Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe

Easiest 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.

The EASIEST Homemade Coconut Milk

More On this Homemade Coconut Milk

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 the 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

Recipe

Easiest Homemade Coconut Milk

Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe

This is the Easiest Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe around. No bags, no waste, and super frugal. For drinking, baking, and all your dairy-free needs.
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Beverage
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, Vegan, whole30
Servings: 6
Calories: 102kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Blend on high speed for at least 2-3 minutes. (Note: I adjusted this time from 2 minutes due to a reader's comment that the previous 2 minutes left some flakes of coconut. This is much better. 3 minutes is sufficient for a high-powered blender like Vitamix. You will need additional time if using a regular blender. Simply blend until the contents are well mixed and frothy on top.)

Nutrition

Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 1g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

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 use 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!

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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179 Comments

  1. I LOVE this recipe...I wish I would have thought to make my own coconut milk years ago! This is so much better than store bought too! I also love your condensed coconut milk, it goes great with my iced coffee!
    Have you ever tried, or do you know if anyone has ever made yogurt out of this milk successfully?
    Thank you so much!

    1. 5200. Love it. I would love to try their new model though. If you are going to buy one there's a free shipping offer through my site on the sidebar. πŸ™‚

  2. I was so excited to come across your recipe a couple days ago and gave it a shot tonight. I have an Oster Professional two speed blender and even on the high setting for three minutes the milk was way too chunky. But we all agreed it tasted really good.....better than the store bought stuff. If it was a little richer and was blended better it would be perfect.

  3. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your vitamix recipes and techniques for things like this-coconut milk, coconut butter,etc. Our Vitamix was a huge investment for us and although I know its a great machine I still am a bit hesitant about what it can do and dont want to push it too far. I'm excited to think how much I can save making mine own coconut milk! (I made the coconut butter recipe you shared and it was amazing!) Thank you!

  4. Delicious idea thanks! Couple of things I noticed. 1) Hot water does make a richer beverage, but blending the hot water can lead to a blender explosion not great with kids around 2) I don't have a Vitamix but used my nutribullet so I'm sure the Ninja will do 3) Don't strain the coconut, add pineapple, banana, goji berry, lime, green tea ice cubes, a little agave and salt and it makes a dreamy smoothie that's surprisingly energizing.

      1. Hmmm... is it just the cheapo bags of unsweetened shredded coconut found in the baking section at most grocery stores? Don't those have preservatives? Or would it have to be found at a health food store? Any special words to look for on the label? "Raw" or something? I just want to make sure to get the most healthful option!

        1. I personally just make sure there is no sodium metabisulfite in it....or other preservatives. And no sugar. I buy organic when I can. Raw is a personal preference. Truly raw dried coconut would have more of the enzymes intact. :).

  5. Thanks for your above response, Adrienne. I buy coconuts here where they've already hacked the shell off with a machete, so that's nice! Sooo, is it necessary to heat the water then if it is fresh? And I'm still wondering if I should just blend it all up like you do or strain off the coconut after 30 seconds so I can make coconut flour from it also. Maybe it's a question of if it's ALL blended in it will be fattier and make better ice creams, etc. but for general use it would be fine the way I'm doing it?

    1. Apparently the warm water makes richer coconut milk than cold but you can do it either way from what I have read.

  6. I just made this with the intention to make it into your delicious ice cream. Question: I do not own a vitamix, so my Ninja will have to do. There is a lot of solid in the bottom of the blender (shredded coconut, I used a fresh coconut). Do I include this in the milk to make sure that the ice cream will harden? Thanks in advance for your response!

  7. Hi! I have 2 questions. (1) Can I use fresh coconut to make this or do I need to dry it first? (I buy fresh coconuts). (2)I'm new at this and have been putting the fresh coco in my Vitamix with hot water, then at #5-6 for 20-30 seconds. I pour it through a sieve, store the milk, then dry the leftover coconut to blend and make flour. Is this a good plan to get 2 things out of one coconut? By using the hot water am I drawing more out of the coco? Any input is appreciated as I live in Guatemala so can't buy coconut flour, etc. THANKS! =]

    1. What you are doing is the standard way to make coconut milk. I just did this as an easier way for those of us who don't want to deal with hammering a coconut open :-).

  8. We are dairy free also and I have been thinking about making my own coconut milk. I've scraped out coconut from young coconut and it's very creamy with a strong flavor. I've also try it with the brown coconuts and it's too hard trying to remove the coconut flakes.
    So I'm going to try it again after reading your post.
    Question:
    (1) Where do you buy shredded coconuts without preservatives?
    I almost pick up shredded coconuts at Sprouts but had to put it back because it had some preservative to preserve the color.

    (2) What do you use to for calcium? Most store bought coconut milk has some calcium added.

    Thank you again for the post and the reminder that I need to try again.

    1. Hi there.

      I buy my coconut from Country Life Natural Foods.

      There is Ca in my current supplements. I need to revisit that as we might be changing our supps. You can buy Ca and just take it if that concerns you but I have read you need to be careful to take it w/ proper supplements like Mg or D3. πŸ™‚

  9. Adrienne - You are wonderful!!! I am learning so much from you. I'm going to go fire up my Vitamix and make coconut milk. Thank you for sharing, you are such an inspiration!!

  10. Sorry! πŸ™‚ The first time I made it, I just threw the medium shreds and water in my Ninja. It got frothy and well-mixed, but there were so many pieces in it, it was not only undrinkable, it would require straining through a bag, but I'm on strike. πŸ™‚

    This time, I made the coconut butter in my food processor, just the coconut, no water. After the long process of doing that, I took 3/8 c. of the butter (still warm) and put it in the blender with warm water. It went for about 3 minutes and was just as you described yours being, very smooth with just the tiniest of little things in it. (this is the easy way, after all!) I would have been fine with it like that but knew my boys wouldn't drink it, and there was so little of it, that I poured the milk through the fine strainer on it's way into the jar. It gave me about 2-1/2T pulp, which dried into 1T, which sits prized in a jar in my cabinet. πŸ™‚

    If something is still confusing, please ask. I'm trying to keep an eye on my tornado two year old as I write this. πŸ™‚

  11. I was not able to get this to work in my Ninja stick blender. But I was inspired by your coconut butter recipe to make coconut butter in my food processor first and then put that and warm water (I did 3 cups) in the blender. Worked fantastic! I did strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve as I poured into the jar. Quite painless! (after a year and a half of squeezing nut milk through a bag, I can't even bring myself to make it anymore, so I needed this to be easy) Then, from your suggestion somewhere, I dehydrated the strained parts and have coconut flour! (only 1 T, but hey!) This is all very exciting for me. I'm extremely grateful for your website. I've become emboldened! Thank you!!

    1. Yea again! Now, can you explain what didn't work - the milk? I have a revised option coming soon that will hopefully empower you more. What did you strain if the milk didn't work - and were you adding water to the coconut to make the butter? Sorry - I'm confused :-).

  12. I tried this and used unsweetened dried coconut. The brand is Eileen's that I get from an employee owned grocery store that is local here in Aurora, IL. I don't have a Vitamix, my sister does and raves about it. So, I did make some modifications that worked excellent for me. I have a coffee grinder/spice grinder and I put 1 cup in there and ground it on fine. I ground it until it became almost a fine flour.

    Then I put it in my food processor with the whisk attachment and added one cup of water and mixed. But mine is too small so I transferred it to my blender with 2 full cups of water and blended it for 3 minutes. It looks just like the SoDelicious Coconut Milk that is sold next to SoySilk and Almond Breeze. I didn't add any sugar or anything. This worked excellent for me.

    It could be possible that those who have Vitamix can blend the shreds dry first to chop them up and create a fine powder and then add the water afterwards and this could potentially work. Those who have problems with it being gritty it could possibly be because of how the coconut shreds you selected were treated and dried. This can have a huge impact. The less preservatives and additives the better, these are just my suggestions and I hope they help. I sent the link to this page to my sister. I think she is going to LOVE this recipe.

    1. What a great tip! I am going to try blending the coconut and I'll update my readers with your fabulous tip if it works for us!!! Thank you!

    1. Can you explain more of what you are asking? I have never personally frothed mild for anything --but when I make the coconut milk there is a ton of frothiness on top. Does that help?

  13. Thanks Adrienne for all the wonderful money saving tips! I, along with 2 friends, go through cases of young coconuts each week. We make coconut water kefir and also ferment the meat to make a "pudding". I was wondering if you have used your coconut milk to make a kefir.

    1. You're so welcome!!! I have never made kefir, sadly. I started kombucha awhile ago and got off track when I was reacting to fermented foods - but I am hoping to start again and have water grains in my fridge right now. I am sure it would work though!

  14. Yes... After chilling the can of milk overnight, I take the solids from the top to whip. After I start whipping it up, I add a bit of the coconut water in at a time until I get it to the texture / lightness I want. I also flavor with a bit of vanilla and you can add a touch of your favorite sweetening agent, if desired. I don't have a Vitamix, but after reading your blogs for the last couple of hours, I think I may have to get one! πŸ™‚

    1. I'll have to try it. I don't have coconut water. I'm assuming you can use other water, right? Yes, I wouldn't be w/o my Vitamix. I just couldn't go as fast in the kitchen without it. I'm sure you'll be really pleased. Make sure you at least get the free shipping deal through my blog if you decide to go through with it :-).

  15. I have just learned recently to make "whipped cream" out of coconut milk for my friends that can't do dairy. It's fabulous and some of my family has even said they like it better than regular whipped cream. Do you think it can be made from your homemade coconut milk? Since I use the solids from chilled (canned) milk, I didn't know if the small particles in the homemade would keep it from whipping up...

    1. Kathy, do you mean from the solids on the top? I haven't tried it yet, but I've been meaning too. Why don't we both try and check in w/ each other to see how it goes? There is one difference - I think it is that the coconut water isn't in the dried coconut so that will change something and I think I've heard it might not work. Let me know and I'll try too.

  16. Just wondering, does this version have the fat from the coconut that is in canned coconut milk? I love coconut milk. I am on a dairy free diet and coconut is my favorite replacement. We live in a small town in rural Georgia and no stores around here carry coconut milk. Walmart has it occasionally. This will we a great alternative.

    Paige

    1. Yes, it does have the fat. I do think that it might not have the coconut water. But otherwise it should be identical. Enjoy!!!!

  17. In reading through the comments, it seems that a lot of peeps aren't getting their milk smooth. I have been making great Almond Milk recently and perhaps some of those step will help to smoothen out their Coconut Milk.

    1) put the shredded coconut into the blender with only 1 cup or so of water and blend...the key here is the turn that shredded coconut into a paste of sorts.

    1a) add a pinch of salt and 3-4 dates in with the shredded coconut to slightly sweeten and continue blending.

    2) add additional water until desired thickness / thinness is acheived. Note: the more water added, the less creamy and less flavorful your milk will be.

    3) strain through a cheese cloth and or simple mesh strainer (I use both). This will remove all of the fine bits and will leave you with a smooth creamy drink.

    4) place discarded solids onto a baking sheet and place into a 250 degree oven. Bake (and occasionally stir) until pretty dry. Sift flour through a flour sift and you will have yourself Coconut Flour.

    5) Repeat process with Coconut or any nut for a variety of flavorful milks.

    6) Enjoy and know that you have achieved greatness and are among an elite class

    1. Thanks!! I'll have to get around to the cheesecloth method one of these days. Too time crunched at present.