Homemade Coconut Milk

Jessica Penner, RDDrink, Recipes, Tutorial40 Comments

Homemade Coconut Milk

Save money and skip the BPA by making your own coconut milk! All you need are coconut flakes, water, and a blender!

I absolutely love cooking with coconut milk. Some of my all-time favourite dishes are Thai, Vietnamese, or Indian inspired curries, stir-fries, or soups with a coconut milk base. The coconut helps to mellow out the spices and lends a warm, tropical feel to the recipe. My pantry is usually stocked with several cans of the stuff.

As much as possible I try to use fresh foods or make things myself when it makes sense. It had never occurred to me before that I could make my own coconut milk but the thought struck me the other day so I did a Google and sure enough, homemade coconut milk is a thing. Thank you, Google, for showing me the way!

For a silky smooth coconut milk, you’ll need to filter out the sediment. If you’re making this coconut milk to drink, you’ll definitely want to filter it. Unless you’re the type of person who drinks the extra-pulp orange juice! Maybe you’d like your coconut milk a little on the “pulpy” side. The best and easiest way to filter it is to use a nut milk bag. You could use cheesecloth but a nut milk bag is reusable and therefore a) cheaper in the long run and b) better for the environment! Amazon has a wide selection. Check them out here (affiliate link).

When making homemade coconut milk as a beverage choice or something to wet your cereal with, please keep in mind that it will not be fortified with calcium or Vitamin D, as the storebought varieties are.

Why Homemade Coconut Milk is a Smart Choice

  • I did the calculations and based on an average price of $1.50 for a 398 ml can and $0.50/100g for shredded coconut, the homemade version is 5.4x CHEAPER than the canned! Hallelujah!
  • Nutritionally, the calorie/ml ratio is very similar. However, with the homemade version, if you don’t filter out the sediment, your coconut milk will contain 2.24g fibre in every 100ml. Canned = 0g fibre.
  • Homemade version: BPA free. Most canned foods contain BPA epoxy resins in the lining to keep the can from oxidizing. The jury is still out on how much BPA exposure causes problems in the human body. If you primarily eat a whole foods diet and use canned items here and there in your cooking your exposure level is probably pretty minimal. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to reduce it even more!
Save money by making your own coconut milk

If you want to save time and buy coconut milk but are concerned about the BPA, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. You can buy this BPA-free coconut milk  (affiliate link).

If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram!  I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.  


Homemade Coconut Milk

  • Author: Jessica Penner, RD


Save money by making your own coconut milk!


  • 1 cup (90g) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups hot water


  1. Place the coconut and water in a high powered blender.
  2. Turn on low then up to high speed.
  3. Blend for 3 minutes.
  4. If you are using in a soup or a curry, I recommend using as is. If you plan on using it as a beverage, then filter through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag. You can keep the sediment to add to smoothies or dry it out at a low oven temp and use as coconut flour.
  5. Store in the fridge.


  • Makes 660 ml (2 and 2/3 cup)

Curious to know if coconut milk is the best choice for you to drink? There are over 20 varieties of milk and plant-based alternatives at the grocery store! But they are all different nutritionally. Check out this guide I wrote to help you figure out which is the healthiest milk for you and your family!

milk and vegan alternatives

And if you’re wondering whether coconut oil lives up to its nutritional hype, check out this article!

is coconut oil healthy

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40 Comments on “Homemade Coconut Milk”

  1. better yet-bust open a brown coconut and use fresh meat. store bought grated has already had the milk squeezed out. my mama used to do this-even when we lived in england!

    1. Oooh! That sounds good too! I thoroughly enjoyed cracking open freshly fallen coconuts when I was in Belize!
      I don’t think I can get fresh coconut at my grocery store though 🙁

    1. Regular hot water canning requires that the food to be at a certain level of acidity. I don’t think the coconut milk would be acidic enough! It might work to pressure can this but I am not certain. Please check with a canning safety expert!

  2. Sadly coconut is saturated in sulphites sulphites. This is both the dessicated and the supposedly fresh coconuts used as a glass for cocktails. Such a shame that coconuts are so dangerous. It would be different if you could pick it at the source.

  3. Hi
    another alternative is adding a few drops of coconut essence/extract to skim milk/nutmilk or plain yogurt. With experimentation you can control the strength of coconut flavor you want in your dish I have used this in curries, rice dishes, desserts and baking. Try to get a natural coconut essence like Uncle Roys. This is an old weightwatchers trick that really works. 🙂

  4. But… the result is like a normal vegetable milk with coconut flavor, isn’t it? Or you get also the fat from the coconut? When you buy coconut milk you always have in the upper part a fat layer. I am planning to start to do my own coconut milk but I am not sure if the result will have fat enough to use it for panna-coco or coconut yogurts…

    1. Thank you for the question. The fat from the coconuts is in the beverage but I haven’t allowed it to sit for long enough to separate. So I’m not sure if you would end up with a thick cream on top in the same way that you would from the canned coconut milk. I would recommend sticking to the cans for something like a panna-coco. This recipe is great for drinking, in smoothies, or for cooking.

  5. Oh em gee! It’s like I bought it from the store, but better. Who would’ve thought it could be that easy. I’m so inspired. Thank you for making it all so simple.

  6. Hi Jessica:
    I’m totally agreed with your article. As a coconut lover since 1999 I can vow on this. The healthy benefits of coconut water and oil.
    I start drinking fresh coconut water, straight out the Nut since November 1999. At that time, it hard to buy fresh coconut from US grocery, since I’m from VN, I shop at the Asain Market in Little Saigon, Westminster, CA.
    It was difficult to open daily the Nut. Then through time I had to come up with idea on how to open safe and EZ the fresh young coconut.
    After some many years, I finally come up with the idea. And now I file my patent to protect my idea.
    Please Google The Realraw Coconut to see my video.
    This video we have kid to open The RealRaw Coconut using Fork, Key, a scissor. But I the best tool I recommend is the butter knife.
    You can see this on Youtube as how to open The RealRaw Coconut. A small demonstration we did at Roots in Temecula, CA.
    We are planning to restart our production again within early next year. With another EZ Open, we call Tap Coconut.
    If you need additional info on my The RealRaw and Tap Coconut, please call or email me.

  7. To answer the question about the cream, it works! I just use a 1:1 water to coconut ratio when making it. If it seems a bit to thick, or I just want it to go farther (my son looooooves this stuff), I add a bit more water. I jar it up, put it in the fridge overnight, then scoop out the cream! It’s delicious. I use it as a thickener in dairy-free white sauce, coconut frosting, or in coffee. Currently I have several jars in the fridge. Tomorrow I’ll scoop out the cream, condense the milk so they take up less jars, put the cream and whatever milk I won’t use right away in the freezer. I love doing big batches so I only have to do it about once a week. Sorry this became so long winded, but I’ve found so many good uses I wanted to share (:

    1. Thank you Karleigh! You answered my main questions…. not long winded at all. Perfect!! I wanted to see if I could make it alil thicker and add less water. Also was wonderingabout the yummy fat on top. Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried it but I think it would work. Just remember that the drink will be quite sweet. And you probably wouldn’t want to use it in curries or other dinner dishes!

  8. Hi
    I use the real flesh of a coconut and do the same procedure then warm the milk and add cardamom and zaffron
    It tastes amazing

  9. I love making almond milk, and the process of making the coconut milk is relatively the same. To sweeten my almond milk slightly, I use dates, chopped up in the blender along with my almonds. I assume the same thing could be done with the coconut milk.

  10. Where do you buy unsweetened shredded coconut for that price? I paid much more than that so your calculations don’t work for me.

  11. I’m Jamaican and we use quite a lot of coconut milk for cooking as well as baking. My mother and grandmother never use canned coconut milk but always made their own. Growing up we had to brake open the coconuts cut them up and grate them all by hand and then mix with water and squeeze through a cloth. Yes it was quite a lot of work but it was well worth it. The flavour of fresh coconuts is irreplaceable. Now I still make my own but using a blender. I live in Toronto Canada and we have lots of ethnic supermarkets and even the regular stores supplies fresh coconuts year round, lucky for me.

  12. Hi.
    Just a quick question somewhat off key…
    Do you perhaps know if cocnut milk is more or leas fatning than normal cows milk…

    1. The fat content of this coconut milk varies by how much water is added to make it. This recipe mimics canned coconut milk, which has a higher fat content than dairy milk.

  13. Hi Jessica, I am interested in making coconut milk, probably with shredded coconut but wondering how you can add calcium without using the vitamin version. Any food ideas that you can think of that I can add for calcium?

    Love your stuff here

    1. Thanks, Julie. Almonds are naturally high in calcium. But when you make it into a milk and separate the liquid from the solids, I’m not sure whether the calcium would remain in the liquid or the discard! I can’t comment on the adequacy of you diet as it pertains to calcium but if you are concerned you’re not getting enough I’d highly recommend you consult a Dietitian who could assess your diet and suggest ways to incorporate more calcium containing foods!

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