Does coconut milk go bad?
Does coconut milk go bad?

In the previous article we saw does oat milk go bad and how about coconut milk? Can coconut milk spoil too? What does it look like when it goes bad? How to store it to prolong its shelf-life? Keep reading to find out all the answers.

Coconut milk is one of the most popular plant kinds of milk, obtained from coconut meat. It should not be mixed with coconut water inside the coconut. It’s a sweet and milky white mixture that is extracted from the flesh of the fruit. There are two kinds of this product – thick and thin.

Coconut milk is an excellent substitute for dairy products, which makes it a suitable product for both vegans and people who suffer from lactose intolerance. It is used for cooking and baking, and it has versatile usage.

This product has an exceptional nutritive value, but does coconut milk go bad? Can it spoil? Sadly – yes. Like all other dairy and plant kinds of milk, coconut milk can go bad too.

Coconut milk can go bad too
Coconut milk can spoil too (shutterstock.com)

The shelf-life of this product will depend on its kind (thick or thin) and packaging. Coconut beverage in cans can last longer – if it’s unopened and properly stored, it could last 2 to 5 years. Product in a carton has a shorter shelf-life. Unopened and properly stored it will last up to 12 months and up to a month after its expiration.

Lastly, coconut milk that is sold in the fridge can be consumed only a week after its expiration date. Also, it should be kept in the refrigerator only.

Once opened coconut milk last 7 to 10 days if you keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Does coconut milk go bad? Sadly it does.

What should coconut milk look like?

Quality coconut milk should be a thick liquid that you can easily spoon – it’s much thicker than animal’s and it has a consistency like chocolate syrup. When you open a can of coconut milk, on top should be a solid white substance, called coconut cream. Most of the fats and proteins are concentrated in this cream, then in a watery-milky part beneath.

Coconut milk is often used in cooking and baking
Coconut milk is often used in cooking and baking (shutterstock.com)

Yes, coconut milk naturally separates and that is not a sign of spoilage, but you can easily combine two parts – just shake the can well, or simply pour it in a pot and stir it. Cream and milk will come together quickly.

What should coconut milk smell like?

Fresh, unspoiled coconut milk should have a mild coconut smell, which is natural since it’s made out of coconuts. Also, it will have a subtly sweet and creamy aroma.

Homemade coconut milk
Homemade coconut milk (shutterstock.com)

What color should coconut milk be?

Coconut milk, depending on the manufacturer, can have many shade varieties, including snow white color up to an opaque (non-transparent) off-white creamy color. 

Fresh coconut milk is white with pleasant coconut taste and aroma
Fresh coconut milk is white, with a pleasant coconut taste and aroma (shutterstock.com)

Why is my coconut milk gray?

The gray color of coconut milk can have a double meaning – it could be a result of the protein level that milk has (and its production process), but it could also mean that coconut milk has gone bad. Never judge whether your milk is spoiled based on color.

Smell it and taste it, too.

How can you tell if coconut milk has gone bad?

If you notice mold formations on the surface of coconut milk, the product is not good and you can throw it away. Mold and changed smell are secure signs of spoilage. Milk won’t have a recognizable coconut aroma but a weird rancid sour smell. 

Also, changed texture – chunks, as well as dark color or clumps in the texture of milk are strong indicators that coconut milk is bad.

Coconut milk can be canned or packed in cartons
Coconut milk can be canned or packed in cartons (shutterstock.com)

A Coconut milk container that is swollen is also a reliable sign that the product inside is spoiled. Never use damaged cans of coconut milk or milk from a swollen carton.

What does coconut taste like when it goes bad?

Just like dairy milk, you can tell if coconut milk has gone bad by its taste – it will have a sour and unpleasant rancid taste. If you see mold formations on the surface of the milk, don’t taste it!

Spoiled coconut milk has chunks and clumps
Spoiled coconut milk has chunks and clumps (shutterstock.com)

Coconut milk can have a metallic taste if it’s refrigerated in its original can. Never store any food in metal packaging, as metals could seep into your food and make it unsafe to eat. Rather keep it in an airtight container. Coconut milk with a metallic flavor should be disposed of.

Why is my coconut milk solid?

Don’t be alarmed if your coconut milk is solid, that is not a sign of spoilage. Coconut milk separates when refrigerated (even at room temperature) – the solid white mass you see is simply coconut cream. You can eat it with a spoon or give it a good shake and it will combine with the liquid again.

Coconut cream on top of coconut milk
Coconut cream on top of coconut milk (Shutterstock.com)

Why does my coconut milk taste like soap?

Lauric acid is the one to blame if your milky product tastes like soap. Interestingly, this acid is commonly used in soap production. No worry, your product is not rotten, even if it has a weird soapy smell.

Does canned coconut milk go bad?

Yes, products in canned packaging can go bad too. Unopened can will have shelf-life 2 to 5 years, while opened can last only a week after opening – and only if it’s refrigerated.

Canned coconut milk can go bad too.
Canned coconut milk can go bad too (Shutterstock.com)

Why does my canned coconut milk look curdled?

Canned coconut milk can be curdled for different reasons – food storage temperature changes, level of fat in coconuts, or ratio of coconuts and water. Curdled milk doesn’t necessarily mean spoiled product and if there are no other signs that are bad, it’s usually good to use.

How long is coconut milk good past the expiration date?

Unopened and properly stored shelf-stable products will be good to use 3 or 4 weeks after their expiration date. The “Best by” label on the container doesn’t mean that product will be unusable on that day – it simply means it will retain the best quality.

Coconut milk in carton
Coconut milk in cartons (shutterstock.com)

If your product packaging is not damaged and the product was properly stored, open it. If there are no signs that it’s not good, use it freely.

Is it safe to use expired coconut milk?

Yes, you can use an expired product if the carton was stored properly and there are no signs that the milk is rancid. If you notice any sign that your milk is spoiled, do not use it, or you could get food poisoning.

Can old coconut milk make you sick?

Old – nope, but spoiled – yes. If you drink rancid coconut beverages, you could get food poisoning and an upset stomach, which includes vomiting, painful cramps, fever, fatigue, diarrhea.

Chicken curry with coconut milk
Chicken curry with coconut milk (shutterstock.com)

How do you store an opened can of coconut milk?

Perfect storage for opened can is a fridge, but do not keep coconut milk in the can while refrigerating it. Pour it in an airtight container or glass bottle and wrap its top with aluminum foil. Products kept in the fridge will last up to a week.

Can you freeze coconut milk?

Yes, you can freeze this kind of milk the same way as you can freeze almond milk. Simply pour it into an ice-cube tray. When cubes are frozen, put them in a zip-lock plastic bag, so you can defrost the exact amount you need.