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Storing Leftover Coconut Milk

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2015

We found a simple technique for bringing frozen, leftover coconut milk back to life.

We’ve found that leftover coconut milk will last up to a week in the fridge with no depreciation in quality, but we wondered if we could freeze it to make it last even longer. We purchased our favorite brands (Chaokoh and Ka-Me), transferred the milk to airtight containers, and stored them in the freezer until frozen solid.

Once defrosted, both brands of coconut milk broke (the milk proteins and fat separated from the liquid), much like what happens when you freeze buttermilk. So when used as is in Thai chicken curry and Thai chicken soup, the results weren’t acceptable; the agglomerations of protein speckled both dishes, and they both lacked the rich viscosity that control samples made with unbroken (whether refrigerated or fresh from the can) coconut milk displayed. But we found a simple fix: Blend the defrosted coconut milk with an immersion blender for about 30 seconds to re-emulsify; then use it as directed in recipes. When we did this, the recipes were as good as those made with just-opened cans. Coconut milk will keep in the freezer for up to one month.