Homemade Cream of Coconut (Coco Lopez Substitute)

Making a pina colada soon? There’s no need to make a special trip to the store to buy a can of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut (which most people call coconut cream). You can make your own homemade coconut cream mix using a can of full-fat coconut cream (or even light). If you’re a gluten free baker, you probably have all you need right in your pantry/cupboards. Just use three simple ingredients.

This homemade coconut cream is a natural version of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut without emulsifiers (mixing agents), which are mostly synthetic like polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, propylene glycol, alginate, and mono and diglycerides. Making homemade cream of coconut not only saves money but it tastes better and is better for you.

Coconut Cream vs Cream of Coconut

Allow me to explain the difference between coconut cream and cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is a mixture of coconut and water thickened by several mixing agents to appear rich and thick like coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk. Coconut cream is the thick, fatty, and rich cream that floats and hards on the top of a can of coconut milk or is in a can by itself.

Why do they add citric acid?

Coco Lopez adds citric acid to their coconut cream as a preservative. While I had some on hand, I left it out to improve the flavor since I wasn’t storing it for long periods. Just make what you think you’ll use within 24 hours.

Homemade Cream of Coconut

Using just three ingredients, you can make homemade cream of coconut that is healthier and better-tasting than the leading brand of cream of coconut.

Course Cocktail
Cuisine Florida Keys, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican
Ingredient Keyword coconut cream, pineapple, pineapple juiice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 2 shakes salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon* full-fat coconut milk 11 – 13% fat
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, guar gum, and salt; pour in the coconut milk and whisk again to combine. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar completely melts and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

  2. Remove from the heat, whisk in the water, and set aside until it reaches room temperature.
  3. Store in a heat-proof, air-tight container. It will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


*I’m sure 1 cup will work just fine, but that’s the exact amount I had leftover from another recipe. I didn’t want to save only 1 tablespoon.

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