Coconut is a nutritious common ingredient in many baked goods. However, if you react poorly to coconut or are in a pinch and need a quick filler, here are some ideas on how to substitute coconut.
1. Coconut Milk
Try soymilk, powdered soymilk, yogurt, almond milk, cow milk, evaporated milk. You can warm until water has evaporated or used added thickeners until you reach the desired consistency. Powdered milk options leave a lot of leeway with how much you want. If you have other coconut products like powdered coconut or coconut cream, you can add water to these until you reach milk-like thickness.
2. Coconut Cream
This is best substituted with cream from cows or whipped cream. Look for a neutral flavored whipped cream if you are preparing something other than a dessert. With cream from cows, the ratio is 1 to 1. If you have a can of coconut milk available, you can carefully try to pour off the top part if it has settled well, leaving the water in the bottom. Then take this heavy coconut milk and whisk.
3. Dry and Grated Coconut
You can always use fresh coconut but if you have neither on hand, grated nuts may help provide added flavor and maybe even a fresh take on an old recipe! If there is only flakes of coconut available in the baking session, these work well too and will just add a different texture. If you are avoiding coconut completely, try grated Brazil nuts or almonds for a nutty flavor.
For those who are avoiding coconut altogether, some recipes can use bagged sauerkraut as a substitute for a similar texture. Repeatedly rinse and then soak the sauerkraut in a dish of your choice of milk. Then strain and set to dry or press the remaining liquid out. After it has dried, you can then chop it into desired size and modify the recipe's fat and sugar content accordingly.
5. Coconut oil
Try substituting any other vegetable oils, the lovely flavor of coconut may not be present but some mild vegetable oils, like canola, will absorb the flavors of the recipe. Peanut and macadamia nut oils also have strong flavors if you are looking for something more than milder vegetable oils.
6. Coconut Butter
Substitute with any other nut butter for a similar texture and thick consistency. If macadamia or almond butter is not to your liking, ghee can also be tried as a substitute.
Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.