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Latik – Cooking Magic with Coconut Milk

Although I still marvel at sugar turning to sweet, sticky caramel, egg whites tripling in size to become fluffy meringue, and heavy whipping cream turning into pipable clouds of frosting, I’ve seen these kitchen tricks so many times that I need to stop and remind myself to not take them for granted.  But, when I first saw a photo of latik a couple of weeks ago, I may as well have been at a David Copperfield show.  “Coconut milk can turn into that?”  I marveled.  I had no idea!
Latik, a Filipino dessert topping, is made by cooking down coconut milk or coconut cream (the more solid stuff on the top of a can of coconut milk) for hours until it separates into fried coconut curds (latik) and coconut oil.  It’s like putting coconut milk into a magic hat, saying abra cadabra, and pulling out a toasted cross between brown sugar and shredded baker’s coconut.
Latik is ideal for sprinkling on ice cream (in the image above, I topped Caio Bella Mango Sorbet with latik) or cupcakes to give them a shot of rich coconut flavor.  Also, you can use the byproduct (the coconut oil) for cooking or baking.
Latik may not be something that you’ll make every day, but if like me you love exploring new feats of culinary wonderment, it’s worth making at least once.

How to Make Latik

I got the technique for making latik from Jun Belen of Jun-Blog.  The photographs on his site are fabulous and worth checking out for additional reference.

Yield: About 1/4 cup of latik.  It’s not much, but you don’t need to use a lot of it to make a big impact.


You just need one ingredient: a 14 oz can of coconut milk (be sure to choose the full-fat kind with the cream on top).


Bring a can of coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan and simmer gently over low heat while stirring periodically to prevent burning.

Continue to simmer until the milk reduces to a thick cream, about an hour. Note: You can eliminate some of this hour by using only the coconut cream (the solid part on top of the can).  However, you won’t end up with quite as much latik.

Continue heating and stirring periodically until the cream separates into coconut oil and latik – about 45 minutes.

Here, the coconut milk is just beginning to separate.

Monitor the latik closely, watching for it to turn a deep caramel brown color – about 30 minutes.

The latik is starting to brown, but it’s not done yet.

Turn the heat off as soon as the curds turn a deep caramel brown color.

It’s done!

Use a coffee filter or a fine sieve to separate the coconut oil from the latik.

Jun says that latik will keep for a week stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  I ate mine two weeks after making it, having stored it in an air-tight container on the counter. It still tasted perfect!

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12 comments on “Latik – Cooking Magic with Coconut Milk”

  1. Wilsays:

    This is cool!
    Check out my new baking blog

  2. I love this and have a can of coconut milk in my pantry that now has a purpose. I wonder if it would work in a crock pot? Perhaps another experiment in the making.

  3. Wow! Thank you for the mention. I’m so thrilled you discovered latik. Isn’t it neat? I grew up with latik on rice cakes but it really is splendid with ice cream. Maybe a cupcake topping? Cheers! -Jun

  4. Wow that is super cool never would have thought of doing that to coconut milk but now I am intrigued:) thanks

  5. Katsays:

    I love a well done latik. Sometimes if it’s left too long it starts to taste bitter rather than sweet. It’s a great topping for ice cream indeed! Even on it’s own, it’s quite good.

  6. Anonymoussays:

    i love latik. i eat it without biko. hehe

  7. That is so cool! I never knew about that either. I’m going to give it a try for sure!

  8. Amazing photos! We’d love for you to share with us at!

  9. ajasays:

    how wonderful! Do you have any sense of the sugar content in this? I can’t have sugar :-(

  10. Joysays:

    Great job on the latik. I finaly got it right myself but I tend to burn mine :D

  11. Pamsays:

    This looks delicious! I love crunchy on top of my ice cream! Do you suppose this might work with homemade coconut milk? To the kitchen!

  12. These are great recipes. Always looking for food to add coconut to.

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