One of the first things you need to get before starting a recipe is the right ingredients. Even the slightest bit of difference in the ingredients can cause a great change in the ultimate taste of the dish.
Two ingredients that we mostly get confused between are coconut cream and milk. But they are easy to figure out once you get the difference between the texture and thickness. Our article on cream of coconut vs coconut cream will help you with that.
What is the difference between them? And are they interchangeable? Let’s figure it out together.
What Is Coconut Cream?
Both coconut cream and cream of coconut come from the same ingredient and base, which is coconut milk.
In step 3 of making coconut milk, once the flesh has soaked, you will notice that there is a thick layer on top.
Before you strain the flesh through a cheesecloth, this thick layer is scraped off. You need to make sure that the soaked coconut flesh and milk were chilled for the cream to appear. The thick white layer that you get after the process is called coconut cream!
This layer is not sweet. It floats on top of the concoction and can be simply scraped off using a spoon.
When to Use Coconut Cream
The uses of coconut cream are endless. Here are a few examples:
- You can use coconut cream to make whipped cream that is dairy-free
- Used in many Asian curries to make it thicker and richer
- Also used in smoothies, soups, drinks, milkshakes, and whole-grain cooking to add richness
What Is Cream of Coconut?
Cream of coconut also comes from coconut milk. But this one is a bit tougher to make.
It has a lot of other ingredients mixed into it. The main difference in taste between the two is that coconut cream is not sweet, whereas cream of coconut is.
Cream of coconut is also much thicker and has a syrup-like consistency. It is also as sweet as condensed milk.
You will often find the cream of coconut in cans or even in squeeze bottles.
When to Use Cream of coconut
The main use of cream of coconut is in drinks and cocktails. You might get a taste of cream of coconut in a pina colada, Blue Hawaiian, or in a coconut margarita.
It’s also used in desserts such as coconut cream poke cakes.
Can You Interchange These Ingredients?
Well, the answer is a strong no!
The taste of the two ingredients is poles apart. Because cream of coconut is a sweet syrup, you cannot use it in curries; unless you want your curry to turn into a dessert. Cream of coconut also won’t add the richness that coconut cream can give you.
When added to curries, cream of coconut can also curdle and separate, making your curry look and taste horrible. Because there are many acidic ingredients in curries, the ingredient does not mend well with it.
On the other hand, using coconut cream in desserts or cocktails will ruin the whole thing. Coconut cream is more natural and cannot add sweetness to any drink. It is also much thinner and cannot be piped like cream of coconut can be. Coconut cream can thin out your drinks and desserts and make them taste very bland.
So, we would highly recommend that you do not interchange these ingredients!
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Coconut Cream Vs Cream of Coconut: The Main Differences
To summarize the difference between these two ingredients, here is a side-by-side comparison.
Cream of Coconut
Texture and Consistency
|A bit thicker than coconut milk. But quite runny. Cannot be piped or used for frosting.||
Thick creamy texture that sometimes comes in a squeeze bottle, so it can be piped.
|Use||Typically used for making dairy-free whipped cream. Used in place of heavy cream. Added to curries, smoothies, milkshakes, and even soups to add richness.||Used for making drinks and desserts.|
|How It Is Made||The top layer from coconut milk is scooped off.||Sugar and other flavorings are added to coconut cream to make it thicker and richer.|
|Sweetness||Typically, does not come in added sugar.||Comes in sweetened and unsweetened versions.|
You can now figure out the difference between coconut cream vs coconut milk. One is thinner, and the other is much dense.
Although they might sound like the same thing, when it comes to the cream of coconut vs coconut cream, the ingredients are not interchangeable. There is a distinct difference that you now know about.
We’re sure you won’t be confused anymore when shopping for a recipe that includes these ingredients. Happy cooking!