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Homemade Coconut Milk

Homemade Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is often a staple for people with food allergies, as well as an outstanding dairy replacement and healthy fat source for those who are adhere to a raw, GAPS or Paleo diet. Fortunately it is very easy and cheap to make at home.

Nutrition

Coconut is incredibly nutritious. Rich in trace minerals including manganese, copper, and selenium, it also contains modest amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, thiamin and folate. Coconut is unusually high in healthy, medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid (found otherwise only in human breast milk) and caprylic acid (a potent natural antiviral and antifungal).

Oil from coconuts is shelf-stable at room temperature, making it resistant to rancidity and perfect for high-temperature cooking, baking or frying. Coconut oil is known to help reduce both your cholesterol ratio and your waistline, and if that weren’t enough, the water in a coconut has the same mineral and electrolyte profile as human blood plasma!

Selection

Most people use canned coconut milk in their recipes. However, most brands of canned coconut milk—like almost all canned foodscontains toxic BPA in the lining of the can which can leach into your food. Here’s where to find additive-free coconut milk in BPA-free cans online.

Another option is to get coconut milk in Tetra paks or cartons. Be aware that coconut milk in cartons can contain natural guar gum, carageenan, and fortified vitamins and minerals, if that presents an allergy or digestive problem for you.

Also be aware that most coconut milk in cartons is meant for drinking and is very thin and low fat; too thin for making curries, yogurt, kefir or coconut whipped cream. Here’s where to find additive-free, full fat coconut milk in cartons online.

You can also find quality, full-fat coconut milk flash-frozen or in Tetra paks at any good Asian grocery store.

But, for fresher, less processed and packaged results—not to mention saving a lot of money and environmental resources—it’s easy to learn how to make coconut milk using dry, shredded coconut flakes.

Fresh, homemade coconut milk made from fresh dried coconut is far richer in vitamins, food enzymes and nutrients than coconut milk from a can or box. In fact, fresh coconut milk contains three times as much vitamin C as canned coconut milk and is richer in thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and panthothenic acid, too.

And, if you ferment your coconut milk into yogurt, you’ll get even more protein and nutrition, as well as a lot of probiotics for your digestive health.

Homemade Coconut Milk

Tools

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Place shredded coconut in a bowl of very hot (not boiling), pure water. Let soak for 1-2 hours. Do NOT discard the water.
  2. In the Vitamix or blender, combine coconut, soaking water, and vanilla and stevia, if using. Blend on the highest speed for about a minute.
  3. Strain liquid through a nut milk bag, paint strainer bag or very, very fine cheesecloth, pressing out all the liquid you can.
  4. Discard solids or save them for adding to baked treats.
  5. Use immediately or store in the fridge. Good for 3-4 days. Since there are no preservatives or fillers, the fat in the coconut milk may separate on the top if stored in the fridge. Just shake or stir before using.

 

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog, including Amazon.com links. These small earnings make it possible for me to continue writing this blog for you. That said, I only recommend products I genuinely love, and that I believe would be of value to my readers.
Thank you for your support!

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.




59 Comments

  1. Would you happen to know the nutritional content of this coconut milk? I was thinking of giving it to my dairy free/soy free toddler and wanted to know what other nutrients I would need to cover.

    • No I do not, but I would assume, like most coconut milk, that is has almost no vitamins or minerals, just lots of good fat.

  2. Made this today and it was simply delicious ! Thanks

  3. Hi, Dawn. I’ve been giving my 14 mo. old daughter carton coconut milk b/c of her allergies. The carton brand is vanilla flavor which makes it sweeter, and after I made this recipe of coconut milk, it has a very different taste, is this normal? And is the vanilla and stevia favorings safe for a 14 mo old? Thank you!

    • Carton coconut milk is actually a formulated beverage. You will see the ingredients list is quite extensive. However, homemade coconut milk has only two ingredients: coconut and water, so it is going to taste different. You can add vanilla and stevia to see if you can make the homemade version taste closer to the processed beverage, but make sure you choose a natural stevia, as opposed to a chemically formulated stevia.

      • Do you know what the difference of raw coconut milk and cooked coconut milk? I was looking a a different website and saw it, and didn’t know if you knew which one is better for you?

  4. Hello! I’m planning on making this recipe for coconut milk for my daughter who has an allergy to cows milk. How hot does the water need to be? Boiling? Or almost boiling? Thank you!

  5. Just made coconut milk tonight, and it is so good! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.

  6. Our family is managing Celiac Disease, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, Fructose Malabsorption, over 25 food allergies combined and many food intolerances as well. I used to NEVER cook ANYTHING, but now I cook nearly everything from scratch. I am just learning to do water kefir (which was a HUGE stretch for me), but the alternative milks I had already regarded as too difficult for me and was sure I would ruin it somehow. I told myself it just wasn’t worth my effort and considered it “off limits”. I knew it would be a waste of money because I would miss some crucial, complicated step and just ruin it. I was seriously afraid to even try. My ASD son is also anaphylactic to Carrageenan, among tree nuts, soy, and many other things, and intolerant to dairy. My two daughters have multiple GI conditions and can’t digest fructose. Two of us are Celiac and nutrient deficient as well. We’re a mess, I know! (We’re doing GAPS). My son is not getting enough healthy food options like smoothies, because I couldn’t figure out what to do about this milk issue and the rest of us are getting things we don’t need in our coconut milk and not getting the things we do. Your post has given me the confidence and encouragement I need to take this final plunge. Thanks so much for a wonderful, positive, truthful, you-can-do-this post! :-)

    • You can do it! :) The coconut milk will separate in the fridge with the fat on top, but all you have to do is let the fat melt a bit and remix. Best to you all in your healing journey! I’m glad I could be of service just a little bit.

  7. Will this freeze well?

    • I REALLY want to know this too. :)

    • Try it and let us know!

      • I would like to know this too! I am hoping to make some homemade yogurt with this, and also would like to use some in my coffee, so it would be nice if I could make a bulk batch and freeze it!

  8. I love the coconut milk I am making if I use it right away or make yoghurt with it but it often sours by the next day even if it is in the fridge. Is there anything I can do about that?

    • Ok, I figured it out ;-) I was making the water too hot. When it said not boiling I was taking it to boiling in the automatic kettle and then letting it go off the boil for a few minutes. That was too hot.
      Now I heat it in a pan while I’m there and as soon as the bubbles start on the side of the pan I stop it. It is just too hot to put my finger in.
      Now it comes out perfect and stays good for a couple of days.
      Such a silly thing to make such a difference LOL

  9. Darn, can’t find my nut milk bag!! Do you think I could use a fine mesh strainer? Thanks!!

  10. I made this today and made smoothies with it…delicious! I wish I would have thought to make my own long ago, would have saved myself a lot of money! And this tastes so much better than the store bought coconut milk! Does this whip up to make whipped cream?

    • So glad you enjoyed it! Homemade coconut milk made from dried shreds doesn’t typically have enough fat in it to whip into cream, but you could give it a try.

      • Thank you for replying so quickly! I didn’t think it would produce enough fat but wanted to double check. I am also saving the “pulp” and drying it out and grinding it into coconut flour!

  11. Good morning Dawn! First of all many thanks for all your wonderful wisdom. Two weeks ago I tried successfully the coconut yogurt. I did it with the cans milk. Simply delicious. Yesterday I tried again the recipe, but this time making my own coconut milk from dried flakes. Sad to inform I didn’t get the sames results, although I followed all the same steps. After almost 20 hrs. in the incubator, it came out rAunny and half water and half milk. I stirred it and placed it in the fridge. After 6 hours, still watery. Any advise? I’m becoming such a fan of coconuts and you :

    • Homemade coconut milk is not emulsified on machines the way canned coconut milk is, and therefore has a bit less fat and needs a lot more mixing to be smooth. However, it seems like your coconut milk either didn’t culture, or it didn’t have enough gelatin or other thickener. If it is not sour, it didn’t culture. Fermentation can be a little tricky when you change up the variables. Best of luck to you!

  12. I’m making my first batch of coconut milk today and am really excited about it! I use coconut oil in all of my handmade lotions & soaps. It is sooo good for you! I found a great deal on dehydrated coconut flakes (5 lbs for $18) at wildernessfamilynaturals.com. They have different sized flakes you can buy. This is the best deal that I have found so far. The coconut flakes smell amazing (makes me want to stick my whole face in the bag, lol). I’m not affiliated with this website, their prices are so reasonable, I just had to share! And these days, it’s all about healthy & frugality right?! Happy drinking!

  13. I’ve been drinking Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water for the past year. Decided to try So Delicious Original Coconut Milk this weekend as I didn’t have time to make my weekly batch of fresh coconut milk. First of all I was totally disappointed when it had no taste at all. Secondly checkout the ingredients for something that suppose to be so good and pure; sure has lots of BS. Real coconut milk suppose to harden when cold because of its fats, the ones in the Tetra Paks don’t. Basic recipe buy organic coconut flakes or fresh brown coconut and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water blend and strain it through a filtration bag. I like to use HH Raw Coconut water to get more nutrients. This would taste 10,000 better and have lots more nutrition. Google raw coconut milk recipes.

  14. Hi! How many batches of this would I need to make for your coconut milk yogurt? Thanks!!! :)

    • You’ll want to use a quart of coconut milk, or about one batch, depending on how well you squeeze out the coconut pulp.

      • Okay thanks! :) I can’t wait to give it a try!

  15. Thank you for this recipe! I normally make dd almond milk but had been wondering about trying coconut milk. I will give this a try today.

  16. What an excellent frugal and healthy way to make coconut milk. Thank you for sharing this post with us at the Gallery.

  17. Can’t believe how tasty this turned out. I used coconut sugar as opposed to stevia to sweeten it. Seemed appropriate. Gonna try with vanilla next time. Can’t wait to start making coconut milk kefir with this. Thanks!

  18. I made this last night, minus sweetener, but I forgot about it and left it on the counter overnight. What do you think? Still safe to drink? It smells fine to me, but I never know the rules on stuff like this.

    • I would drink it after 8-10 hours, but that’s me. You may want to err on the side of caution.

  19. I just made this recipe last night, and refrigerated it overnight to be ready this morning. I’m now wondering if I shouldn’t have refrigerated it! The top inch of the milk was solid, and the milk beneath was much more watery, more like coconut water. Is this recipe not meant to be refrigerated? I am also curious about how (or if it is possible at all) to reconstitute the solid part into the milk?

    • This is normal. All coconut milk separates unless it has been treated with factory machinery and emulsifiers like guar gum. The fat simply floated to the top and hardened in the cold fridge. Just leave it on the counter for a bit to liquify the coconut fat, and then shake the milk well to remix. Alternatively, throw the whole thing into a blender.

  20. I get my Unsweetened Organic Coconut Shreds from Whole Foods by the pound for either $2.99 or $3.99, I forget. They have great prices on Flax-seeds, Sesame Seeds and Chia Seeds as well!

  21. What I do is check the eyes. If they are soft I won’t buy it and make sure when you shake it up you hear a lot of liquid.

  22. I made fresh, homemade coconut milk recently, and it WAS amazing. But since then, I’ve had trouble getting fresh coconuts. The last 3 I bought were bad–they tasted cheesy instead of fresh and coconutty. I realize that coconuts don’t grow naturally in North Carolina and they have to travel far to get to me, but is there a way to make sure the coconuts you buy are fresh? It’s kind of upsetting to get all excited about making coconut milk and then not being able to make it!

    • Unfortunately, there is no way to make sure your coconuts are fresh because they travel so far. You may have better luck at a health food store where the freshness of produce is taken more seriously. I use dry shredded coconut precisely because it is so hard to get fresh coconuts. It’s also easier. :) Best to you!

    • There is no absolutely way to be certain, but a good coconut should have firm flesh, firm eyes, and have lots of liquid inside when you shake it. Getting fresh coconuts is dicey even here in Southern California, which is why I usually make coconut milk with dried shreds. It’s cheaper and more reliable.

      • I’m going to try that. Thank you!

  23. I take two brown coconuts crack them open and drain the liquid out them. Next, open the shell up all the way and take the cocount meat out of the shell.Place the meat in a champion juicer to seperate the cream out of the meat.  Then you can follow your recipe except forget the soaking since the meat is fresh and hydrated.

    • This is certainly the best way to get the freshest milk, if you have time, hand strength, and reliable access to brown coconuts. Thanks for commenting!

  24. Well no wonder mine didn’t turn out – I didn’t do anything like this and thought it was nasty!

    I’ll have to give it a shot again after I get more coconut flakes from Tropical Traditions ~ just got my oil from there today I should have ordered flakes too! Oh well. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Great tip – I’m going to give this a try!

  26. Thanks for sharing this great “how to” with us at Whole Food Wednesdays. It’s amazing how easy something like this can be. Anyone can do it and way cheaper!
    HOpe to see you back next week. Have an amazing weekend.

  27. I love homemade coconut milk…no comparison to the canned varieties.  It’s creamy yet still light plus I know exactly whats going in it.  Thanks! :)

  28. Thanks for the info!

  29. hi there, have been wanting to make my own coconut milk.  Does it taste different to can coconut milk?

  30. hi there, have been wanting to make my own coconut milk.  Does it taste different to can coconut milk?

    • YES! Fresh coconut milk tastes a bit more like coconut milk from a Tetrapak box, except… well, much fresher. I find canned coconut milk to be a bit creamier because of the additives and emulsifying machines used during its manufacture, but otherwise pretty nasty tasting unless you cook with it.

  31. This sounds good, but I have heard that most shredded coconut that you buy is rancid.  Does anyone know anything about this?

    • Coconut oil does not easily go rancid, even in dried shreds. In fact, coconut oil is one of the most shelf stable oils there is. However, that doesn’t mean coconut shreds can’t go rancid, it just means it’s rare and requires some real neglect on the vendors part. As with all food, always know your source.

      I’ve had no problems with organic coconut shreds from Amazon (linked in the recipe) or from Wilderness Family Naturals, which has the highest quality coconut products I’ve ordered anywhere.

    • Coconut oil does not easily go rancid, even in dried shreds. In fact, coconut oil is one of the most shelf stable oils there is. However, that doesn’t mean coconut shreds can’t go rancid, it just means it’s rare and requires some real neglect on the vendors part. As with all food, always know your source.

      I’ve had no problems with organic coconut shreds from Amazon (linked in the recipe) or from Wilderness Family Naturals, which has the highest quality coconut products I’ve ordered anywhere.

  32. Yum, I cannot wait to try this recipe out tomorrow.  Thank you! I am so glad I clicked on your link from realfoodforager’s fat tuesday. 

    • Thanks, Roxanne, and welcome!

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