Cream of coconut is a thick, heavily sweetened form of coconut milk, which is used for making drinks (like the Pina Colada) as well as desserts. See the ingredients below for these two popular brands include Coco Lopez and Cocoa Casa. Don't confuse this with coconut milk or coconut cream, which are used in cooking many Asian savory and sweet dishes.
Do not use cream of coconut as a substitute for coconut cream or coconut milk.
Here is a quick comparison of these three common ingredients.
If you don't have cream of coconut you can substitute:
Ingredient list from Cocoa Casa: includes sugar, coconut, water, salt, polysorbate 60, hydrogenated soybean oil, xanthan gum, sodium metabisulfite (preservative). Ingredient list from Coco Lopez:
Coconut, Sugar, Water, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monostearate, Salt, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Mono And Diglycerides (Emulsifiers), Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum.
You can find this product in liquor stores because it is so often used in the preparation of cocktails. Look first for the Coco Lopez brand if you can find it. If you happen to live in an area that serves a Cuban population, you can typically find at least one brand in a local grocery store. Otherwise, Walmart stores carry it in some stores as well as online. Look for brands like Roland and La Preferida. Walmart sells Cocoa Lopez online. You can also find it online at Amazon.com: Coco Lopez - Real Cream of Coconut - (6 Pack).