How to Substitute Coconut Milk for Yogurt in Yogurt Sauce


Coconut milk, with its creamy texture, white hue and rich mouthfeel, makes a good substitute for yogurt in yogurt sauce. The process, however, requires you to make coconut milk yogurt before you make the sauce. Otherwise, you compromise the texture of the finished sauce. You can use coconut milk yogurt just like any yogurt in your favorite recipe. The flavor is different, though, so be sure the other ingredients in the dish pair well with coconut.

Making Coconut Milk Yogurt

While fresh coconut milk can be made by grating, soaking and straining mature coconut meat, this process is time-consuming and difficult. It is also hard to get enough mature coconuts to make enough milk for yogurt, as one mature coconut may produce only 2/3 cup coconut milk.

For this recipe, canned coconut milk makes an acceptable substitute for fresh milk. The recipe is inspired by one from The Kitchn.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium pot
  • 28 ounces coconut milk, roughly two 14-ounce cans
  • 2 teaspoons agar agar flakes
  • 4 probiotic capsules
  • Glass jars with lids
  • Whisk

Step 1

Sterilize the jars by filling them with boiling water and then letting them sit for 3 to 5 minutes before pouring out the water.

Step 2

Heat the oven to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3

Pour the coconut milk into the pot and whisk it until all of the cream or residue mixes in.

Step 4

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of agar agar into the coconut milk and then slowly heat the coconut milk over medium heat until it is warm and the milk begins to simmer.

Step 5

Whisk the milk, blending the agar agar flakes in, and bring the heat to low. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer, whisking occasionally, until the coconut milk thickens and the flakes fully dissolve.

Step 6

Cool the milk to lukewarm, roughly 100 F.

Step 7

Whisk in the powder from 4 opened probiotic capsules. Do not add the capsules directly to the milk.

Step 8

Pour the coconut milk yogurt into the sterilized jars and seal. Place the jars of coconut milk in the oven for 12 to 24 hours, leaving the oven light on to keep it warm.

Step 9

Once the yogurt has set, place in the fridge for at least 6 hours before using it. As the yogurt chills, it will continue to thicken. Homemade coconut yogurt can keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.


  • If the top of the yogurt turns pink or grey, do not consume. The yogurt has been contaminated with bacteria and is not safe to eat. Toss it out and make a fresh batch.

Making Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt sauce is a blend of yogurt, herbs, spices, minced vegetables and other seasonings. For example, tzatziki is a Greek yogurt sauce that features mint and cucumber. Herbs and aromatics that are commonly used for yogurt sauce include:

  • Fresh cilantro, parsley or mint;
  • Minced fresh garlic, onion or shallots;
  • Dried basil, oregano or thyme;
  • Powdered spices, such as cayenne pepper, paprika or black pepper.

Minced vegetables that can be used for yogurt sauce include:

  • Fresh cucumber;
  • Minced carrot;
  • Finely chopped sweet peppers.

When making yogurt sauce with coconut milk yogurt, remember that coconut milk yogurt tastes less sour and has a thinner texture than dairy yogurt. Because of this, add extra liquid, such as lemon juice, a 1/2-teaspoon at a time.


  • Like yogurt sauce, coconut milk yogurt sauce can be made up to 1 day in advance if it is covered and stored in the fridge.

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