7 Unbelievable Coconut Water Substitutes

Imagine you are in the kitchen working on a recipe you saw the other day while scrolling through a food blog. It was easy enough, so you decided to make it. Imagine being halfway done with it, and you realize it asked for coconut water and not coconut milk. What will you do? I went through a similar predicament just a couple of days ago. However, a wonderful coconut water substitute saved the day (and the recipe).

Coconut Water Substitute

It is pretty common to mix up coconut water with coconut milk. After all, are the two not derived from the same thing? I admit, although begrudgingly, that I, too, made this mistake. But let me tell you the difference.


Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is an opaque milk-like liquid extracted from the pulp or ‘meat’ of mature coconuts. It has high oil content owing to saturated fats. On the other hand, coconut water is the clear liquid inside the coconut. There is a complex botanical explanation for its existence, which I’ll get into shortly. So, keep reading.

Coconut Water Substitute


Why is there water in coconut?

The fruit itself produces coconut water. Scientifically speaking, coconut water is the liquid endosperm. It provides moisture to the seed and later nutrition to the growing embryo, here the fruit.

How often can I drink coconut water?

Unsweetened, organic, and fresh coconut water carries all the benefits but no risks. However, take no more than two to three cups of coconut water every day.

What are the benefits of coconut water?

  1. It aids in hydration. Therefore, many people dub it a natural sports drink.
  2. A regular glass of coconut milk only has 45 calories, making it a great substitute for sodas and other drinks.
  3. An 8 ounce serving of coconut water contains as much potassium as one banana. We know that potassium aids in keeping the fluid and electrolyte balance in our body, especially during intense physical activity. Moreover, since coconut water’s potassium level is this high, it balances out excess sodium in our body to maintain blood pressure.
  4. Besides its hydrating benefits, coconut water also contains antioxidants that help neutralize oxidative stress and free radicals created by working out.
  5. Amino acids are extremely important for repairing tissues. Moreover, they are also the building blocks of protein. Coconut water contains a greater amount of arginine, alanine, cysteine, and serine than even cow’s milk. Moreover, It is a major source of arginine, an amino acid that helps our body respond to stress.


What Can I Utilize Instead of Coconut Water In Cooking?

The best coconut water substitute for cooking are:

1. Maple Water

This coconut water substitute adds a subtle nutty and sweet taste to your food. It is not quite as potent as coconut water. But when substituted in soups and poached fruits, it’ll give a lovely undertone to your food. Moreover, you can also simmer it down to a sweet syrup.

Coconut Water Substitute - Maple Water

When replacing coconut water, use it in the same amount as your recipe originally called for .i.e, a 1:1 substitution.


2. Birch Water

Birch water, also known as birch juice, is the sap directly extracted from birch trees. It is a colorless liquid that is sweet to taste. However, like maple water, birch sap is also more subtle than coconut water.

You can use birch water to substitute coconut water in chilled drinks or poaching fruits for dessert. Although it appropriately mimics most of the flavor notes, expect a slight taste variance in the end product.

Coconut Water Substitute - Birch Water


What Can I Utilize Instead of Coconut Water In Baking?

1. Recipe 1: Homemade Coconut Water

If you can’t find any coconut water at home, it isn’t possible to acquire some either. Then you can make it at home with coconut and hot water. Although it won’t carry coconut water’s unique nutty taste, it won’t be as potent as coconut milk either. All in all, you’ll have a passable substitute.


  • Half a cup of shredded coconut
  •  One cup of boiling water

Cooking Instructions:

  • Add your coconut to a bowl and pour boiling water on it. 
  • Stir everything together and let the mixture sit for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. 
  • Properly stain the mixture and press the residue for any leftover liquid.
  • Add a tiny splash of your preferred sweeteners such as sugar, honey, or maple syrup to copy coconut water’s sweetness. 

You can dry and save the coconut residue for later use. Moreover, use your homemade coconut water in the same amount as the recipe calls for.

Coconut Water Substitute - Homemade Coconut Water


2. Recipe 2: Homemade Coconut Water

Don’t have shredded coconut at home? You can try the recipe below to make your own coconut water.


  • Coconut extract
  • Almonds or almond extract
  • Water

Cooking Instructions:

  • Take the same amount of water as the coconut water you need.
  • Add a drop of almond extract and coconut extract to the water and taste.
  • Amp up its sweetness by adding a bit of honey, maple syrup, or sugar. Don’t add too much at a time. Rather work your way up until it reaches the desired taste.

Use this coconut water substitute in cake, and you’ll be surprised with the results.

Coconut Water Substitute - Homemade Coconut Water

As coconut extract tastes more like the meaty part of coconut than its water, you’ll want to use it in a small amount. On the contrary, almond essence will give your liquid the nutty flavor characteristic of coconut water.

It is commonly said that cooking is an art, whereas baking is a science .i.e it requires precision. A slight change in the measurements can disrupt the necessary chemical reactions, ruining your dish. So you must use it in the same amount as required.


3. Coconut Milk and Water

Another option you can try if you have some coconut milk on hand is to dilute it with water. Add a half cup of coconut milk to one cup of water. Since it won’t be as nutty as coconut water, you’ll want to add a bit of almond extract. Lastly, toss in your favorite sweetener until you’ve reached the desired sweetness.

Coconut Water Substitute - Coconut Milk and Water


What Can I Utilize Instead of Coconut Water For Smoothies?

Coconut water is an excellent ingredient to add to smoothies. Its sweetness and nuttiness greatly improve the flavor of any drink you want to enjoy.

1. Fruit Juices

If you find your drink too tasteless or bitter to enjoy, fruit juices such as apple, pineapple, watermelon, and orange juices work as natural sweeteners in place of coconut water. Of course, the flavor won’t be the same, but they’ll be a nice addition to your drink.

You can add all these juices in a 1:1 replacement ratio.

Coconut Water Substitute - Fruit Juices


2. Maple and Birch Water

Both maple and birch water is extracted from trees. They are less potent than coconut water. However, they work as excellent substitutes in chocolate and match smoothies. Moreover, you can also add them to regular fruit smoothies to sweeten them up.

One popular way to enjoy these syrups is by freezing the liquids in an ice tray. You can add these coconut water drink substitute ice cubes to your drink, lay back, and sip your chilled drink.

Coconut Water Substitute - Maple and Birch Water


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you substitute coconut water for regular water?
No. Coconut water is a great substitute for sodas and sugary drinks as it is comparatively low in calories. However, it is no substitute for water which contains zero calories and absolutely no side effects whatsoever.
Can I make coconut water from coconut flakes?
Yes! All you have to do is use the appropriate amount of coconut flakes and boil water. Mix the two and allow the mixture to sit for a quarter-hour. Strain the liquid, add a bit of sweetener and your favorite nut extract, and you are good to go.
What can I use instead of coconut water in a smoothie?
You can use other fruit juices such as apple or orange juice, coconut milk, and even homemade coconut water.



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