Does Coconut Milk Go Bad?

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Everybody knows that dairy turns sour and eventually curdles if left unused for too long, even in the refrigerator, but somewhat less common knowledge is the shelf life of the increasingly popular coconut milk. Does coconut milk go bad? How can you tell if it's safe to consume? The answer is actually pretty simple. Yes, while coconut milk lasts longer than dairy, it will eventually sour, and if it passes the sniff test, it's probably safe to use.

Once you've opened your coconut milk, you have about a week to 10 days to use it without a care in the world. After that, you may notice some souring or that your coconut milk may have absorbed the flavors of the other things in your refrigerator. Canned coconut milk should be used by the expiration date printed on the can to prevent it from going stale and absorbing the tinny flavor of the can itself— deeeelish, am I right?! Luckily, canned coconut milk usually gives you a window of two to five years to open and use it, which is more than enough time to completely forget when you bought it. You can prolong the life of your coconut milk by freezing it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to an airtight container or a freezer bag to prevent flavor contamination.

So, yes, coconut milk does go bad. If it doesn't smell right, the color has changed, or you see bulges or cracks in an unopened can, it's best to go ahead and throw it out. If the coconut milk looks, smells, and tastes like coconut milk, then go ahead and use it. Here are a few ideas for recipes to use that delicious still-fresh coconut milk.

1. Chocolate-covered clementine smoothie

Well this looks delicious. Check out the recipe at How Sweet It Is.

2. Dairy-free coconut pancakes

Anything to make breakfast sweets a little healthier is A-OK with me. Find out how to make these coconut treats at Cookie + Kate.

3. Thai coconut curry with shrimp

I love coconut thai curry! Use two whole cans of coconut milk to make this recipe from How Sweet It Is.

Images: annick vanderschelden photography/Moment/Getty Images; How Sweet It Is (2); Cookie + Kate