Coconut Milk: Brands to Choose, Brands to Avoid

If you’re a coconut milk fan, you’ll definitely want to read on!

Coconut milk isn’t just for pina coladas and Thai curries anymore, but has become one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk.

Especially since it has been fully embraced by those on the Paleo diet who love everything coconut including coconut oil and coconut water.

However, there are so many brands in our grocery stores that it can be hard to choose a brand/variety that is healthy.

Here’s some help!

Carton Coconut Milk

Silk Unsweetened Coconut Milk

silkSilk is one of the most popular and the best variety to choose is the unsweetened.

  • Unsweetened has 45 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein per one cup serving.
  • Original has 80 calories, 6 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat, and < 1 gram of protein per one cup serving.
  • Vanilla has 90 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 5 grams fat, and < 1 gram of protein per one cup serving.

Coconutmilk (Filtered Water, Coconut Cream), Contains 2% or less of: Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum.

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None

Learn more at Silk.com

So Delicious

Healthy Choice
so delicious unsweetenedThe unsweetened is the best variety of the So Delicious Brand of coconut milk.

  • Unsweetened has 45 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber per serving.
  • Original has 70 calories, 7 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving.
  • Vanilla has 80 calories, 8 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving.
  • Chocolate has 90 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 1 gram of fiber per serving.

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Milk (water, organic coconut Cream), calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, guar gum, xanthan gum, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D2, selenium, zinc oxide, folic acid, vitamin B12

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None

Learn more at SoDeliciousDairyFree.com

Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk Beverage

TJ's Unsweetened coconut beverage
Unsweetened Original is the way to go at Trader Joe’s.

  • Unsweetened Original has 60 calories, 5 grams of fat,
  • Vanilla has 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

Ingredients: Filtered water, coconut cream, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, gellan gum, sea salt, natural flavors, vitamin A palmitate, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)

Questionable Ingredient(s)? Carrageenan

Coconut Dream

coconut dream milkEnriched Unsweetened is the way to go with Coconut Dream Coconut Milk.

  • Unsweetened has 60 calories, 5 grams of fat, < 1 gram of sugar, and 0 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.
  • Original has 80 calories, 5 grams of fat, 7 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.
  • Vanilla has 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

Ingredients: filtered water, coconut cream, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, gellan gum, sea salt, natural flavors, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamine).

Questionable Ingredient(s)? Carrageenan

To learn more visit TasteTheDream.com.

What about Vitamin A Palmitate?

This ingredient is essentially a way to supplement vitamin A and is generally considered safe. UNLESS you already consume adequate vitamin A in your diet. (People who consume a lot of fruits and vegetables are probably getting an adequate supply.)

Vitamin A can build up in the body to toxic levels (especially synthetic forms like Vitamin A Palmitate), which can damage the liver and other organs. You may wish to avoid products with added vitamin A if you already eat a healthy diet or take a multivitamin supplement.

Canned Coconut Milk

Canned coconut milk varieties abound and the single most important thing to watch out for is BPA lined cans.

Also, canned coconut milk isn’t usually fortified with vitamins and minerals since it’s not made to mimic cow’s milk like the carton varieties are.

Trader Joe’s Canned Coconut Milk

Healthy Choice
TJ's light coconut milk canTrader Joe’s Light canned coconut milk is the brand to choose.

  • Light has 50 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein in a 1/3 cup serving.
  • TJ’s Coconut Cream has 170 calories, 16 grams of fat, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein per 1/3 cup serving

Light’s Ingredients: Coconut milk and water in a BPA-free can

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None.

Native Forest Organic

Healthy Choice
native canned coconut lightChoose their light organic coconut milk.

  • Light has per 1/3 cup serving has 45 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.
  • Classic has per 1/3 cup serving has 140 calories, 15 grams of fat, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Milk (organic coconut, purified water, organic guar gum). BPA Free

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None.

Learn more at Edwardandsons.com.

Thai Kitchen

thai kitchen coconut milkOrganic Lite is the best Thai Kitchen variety to choose.

  • Lite has 50 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein per 1.3 cup serving.
  • Regular has 140 calories, 14 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar and 1 gram of protein per 1/3 cup serving.

Ingredients: Water, coconut milk, Guar gum

Questionable Ingredient(s)? BPA lined cans

Natural Value

Healthy Choice
natural value canNatural Value’s Lite Coconut Milk is best with this brand.

  • Lite has 92 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber per 1/2 cup serving.
  • Natural’s regular has 198 calories, 18 grams of fat, 2 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber per 1/2 cup serving.

Lite’s Ingredients: Coconut extract and water in a BPA-free can

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None.

Chaokoh Coconut Milk

chaokoh canned coconutThis brand is not recommended because of the preservatives used.

Chaokah has 150 calories, 14 grams of fat, < 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of protein per 1/3 cup serving.

Ingredients: Coconut extract, water, citric acid, and sodium metabisulfite

Questionable Ingredient(s)? Sodium Metabisulfite and BPA line cans


Useful Fact: Did you know that coconut milk is the only cow’s milk alternative that works great for use in cooked “Jello” type puddings?

Store Brands?

There are many store brands as well as less popular brands of both the carton and canned varieties of coconut milk, so use the following guidelines when choosing one of these brands.

  • Choose brands with no added sugar.
  • Choose brands without carrageenan.
  • Choose brands made with organic coconut when possible.
  • Avoid brands with BPA lined cans.
  • Avoid brands that use preservatives like sulfites.
  • Be wary of vitamin A palmitate based on your total vitamin A intake.

Final Thoughts

Coconut milk can be a healthy cow’s milk alternative for people who don’t like almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk. Also, coconut milk seems to do a better job of whitening coffee or tea than the others but with slight coconut flavor.

It’s also a great way to add flavor and good fats to recipes.

Just use the above guidance to choose the brand that will be the healthiest for you and your family.

Which brand of coconut milk do you like the best?

Be sure to check out our almond milk and our rice milk comparisons as well.

74 Comments

  1. Judy Hazen 5 days ago

    Actually, carrageenan, all the gums[guar, gellan, etc. are not good for you, so, all of the boxed milks are unsafe and questionable.

    Reply
  2. Amber Van Sweden 3 months ago

    A taste of Thai has a bitter flavor that I’m not keen on. My local grocers all readily carry Thai Kitchen. I follow a keto lifestyle & that is a tasty brand in the full fat as well as reduced.

    Reply
  3. SW 3 months ago

    Everyone is talking about nothing bad in the coconut milk for us humans, all you vegans do your research, MONKEYS are being used and abused to pick 99% of your coconuts. If you’ve stopped eating animals to save them, do your research before picking alternative products, please!

    Reply
    • maria 2 months ago

      What the hell are you going on about? I live in the Caribbean and have never seen a monkey pick coconuts…there are ppl skilled at climbing trees that are hired for that. Stop finding a problem with everything and maybe you can start to enjoy life.

      Reply
      • SW 2 months ago

        check your facts about coconuts from most of Asia, especially Thailand. MOST coconut products come from those countries, never even SEEN coconut products made in the Caribbean and sold here in the US.

        Since most folks in the US become vegan because of concern for animals, supposed vegan products and where and how they are made should also be researched. If you’re gonna try to ‘help’ the animals, do it right and do it all they way.

        Reply
  4. Frank 5 months ago

    Idk how they can say no questionable ingredients in this coconut milks. They use all synthetic vitamins especially Vit A palmitate which is not safe for consumption. Same w Vit D2 they are both chemical made synthetic vitamins. It’s the same as saying convential strawberries or any convential berries are safe to eat when studies have shown more then 20 different pesticides on berries at one time. Read up on how synthetic Vit A is harmful to your over all health as are most synthetic vitamins. They are not natural and not made for the body to consume. We need to stand up as the customers and refuse to put anymore chemicals in our bodies just so they can keep their shareholders happy and save a few pennies per carton. Email companies like Silk and SO and tell them use real sources of Vitamin A and use D3. Stuff are bodies need and can use instead of slowly killing us along w all the other toxins are body already has to combat every day. The only way the food industry will change is by us not buying processed foods chemical sprayed foods or items w chemically made vitamins. The FDA will not make the food industry change in fear they will lose millions if not billions of dollars in donations if they enforce companies to no longer use poisonios ingredients in our foods. Same as w the drug companies give billions to the FDA so no chance they are going to not approve their questionable drugs which kill hundreds of thousands per year. This country needs an enforcing agency that makes it illegal for them to take any money at all from the people they are policing. Don’t expect your elected officials to change things either. As they receive millions more from drug and food industries to vote in their favor. Every elected official who’s taken money from drug companies and the food industry should not be re-elected no matter what their party. Thanks and let’s do this for kids and grandkids

    Reply
    • Nadera Amini 3 weeks ago

      Thank you !

      Reply
  5. Melissa ميليسا Parry 7 months ago

    I’m looking for some guidance on which brand of coconut milk to give to my daughter. Some of these brands listed seem like they are for cooking?

    Reply
    • Ted 7 months ago

      What’s your reason for giving it to your daughter? The ones in cartons are usually just watered down and artificially thickened versions of the canned. Plus, they throw in some vitamins to make them more similar to cow’s milk.

      Reply
  6. Timothy K-n 7 months ago

    I believe that nowadays, we should look beyond the ingredients list and better understand where our food is coming from. Your coconut might have been picked by an abused monkey which is a common practice especially in Thailand.
    Check where your coconut milk is coming from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-j-winograd/did-an-abused-monkey-pick_b_8341554.html

    Reply
  7. panettonea2 10 months ago

    I think you’re a bit too kind about the vitamin A. In addition, vitamin D2 is also a real problem. From another Web site:

    Large doses of natural vitamin A are well tolerated by the body as
    established by researchers decades ago, however. Traditional diets
    contain 10 times or more of the RDA of this nutrient with no ill effect.
    However, synthetic vitamin A is associated with birth defects and bone
    fractures. It has no benefit in the diet whatsoever.

    The second really bad additive in these organic cartons of coconut milk and
    almond milk is Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is a form of the wonder vitamin
    that you should take great pains to avoid.

    In all known cases of Vitamin D toxicity where the dose was intentional, Vitamin D2 was the culprit. By comparison, Vitamin D3 is much less toxic and requires an enormous or even an accidental dose to produce any toxic effect.

    Reply
  8. Bombshell 11 months ago

    I’m just coming across this because I’m trying to figure out if using lecithin in my homemade coconut milk is a good idea. I wanted to try sunflower lecithing unless there is another non-soy alternative. I like making my own milk but it always separates so I’m hoping that this will help to keep it creamy! I don’t like the store alternatives because they fortify with calcium and it tastes so chalky to me!

    Reply
  9. deathbyglitter 12 months ago

    I wish I could find a box of coconut milk that just has water and coconut as the ingredients. I’m so excited to try the Trader Joe’s Canned Coconut Milk though! Until I can get a new blender to make my own this is the one I’m hopeful for! I love coconut milk (and coconuts in general!). I’m on a histamine restricted diet and I’m also vegan (though I have confirmed psycho allergies to most animal products). My diet is pretty rigid so it makes me super happy to find lists like this that help me find new products that are viable for me! Thank you so much! <333

    Reply
    • Donald Chump 11 months ago

      use the packet of hard block coconut, simmer in water, sieve then chill – nothing in it but 100% coconut!

      Reply
      • Bombshell 11 months ago

        where do you get this?

        Reply
  10. Maura

    Thank you, so much! I’ve switched to natural coconut milk for my coffee and some recipes. Some of the store brands have additional additives and I was unsure about Silk and SO. However, I find the canned coconut milk is so much more enjoyable and tastes more natural to me. I’m always leary of the mass produced and heavily marketed brands.

    Reply
  11. thecolormage

    Great note about the Vitamin A! Using an app does help track those levels!

    Reply