerate coconut milk to help it last longer although this isn’t necessary if it’s in an unopened can.
How can you tell if it’s bad?
There are a few ways. Does it smell bad? If it smells rancid or sour, toss it. Although if it smells like anything other than coconut milk, I would toss it.
Are there any signs of mold or film on the surface? Again, toss it.
Finally, if it appears chunky, a darker color than usual, or has started to curdle, this is also a sign that you should throw it out.
You can read more about whether canned coconut milk goes bad here.
How Long Does Coconut Milk Last?
This really depends on what type of coconut milk you have (canned, carton, fresh), whether it’s open, and how you store it. You can also freeze coconut to help it last longer.
The table below gives you approximate timeframes of how long coconut milk can last in different situations.
These can vary based on your product but are a good starting point. Note that canned and carton coconut milk will have an expiry date but this is when the manufacturer thinks the product is best to consume. It’s likely to be fine to use for a while after this date, however.
|The coconut milk is…||How long the coconut milk will last…|
|Freshly made||1-2 days in the refrigerator|
|Unopened carton||A few weeks past the expiry date in a cool pantry|
|Opened carton||7-10 days in the fridge|
|Unopened can||The expiry date + a few months stored in a cool pantry|
|Opened can||Up to a week in the refrigerator (ideally, use in a few days)|
|Frozen||Up to six months in the freezer|
How Long Can You Keep Coconut Milk In The Fridge?
If you want to know how long coconut milk keeps in the fridge, refer to the table above as it really depends on whether your coconut milk is of the fresh, homemade variety, a carton or a can.
Homemade coconut milk does not contain preservatives which means the answer to how long coconut milk keep in the fridge is much shorter in this case at just a couple of days. Whereas an open carton of coconut milk can last 7-10 days. Canned coconut milk is also up to a week.
Exactly How To Store Coconut Milk
To keep your coconut milk as fresh as possible, it’s important to know how to keep coconut milk so it’s as fresh as possible.
How To Store Canned Coconut Milk
The answer to this depends on whether you want to store open or unopened cans of coconut milk.
Storing Unopened Cans Of Coconut Milk
Unopened cans of coconut milk are easy to store. Keep them in a dark, dry, cool pantry. Humidity is the enemy of these cans so keep them out of humid situations, but there is no reason to refrigerate them.
Storing Opened Cans Of Coconut Milk
Opened cans of coconut milk should be kept in a sealed, airtight container in a refrigerator.
Coconut milk can pick up strong odors of food around it so make sure you put it in a position in the fridge where this won’t be an issue.
You could keep the milk in the can and seal the top. However, this can result in transferring some of the “tin” flavor into the milk so it’s best to put it into a plastic container.
How To Store Carton Coconut Milk
Storing Unopened Cartons Of Coconut Milk
Storing cartons of coconut milk is the same as cans – keep them in a dry, dark, cool pantry. Keep them away from humidity for the best lifespan of the product.
Storing Opened Cartons Of Coconut Milk
Once opened, cartons of coconut milk should be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure you seal the carton again or place all the coconut milk in an airtight container before placing it in the fridge.
Similarly to canned milk, carton coconut milk can pick up any strong odors of food around it. To stop this from happening, place it in a part of the refrigerator away from strongly smelling items.
How To Store Homemade Coconut Milk
When it comes to how to preserve homemade coconut milk, it’s the same as opened carton and canned coconut milk. Keep it in an airtight, sealed container in the refrigerator.
You’ll also want to ensure that the milk is not kept near any strongly smelling items in the refrigerator as the small can transfer into the coconut milk, changing the taste.
The final step in how to store fresh coconut milk is to make sure you give it a shake before using it so that any solid contents are dispersed evenly in the milk.
Freezing Coconut Milk?
Want to preserve your coconut milk for longer? Freezing is the way to go!
While this isn’t necessary for unopened cans and cartons of coconut milk, once your coconut milk has made its way into the refrigerator, this is a great way to expand the lifetime of the product by up to six months. I also find it very convenient to have some frozen coconut milk cubes in the freezer that I can easily use in cooking and shakes whenever I want.
You can read my full guide with photos and step-by-step instructions for freezing coconut milk here or follow the basic steps below.
Step 1: Pour Coconut Milk Into An Ice Tray
To freeze the coconut milk, you need to pour it into a container. I recommend an ice cube tray as then it will be easy to defrost just the amount you need later.
Step 2: Freeze The Ice Tray
Place the tray or any container you use into the freezer. It’ll take at least a few hours to freeze. I recommend leaving it overnight to ensure you don’t take it out too early.
Step 3: Store The Coconut Milk Cubes In A Freezer Bag
Take the cubes out of the ice cube tray and store them in a sealed freezer bag. Do this as quickly as possible so they don’t start to defrost.
From now on, when you need some coconut milk, you can just take out an ice cube or more.
To defrost the coconut milk cubes, you can:
- Sit them in the refrigerator overnight
- Place them in a sealed bag in a bowl of water
- Microwave them
- Place them directly in the cooking or in a blender for smoothies in place of ice
If you are wondering how to keep coconut milk from separating when defrosting, this is likely to happen no matter what you do. I find giving it a good stir with a spoon brings it back together.
You can see my comparisons of fresh coconut milk vs. defrosted coconut milk here. They are very similar.
Coconut milk is a great product. To make sure it is delicious and useful for as long as possible, follow the steps above for how to preserve fresh coconut milk. The basics are that canned and carton coconut milk should be kept in a cool pantry until opened.
Once they are opened or if you have fresh coconut milk, keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Finally, you can extend the lifetime further by freezing your coconut milk.
Read our full guide to freezing coconut milk here, how long shredded coconut lasts here, whether coconut milk goes bad here, and whether coconut cream does here. Find all our other coconutty articles here.