Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Feb 18, 2005 10:09 AM

Using expired coconut milk

  • c

I don't know how strict those expiration dates are. I have several cans of coconut milk (Trader Joe's) that expired a year ago, and I'd like to use them, if it doesn't present a risk of any kind. Cans aren't swollen at all. They don't give a phone # on the can, so I can't call. Smells fine inside.

Thanks in advance. (Making coconut curry tonight and don't feel like running out into the cold to get another)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can't help you, tho if it were me, I'd open them up and smell them.

    But on a related note, anyone know how long coconut milk should keep in th fridge after it's opened?


    3 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl

      I am not sure how long it keeps in a fridge, but I have frozen unused portions and it was fine after defrosting.

      1. re: HHC

        Thanks, that's on my experimental list; I've got one in the freezer right now...Seems 2 or 3 days is tops in the fridge, and I just kept forgetting about it...Looks like straight to the freezer from now on...


      2. re: galleygirl

        I bought some TJ's coconut milk and was not happy with it. It was still within the use by date but after shaking it well and opening it, it had some sort of weird black streak through it. I'm sticking to Taste of Thai. And no I did not return it, I'd have to drive over an hour to gt there to do that.

      3. Sorry, but I suggest you go out and buy fresh. It won't make you sick or anything to use the old, but it just won't taste RIGHT. I made a curry with old canned coconut milk once and we had to throw the whole thing out---it tasted, I don't know, sort of stale and "tinny". If you're really determined not to go out for fresh, at least take a small taste of the coconut milk to make sure it still tastes right, instead of finding out otherwise after you've made your curry!

        1. I just used a year-old can of (Goya?) coconut milk and it was fine. Pretty solidified, but fine once I mixed it up.

          1. Thanks for the responses. I opened the TJ's expired coconut milk. It smelled fine, but it had separated very badly (looked curdled and not creamy) and no amount of shaking made it look right. I didn't want to take the chance of ruining a recipe I've spent time making, so I tossed it. It probably would have tasted fine but no idea if it would have mixed in right.

            Re: the opinions about coconut milk brands. I love TJ's and am not wild about Taste of Thai. I ruined a dish using some weird tasting Taste of Thai, so I haven't used it since. I've always liked Trader Joe's because it's creamy and has a very fresh taste, in my opinion.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Clarissa

              Hey Clarissa, I am too late for tonight, but I wanted to post a bit of info...

              I personally didn't like Taste of That either - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk.

              Also, shaking it won't necessarily make it come together - heating it will, tho. As I heat it, I stir with a whisk.

              I am not sure about the expiration date thing, but personally think it isn't worth the risk...


              1. re: Christine

                well, here we are six years later, and I am making a pot of yellow lentil soup and needed something to jazz it up. Low and behold, in my cupboard is an expired (nearly two years!) can of 'taste of thai' lite coconut milk! After reading these informative replies to the question, I decided to take the plunge. I opened the can- silverish streak through it, but it didn't have a bad smell- just kind of no smell. I dumped 1/2 of it in my soup. The fat from the milk gave the soup the backbone it neeed. The soup has almost no smell whatsoever now, despite the curry, nutmeg, and peruvian pepper sauce I put in- but it tastes REALLY amazing! I'll post again in a few days to let you all know if there were any negative side effects. thanks all!! bon appetit

                1. re: subonethirty

                  "I'll post again in a few days to let you all know if there were any negative side effects." - subonethirty Dec 25, 2011

                  Moral to this story? Nearly 2 year old coconut milk could play out like a cheesy horror film.

            2. Here's the BEST site on shelf life:
              According to this, commercially canned coconut milk, unopened has a shelf life of 2 - 5 years.
              Just so you know!

              2 Replies
              1. re: freia

                Thank you! My can has NO expiration date, so I have really been flying blind. This helps a lot, I hate wasting food. Or making anyone ill!

                1. re: sarahOT

                  When coconut milk goes bad YOU WILL KNOW IT!! It tastes horrible, like throw-up (sorry.) The very first (and only, as it happens) time i ever used a can of panang sauce containing coconut milk, i dumped it into my dish, stirred and tasted- and you should have seen my face. Oh my. So I learned.Always taste before adding.