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.

Comments