After testing how to make coconut milk two ways, I am happy to share the easiest way to make coconut milk at home! I absolutely love coconut milk and use it almost every week. I like to add it to my morning oatmeal, a splash in coffee or matcha, or to make curries and creamy soups. It’s seriously good stuff and is an awesome dairy replacement.
The issue I have with buying coconut milk at the store is that there are a lot of options, but they never are quite right. The first option is canned, which only comes in 13.5 oz cans and is usually about $3 each. Often there is carrageenan or other thickeners added as well as potentially BPA in the can liner.
The second option is coconut milk in the rectangular Tetra Paks. Pacific Foods is a common brand, but they add guar gum and it’s also fortified (which is not necessarily bad, but I don’t want the guar gum).
The third option is in the refrigerated section. So Delicious is a common brand and their unsweetened original coconut milk has a lot of added stuff, including coconut concentrate, natural flavor and xanthan gum. Definitely not buying that!
So you can see that it’s pretty difficult to find an economical coconut milk that is simply coconut + water without any additives!
But, if you have a blender and 10 minutes, you can make delicious coconut milk at home and it will cost you much less.
Bobs Red Mill shredded organic coconut – $3.99 for 12 oz & this recipe uses 5.5 oz
Cost per ounce:
Native Forest “Simple” Canned: $0.22/oz
Pacific Foods Tetra Pak: $0.12/oz
Back to my test kitchen… Now I’ve seen people make coconut milk from dried coconut as well as from fresh coconut. But I really wanted to know — how different are they?? So of course I made both on the same day so that I could compare for you guys!
After digging out the flesh from a single coconut, I blended it up with 1.5 cups of filtered water and strained it through my nut milk bag. The result was creamy and so delicious. Definitely a bit fatty. After refrigeration, the coconut cream rose to the top and solidified, just like when you buy it in the can. This cream can be scooped off and used to make whipped coconut cream or other yummy desserts and recipes. Otherwise the whole jug will need to come to room temperature before it can be shaken up.
For the coconut milk made with the dried coconut shreds, I steeped the coconut for 5 minutes in 4 cups of warm water to soften the flakes. After blending, I also filtered it through my nut milk bag. The result was also delicious, creamy, albeit slightly less creamy and fatty than the fresh coconut milk, but still excellent in flavor and texture. The coconut milk from tetra paks and refrigerated section are runny, in my opinion, and this is not like that at all. Once refrigerated, the cream separated, but did not solifiy. Which actually is perfect if all you want is a liquid coconut milk. Just shake before using.
THE VERDICT: the easiest and cheapest way to make coconut milk is with the shredded coconut. If you want coconut cream, use a fresh brown coconut.
So there you have it! Two great ways to make coconut milk at home and you are going to love the results!
Easy Coconut Milk
Makes about 4 cups (32 oz)
This is the best and easiest way to make coconut milk. It’s also much more inexpensive than buying the canned stuff. This recipe whips up in a few minutes and tastes amazing! Before serving, shake well as separation is natural.
Author: Leah Romay
- 5.5 oz dried finely shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- 4 cups filtered water
Blender, nut milk bag or cheesecloth in a strainer
- Heat the water on the stovetop to about 100 degrees F.
- Place the shredded coconut in your blender and add the water. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Blend on high for 2 minutes.
- Pour into nut milk bag and squeeze until no more liquid comes out.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Shake well before using.
Coconut Milk Made From
a Fresh Brown Coconut
Makes about 4 cups (32 oz)
Coconut milk from a fresh brown coconut is delicious and creamy. Make this recipe if you want to coconut cream, as it will naturally separate when you refrigerate it. Place the coconut milk in a wide mouthed jar so that you can easily scoop the cream off. The result will not be the same if you use a young green coconut.
Author: Leah Romay
- the flesh from 1 fresh brown coconut, roughly chopped
- 1.5 cups filtered water
Blender, hammer or mallet, nut milk bag or cheesecloth in a strainer
- Hold the coconut in a folded towel in your hand. With your other hand, hit the coconut with the mallet. Rotate the coconut and continue to hit it until a crack forms. When the coconut water starts seeping out, hold the coconut over a bowl and pry it open a bit with a butter knife so the water runs out.
- Continue to hit the coconut until it cracks in half.
- Place your folded towel on a cutting board and put the coconut half on it, flesh side down. Hit the coconut until it breaks into smaller pieces. Use a spoon to pry the flesh from the shell. You do not need to remove the brown skin that is on the flesh.
- Chop the coconut into smaller chunks and add to the blender with the water.
- Slowly turn the speed on your blender from low to high. Blend for 2 minutes on high.
- Filter through a nut milk bag and squeeze out as much as you can.
- Refrigerate for about 1 week. Separation is natural.
- To collect the coconut cream, refrigerate in a bowl or widemouth jar and scoop off the top layer when solidified.
Dr. Leah Romay is a dentist passionate about health and wellness and believes that health is possible for everyone. She’s been in the kitchen cooking from scratch for most of her life and greatly enjoys creating healthy and delicious recipes. In addition to practicing dentistry full time, she spends her free time developing recipes, reading scientific studies, and helping others live their healthiest lives through evidence-based lifestyle and diet. Read more about Dr. Romay and her story here.