Best Coconut Substitutes for a Similar Taste or Texture


Whether you are allergic to coconut, have dietary restrictions, don’t have any on hand, or whether you just don’t like coconut, there are a number of substitutions that can be used in its place.

The best substitutes for shredded coconut include fresh coconut, coconut flakes, coconut extract, coconut water, coconut milk, ground or grated nuts, grated white chocolate, and powdered milk.

Of course, it depends on exactly what and how you want to replace it. I’ve got you covered! I listed the general replacements first and the health-related substitutions toward the end. You may want to skim through until you find the exact usage or replacement you are looking for.

Substitutes for Shredded Coconut

You have several options for replacing shredded coconut in a recipe:

  1. Coconut abstract can be substituted for shredded at the rate of 1 teaspoon for every cup of shredded coconut.
  2. Coconut aminos
  3. Coconut flakes can be substituted for shredded coconut at a rate of 1:1.
  4. Shredded fresh coconut can be substituted for shredded coconut at the rate of 1 cup of fresh shredded coconut for every ¾ packaged shredded coconut.
  5. Coconut liquor can be substituted for shredded coconut in drinks, sauces, and marinades at a rate of ½ cup of coconut liquor for 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  6. Desiccated or dried coconut can be substituted for shredded coconut on a 1:1 basis.
  7. Sliced or chopped blanched or toasted Macadamia or Brazil nuts can be substituted for shredded coconut at a rate of 1:1.

Substitutes for Popular Coconut Products

Substitutes for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be substituted by other plant-based oils like

  • Grapeseed has a mild flavor and can be substituted for coconut oil on a 1:1 basis.
  • Hazelnut oil is a healthy oil for frying and is good for salad dressings. 
  • Avocado oil can be substituted on a 1:1 basis for coconut oil. It has a neutral flavor, a high smoke point making it good for frying, and has health benefits such as reducing cholesterol, and it contains antioxidants. The primary downside to using avocado oil is that it is expensive.  
  • Hemp seed oil has a low smoke point and is best used in salad dressings or for drizzling over a finished dish.
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil can be substituted on a 1:1 basis for coconut oil; it does have a strong flavor and a low smoke point making it good for sauteing and for making salad dressings; and it contains antioxidants and has health benefits such as reducing inflammation.
  • Macadamia nut oil can be substituted on a 1:1 basis for coconut oil, has a strong flavor, a higher smoke point than olive oil, and can be used for baking, grilling, sauteing, and stir frying.
  • Peanut oil can be substituted on a 1:1 basis for coconut oil, has a slightly nutty flavor and a high smoke point making it good for frying, and is affordable.
  • Pure Vegetable oil can be substituted on a 1:1 basis for coconut oil; has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point making it good for sauteing, stir-frying, and frying; and is very affordable.

Coconut oil can also be substituted on a 1:1 basis by Butter. The two have similar properties in that they both become solid at a certain temperature, and both have a high fat content.

Coconut oil can be substituted by applesauce in baking. But, because applesauce contains a lot of moisture, the better substitution for coconut oil would be equal parts applesauce and one of the oils mentioned above.

Substitutes for Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are used as a substitute for soy sauce because they are lower in sodium, contain no soy, and are gluten-free. 

Substitutes for coconut aminos include Worcestershire sauce and fish sauce which are both soy and gluten-free but are not suitable for a vegan diet. Tamari is a good gluten-free seasoning, but it contains soy. Liquid aminos contain soy and are high in sodium.

Substitutes for Coconut Butter

  • To find substitutes for coconut butter, other nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter are your best options. Nut butters like almond or peanut can be spread on bread or used to thicken smoothies, but for taste, there is no substitute for coconut butter. 
  • Coconut butter isn’t at all like coconut oil, since it is made from pureed meat from mature coconuts. If you are looking for coconut butter and cannot find any, you can make your own by putting desiccated coconut into a food processor and processing until it is the right consistency. Sweeteners and flavors like vanilla extract can be added.

Substitutes for Coconut Cream

  • A substitute for coconut cream can be made by combining coconut-flavored syrup with cream.
  • Another substitute for coconut cream can be made by mixing condensed milk with coconut extract.

Substitutes for Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is used by many people because it is gluten-free. 

For a gluten-free substitute for coconut flour, use:

  • Almond flour 
  • Cassava flour
  • Soy flour (another option to substitute for coconut flour, but has a strong soybean taste that is unpleasant to some people.)

Each of these flours has different properties and will need to be experimented with to come up with a viable recipe. Almond flour isn’t as absorbent as coconut flour, so you may have to use less liquid and 3 to 4 times more flour.

Substitutes for Coconut Milk

Coconut-Milk-Poured-From-One-Coconut-to-Another

The replacement you choose for coconut milk will depend on how you will be using it:

Substitutes for Coconut Milk for Making Desserts

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Cow milk
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Oat milk
  • Pea milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • Tiger nut milk
  • Coconut flavored evaporated milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • Unflavored yogurt 
  • Ghee
  • Cream

Substitutes for Coconut Milk Beverages

Plant-based milks that can be substituted for coconut milk beverages include:

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Oat milk
  • Pea milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • Tiger nut milk

Vegan Substitutes for Coconut (And for Allergies)

If you are allergic to coconut and cannot eat it or just do not like it, these are some of the substitutes you can use so that you can still make those desserts that you love:

  • For flavor: As far as a flavor substitute, there is nothing that tastes quite like coconut.
  • For taste or texture: Use ground or chopped nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts.
  • For decoration: Sprinkle grated white chocolate or powdered milk.

Paleo Substitutes for Coconut Products With Coconut Allergies

If you are on the Paleo diet where all things coconut are used and you develop a coconut allergy, here are the substitutes you can use.

Paleo Coconut Butter Substitutes

  • Almond Butter
  • Ghee
  • Macadamia Nut Butter

Paleo Coconut Flakes Substitutes

  • Ground Nuts
  • Dried Fruits
  • Cacao Nibs

Paleo Coconut Flour Substitutes

For baking: 

  • Almond flour 
  • Hazelnut flour
  • Cashew flour

For thickening: 

  • Tapioca
  • Arrowroot Powder

Paleo Coconut Milk Substitutes

  • Almond Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Cow Milk
  • Hemp Milk

Paleo Coconut Oil Substitutes

  • Animal fat like Lard, Tallow, Ghee
  • Plant fats like Avocado Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Olive Oil, Palm Oil

Final Thoughts

Even though there are many substitutes for products made with coconut, the taste of coconut itself is very hard, if not impossible, to find a substitute for.

I suppose the almond is just about as close as you can get to the coconut flavor, but a great big homemade from scratch yellow layer cake with white mountain frosting like my mother used to make with grated almonds sprinkled on top would somehow just not be the same as the birthday cakes she used to make for me which were liberally coated on top of each layer and all down the sides with moist and delicious shredded coconut. Sweet memories!

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss The 14 Best Substitutes for Milk In Pudding.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page.

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