Almond milk and coconut milk are lactose-free, vegan alternatives to cow milk. Almond milk can be slightly grainy and is produced from finely ground almonds mixed with water. Coconut milk is made from the ground flesh of coconut soaked in water and has a much higher fat and calorie content than almond milk.

Comparison chart

Almond Milk versus Coconut Milk comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartAlmond MilkCoconut Milk
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Introduction Almond milk is a beverage made by soaking almonds and grinding them with water. Coconut milk is the liquid extracted from the grated meat of a coconut. It can only be produced from a brown coconut.
Source Almonds Coconut
Lactose Lactose-free Lactose-free
Vegetarian Yes Yes
Vegan Yes Yes
Flavor Sweet, nutty Sweetish, creamy
Uses Drink raw , cooking, baking, desserts. Drink raw, cooking baking, desserts, entrees/curries.
Popular Brands Silk, Blue Diamond. Blue Diamond, So Delicious, Pacific Natural Foods
Health Benefits Low calorie, low fat, good for lactose-intolerant, dairy-allergic. Lactose-free Rich in vitamins and minerals, high calorie for weight gain
Varieties Plain, vanilla, chocolate Thin – 5-7% fat level; Thick – 20-22% fat level
Dietary Limitations Nut allergies – swelling, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, congested airway High in calories and fat
Fat per 100 g 1.04 g 21.33 g
Protein 0.42 g 2.29 g
Polyunsaturated fat 0.208g 0.233 g
Carbohydrates 6.67 g 5.54 g
Magnesium 7 mg 46 mg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.015 mg 0.026 mg
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.177 mg 0 mg
Potassium 50 mg 220 mg
Calcium 188 mg 16 mg
Sodium 63 mg 13 mg
Monounsaturated Fat 0.625 g 0.901 g
Calories per 100 g 17 154-230
Saturated fat (1 cup) 0 18.91 g

Nutrition

Calories

Almond milk has considerably fewer calories (17 per 100 grams) than coconut milk. Coconut milk is much richer in calories — 154-230 per 100 grams, depending on how thick the milk is. Thicker milk is higher in calories and fat.

Fat

Almond milk has no saturated fat, 0.625 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.208 grams of polyunsaturated fat, making the total fat conent 1.04 grams.

Coconut milk contains 18.91 grams of saturated fat, 0.901 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.233 grams of polyunsaturated fat, making it significantly higher in fat content with a total of 21.33 grams of fat. These values, however, are for the thick coconut milk from the first pressing - subsequent pressings are thinner and less in calories, but the calorific value is still more than that of almond milk.

Protein

While neither is considered a great source of protein, almond milk has surprisingly very little protein (0.42 grams); even less than the 2.29 grams in coconut milk.

Carbs

Almond milk and coconut milk are pretty even when it comes to carbohydrates. Almond milk contains 6.67 grams of carbohydrates. Coconut milk has 5.54 grams of carbohydrates.

Other Nutrients

Almond milk is much higher calcium (188 mg) and potassium (220 mg), but also higher in sodium (63 g) compared to coconut milk.

Coconut milk is much lower in sodium (13 mg), but also very low in calcium (16 mg) and potassium (50 mg) compared to almond milk.

Health Benefits and Limitations

Almond milk is low calorie and low fat. It is good for people who are lactose-intolerant or dairy-allergic. However, people with nut allergies cannot consume almond milk. If they do, they may experience swelling, hives, diarrhea, vomiting and a congested airway, which can severely limit breathing.

Coconut milk is also good for people who are lactose-intolerant or dairy-allergic. Coconut milk can be consumed by patients receiving chemotherapy. People with coconut allergies cannot drink coconut milk. If they do, they may experience swelling, hives, diarrhea and vomiting.

Because of the high oil content, coconut milk goes rancid quickly. Fresh coconut milk should be used the day it's pressed. Canned coconut milk should be used within a few days of opening, as should that in a carton.

Make Your Own

Both almond milk and coconut milk are easy to make at home by first soaking almonds or coconut meat overnight in water. This video demonstrates how almond milk or coconut milk can be made using The Magic Bullet.

Uses and Flavor

Both almond milk and coconut milk are vegan options suitable to drink raw, or to use in cooking and baking. Almond milk typically comes in plain, vanilla and chocolate varieties.

Coconut milk does not come in flavors, but it has a very distinct coconut taste, which is why it is preferred in savory items like curries or sweet coconut desserts, but not in coffee or tea. Coconut milk, it comes in grades of thickness. Thin coconut milk is at a five to seven percent fat level. This is typically used in soups and curries. Thick coconut milk is at 20 to 22 percent fat level. This grade is usually used in desserts.

Red curry paste with sliced beef and coconut milk (left) and blueberry and coconut cheesecake (right).
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Red curry paste with sliced beef and coconut milk (left) and blueberry and coconut cheesecake (right).

In addition to desserts and baking, coconut milk is very popular in several coastal cuisines and a principal ingredient in Thai, Indonesian, Polynesian, Indian and Nepali curries. Thai Tom Kha soup, one of the most popular soups in Asian cuisine is made from coconut milk.

Popular Brands

Silk and Blue Diamond are the most popular brands of almond milk in the United States.

Blue Diamond, So Delicious, and Pacific Natural Foods are common brands for coconut milk, which comes in both cartons and cans.

References

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