I love experimenting with different types of plant milk. Although almond is my favorite, this week I tried coconut milk! Coconut milk is a great dairy-free alternative for those who are vegan, lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies. It is also high in calcium and vitamin D. While you can buy coconut milk, it’s easy to make your own at home.
One thing that came to mind before trying to use it for my coffee was this: can you microwave coconut milk? how does microwaving coconut milk compare to microwaving other plant milks? So, I started researching and experimenting in my own microwave.
Do you know what I found? Yes, you can microwave coconut milk! Like with other milk though, you can’t just nuke it and leave it in the microwave only to forget about it. Coconut milk can overheat quickly and lose all flavor, consistency, texture, and nutrient profile if you’re not careful!
Today, I’m going show you how to microwave coconut milk for the best results, no matter how you may end up using it.
So, read on if you’d like to learn more!
What is Coconut Milk and How is it Made?
Coconut milk is a dairy-free milk alternative that is made by processing grated coconut meat with water. It is a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Additionally, many people find that coconut milk has a creamier texture and richer flavor than other plant-based milk. Plus, it’s relatively easy to make at home!
Note: Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water or coconut cream. These are very different than coconut milk.
Make Your Own Coconut Milk
For best results, use a fresh coconut and grate the flesh out of it. For every one cup of flesh, you’ll need two cups of water. Boil the water. Put the coconut flesh in a blender and the pour the boiling water overtop. Blend until smooth. Now we want to strain the coconut solids and separate the liquid. You can use a think cheesecloth to do so.
Store the milk in a jar in the refrigerator!
Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is not only a great choice for those who can’t digest lactose. There are many health benefits to drinking coconut milk!
- Contains MCT fat (Medium Chain Triglycerides). Even though coconut is higher in saturated fat, MCT can help reduce body fat and prevent fat from accumulating in the body in the first place.
- Full of antioxidants. Lauric acid, the most potent antioxidant, promotes a healthy heart. Phenols can help rid the body of free radicals and protect DNA damage caused by oxidative stress.
- Good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin A, and iron. Even though many of these are lost in processing, many manufacturers will fortify the milk, giving it even more nutritional value.
- Lactose-free and thus may be a good option for those who are lactose intolerant.
- Coconut has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help support the immune system and gut health.
Why Might You Need to Microwave Coconut Milk
There are many ways you can use coconut milk! You can use it anytime you would typically use cow’s milk.
- Oatmeal. When microwaving coconut milk for oatmeal, heat the milk up first and then mix in with the oatmeal. Cover it and let sit for a couple minutes before eating.
- Soups. Coconut milk makes a great base in a creamy soup.
- Hot Chocolate. Coconut milk gives hot chocolate a delicious extra flavor boost!
- Coffee. Coconut milk makes an excellent creamer for your coffee!
Can You Microwave Coconut Milk?
Yes, you can absolutely microwave coconut milk! But you can’t just put it in the microwave for as long as you want. We don’t recommend letting it get to the point of boiling. There are some crucial steps you need to take so you come out with the perfect cup of warm coconut milk!
How to Microwave Coconut Milk
Here is a step-by-step guide to microwaving coconut milk.
Step 1: First, preheat the Microwave. Microwaves work best when the food has moisture in it. The more moisture we can go ahead and put in the air in the microwave, the better. This will prevent the water in the coconut milk evaporating and separating the solids from the liquid. Take a cup of water and put it in a microwave safe dish, like Pyrex. Heat it up for 30 seconds, then take it out.
Step 2: Pour your coconut milk into a microwave-safe container. Before microwaving anything, ensure the cup or container you’re using is microwave safe. And only microwave what you plan on using at that time. Stay away from plastic and styrofoam, as that can leech chemicals in your milk. Stick to Pyrex, glass, or ceramic materials.
Step 3: Set microwave to lowest setting for 2 minutes. You never want to overheat coconut milk or let it reach the point of boiling. That will cause it to over-thicken, which may change the consistency and texture. Using the lowest setting on the microwave allows the coconut milk to heat up and stay intact and retain vitamins and nutrients.
Step 4: Stir every 15 to 20 seconds. It’s possible to overheat coconut milk. This causes a thin film to appear on top of the liquid. It can even start to curdle and thicken up. Like other plant milks, coconut milk does not heat evenly. Stirring every 15 to 20 seconds helps distribute the “hot spots” in the milk and keep and even distribution of heat.
Step 5: Take out and Enjoy! Your coconut milk is ready when it has reached your desired temperature, or you start to see steam coming from the top layer. Keep the temperature below 130 degrees Fahrenheit to retain the majority of vitamins and nutrients! Use an internal thermometer if necessary.
What Happens to Coconut Milk When You Microwave it?
Because coconut milk is a water-based liquid, there are some things that can happen when it’s exposed to heat from the microwave.
Heat from the microwave causes water molecules to vibrate and in turn heats the liquid up. When exposed to quickly or too long to heat, the protein can detach itself from the liquid and you can be left with a cottage cheese like substance instead of something you can drink.
Here’s what you can expect to happen when you microwave coconut milk and do not take extra precaution!
- Curdling. If the coconut milk reaches boiling temperatures, get too hot, or microwaved too long, the milk solids will separate from the liquid.
- Thin film on top layer. This is normal, but this is why we recommend in Step 4 above to stir every 15 to 20 seconds to distribute the heat evenly throughout the coconut milk.
- Potential to lose vitamins and nutrients. Heat can destroy vitamins and nutrients. This is why heating it at the lowest setting possible and only for as long as you need will help retain the nutritional profile.
Safety Precautions When Microwaving Coconut Milk
Don’t be afraid of microwaving your coconut milk! As long as you follow the above steps follow the safety precautions we have outlined, you will have an enjoyable experience!
- Overheating coconut milk can cause the bottom of the container to be scorched. Using the lowest setting on the microwave can help prevent overheating.
- Use a microwave-safe container. We suggest Pyrex, glass, or ceramic. Stay away from microwaving plastic Styrofoam containers, as it can leech chemicals into the coconut milk.
- Do not leave your coconut milk unattended. Keep stirring it every 15 to 20 seconds to allow the heat to distribute evenly. It also allows you to keep an eye on it and make sure it’s not overheating.
- Use a low setting. To avoid overheating, use the lowest setting on the microwave.
- Microwave coconut milk before adding to coffee, otherwise you risk the milk curdling. This is due to thermal shock of adding a cold liquid to a hot one.
- Do not microwave coconut milk that you have previously heated. Only microwave coconut milk once. Do not store any unused coconut milk or reheat a second time. You risk destroying more nutrients and vitamins and exposing it to further heat. Only microwave the amount you need at that time.
- Do not let the temperature get past 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Between 120 and 130 degrees is preferable.
Safety or Health Concerns from Microwaving Coconut Milk
At the moment there are no safety or health concerns from microwaving coconut milk. It is perfectly safe when done correctly.
Final Answer for Can You Microwave Coconut Milk
Yes, using the microwave to heat up coconut milk is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy it. Just make sure you follow the guide we have provided for the best experience possible!