Of all the things you could possibly make out of a single coconut, the coconut flakes will have to be a chef’s favorite. Whether you’re looking for flakes that serve as decorations or additional ingredients for baked goods and snacks, coconut flakes are genuinely one of the most versatile kitchen ingredients available.
However, as many know, no food ingredient is perfect, and you could get tired of your coconut flakes after a while. So, it’s always worth checking to see if there are reliable substitutes that could always step in for the ingredient.
So, what is the best substitute for coconut flakes? The best substitute for coconut flakes is coconut extract. Many see coconut extract as the most effective and viable substitute for coconut flakes, with the two used for pretty much the same thing.
The primary demerit of coconut extract is that it takes a while to make at home. However, since it is readily available at grocery stores and more, you can easily just purchase it.
An Overview of Coconut Flakes
Coconut flakes are pretty versatile ingredients when it comes to the kitchen. Of course, this is primarily because they come from coconuts, which are pretty multifaceted by themselves. Coconut flakes help add texture and flavor to several recipes, improving taste and your feeding experience.
With coconut flakes, you can transform various types of means – regular breakfasts to lovely desserts. While the quality of the texture and flavor will depend on whether you’re using flakes from an actual coconut, the bottom line remains that coconut flakes are great kitchen ingredients.
Why Replace Coconut Flakes?
- Non-availability: Coconut flakes are available at grocery stores. But, there are times when you’re unable to find it, and making it from scratch might not be the most convenient option. So, you go for an alternative.
- Allergies: It is rare, but some people have allergies to coconuts. In this case, you will need something completely different that still works.
- A flavor change: Coconut flakes are delicious, but they have a pretty generic flavor. If you’re trying to capture a different essence, you can find a substitute that works just as well.
Options for Coconut Flakes Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Coconut Flakes: Coconut Extract
Put simply, coconut extract is a concentrated liquid flavoring you get from distilling the essence and flavor of a coconut. It is easy to make and use, and you can also find coconut extract available in grocery stores and other shops close to you.
It’s easy to see why coconut extract might appeal to you as a substitute for coconut flakes. Both essentially act as flavorings for food and in recipes, and they help capture the true essence of that natural coconut taste in cooking. So, while they might not have the same texture and feel, they have similar taste and can be used for almost pretty much the same thing.
Coconut extract is also a relatively easy ingredient to work with. You can store it pretty easily, handle it with care, and use it in various types of meals.
You’ll also love the fact that you can easily make coconut extract at home. Primarily, all you need are two essential ingredients – coconut and some alcohol. The manufacturing process involves:
- When you break the coconut open, get the water and store it in an airtight container. Put it in your fridge for about a week.
- Take the coconut itself and separate the brown husk from the hard shell.
- Use a vegetable peeler to take out the brown husk from the coconut meat.
- Break the coconut meat into different places and grate it
- Get 1½ ounces of your coconut and place it into a glass jar with a lid.
- Pour your alcohol (preferably vodka) over it, then shake the combination.
- Place the mixture in a cool place for up to four weeks.
- After a week, strain the coconut. Voila! You’ve got your extract.
Best Substitute for Coconut Flakes in Dairy Recipes: Coconut Cream
There’s a general confusion when it comes to coconut cream. Some believe that it is coconut milk, while others argue that it’s not the same.
To be fair, coconut cream and coconut milk have several things in common. They are primarily made from the same ingredients – coconut and water (and, in some cases, guar gum to provide a more significant stabilizing effect). However, coconut cream has a greater fat content than coconut milk. So, it is much thicker than the latter.
Coconut cream functions as a dairy-free alternative to the heavy creamy products you see around. Its milder taste and thicker consistency also make it an excellent substitute for coconut flakes in pastries and more recipes.
Primarily, you can use coconut cream in soups and curries. Its taste helps to balance spices and improve soup textures. It is also a great addition to vegan desserts and dairy-free options like parfaits, tiramisu, and more.
It might have a lot of fat content and no vitamins, but health experts generally recommend taking it at controlled levels to ensure that you don’t end up consuming too much. Coconut cream is available at grocery stores around you, and you could also make it at home.
Best Substitute if You Are Allergic to Coconut Flakes: Nuts
This substitute is where things get a tad interesting. As many know, coconuts themselves have a naturally nutty flavor. Although rare, some people have allergies to coconuts and won’t be able to consume coconut flakes in their recipes.
For allergy reasons, nuts could serve as impressive substitutes. They don’t work for all recipes, of course, so you want to be careful with what you use the nuts with. Groundnuts work pretty well as substitutes, especially when you consider coconut flakes in paleo diets and more.
In these diets, coconut flakes are usually just used for the texture and flavor. So, you will find that groundnuts are excellent substitutes. They have the same texture as coconut flakes, and you can easily incorporate their slightly different flavor into the diet over time.