How to Make Coconut Milk

how make coconut milk homemade coconut milk

Do you want to know how to make coconut milk? If you regularly use coconut milk in your cooking, learning how to make coconut milk will save you a considerable amount of money.

That’s because it’s hard to find coconut milk that’s not only organic, but also free of guar gum and other additives, and packaged in BPA-free containers.

By making coconut milk at home, you can meet all this criteria and save money. What’s not to love?


How Making Coconut Milk Saves Money

I can buy organic, guar gum free, BPA-free coconut milk for about $2.75 per 14oz container, or $1.57 per cup.

I can buy organic, unsweetened coconut chips for about $17.50 per 3 pounds. That makes 48 cups of coconut milk, so it comes to $0.36 per cup!

That’s a huge savings simply for learning how to make coconut milk at home.

how make coconut milk homemade coconut milk

How to Make Coconut Milk

Inspired by this video recipe from Radiant Life. Makes about 2 cups.

The Players

The How-To

1. Heat water on the stove until it’s hot, but not boiling.

2. Put coconut chips in blender (I recommend and use this one.) Pour hot water over the chips.

3. Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until you get a creamy, thick homemade coconut milk.

4. Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth. Pour the coconut milk through the lined strainer into a bowl. This will remove any larger remaining coconut meat. When you’re done pouring the coconut milk through the strainer, ball up the cheesecloth and give it a good squeeze to press the remaining liquid through. You can use your residual coconut caught in the cheesecloth in a recipe that calls for coconut, or you can toss it.

5. Transfer your homemade coconut milk from the bowl into a mason jar or other container. Use the homemade coconut milk immediately, or keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.

When you make coconut milk this way, it’s delightfully fresh, creamy, thick, and full-bodied. You won’t go back to store-bought milk again!

Where to Buy Organic Coconut Chips

how make coconut milk homemade coconut milkI get the organic coconut chips I use to make coconut milk from one of my sponsors, Radiant Life.

Their coconut chips are sustainably harvested, organic, and low-temperature dehydrated to preserve nutrients.

They’re also completely additive-free with no hidden sweeteners or preservatives.

(Click here to buy organic coconut chips.)

(top photo: elanaspantry, middle photo: givengrace, bottom photo: radiantlife)

(standard disclosures apply)

Comments

  1. Mandy says

    I buy the Nutiva coconut manna (have also used Artisana) to make coconut milk. 1 part coconut manna (also called butter) + 2 parts water in the blender. Works great!

    • Laura says

      I’m pretty sure you put that new milk in the fridge and the cream will harden a bit and come to the top, just like in the can. :)

    • says

      It’s pretty much the same, but you would use one brown coconut per 2 cups of hot/warm water. You just have to add in the added step of cutting the coconut open and removing all the meat.

      I did that once and decided it was too much effort for this busy momma! It turned what normally takes me 5 minutes from start to finish into a project that took 25 minutes.

  2. Matt says

    I noticed that Radiant Life offers larger chips or smaller flakes. You mention both in your recipe. Which have you had the best outcome with? Have you made ice cream with the coconut milk?

    • says

      I have the best outcome with coconut chips. Sorry if my language was confusing! I went back and edited it so that it’s clear I’m referring to chips the whole time.

      (I was saying “flakes” not in the sense of labeling the product, but as a descriptive term for what handling them is like. I can see how interchanging them was confusing.)

      And finally, yes you can use this coconut milk just like you’d use any other (including for making ice cream).

    • says

      Likely so. I’ve made coconut milk from brown coconuts before, but found the process too time consuming for me as a busy momma. It takes an extra 20 minutes or so to crack the nut open and remove the meat — turning something that’s a relatively instant process into something that requires actual planning and TIME.

      One of the ways I manage to feed my family real food is by taking my breaks where I can get them.

      In this case, I source coconut chips from a reliable source and radically reduce both my costs and my time spent in the kitchen.

      Also, I can’t find brown coconuts for less than Radiant Life’s Coconut Chips where I live. I can when I’m in Houston, visiting family, and go to their large Asian markets. But here in small town Texas, outside of Austin, brown coconuts cost about $1.50 each. Each one only yields about 2 cups of coconut milk, so that’s $0.75 per cup (twice what I pay by using coconut chips).

      Anyhow, if you have access to cheap fresh coconuts and the inclination to crack them open and remove the meat and process it into coconut milk & flour, more power to you!

      I’m just glad to have found a solution that’s pretty accessible to everybody — regardless of where they live or how little time they have.

  3. Shari W says

    Is there anyway to turn the leftover coconut into coconut flour? At the rate we go through the milk, we would end up throwing out a LOT of flakes. But if it could be turned into flour – that would be a wonderful benefit!!

    • says

      Yes, just dehydrate it. If you want it to have an even texture, you can pulse the dehydrated leftovers a few times in a food processor. Just be careful because if you pulse it too long, you’ll turn it into coconut butter.

    • Gretchen says

      YES! I just did this yesterday! You spread the leftover coconut on a baking sheet (or place it in your dehydrator) and set your oven at the lowest temp (mine is 150) and dry anywhere from 2-12 hours until completely dry. Mine only took 3 hours and I stirred it around once. Then you take the dried coconut and place it in a coffee/seed grinder (in batches) and whiz it around for about 30 seconds. Voila! Coconut Flour!

  4. Gretchen says

    When the coconut cream rises to the top and hardens in the refrigerator, it makes it kinda chunky to drink and my kids hate it… Any suggestions? I don’t want to let it out to soften because I’m afraid that hastens spoiling and we like it cold. Also I’m not real fond of removing the hard cream because isn’t that where all the good medium chain fats are? Thanks!

    • Terran Murphy says

      Stick blender! Store the coconut milk in a container you can fit the head in. You get creamy, dreamy coconut milk in seconds! (Just don’t blend too long or you will have a loose whipped “cream!”)

    • monica says

      We let the oil/cream rise to the top and then I remove it and put it in a jar in the fridge. Then whenever a recipe calls for oil, I use this. Sometimes I just munch on it. It’s mostly oil from what I have experienced.

  5. says

    I am so glad step #1 wasn’t “Go buy yourself a coconut.” I’ve tried that, and after some dinged up kitchen utensils and bowls, most of the coconut was buried in the back yard.

    • says

      Maybe nothing. It’s been shown to cause digestive distress in people who already have digestive issues (1 in 3 Americans, according to the latest surveys).

      It doesn’t personally affect me, but I think it gives my middle child stomach aches.

  6. Joanna says

    Hi Kristen, Thanks for the recipe for coconut milk. Another concern I have is that coconut milk is high in fat. Do you know anything about this or how one could reduce the fat content?

    • says

      You can use either, but the quantities may need to be adjusted a little.

      I’ve also found that the milk made using the chips comes out creamier. Maybe because they’re thicker when dehydrated, they have more fat?

    • says

      Yes, you can. Just make sure it’s unsweetened, low-temperature dehydrated, and has no fillers or additives. Also, I’ve had better consistency with the chips, which is why the recipe recommends them instead of shredded coconut.

    • says

      You could try it and find out.

      But honestly, that’s why the recipe only makes 2 cups — so that it can be used quickly for whatever recipe you have in mind. (And if you need more for something in particular, it’s easy to keep the proportions right when you double or triple it.)

      It’s pretty much the perfect amount for a few days’ worth of coffee creamer, the perfect amount to add to curries or soups or stews. It’s meant to be made and consumed quickly.

  7. says

    Is it possible to make this in anything other then a vitamix? We do have a smoothie maker with a sharp blade, would that work?

    also, you mentioned low-temp dried coconut….do you know how low that should be? My supplier says the coconut is dried anywhere between 190-270F.

    • says

      Absolutely any blender will do. If it *had* to be the Vitamix, I would have named the brand and listed it as necessary equipment for the recipe.

      Low-temperature at or below 118F. It keeps the coconut technically “raw,” preserving the enzymes and other heat-sensitive nutrients.

    • says

      You could also use a thin, clean cloth diaper. (The old-fashioned kind that you have to fold many times.) They sell those at Wal-Mart and Target, so they may be easier to come by.

      And yes, you can generally toss it into the laundry and treat it gently (like you would pantyhose or other delicates).

  8. says

    I’ll have to try this with coconut chips – but I make it every few days with shredded coconut and it works fine. (Though I find that the texture is better if I use tepid water. Somehow the texture is always slimy when I use hot water.)

    Note that flour sack kitchen towels also work fine for strainung the milk…

    Thanks, Kristen!

  9. Quincy Aragon says

    I just tried to purchase the 3 lb bag of coconut chips for $17.50. The shipping cost was $76.11. That kinda kills the 36 cents a cup goal here doesn’t it?

    • says

      Where are you trying to ship to? Standard shipping everywhere in the contiguous 48 states is usually $8 or less.

      Plus, I always place bulk orders, so I get free shipping from them.

        • says

          How weird!

          Try clearing your temporary cached files. I don’t know how to do it on a Mac, but on a PC you just hold down ctrl and F5 at the same time on the page you want to reload. So, I’d empty your cart of EVERYTHING, then try clearing the cache, then go shopping again and add the items you want back into your cart.

          Next, make sure you select standard UPS Ground Shipping and input your address correctly.

          If you still have the same issue, I’d contact Radiant Life’s customer support and see if they can help you.

          All I know is that the price you were quoted makes no sense at all.

      • QDog says

        Just tried again and same thing. $76.11 shipping.

        Someone else please try it and see what you get. There’s no commitment up to the part shipping is calculated.

      • QDog says

        OK never mind it was my fault. Somehow the shipping changed to next day air. I know the first time I did it it was normal ground. I did have to do it a time or two cuz I mis-typed something so it must have changed in there somewhere and I stopped paying attention.

        Thanks

  10. chaya says

    seems “wasteful” to buy such good quality raw coconut, and then put it in hot water, basically nullifying the raw enzymes. It sounds soo good though, will be trying it raw or not!

  11. QDog says

    So I tried this the other day and ended with coconut flavored water. Hardly the creamy loveliness that comes out of a can. I purchased the coconut flakes you use and even used more than one cup. Although one cup is kind of up to the individual. One could use a cup of loose chips of pack them down hard. I used a loose cup and then grabbed another handful or two. How exactly do you do it?

    Even more importantly, does yours turn out thick and creamy like the stuff that comes out of a can?

  12. Tony says

    If you’re not making coconut powder, what do you do with all the leftover pulp? Seems like a waste to throw it out. I don’t have a food processor. Just a blender.

  13. Melody Davis via Facebook says

    Is this for drinking, like the type bought in the carton or for cooking, like the type in the can?

  14. Tela says

    Hi! I made coconut milk without heating the water. I used coconut chips and room temp. filtered water. Is it necessary to heat the water? Could I heat it after it’s been blended and cooled? Do I throw it out? It was in the fridge over night. Please help :)

  15. josephine chaparro says

    Thanks for letting us know where to purchase the items we need for the recipes. Real important for all us. Thanks.

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