Coconut Milk: Brands to Choose, Brands to Avoid

best coconut brands

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.

We’ve Identified the best brands of coconut milk with the label “healthy choice”.

  1. So Delicious (unsweetened)
  2. Trader Joe’s (unsweetened)
  3. Trader Joe’s canned organic coconut milk (reduced fat)
  4. Native Forest canned organic coconut milk
  5. Natural Value canned organic lite coconut milk

The brands to avoid have questionable ingredients like carrageenan, preservatives, and BPA lined cans.

Below we go into more detail with each popular brand to compare their nutrition and their ingredients. 

Carton Coconut Milk

Silk Unsweetened Coconut Milk

silk coconut milk unsweetenedSilk is one of the most popular and the best variety to choose is the unsweetened.

  • Unsweetened has 45 calories, < 1 gram of sugar, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein per one-cup serving.
  • Original has 80 calories, 7 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein per one-cup serving.
  • Vanilla has 90 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 5 grams fat, and 0 grams 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.

Learn more at Silk.com

So Delicious

Healthy Choice
so delicious unsweetened coconut milkThe unsweetened is the best variety of the So Delicious brand of coconut milk.

  • Unsweetened has 45 calories, < 1 gram of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Original has 70 calories, 7 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, < 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving.
  • Vanilla has 80 calories, 8 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, <1 gram of protein and 0 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Chocolate has 90 calories, 15 grams of sugar, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein, and <1 gram of fiber per serving.

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Milk (water, organic coconut Cream), calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, selenium, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D2, zinc oxide, vitamin B12, sea salt, organic sunflower lecithin, organic locust bean gum, gellan gum.

Learn more at SoDeliciousDairyFree.com

Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk Beverage

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

  • Unsweetened Original has 50 calories, 5 grams of fat,
  • Vanilla has 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, 7 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per 1 cup serving.

Ingredients: organic coconut base (water, organic coconut cream), calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, guar gum, xanthan gum, vitamin A acetate, vitamin d2, l-selenomethionine (selenium), zinc oxide, folic acid, vitamin b12.

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None

Coconut Dream

coconut dream unsweetenedEnriched Unsweetened is the way to go with Coconut Dream Coconut Drink.

  • 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 www.dreamplantbased.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.

These coconut milks are for use in cooking, and a closer inspection of “light” versus “normal” shows that Light versions have more water content and less coconut content. Depending on the price paid, buying a light version can be uneconomic — more water can be added during cooking (depending on what you are making).

Trader Joe’s Canned Coconut Milk

Healthy Choice
canned trader joesTrader Joe’s organic canned coconut milk is the brand to choose.

  • Reduced-Fat has 70 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein in a 1/4 cup serving.
  • Organic has 110 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per 1/4 cup serving.
  • TJ’s Coconut Cream has 90 calories, 9 grams of fat, <1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per 2 tablespoons serving

Ingredients: Organic Coconut and water in a BPA-free can

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None.

Native Forest Organic

Healthy Choice
Choose the SIMPLE organic coconut milk.

There is also Light and Classic (both of which contain Guar Gum).

  • Light has per 1/4 cup serving has 45 calories, 4 grams of fat, <1 gram 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). BPA Free.

Questionable Ingredient(s)? None.

Learn more at Edwardandsons.com.

Available at Amazon.

Thai Kitchen

thai kitchen coconut milk

  • 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 120 calories, 12 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 coconut milk cannedNatural Value is free of any emulsifiers.

  • 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 200 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 preservative used.

Chaokoh 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

Goya Coconut Milk

goya-canned coconut milkThis brand is not recommended because of the preservative used.

Goya has 93 calories, 9 grams of fat, < 2 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein per 2 fl oz 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?

Nutrition of Coconut Milk

Nutritionally, coconut milk on its own doesn’t offer much besides fat.

Generally, a cup of reduced-fat  plain canned coconut milk is:

  • 28 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of carbs
  • 4 grams of protein

(We used Trader Joe’s as an example)

The coconut milk beverage-type brands water this down even further macro-wise but throw in some vitamins, minerals, and thickeners.  Others add sugar and flavor for better taste.

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.
Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, a Certified Fitness Trainer, and is Healthy Eater's author and nutitional coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see his personal macros coaching options.
Last Updated: September 6, 2019