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Karly Blair
Holistic Nutrition Specialist
"Eat Whole, Live Whole"
Homemade Coconut Milk
Omni-Wholetarian RecipePaleo-Wholetarian RecipeVege-Wholetarian RecipeVegan-Wholetarian RecipeRaw-Wholetarian RecipeGluten-Free Recipe
Made Two Different Ways

You may be surprised how easy it is to make your own coconut milk with just shredded coconut and pure warm water. No added ingredients necessary like the ones from the store. Really, who knew?

Homemade coconut milk recipe

To make this non-dairy healthy milk you are going to need a nut milk bag or a fine straining cloth like cheesecloth, a high powered blender, some coconut and pure warm water.

There are two ways to make Coconut Milk.

Coconut meat from a mature coconut

You can make it from the coconut meat that comes fresh out of a mature coconut. That is if you have a lot of time on your hands and or you’re looking for something creative to do in the kitchen.

I enjoyed doing this for the experience but I won’t be doing this again. It’s just too much work!!!!!  If you’re still interested, see my post on how to open a coconut and the best tool to get the meat out.

desiccated verses shredded coconut image

The easiest way to make coconut milk is to use dried, shredded or desiccated coconut. The difference between desiccated and shredded coconut is the size and shape of the dried coconut. The desiccated coconut is on the left and the shredded is on the right.

Make sure to read the ingredients of the dried coconut you purchase to make sure you are not getting coconut with added sugar. I love Let’s do Organic brand of coconut. Do not get the reduced fat version!  All the flavor and goodness is removed from it.

Make your own coconut milk

This nut bag is perfect for making coconut milk and all kinds of nut milks. You can purchase one here.

squeeze coconut milk through a nut bag

It is really quite simple to make your own coconut milk with dried coconut and it taste so much fresher. You just might want to give this a try.

See notes below on options for utilizing the coconut residue left in the bag.

Coconut Milk
Yield: 1½ cups
  • 1½ cup pure water, warm (can use coconut water)
  • 1 cup dry unsweetened desiccated (shredded) coconut or fresh coconut from a mature coconut
For a sweetened vanilla flavor add:
  • 2 dates or 2-3 drops of stevia or other sweetener of choice
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla
  • A few grains of sea salt (optional)
  1. In a tea pot or small pan, warm up the water without allowing it to come to a boil. Preferably under 118 degrees to keep the natural enzymes in the coconut alive if you are using fresh coconut.
  2. Put the dry or fresh coconut in a blender with 1 cup of warm water and blend for a few minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a nut bag, twist the top and proceed to squeeze the milk out of the nut bag and into a bowl. A glass measuring cup works well.
  4. Put the remaining pulp residue from the nut bag back into the blender.
  5. Add the remaining ½ cup of warm water and blend for another minute or two.
  6. Strain this mixture through the nut bag to get more milk out of the residue. There you have it, fresh coconut milk!
  7. If you are not going to use it in a recipe such as ice cream, you can add the sweetener and flavorings and use it like you would any milk over cereals.

 The Expiration Date

Fresh coconut milk does not have any preservatives so it will only last 2-3 days in the refrigerator however you can freeze it for months.

Frozen Coconut-F-592
I purchase fresh, frozen coconut milk from a local Asian Supermarket and a lot of it! I buy a dozen at a time and always keep it on hand in the freezer. We like to make ice-cream and smoothies with it! They also have frozen grated coconut meat. Both are fabulous. If your local Asian Market doesn’t carry it, ask them if they will. The current price I buy the coconut milk for is $1.69 for 16 oz (2 cups).  It tastes so much better than canned coconut milk or tetra paks and is even cheaper.

If you are using a mature coconut:

See my post on How to Open a Coconut to remove the water and meat.
You can replace the water in this recipe with coconut water for added flavor if you like. I personally don’t like it with the coconut water. I would rather use the coconut water for smoothies or other beverages and just use pure water to make coconut milk.

Left-over pulp residue:

The left over pulp residue from making coconut milk can be used in other recipes. Raw foodist are great at utilizing coconut pulp and vegetable pulp from juicing into recipes.
You can also freeze the pulp for future use.
Remember that most of the fat and flavor has been removed so it is used mostly as a filler or extra fiber.
You can mix some coconut pulp residue into anything that you are feeding to your animals such as dogs, cats horses, goats and chickens, but don’t give them too much.
Adding it to your compost container or pile is helpful to recycle into rich soil for your garden.

Or you can make dried coconut.

To make reduced fat dried coconut:

The residue pulp from making coconut milk by hand is a reduced fat, but not nearly as reduced as Let’s do Organics-Reduced fat version of dried coconut. I think it tastes like cardboard because it is so reduced in fat. But when you squeeze it by hand, you are still left with enough fat to keep it tasty.

To dry it, simply sprinkle it evenly onto a cookie sheet pan preferably lined with a silicone sheet.
Turn the oven on to the lowest setting possible (around 170) and place it in the oven for approximately 3 hours. Do not try to speed up the process by turning up the heat or you risk it turning brown and tasting like cardboard.  (I tried to use my food dehydrator to keep it under 118 degrees but the fan blew the coconut off the tray- bummer!)
When dry remove from the oven and let cool.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place.
See wRecipe Coconut Sprinkles on how to add color to the dried coconut if desired.

Coconut Flour:

Coconut flour is made from the coconut pulp residue. However when using a kitchen blender and by hand squeezing, it still has a little too much oil in it to make a good flour.
Coconut flour is made from the residue of Virgin Coconut oil where a mechanical press is used to almost completely remove all the oil from the coconut pulp – something that cannot be done effectively with a kitchen blender and hand squeezing, as reported by Tropical Traditions. I tried it anyway for the experience and it worked but the flour was slightly oily. I dried the coconut residue and then tried blending it in the Vita Mix, a food processor and even a wheat grinder. The food processor was the least fine and I think a larger batch may have gummed up my wheat grinder if I kept making more, so I think a high powered blender works best if one really wants to make their own coconut flour.

Coconut Butter:

The residue pulp from making homemade coconut milk will not make coconut butter because it does not contain enough fat. See how to make lovely, delectable Homemade Coconut Butter.
For more info on Coconut Products see the wArticle Making Sense of Coconut Products.
Photos by Karly Blair

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