substitute for coconut

Substitute for Coconut: Your Guide to All the Alternatives


Since coconut has essentially gone viral, you can often find numerous recipes calling for the ingredient in all its shapes and forms.

Coconut pieces, oil, milk, flour, butter, and more can be used in savory and sweet dishes. So, what happens when you need a substitute for this component?

Well, when it comes down to it, it can be difficult to substitute these ingredients exactly. 

After all, coconut has a pretty distinctive taste and function. However, if you would like to find the closest alternative, then you have come to the right place. 


So, without further ado, here are all the replacements that you can use:

Substitute for Coconut Flakes, Shredded Coconut, Desiccated Coconut

Shredded and desiccated coconut as well as coconut flakes are one of the more popular ingredients in dishes. So, if you are looking for another option, you have to consider the function of these components in the recipes. It is only then that you will be able to pick a suitable alternative.


Now, for the most part, these ingredients can either be used for texture or for decorative purposes. Due to this, you may want to think about using chopped up nuts in the recipe as a substitute for shredded coconut. Desiccated fruits and nuts will work well as a desiccated coconut substitute. Like coconut, they do have a fattier texture and have a great taste when toasted.


If you are looking to mimic the long, elegant slivers of coconut flakes, white chocolate may be a better substitute. Run a vegetable peeler across a block or bar of white chocolate. Naturally, these flakes will taste a great deal different to coconut flakes.

Coconut Topping Choc Muffins

Substitution for Coconut Oil

Since coconut oil is a saturated fat, it isn’t advisable to use it in your cooking all the time. Thus, if you are looking for a healthy substitute for coconut oil, you will be pleased to know that there are plenty of options. These include almond oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, and grapeseed oil.


In a pinch? If you are simply sautéing foods or want something to little fry meat and veggies, most plant-based oils will do. This means that you should be able to replace coconut oil with vegetable oils, olive oil, etc.


So, what about a replacement for coconut oil in baking? In this instance, butter may be the best choice, since coconut oil can be used to substitute it in many instances. Butter has a pretty high fat content and has a similar level of versatility as coconut oil.


You should be able to replace coconut oil with butter in a 1:1 ratio. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that butter has a higher water content than coconut oil. As such, it will add a great deal more moisture to any recipe that it is added to.

Coconut Flour Replacement

One of the main reasons that people opt for coconut flour is because it is gluten free. So, when looking for a substitute, you need to find flours that similarly don’t contain gluten. For this purpose, almond flour would be your best option, particularly with texture.


Cassava flour can function as a close second. Now, while soy flour is free of gluten, it can taste rather strongly of soy beans. This can mask other flavors in a particular recipe.


Now, you should be mindful of the fact that these flours can have vastly different properties than coconut flour. Due to this, you will have to adjust the recipe to suit the particular characteristics of these flours.


For instance, almond flour isn’t as absorbent as coconut flour, ensuring that you will need to use less liquid. And, you may need to use up to as four times as much flour. When using cassava flower, you will also have to lower the moisture level. In this case, you may have to use up to 3 or 4 times as much flour.

What to Use Instead Of Coconut Milk

Here’s the thing about coconut milk – there are actually different kinds. There is a beverage and there is the coconut milk that you use for cooking. These do differ quite a bit in terms of taste, texture, and even function.


For one thing, the coconut milk beverage is thinner, has less of a coconut taste, and a lower fat content. It is traditionally used in coffee or perhaps with cereal. The coconut milk for cooking is thicker, has more fat, and has a significant coconut flavor to it. This can be used in a wide variety of dishes, including baked goods.


The top substitute for coconut milk beverage would be almond milk. Although they have differing flavor profiles, they are quite thin and work well in coffee. Apart from this, most plant-based milks would be a good substitute.


Now, things get a little trickier with the coconut milk for cooking. This is especially true for a replacement for coconut milk in curry. After all, the best coconut milk adds flavor, creaminess, and a level of authenticity to these dishes.


If you don’t mind dairy, then you could consider using yogurt (Greek or unflavored), ghee, or cream. This is something that North Indians will add to their curries. The thickness and tanginess of these ingredients helps to add an interesting layer to the dishes.


Another great option is to use evaporated milk that has been flavored with the essence of coconut. Since some curries just don’t work without that coconut milk flavor, this would be a good alternative for anyone who is trying to cut down on the fat content but not the taste. 


In case you are looking for vegan or plant-based options, you can try unsweetened almond, soy, or oat milk. While oat milk has the thickness to work well in the curries, you may need to thicken up almond or soy milk with some cornstarch.

Woman making pizza dough with flour

Coconut Butter Replacement

The thing to remember when replacing coconut butter is that it is quite different to coconut oil. Despite what it may sound like coconut butter, isn’t a more solid version of coconut oil. Rather, coconut butter is made from the pureed meat of mature coconuts.


Due to this, it can be rather difficult to replace coconut butter. Now, nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter are great if you want a spread for bread or to thicken up smoothies.

When it comes to the actual taste of coconut butter, though, there isn’t an appropriate substitute.


If you are simply having trouble finding coconut butter, though, it is possible for you to make your own. All you need is desiccated coconut and a high-powered food processor. Then, process the coconut until it reaches the texture that you are looking for. You can additional flavors such as sweeteners or vanilla.

Cream of Coconut Substitute

Many people are confused about what cream of coconut actually is. Well, it is a sweetened version of coconut cream. Many brands will add other flavors and components to enhance the taste as well as the texture. The most popular use for cream of coconut is in pina coladas, but it can be used for desserts too.


If you are looking to substitute cream of coconut in beverages or baking, then use coconut syrup or coconut-flavored syrup. For a thicker and creamier option, consider mixing condensed milk with coconut extract. Only looking to flavor your drinks? Then a coconut liqueur should work just fine.

What is a Substitute for Coconut Aminos?

Coconut aminos is typically used as an alternative to soy sauce. Its main benefits is that it has less sodium, is free of soy, and doesn’t contain any gluten. Now, it can be tough to find a substitute that meets all this criteria.


If you aren’t looking for a vegan option, then Worcestershire sauce and fish sauce are both soy and gluten-free. In case you don’t mind the soybeans, then tamari is a good gluten-free seasoning. Liquid aminos isn’t soy-free and can be rather high in sodium. However, its taste profile is similar to that of soy sauce.


These are all substitutes for coconut ingredients that you can try out. While these may not replace coconut components perfectly, they will do in a pinch.

If you enjoyed this post, head over to our Pinterest page. We have tons of other posts on all things related to coconut and how it to use it in various recipes.

Riya Borah

About

Riya Borah 

Nutritionist Educator


Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.


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An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.