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This piña colada with coconut milk is an easy tropical summer time cocktail. Plus, it is made without any cream of coconut! Blend all ingredients together and this piña colada is ready to serve.
Piña coladas are the perfect beachy Caribbean cocktail. For other tropical cocktails, try this blue hurricane drink, this papaya cocktail, this mango tango drink, this guava margarita or this vodka sunrise.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This piña colada is made without any cream of coconut! This recipe uses coconut milk instead, which is overall healthier and an ingredient you probably already have on hand.
- This piña colada is not overly sweet, unlike piña coladas made from pre-made mixes.
- If you have leftover coconut milk from another recipe, this is a great way to use up leftover coconut milk before it goes bad.
Coconut Milk vs Cream Of Coconut
Coconut milk and cream of coconut sound very similar, which can be confusing, but these are not the same ingredient and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Most piña colada recipes use cream of coconut, but this recipe is made with coconut milk.
Here are some of the main differences between the two ingredients:
Most people are familiar with coconut milk as it is often used in cooking and easy to find in pretty much any grocery store.
It is sold in a can and when it is opened, there is often a more liquid portion on the bottom and thicker, creamier part on top.
Before using the coconut milk, you should mix in the creamy, thick layer until the coconut milk has a smooth consistency.
Cream Of Coconut
Cream of coconut is not as common a recipe ingredient. It is mostly used to make cocktail drinks — most famously, piña coladas.
It is also sold in cans, although sometimes you can find it in a squeeze bottle.
The problem is that it is much fattier, and also less versatile, so you’ll probably be left with a lot of extra cream of coconut that you don’t have a use for.
Cream of coconut is made by taking the top layer that forms over coconut milk and processing it. A bunch of artificial ingredients and sweetners are added to it to turn it into a sweet, thick syrup.
But you don’t need to make piña coladas with cream of coconut because they taste just as good with coconut milk!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Frozen Pineapple: Frozen pineapple adds thickness to the piña colada as well as a slight slushy texture. Some people prefer to freeze their own pineapple chunks for a fresher flavor, but store bought frozen pineapple works well too.
- Coconut Milk: Make sure to mix the can of coconut milk well before using. One can of coconut milk will make about 6 piña coladas.
- Rum: This recipe uses a combination of white rum and Malibu rum. Malibu adds a stronger coconut flavor to compensate for the lack of cream of coconut. If you want a sweeter drink, you can replace the white rum with Malibu.
- Pineapple Juice: A bit of pineapple juice gives the piña colada a smoother consistency. Without it, it will be too thick. Use a high quality pineapple nectar. Avoid overly fruity juice blends.
- Simple Syrup: You can make your own simple syrup or use a store bought simple syrup.
- Coconut Extract: A dash of coconut extract adds the right amount of sweetness and brings out the coconut flavor.
You will need the following equipment to make this cocktail:
- A blender to blend the piña colada together into a smooth cocktail.
- Classic piña colada glasses (called Poco Grande glasses) or hurricane glasses to serve the drink in. Or try serving it in a unique cocktail glass.
- Cocktail picks to add pineapple and maraschino cherry garnishes to the drink.
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1: Add the frozen pineapple, coconut milk, pineapple juice, white rum, Malibu rum, simple syrup and coconut extract to a blender.
Step 2: Blend well for 30 to 40 seconds until smooth.
Using Leftover Ingredients
Making pina coladas can leave you with some extra ingredients that you are not sure what to do with. Here are some ideas for other drink recipes to use up any leftovers you may have:
- Make some other pineapple-flavored cocktails that also use pineapple juice, such as this pineapple mimosa, this pineapple old fashioned or these pineapple orange margaritas.
- Use leftover pineapple juice and coconut milk to make this Starbucks pineapple matcha copycat recipe.
- Make a warm, cozy vegan coconut milk latte with any leftover coconut milk.
- Use a quality blender. A high quality blender— and particularly a blender cup — will make a huge difference in the smoothness of this cocktail. You don’t want to be left with pineapple chunks in your finished drink!
- Add some garnish. Mini pineapple slices as well as maraschino cherries are the classic piña colada garnishes. You can also pluck off leaves from a fresh pineapple and use them in the garnish as well.
- Add an extra splash of juice. Depending on the thickness of the coconut milk you use, you may need to add an extra little splash of pineapple juice to loosen up the cocktail. The piña colada should be thick, but smooth and easily pourable.
Yes! Classic recipes use cream of coconut, but this is harder to find, fattier and overly sweet. This recipe uses coconut milk instead.
Yes. For a non-alcoholic version, just leave out the rum. You may need to add an extra dash of coconut extract to compensate for the lack of Malibu.
To make simple syrup, heat equal portions of water and granulated sugar together on a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove the syrup from the stove and let it cool to room temperature before using. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks.