Need a dairy free substitute? Coconut milk to the rescue! Here are four ways to use coconut milk to make substitutes for heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whipped cream!
Since Jack has (more-or-less) been on a lactose free diet for a good portion of his life, I feel like I’ve gotten quite savvy with substitutes. I make a killer chicken garlic alfredo (though with his current diet, he can’t have garlic), and I’ve discovered the best lactose free products out there. I’ve had plenty of fails (such as when I tried to make dairy free caramels and all I ended up with was a gloppy mess), but overall, it’s been a great learning process. Even when it’s a little trickier to come up with a substitute it, it’s worth it to make things my little guy can eat!
I’ve talked about how much I love coconut milk before, and I’m not about to back down from that! It is such a versatile ingredients, and I use it almost daily. I never buy it in the carton (we prefer to give Jack almond milk to drink), but the canned stuff works amazingly in different dishes. Since it’s Christmas time, we are making lots of yummy treats in our house, and unfortunately, most of them call for either sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, or heavy cream.
While I could probably find plenty of treats that don’t have these ingredients…all of my favorite ones do! So, thankfully, there are some easy and delicious substitutes for all of those ingredients. And they are all made with canned coconut milk!
So in case you are in search of some dairy free substitutes for sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, or whipped cream, you’ve come to the right place! Hopefully this makes the holidays a little sweeter for those of you who are dairy/lactose free (or are cooking for someone who is!)
When using the “recipes” below, make sure that you use full fat coconut milk. The light kind definitely does not work as well. The sweetened condensed milk one does require sugar, but the other two just need a can of coconut milk! Also, I have obviously not tried all these substitutes with every recipe out there. So if you make it, and it doesn’t work how you were expecting, that recipe may have needed some component of the dairy ingredient to work. However, in almost every situation, I haven’t had an issue using these!
Dairy Free Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe
3/4 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup of white sugar (or any other kind of sweetener if you are sugar free)
Shake can of coconut milk well. Measure out 3/4 cup and place in a sauce pan.
Turn stove to medium-high heat. Place sauce pan on burner and whisk in sugar. Whisk until dissolved and the milk starts to steam.
Turn stove to the lowest setting and let cook on stove for 1-2 hours, or until thick like sweetened condensed milk. Use
Dairy Free Heavy Cream Recipe
Certain brands of coconut milk work better than others for this. Avoid any kind that has guar gum for best results.
1 can of coconut milk
Place coconut milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator overnight. Take the can out, open it up, and scoop out the This can be used for heavy cream. The liquidy part that remains can be used as evaporated milk. Stir it a few times with a spoon.
There have been a few times where I’ve needed to use coconut milk as a heavy cream substitute, but I didn’t have time to put it in the fridge. I just used the whole can at that point – the recipe just doesn’t end up as creamy. It still works fine though!
Dairy Free Evaporated Milk Recipe
Follow the same instructions as above and just use the liquid part for the evaporated milk instead of the creamy part.
Dairy Free Whipped Cream Recipe
Can of coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight (or until well-chilled.) Place a metal or glass bowl and beaters for a hand mixer in the freezer overnight as well.
Remove coconut milk and bowl from freezer. Open the can and carefully scoop out the cream into the bowl. Make sure you don’t get any of the liquid coconut milk which will be at the bottom. Add sugar and vanilla to coconut cream.
Whip with a hand mixer for several minutes until it thickens.
Enjoy! You can store in the refrigerator for several days.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.