How to Make Coconut Milk: 2 Easy Recipes

Coconut milk is a nutritious beverage that tastes great in smoothies, curries, and even chai tea. What’s more, it makes a wonderful substitute for those that can’t tolerate dairy, particularly children, since it’s contains nourishing lauric acid as well as medium chain fatty acids which are known for their health benefits… definitely heartier than rice milk.

Now, how do we make this drink? Well, easy. Climb a tree. Pick a coconut. Then get a hammer and smash the thing open. Be sure not to hurt yourself in the process.

Ha.. ha… for those of us who don’t live in the tropics, learning to make coconut milk can be a major ordeal.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you a healthy “short cut” to make coconut milk that doesn’t rely on a can opener. You see, canned coconut milk works fine in a pinch but we want to limit our use of canned foods due to their Bisphenol A (or BPA) content. This compound has been linked to reproductive problems, cancer and type II diabetes.

You’ll need two ingredients for this recipe. Organic, unsweetened shredded coconut. You can find this online or at health food stores. And filtered water. You can also add sweeteners or flavorings such as vanillacacao, and stevia, but these are optional as it really tastes delicious au natural.

Below are two recipes for you to try.

How to Make Coconut Milk: Cooked Version

Cooked coconut milk recipe ingredients
2 cups organic, unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups of hot filtered water (Use 2 cups if you want a thicker milk)

Directions

  • Put 2 cups of shredded coconut into blender.
  • Pour the boiling hot water into blender.
  • Slowly blend till smooth. Be cautious because the water is HOT!
  • Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and put over bowl.
  • Pour the mixture through strainer and wait till cools.
  • Fold up cheesecloth and squeeze to get remaining liquid.
  • Store coconut milk in glass jar, tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
  • You can add flavorings and sweeteners to enhance taste.
  • Enjoy within 3-4 days.

*Because this coconut milk doesn’t have added emulsifiers, the fat will rise to top. Simply shake and the milk will be unified.

How to Make Coconut Milk: Raw Version

Raw coconut milk recipe ingredients
2 cups organic, unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups of filtered water (Use 2 cups if you want a richer milk)
*Modified from a recipe posted on elanaskitchen.com

Directions

  • Combine the coconut and water in blender.
  • Let sit for 90 minutes.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and put over bowl.
  • Pour the mixture through strainer and wait till cools.
  • Fold up cheesecloth and squeeze to get remaining liquid.
  • Store coconut milk in glass jar, tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
  • You can add flavorings and sweeteners to enhance taste.
  • Enjoy within 1 week.

*Because this coconut milk doesn’t have added emulsifiers, the fat will rise to top. Simply shake and the milk will be unified.

How about you?

Have you ever tried to make coconut milk? How did it go?

References:

  • http://www.organicbenefits.straightanswers.net/bpa.html
  • http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/bpa-dangers-pantry/story?id=8989235
  • http://www.elanaspantry.com/diy-coconut-milk/
  • How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

24 Comments

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  1. Thanks for these recipes! I was just thinking I wanted to start making coconut milk instead of buying.
    I am a little confused on the “Raw” instructions. “Combine the coconut and water in blender.” Does that mean blend or just put both ingredients in and let it sit. “Pour the mixture through strainer and wait till cools

  2. this is awesome! so, in one place you say use in 3-4 days, but in the comment you say it can last about a week. Is there a way to tell when this goes “bad?” And, is there a flavor difference between the cooked and uncooked milks? what other differences are there? taste? THANK YOU FOR THIS!

  3. OMG, I had nooooo idea coconut milk was THIS EASY to make! I’ve seriously always storebought my coconut milk, because I was sure that it took whole coconuts – and who has time for all that? Haha

    I just got home from the grocery store, but I think I’m going to run back out so I can make a batch of this! So excited – thanks for sharing <3

  4. I’m from southern part of India from the state of Tamilnadu. Here we use coconut almost every single day in our food. For our morning breakfast we make “chutney”,a side dish with coconut as it’s main ingredient. And we use coconut milk in gravies and shredded coconut in salad.

    It’s really simple to make.
    You can crack open the coconut by hitting it against any hard surface, like concrete floor

    Then cut small pieces of white coconut meat and put it in mixer. Add little water as required and grind it. You’ll get fresh thick coconut milk.
    Incase if you need watery milk, then strain it to get watery coconut milk.
    You could use the strained pulp for salads or you could have it as it is.

  5. This is AMAZING!! I can’t wait to try it. I hate buying coconut milk since there are always so many additives along with the coconut and water. Even if some of those additives are harmless, I love that this recipe is basic and totally natural/pure! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  6. Oh Mama!!!! Found you on iTube then went to your blog. You just saved me $250.00!!!! I was going to buy a nut/seed machine now I don’t have too. As Kelly suggested I dried the “shreds” & made coconut flour. A two for one. And the milk is creamy & yummy. I have some in my coffee as I write this 😊

  7. What is the difference in the final product between the cooked and raw recipes? I like that it appears like the raw lasts longer, but is it not as good, or are there any other issues with the raw version? Thanks!

    • There are no problems with raw version. You can crack open the coconut and eat it as it is. Its completely edible

  8. I love your videos and tips. Just wanted to mention, though, that this isn’t really a raw milk. You are using shredded coconut, which is highly heated during processing, and you are adding boiling water to it. There really aren’t any nutrients left. But it is SUPER easy to make coconut milk from Baby Thai Coconuts which can be found at ANY Asian market, and most grocery stores are beginning to carry them as well (or you can ask your store to order them, and most will). There are many ways to open these coconuts, but I find the easiest is to use a cleaver and make 4 hard chops in a square around the top. Then simply just pop the top off (there are natural stress points on the top, so with pressure, it cracks open easily). The coconut water inside can be drunk as is, and the coconut meat can be used in numerous recipes or even eaten on it’s own. To make coconut whipped cream, simply blend the “meat” with as little of the water as possible until it is completely smooth (sweetener optional). To make coconut milk, I like to use the meat of 2 coconuts with the water of 1 and a little extra filtered water (I add raw ground vanilla, a pinch of ceylon cinnamon, sometimes 2 raw dates, and a bit of coconut sugar). It’s super easy, really raw, and full of all of the alive nutrients and enzymes! Best of luck 🙂

    • So you use the young coconuts as compared to the old coconuts, I’ve been using the old coconuts and it doesn’t seem to come out well, I get no real cream or anything, I’ve thought maybe I’ve blended to long, any ideas would really help, I seem to get better milk and cream from dried shredded, and I would think it would be the opposite.

  9. I wish you either had a button to “Print” or “Email” the recipe. Thank you

    • If you hit the first green “Share” button, it gives you the option to e-mail it.

  10. Genevieve,

    Can I use this milk if I put it in the fridge to make coconut mouse or it is not enough fat for that?

    • I believe if you allow the milk to separate (as it will naturally do) in the refrigerator, you could skim the nice layer of cream off the top of the water. I’ve had luck whipping that into whipped cream with stiff peaks 🙂 Beat of luck to you!

  11. Thanks for these recipes! I was just thinking I wanted to start making coconut milk instead of buying.
    I am a little confused on the “Raw” instructions. “Combine the coconut and water in blender.” Does that mean blend or just put both ingredients in and let it sit. “Pour the mixture through strainer and wait till cools.” This makes me think the first instruction means blend because it might get warm when blended. I just wanted to make sure I’m understanding the method. Thanks! 🙂

    • Raw simply means you aren’t heating the coconut at all and aren’t destroying any of the nutrients so it lasts slightly longer than the ‘cooked’ version x

      • Oops! Meant to reply to comment above yours :/ sorry!

      • Then why do the cooked one at all? If the raw lasts longer?

  12. this is awesome! so, in one place you say use in 3-4 days, but in the comment you say it can last about a week. Is there a way to tell when this goes “bad?” And, is there a flavor difference between the cooked and uncooked milks? what other differences are there? taste? THANK YOU FOR THIS!

  13. I am also interested in how long you can keep your coconut milk in the fridge, I know you can freeze it, but I like to have it ready to go!

  14. also curious what you do with the pulp.
    and how long does the milk last in the fridge? can you make and freeze some? thanks!

  15. What do you do with the leftover pulp? Trash it? That seems like such a waste!

    • I spread mine out on a cookie sheet and dry in the oven in warm or 200deg, then blend in food processor til fine and it makes a great coconut flour! More absorbable than the kind I buy so I use less in recipies or mix with bought coconut flour.

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