Coconut Sauce (Nuoc Dua)

Coconut Sauce is the Asian version of whipped cream.  It’s a delicious, creamy and sweet topping for many Asian desserts.  This is a fundamental recipe every cook should master because you’ll use it again and again.  My recipe is not super sweet and I add a bit of salt to balance the sugar.  Feel free to add more sugar if you like it sweeter.  Enjoy!

Coconut Sauce (Nuoc Cot Dua) - Essential Sweet Coconut Sauce for Asian Desserts | recipe from

Try the coconut sauce with the Coconut Sticky Rice and Mango and the Pandan Sticky Rice.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoy this recipe, you may also like: Steamed Banana Cake (Banh Chuoi Hap), Rice Pudding with Black-Eyed Peas (Che Dau Trang) and Sweet Mung Bean Pudding (Che Tao Soan, Che Dau Xanh).


14 oz can coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp tapioca starch


In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients combining well.  Continue stirring as the sauce warms.  The sauce starts to thicken after 2 minutes.  As soon as the sauce starts to bubble, turn off the heat and continue stirring for another minute.

Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite desserts.

Yields:  1 3/4 cups

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23 Responses to Coconut Sauce (Nuoc Dua)

  1. Helen Phan March 10, 2019 at 10:22 am #

    Hello Trang, love your recipes on Che Tao Soan(Mung Bean sweet soup) and nuoc dua(this coconut sauce).I followed the exact instructions and amounts of the ingredients, both came out perfect! Thanks so much for taking the time to prepare the YouTube videos and website for the excellent recipes! Good health and happy eatings!!! I also enjoy our Sun Diego

    • Trang March 15, 2019 at 8:33 am #

      Hi Helen,
      It’s nice to meet another San Diegan! 🙂 I am delighted to hear you enjoyed the Che Tao Soan and Nuoc Dua recipes and found them easy to make. Thanks for stopping by to share your comments! Much love and Happy Cooking! <3

  2. Catherine T Wright January 21, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

    Does coconut cream work OK too?

    • Trang January 22, 2019 at 10:21 am #

      Yes, coconut cream works. Enjoy!

  3. Dave March 3, 2017 at 2:28 am #

    Can this sauce be used over the top of a homemade Thai lemon coconut rice with chicken.

    • Trang March 3, 2017 at 8:44 am #

      Hi Dave,
      I think if you dilute the sauce with a bit more water, it would work well for your savory Thai dish. It sounds so delish!

  4. Sindi Hajro January 7, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

    Can I use this sauce on battered shrimp ?

    • Trang January 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

      Sure, give it a try!

  5. Nellieshy September 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Does it need to be refrigerated if not used immediately?

    • Trang September 16, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

      Hi, the sauce can be left at room temperature during the day it is made but should be refrigerated at the end of the day. Hope that helps!

  6. jill July 29, 2016 at 7:02 am #

    can you add some shredded coconut to the coconut sauce? or would that make the sauce break down?

    • Trang July 30, 2016 at 9:37 am #

      Hi Jill,
      If you consume the sauce within the day, adding shredded coconut will be just fine. If you refrigerate the sauce, it will break down. Enjoy!

  7. West May 13, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    How long would this last in the refrigerator?

    • Trang May 18, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      Hi West,
      No more than a few days. The sauces starts to break-down once refrigerated.

  8. micah November 16, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    Is it okay to replace tapioca starch with cornstarch??

    • Trang November 17, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

      Hi Micah,

      Yes, corn starch would work just fine. Enjoy the recipe.

  9. Kate April 4, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Does it matter if the coconut milk is reduced/low-fat? I know that full fat is just thicker…

    • Trang April 4, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Kate,
      Reduced or low-fat coconut milk is just fine. The tapioca starch will thicken it up and you can always add it bit more it you like a thicker sauce.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  10. Mary Rainwater January 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Looks like a easy recipe and just what I am looking for, thank you!

    • Trang January 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      Hi Mary, I always have coconut milk handy in my cupboard to make this sauce. It’s a simple, delicious topping that works well with so many desserts.

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