Coconut milk is a popular plant-based beverage used in baking, cooking, smoothies and more. Its creamy texture and healthy fat content make it super useful! Yet this milk (especially canned) varies wildly in taste and fat content. So my team and I taste-tested all that we could find to bring you the best coconut milk brands to buy and which ones to leave at the store.

9 different milk brands tested to find out the best coconut milk brand, sitting on a marble countertop.

We’ve done these reports annually for the best almond milk and best oat milk, and are so excited to add another dairy-free option to the list! The results always surprise us, so I can’t wait to share them with you!

Table of Contents
  1. Coconut Milk Rawkstar Report
  2. Best Full-Fat Coconut Milk Brands
  3. Best Lite Brands
  4. Best Carton Coconut Beverages
  5. Ingredients to Avoid
  6. Plant Milk FAQs
  7. Recipes that Use Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk Rawkstar Report

2 white females standing in a kitchen in front of a counter full of dozens of white cups, doing a taste test.

We ranked brands on taste, texture, ingredients (gums, organic or not, types of additives) and the kind of packaging (B-corp, level of recyclability).

Some brands had very few ingredients yet got bonus points if they were organic. Many had gums and therefore got better ratings for fewer gums and organic gums. We only tested unsweetened original versions to make this test as equal as possible. No added sugars or flavors in any of these!

containers of Thai Kitchen and Field Day Organic milks.

Best Full-Fat Coconut Milk Brands

Unlike it’s carton beverage cousins, full-fat coconut milk has a few gum-free brands (woohoo!). We also found the tastes more appealing overall. If you want/need to up your fat content, use one of these great brands.

They’re great for adding thickness and creaminess to recipes like Thai Coconut Soup, Strawberry Vegan Milkshakes as well as Dairy-Free Yogurt and a Mango Kale Smoothie.

Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Coconut Milk Unsweetened

Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Unsweetened.

Field Day Organic Classic Coconut Milk Unsweetened

Field Day Organic Classic Coconut Unsweetened.

Thrive Market Organic Coconut Milk Regular

Thrive Market Organic Regular.

Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk Classic

Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Classic.


Sprouts Organic Coconut Milk Unsweetened

Sprouts Organic Coconut Unsweetened.

Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk Unsweetened

Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Unsweetened.

Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk Simple

Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Simple.

365 Organic Coconut Milk

365 Organic Coconut Milk

Good & Gather Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Good & Gather Organic Unsweetened Milk.

Goya Coconut Milk

Goya Coconut Beverage Canned.

KaMe Coconut Milk

KaMe Coconut Full Fat.

Cadia Organic Coconut Milk

Cadia Organic Coconut Full Fat.

Sprouts Coconut Milk Unsweetened

Sprouts Coconut Unsweetened.

Iberia Coconut Milk

Iberia Coconut Full Fat.

Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk Unsweetened

Thai Kitchen Unsweetened Full Fat.
2 containers of Sprouts Organic Lite Coconut Milk and Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients, the winners of the best coconut milk.

Best Lite Brands

Lite coconut milk is essentially full-fat diluted with water. This decreases the fat and calories per serving. I prefer to buy full fat and add my own water to dilute it. This is how you get the most “bang for your buck.”

Sprouts Organic Lite Coconut Unsweetened

Sprouts Organic Lite Unsweetened.

Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Lite Coconut Unsweetened

Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Lite Milk Unsweetened.

Thrive Market Organic Coconut Lite

Thrive Market Organic Coconut Milk Lite.

365 Organic Light Coconut Milk

365 Organic Light Coconut Milk.

Field Day Organic Lite Coconut Unsweetened

Field Day Organic Lite Unsweetened.

KaMe Coconut Lite Organic

KaMe Coconut Milk Lite Organic.

Cadia Organic Light Coconut Milk

Cadia Organic Light Coconut Milk.

Sprouts Lite Coconut Unsweetened

Sprouts Lite Coconut Milk Unsweetened.
top coconut beverages in cartons: Good and Gather Plant-Based Unsweetened Organic and Vita Coco Non-Dairy Beverage.

Best Carton Coconut Beverages

We weren’t the biggest fans of the taste of any of the cartons we tried. Yet who drinks a giant glass of straight milked coconuts anyways? So the taste test didn’t carry as much weight as the ingredients and packaging.

We also noticed that there were more additives in the carton versions than the canned products in the previous sections.

Good & Gather Unsweetened Organic Coconut

Good & Gather Unsweetened Organic Beverage.

Vita Coco Coconut Milk Original Organic

Vita Coco Coconut Organic Carton Beverage.

So Delicious Dairy Free Organic Coconut Unsweetened

So Delicious Dairy Free Organic Carton.

Pacific Foods Organic Coconut Original Unsweetened

Pacific Foods Organic Coconut beverage.

Silk Unsweetened Coconut

Silk Unsweetened Beverage.

365 Organic Unsweetened Coconut Original

365 Organic Unsweetened Carton Coconut beverage.

Califia Farms Coconut Milk Coconut Water Blend

Califia Farms carton beverage.

Ingredients to Avoid

READ YOUR LABELS. No matter what kind of plant-based beverage you are buying, look for one with the fewest ingredients, no gums (if possible), and no sulfites (found in a few canned versions we tested). If you want to know your ingredients, read on for a breakdown.

several opened cans of dairy-free milk ready to be taste-tested on a kitchen counter.

Calcium: Calcium Carbonate VS. Tricalcium Phosphate

Many plant beverage manufacturers fortify their milk with calcium because they compete with dairy milk. The two main kinds of calcium added are calcium carbonate and tricalcium phosphate.

They have roughly the same amount of elemental (real) calcium per unit. However, calcium carbonate is more easily digested, as it is more naturally occurring than tricalcium phosphate. Companies choose the more processed, less natural form of calcium, tricalcium phosphate because it’s cheaper. We docked them in our report if they did this.

Sunflower Lecithin

A few of the carton brands have sunflower lecithin. We have lecithin naturally in our bodies. It’s made up of fatty acids. Sunflower lecithin, in particular, is non-GMO, which makes us happy. This supplement is added to food as an emulsifier. It keeps fat and oils from mixing with other substances in our bodies.

There are several health benefits to sunflower lecithin, such as:

  • Improves Heart Health through breaking down fat
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Promotes liver health
  • Helps breastfeeding mothers avoid clogged ducts
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves digestion
  • Fights dementia symptoms 

Sulfites

I’m sure you’ve heard this word tossed around the health food arena just like I have. Yet what are sulfites, and why do we run from them?!

The Mayo Clinic explains it as sulfite sensitivity. Sulfites are used in food as a preservative. You’ll often find them in wine, but they were banned from fresh fruit and veggies in the 1980s due to several severe documented reactions. If you don’t have asthma, you will probably not be affected by sulfites. Yet if you have asthma, it’s better to steer clear when you can.

Another reason to check those labels we found sulfites in 2 of the full-fat canned brands we tested: Iberia and Goya.

Gums in Non-Dairy Beverages

Almost every brand we tried had gums of one kind or another in it. Here’s the breakdown to help you understand your gums better:

  • Xanthan Gum (not so good): added to food as a thickener/preservative. It’s created when sugar is fermented by a certain kind of bacteria. It’s an insoluble fiber, so our bodies can’t break it down, therefore it has no real nutritional value. Xanthan gum comes from sugar found in wheat, corn, soy and dairy. You should avoid it if you are allergic to any of these ingredients.
  • Gellan Gum (better): Added to food to thicken, stabilize/texturize. It’s a plant-based alternative to gelatin. Studies are inconclusive so far in determining the safety/benefit vs the risk of adding gellan gum to food. Some studies show that it can reduce constipation, while other studies link it to abnormalities in stomach lining.
  • Locust Bean Gum (better): added to food as a natural thickener. It is made from the seeds of a carob tree. It’s health benefits include lowering blood sugar, high in fiber and able to reduce reflux in infants (added to infant formula). While it is more naturally occurring than the other gums we mentioned, there also isn’t a whole lot of research yet on how good or bad it can be for our bodies to ingest in the long run.
  • Guar Gum (better): added to food as a binder/thickener. It’s made from guar beans and is high in fiber. It may aid in digestion as well as help lower cholesterol and blood sugar. If consumed in high quantities, it can obstruct the esophagus and small bowel, so the FDA has maximum usage levels. Coconut milk is only allowed to have 1% guar gum in it, or up to 2.4 grams per serving.
2 small white paper cups one labeled A and one labeled B, ready for a taste test.

Plant Milk FAQs

What brand of coconut milk is the best?

Per our taste test, the best all-around brand in the carton is Vita Coco Coconut Milk Original Organic. The best in full-fat is Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Coconut Milk Unsweetened, and the best in light is Thrive Market Organic Coconut Milk Lite.

Is coconut milk bad for you?

It doesn’t have to be. Look for brands with the fewest ingredients, avoid sulfites (especially if you have asthma), and know that coconut is naturally high in healthy fat.

What coconut milk is best for curry?

I recommend using a full-fat canned version for curry since you want a creamy sauce-like texture. The best all-around full-fat coconut milk is Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Coconut Milk Unsweetened. No gums and super creamy!

Recipes that Use Coconut Milk

Now that you’re armed with the best brands let’s make something! Most of the recipes below let you choose which type of milk you want. Yet know that using carton milk when the recipe calls for canned will cause you to lose out on a lot of healthy fat + creamy consistency.

Which brand is your fav? Leave a comment and let me know; bonus points if it’s one I haven’t tried before!

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Comments

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for doing this! It’s very helpful. What ratio of milk to water do you use when you dilute your full fat coconut milk to lite?

    1. Hi Crystal! You can try a 1:1 ratio. If that’s not working for you, you can adjust according to your own preferences!

  2. I wanted to nake a coconut beverage and add boba to it, so I’m looking for a coconut milk that is good to drink straight.

    1. Hi Araxi! You’ve come to the right place, this is a great blog post to learn about different brands of coconut milk!

  3. Good article but you didn’t try the very best one out there in a can: Chaokoh. To be fair I haven’t tried a few of these on your list but I try some new ones tho I’m quite happy with Chaokoh but amazon delivers dented cans.

    1. Just looked into Chaokah and it contains a additives that we like to avoid (Citric Acid and Sodium Metabisulfite) which is probably why it didn’t hit my radar. Yet if that’s not a make or break for you, use it! And I agree, dented cans are a bummer. 🙁

  4. This is SO helpful. Thai kitchen has been my fave brand and I love to see on the top list! Thank you for doing all this research and helping your community.

    1. Totally our joy, Kavli! We’re so glad you agree with our results here. 🙂

    2. I use calafia farms toasted coconut almond milk blend in my coffee. It took me probably two months to find the right addition for my coffee to eliminate all sugar. Three to four teaspoons is all it takes. Trust me I tried everything out there and quickly threw it out. Now it’s time to try out California farms other products. Go plant Base!

  5. What did the different colors on your scale or assessment mean?

    Thanks

    PS Thank you for taking the time…….to do this each year. And also thanks for adding coconut.

  6. I’ve never tried the Thai Kitchen ‘carton canned’ milks before. I’ll definitely give them a try now!

    1. Are these three coconut milks in a carton and where do I buy them? When I search it just brings up canned coconut milk or coconut water.
      “ Per our taste test, the best all-around brand in the carton is Vita Coco Coconut Milk Original Organic. The best in full-fat is Thai Kitchen 2 Simple Ingredients Coconut Milk Unsweetened, and the best in light is Thrive Market Organic Coconut Milk Lite.” Thank you for your taste tests.