The Ingredient Swap For Milk That'll Elevate Your Next Canned Corn Dish

Canned corn is a deliciously convenient way to enjoy the fresh flavors of summer year-round, and it works in all sorts of meals. However, too many home cooks don't know the best ways to work with this affordable pantry staple. While creamed corn and other dairy-based recipes are a common way to use the ingredient, you may not be aware of another one of the best ways to upgrade your canned corn: using coconut milk, instead.

Although it might seem unusual at first, a closer inspection reveals why these two canned favorites work together so well. Instead of the lightly-flavored traditional milk or cream, coconut milk adds a subtle but noticeably nutty sweetness that contrasts with and accentuates the freshness of corn. It's also ideal for altering recipes for lactose-intolerant or vegan diners who avoid animal milk.

Meanwhile, unlike some other alternatives, coconut milk has appropriate levels of fat for cooked dishes and the right amount of liquid consistency for most creamy corn recipes, too. This similarity means coconut milk and dairy milk or cream can generally be swapped 1:1 in most dishes, making it an easy alteration to manage even for inexperienced chefs.

Differences you should know

Still, those making the swap should remember the other ways that coconut milk and regular milk are different. Coconut milk is significantly higher in calories, with nearly three times as many as cow's milk. Plus, traditional dairy milk wins out when it comes to beneficial amounts of calcium, vitamins, and minerals.

On the other hand, the type of fat found in coconut milk has shown signs it can improve heart health by lowering cholesterol. It's also got fewer carbohydrates and less sugar, at least when using unsweetened varieties. In addition, canned coconut milk offers the benefit of being easy to stock in the pantry, so it's there whenever you need it, thanks to a shelf life of 18 to 24 months or longer for unopened cans. This makes it a perfect standby when required, even for those who prefer to use regular milk in most cases.

So, if you start eating more canned corn, remember to try out this helpful tip. While it might not be the most obvious, it's undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to upgrade this pantry staple.