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Unsweetened coconut milk question

  • m
  • 9

I love cooking Thai, but I'm never able to find unsweetened coconut milk and just about every Thai recipe seems to call for it -- and they make sure to insist that I avoid a sweetened product. I've tried several Asian markets in my area, but the cans never indicate whether they're sweetened or unsweetened. Am I to assume that it's unsweetened even if it doesn't say that on the label? The obvious answer is to just buy a can and taste it, but to me, the cans always have a mild sweetness because such is the nature of the coconut. Your thoughts? Thanks.

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  1. The stuff you are getting like Taste of Thai and the like is unsweetened. The sweetened stuff is the Coco Lopez type made for mixing pina coladas etc. My grocery the Thai type is stocked in the same area canned milk is stock. The sweetened with drink mixes. The plain coconut milk will have a little naturally occuring sugar inherent in the nut itself.

    1. I think cans that say "coconut milk" are generally unsweetened. They sometimes say "lite", which are versions with less fat. In my experience the sweetened ones are called "coconut cream" or "cream of coconut"... and these are usually in taller, more slender cans than the unsweetened milk. Trader Joe's sells coconut milk and Taste of Thai is one brand of coconut milk many stores carry. Coco Lopez is a popular sweet coconut cream. The ingredients might give you a hint too... since the sweetened stuff includes cane sugar.

      1. In the grocery stores around me, the unsweetened stuff is found near the Asian foods, while the sweetened stuff is with the beverages, drinks and mixers.

        1. If you get Chaokoh, the most popular Thai brand in the US, it's unsweetened.

          I've bought a lot of different Thai brands and never encountered a sweetened one.

          1. You can also look at the ingredients. It should basically say, "coconut, water" or something like that.

            1 Reply
            1. re: piccola

              thats right. If sugar, corn syrup or the like are not on the ingredient list, it is unsweetened. Coconut milk does impart a sweet taste to food even if no sweetening is added.