Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe – Do It Yourself

Easy Homemade Coconut Milk

{UPDATE, 10/9/12:  This recipe has been updated to be better, but still super easy.  See Easiest Coconut Milk – Improved!}

Why make homemade coconut milk, you ask?  When it’s easy to just pick up a can at the grocery or health food store?

Well, you see, we love coconut milk.

We also love dried coconut, fresh coconut, coconut oil, coconut butter (check out my post on how to make your own coconut butter)-well, coconut in any of its forms.

We love coconut milk because it tastes great, but also because it is a great dairy-free, lactose-free milk alternative (my son has a life-threatening dairy allergy and my husband is severely lactose-intolerant.)

However, there are two things that I do not like about coconut milk.

  • One is its price. One of the biggest obstacles in transitioning to a more whole foods based diet can be cost.  As such, we need to try to trim those costs in any reasonable way possible.
  • And the second is that, if you aren’t careful, you might end up with a coconut milk that contains sodium metabisulfite, one of those icky preservatives. Who needs ’em?  Better to have your own coconut milk fresh made right in your own kitchen!

Now, coconut milk, even at a good price, costs approximately $1.50 per 14 ounce can, while the organic version typically costs around $2.00 per can.  So being the kind of cost-conscious and environmentally conscious person that I am, I sought out to try to make homemade coconut milk myself.

I found that I could quickly

  • save a lot of money
  • control the ingredients, and, in the process,
  • help the environment by reducing excessive packaging.

One thing necessary for me to make something myself on an ongoing basis is that the process must save me money and not be too time-intensive.  For example, a one-time trial of making coconut milk from fresh coconut and then straining out the extra flesh might be a fun family activity or homeschool experiment, but I don’t have time to do it on an ongoing basis.

I will preface this recipe by saying that there is a more purist way of making homemade coconut milk from dried coconut.  I might just show you that in a future post, in addition to a way to make coconut flour, should you so desire.  But for now, this is an easy quick way to get the job done and save you lots of money.  And that is the kind of recipe that I like :-).

Update: A reader just asked if you can use this homemade coconut milk in my dairy-free ice creams.  The answer – “Yes!”  That’s what I used.  More recipes will come, but for now, enjoy

I really love this milk when it is freshly made.  The froth on top is wonderfully creamy and I use it to top a warm mug of coffee substitute in the morning.  If you make more than you will use at once, just stir it prior to using to make it more uniform in consistency.  Canned coconut milk tends to separate as well, there are just a bit more coconut solids in this version.

It really is that simple.

How can you use coconut milk?

I keep mine in a large pitcher in the refrigerator and use it for:

  • smoothies,
  • baking, and
  • just drinking plain.
  • freeze it in ice cube trays and plop into warm coffee or tea when you need some “creamer.”
  • If you happen to be one of those lucky Vitamix owners, you can even put the coconut milk cubes into the Vitamix with some sweetener and fruit and make an amazing smoothie!

but it will only keep for about 4-5 days, tops.

Homemade coconut milk will only keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, so could make only 1 3/4 cups at a time, which is the amount in a typical 14 ounce can.  Just use 1/4 cup of dried coconut and fill your blender container with water to the 1 3/4 cup mark.  Blend as directed above.

Clearly, this recipe meets the “simple and reproducible” requirement.  Well, how about the money-saving part?

Assuming you spend $4.50 per pound for your organic unsweetened coconut (a typical price), you would be able to make 14 ounces of organic coconut milk for only 22 cents, plus the cost of your water.  Now, that’s worth it for this bargain-hunting mom.  Let me know how it works for you!

Check out my post on how to make Coconut Butter for another super-frugal coconut treat.

Into Making Your Own Everything?  Check out my

What is your favorite way to use coconut milk?

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  1. I tried this recipe to do exactly as you said: save money on buying the milk. For what I can buy in unsweetened coconut, it makes way more than store bought to be sure! I have a Cuisinart blender and when I make this, it kind of makes coconut butter on the top. I can’t put more than 2.5 – 3 cups in at a time per cup of shredded coconut because otherwise it makes a mess (even with the lid on). How can I get it to incorporate the actual coconut more?

  2. wondering if you ever attempted making the coconut whip cream as i saw mention you were going to try in an above comment? would love to know :) Thanks!

  3. I started making coconut milk because of the cost and the added ingredients. I love it even more now that I have a Vitamix. I do strain mine and then use the pulp to make coconut flour.

  4. Best coconut milk recipe ever! All the recipes call for way more coconut- usually in a 1:2 ratio, and besides the cost, I couldn’t bare to waste so much coconut. I used another recipe in which you ran a 1/2 cup through 1 cup of water 3-4 times, letting it steep for 5 minutes each time. This was extremely time consuming and it was more like coconut water than it was milk. Am so stoked to have found this!!! Hope others out there looking for an easier and more efficient way to make coconut milk find this!!

  5. Rose Martin says:

    Is this coconut milk recipe alright to give to a one year old?

    • I would ask your doctor of course. If it’s OK to give canned coconut milk then this is for sure OK. I personally recommend breastmilk for as long as possible though and can’t make medical recommendations :).

  6. Could this be made with raw coconut taken from a whole coconut you buy at the store? at a considerable cost of buying shredded coconut.
    I was able to remove 12 ounces of raw coconut today at the cost of $1.29 for the Coconut.
    I seen a video of someone using what looks like the entire contents of a coconut with 4 or 5 cups of water in their Vitamix.
    You recommend 1 cup of shredded coconut which weighs about 3 ounces with 4 cups of water. Are you stretching the coconut water ratio because a whole coconut seems excessive with only 4 cups of water.
    Just wondering as I have a VItamix 7500 and am looking for recipes.
    Thanks Bill

    • Yes, you could but keep in mind that the dried coconut has the water removed so you can’t compare the cost of dried to fresh coconut since the water is removed from the dried coconut. I have seen other recipes that call for 2 cups of dried coconut per 4 cups of water and am thinking about revising my recipe. Does that help?

      • Hi thanks for the followup I really appreciate it. I was wondering though since you use a measurement of volume rather then weight, would a 1/4 of fresh coconut still measure out the same in volume compared to dried? What I mean is if I shredded my fresh coconut wouldn’t a 1/4 cup have the same volume as the dry coconut but weigh considerably more from the water? I don’t know, I am am just opening up dialogue in hopes of getting a better grip on all this as, don’t mean to ask stupid questions if they are to you. I appreciate you call for dried coconut in your recipes, and maybe coconut shrinks when it dries, guess that is my ultimate question which I do not know and would make sense and alter the outcome of a recipe considerably. Have you ever tried making coconut milk using solid fresh coconut and if so do you have ratios of coconut and water?
        I am excited about introducing new foods in our diet. We just got our Vitamix last week and have been indulging in kale and spinach in ways I never thought possible and dropped over 5 lbs in the process. I always seek out those with more knowledge then I do when confronted with subjects I know little about and am learning about and appreciate any input.
        I am looking forward to making almond milk and coconut milk and not paying the high prices for processed store stuff loaded with ingredients I cannot pronounce.
        Thanks again for your insight.
        Bill

        • Hi there and sorry for the delay in responding. I’ve been swamped and am trying to catch up. I don’t know if that would work but I would think it would be close. I guess try it and see :). Hope you were able to make the milks in the meantime :)!

  7. Hi Adrienne! I just wanted to thank you for your website!! It is absolutely the best I have ever come across.

  8. Can I make coconut milk out of the oil? If so is the ratio the same ?

  9. I absolutely love this recipe!! Thank you! I have one question , what do you use the stuff at the top that separates from the milk for? I put it in a separate jar in the fridge and it hardened., any suggestions?

  10. Technically you are supposed to dehydrate it and it is coconut flour. I tend to just blend mine in w/ more water and use it :).

  11. Ok thank you! I will try! :)

  12. You’re welcome!