Is Coconut Milk Supposed To Be Chunky?

You know those things that happen because they are supposed to? This is one of them.

Coconut milk isn’t supposed to be chunky from the onset of production, but coconut milk becomes chunky when it is left to sit still for some time.

If you open a can of coconut milk only to find chunky residue, don’t fret, there is a reason for this. Chunky curds in your coconut milk are not always a telltale sign that it is spoiled, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Allow us further explore the question marks surrounding chunky coconut milk.

Is coconut milk supposed to be chunky?


Manufacturers of coconut milk don’t make it with the intent of retaining some chunky residue.

Even though the intent wasn’t for coconut milk to be chunky, it often wounds up chunky because it is left to rest.

Why is my coconut milk chunky?

As with other types of milk, coconut milk fat separates from the water when it sits still for a while at room temperature; the fat rises to the top of the container, and the water settles below. This happens because coconut is high in fat and less dense than water. Hence, the denser water rests below, and the less dense coconut fat stays higher in the container.

It shouldn’t be an issue if your homemade or store-bought can of coconut milk is chunky, as long as you don’t notice any other signs of spoilage.

If you have an unopened can of coconut milk, you should shake it well before opening it. If you have already opened your coconut milk, stir it well with a spoon before using it to take it back to its original consistency.

Read also: Why Is My Rice Sticky? – How To Make Rice Less Sticky

What does coconut milk smell like?

Coconut milk has a subtly sweet and creamy coconut aroma that is often reflected in its flavor.

How to tell if coconut milk is bad

–        Check for mold growth or discoloration

 Any signs of mold or discoloration on the surface of the milk show that it is sour and should be discarded.

–        Taste it

 Fresh coconut has a mildly sweet and creamy flavor; if your coconut milk tastes acidic or sour, that’s a red flag.

–        Give the coconut milk a sniff

It has gone bad if you notice a rotten, unpleasant odor instead of coconut milk’s sweet, coconut aroma.

–        Appearance of curds

Although this doesn’t apply every time, the curd is coagulated milk and is sometimes a sign of spoiled coconut milk. That is why you should check for other signs of spoilage to be sure.

–           Swells, openings, or cracks in an unopened can of coconut milk are prime signs of spoiling coconut milk.

–           Check the use-by, best before, or expiry date for information on when it expires.

How do you know when coconut milk is old?

By checking its use-by, best before, or expiry date. The manufacturer provides these dates to guide the users on the period when the product is within peak quality.

These dates tell you how old your coconut milk is. It can be found on the coconut milk can.

Does coconut milk go bad?

Yes, coconut milk spoils eventually.

An unopened can of coconut milk will go bad after two to five years of storage, while an opened can will last for about seven days.

A refrigerated opened can of coconut milk will spoil after about ten days, while an unopened can should start to deteriorate within three or four weeks after its best before date.

How to store opened coconut milk – tips to stop it from going bad quickly

Here are helpful tips on storing opened coconut milk:

–        At room temperature

At room temperature, it is best to store an opened can or carton of coconut milk in a dark place with reasonably low temperatures, such as a pantry or cupboard. It can last for months this way.

–        In the fridge

Put an opened can of coconut milk in an airtight container before storing it in the refrigerator. It can stay up to five days in the fridge this way.

–        In the freezer

If you’re looking for long-term storage, lean in.

Add coconut milk to ice cube trays and freeze or measure coconut milk in recipe-sized fractions and put each fraction in a sealable plastic bag before freezing. To defrost for usage, place the bag of frozen coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. You don’t have to thaw frozen coconut milk cubes; you can use them directly most times.

What does canned coconut milk look like?

Canned coconut milk is often separated into two distinct layers; coconut cream at the top and water below because it was left to rest for a while.

So when you open a can of coconut milk, it is likely that you’re met with a creamy white coconut paste.

How long is canned coconut milk good for before and after opening?

A sealed can of coconut milk is suitable for up to 2 to 5 years, and an opened can of coconut milk stays suitable for up to a week if refrigerated appropriately.

How long does canned coconut milk last in the fridge?

From four days to about a week if it is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Does canned coconut milk go bad?

Yes, canned coconut milk goes bad.

A sealed can of coconut milk starts to spoil usually after two to five years of storage, while an opened can of coconut milk starts to spoil after seven days if it isn’t frozen.

Why is my coconut milk gray?

If your coconut milk is grey, it may simply be its generic color. Many coconut milk brands make coconut milk from coconut and water, with no extra additives. In such a case, the coconut milk will have a light gray tint instead of the pure white you may be expecting.

Additionally, if your coconut milk is grey, it may be spoiled. You should check for other signs of spoilage to confirm any suspicions.

Why does coconut milk separate?

Coconut milk will separate, and coconut oil will solidify into saturated fat when it has sat too long at room temperature. Given the water and coconut fat density profiles, the separation was bound to happen. Because coconut fat is less dense than water, it rises above and settles at the top, while water settles below.

How to thicken coconut milk

Here are two ways you can thicken your coconut milk.

–        Add some cornstarch or all-purpose flour

Mix some cornstarch or all-purpose flour into a bowl with cold water and add it to your coconut milk. Leave it to boil and watch it thicken in real-time.

–        Add some coconut flour

This is a perfect choice if you want to retain the coconut flavor.

All you have to do is mix some coconut flour into a cup of coconut oil in a bowl.

Add the mix to the coconut oil you intend to thicken and boil (stir it continuously till it thickens).

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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