‘Kalpavriksha’ or the Divine Tree is what the coconut tree is known in Sanskrit. The reason being it is really the ‘tree of life,’ as every part of this tree – from the husky covering, shell, leaves and kernel to the flesh, water, oil and milk – is useful to human beings. In this post of mine, I’ve shared the steps on How To Make Coconut Milk at home in the most easy way. Coconut Milk is quite the magical extract from the coconut fruit, which is a healthy and organic plant based milk alternative. Try it.
Table of Contents
What is Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk is simply the white, milky extract from the tender white flesh of the mature, brown coconut fruit from the coconut tree.
Usually, whenever the question of How To Make Coconut Milk at home arises, the answer is simple. You grate the white flesh or meat of the coconut, blend it with some water and strain to get the milk.
With this procedure, you can get about 1 to 3 rich and creamy extracts of the Coconut Milk, which range from the thickest to the thinnest. Then, you can use these individually or in combination, for culinary purposes as and how a recipe demands for it.
Coconut Milk is one of the best natural by-products of a fruit, that can be used as a substitute for dairy milk. Thus, makes for an awesome vegan-friendly ingredient too.
It is usually used to thicken as well as bring in some sweetness, both in savory and sweet dishes. Homemade Coconut Milk is always better as it is free from any fillers, preservatives or additives.
Other than this, it is also brimming with health benefits and is great for the human body as well. So, look no further, and check out this post on How To Make Coconut Milk for a homemade batch that you can easily use to make delicious dishes.
More on Homemade Coconut Milk
The procedure that I have demonstrated in this post of How To Make Coconut Milk is really simple, and will definitely not give you sleepless nights! The maximum effort that you will have to put in this method is to grate the coconut flesh. That’s it.
Post which, you just need a blender, some water and a muslin cloth/nut milk bag/cheese cloth or a fine strainer to get your desired consistency of this vegan milk.
Having said that, it did take me quite a while to create a post, as basic and easy as How To Make Coconut Milk, even after me using it in my cooking so often. But it is here now, and you can make full use of it.
Apart from adding it to South Indian curries and sweets, I also make a light and refreshing Banana Milkshake with the thin extract of this milk.
I always use fresh coconut to prepare Coconut Milk and mostly prepare 3 extracts. The last 2 thin extracts usually go in making rice based dishes, some gravies and sometimes into milkshakes. The 1st thick extract is added towards the end in curries or sweets like this Moong Dal Payasam.
One important thing you must keep in mind is that the 1st extract cannot be boiled, as it curdles or splits if done so. However, the 2nd and 3rd extracts can be gently boiled or simmered.
Also, if you are using unsweetened dry shredded coconut, then it is preferable to soak the coconut in warm water for a few hours and then blend.
How To Make Coconut Milk
1. Take a fresh mature coconut and break it open. Collect the water in a glass and grate the white flesh with a hand grater.
In India, we have a manual grater which has a seat and is used traditionally. Here, I have grated the white meat with a hand held grater.
2. Take the grated coconut in a high-speed blender jar. Add 1 cup water and blend for a couple of minutes or till the coconut is ground well.
Note that I make three separate extracts having thick to thin consistencies – which require blending three times. If this is not what you prefer, blend only once adding 3 cups of water.
3. Pour the contents in a bowl or pan lined with a thin muslin or fine strainer. You could also use a cheese cloth or a nut milk bag to extract the milk.
4. Press with a spoon on the coconut shreds so that all the milk is strained. This way you can strain the Coconut Milk.
You could also opt to press the coconut grates with clean fingers and extract the coconut milk.
5. What you get now is the thick Coconut Milk or the 1st extract.
6. Put back the coconut shreds in the blender. Add 1 to 1.5 cups water and blend again.
Again strain the contents in a different bowl or pan using the same strainer or muslin. Press with a spoon on the shreds again.
7. This is the thin Coconut Milk or the 2nd extract.
8. You can stop here or continue to get the 3rd extract. Proceed in the same way as for getting the 2nd extract.
You can keep the 2nd and 3rd extracts separate or mix them. Mostly when making curries, I mix the 2nd and 3rd extracts.
So now you have your fresh homemade coconut milk ready that you can use in your everyday cooking or baking.
Keep the coconut milk in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to use it straight away. When refrigerated, it keeps well for 3 to 4 days.
Coconut Milk Uses
Once you have the fresh homemade Coconut Milk ready, you can use it in your cooking or baking as well. Just like me, you can add it to your fruit based Milkshakes, smoothies or protein shakes too. This plant-based milk even stays good for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
More ways to consume it include adding it in your cereal bowls or make Chia Pudding. Use it as a replacement for dairy milk in your coffee or just have a bit of it with some fresh berries.
In addition to these, traditional Indian dishes like chutneys, Coconut Milk Rice, various Indian curries and even smooth, rich Thai curries like Red Curry or Green Curry can also be made with it.
The leftover coconut residue can be roasted in an oven or a pan. Then, cooled and ground to a flour which will give you a nice healthy, homemade coconut flour. You can use this coconut flour to make your cakes, cookies and even breads.
- Adding Sweeteners: In India, when we extract coconut milk, we do not add any sweeteners, as the milk is mainly used to make creamy, thick curries and sometimes while preparing sweets. But do feel free to add sweeteners of your choice. You could also blend the grated coconut and water with some dates, dried figs or any preferred dried fruits or berries.
- Extracts: I usually make three extracts of coconut milk and this means blending three times. According to your preferences, opt to blend the coconut and water once only adding 3 cups water. Strain and extract the milk.
- Coconut Type: Since fresh mature coconut is easily available in India, we usually do not make coconut milk from desiccated coconut. But you can prepare coconut milk from unsweetened desiccated coconut. Also keep in mind that the milk extracted from fresh coconut tastes different than from the dry shredded or desiccated coconut.
Coconut Milk Benefits
Researchers have approved of the many significant health benefits that Coconut Milk has in store. Here are some that you must go through, to try and include it more often in your diets:
- This plant milk is a calorie-rich food because of the high amount of saturated fats and electrolytes in it. Thus, making it good for increasing the stamina in your body and replenishing loss of fluids that may occur during strenuous workouts. Thus, helps to reduce fatigue and build muscles too. It also has some vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Coconut Milk has a good number of antioxidants which help in protecting the body from certain types of cancers, heart, and other diseases. It is also known to boost the immunity in our body.
- Since it is rich in certain types of good fats, it helps to keep the body full for a longer time. In turn, helping to reduce and keep a control on the weight.
More DIY Recipes To Try!
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Coconut Milk Recipe | How to make Coconut Milk
- 2.5 cups grated fresh coconut or unsweetened shredded coconut – see notes below
- 3 to 4 cups water – at room temperature
- Take all the grated fresh coconut in a high-speed blender jar.
- Add the 1 cup water and blend on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until the coconut is ground well.
- Strain in a cheesecloth/muslin/nut milk bag or a fine sieve/strainer and collect the first coconut milk extract in a bowl or pan.
- This is the thick coconut milk or the first extract.
- Then collect and put back the coconut grates from the strainer/muslin/nut milk bag back into the blender.
- Add 1 to 1.5 cups water and blend again.
- Strain and collect this coconut milk in another bowl.
- This is the thin coconut milk or the second extract.
- Put back the coconut gratings again in the blender.
- Add 1 to 1.5 cups water and blend again.
- This is thinnest coconut milk or the third extract.
- Strain for the third time and collect the third coconut milk in the bowl in which the second thin coconut milk is extracted.
- You can also keep the third extract separate.
- So the fresh coconut milk is ready. Use it fresh in your cooking.
- You can also refrigerate and use the coconut milk later. It keeps well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
- If using unsweetened dry shredded coconut, then it is preferable to soak the coconut in warm water for a few hours and then blend.
- You could also make the entire lot of coconut milk in one go, instead of blending three times. Simply blend the coconut with 3 to 4 cups water for a few minutes. Strain and extract the milk.
- The coconut milk extracted from fresh coconut meat tastes different than when extracted from dried shredded coconut.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This How to make Coconut Milk post from the archives first published on September 2013 has been republished and updated on November 2022.
Comments are closed.
So simple to make, the coconut milk is great for a quick dairy free alternative in everyday food & drink & especially Indian food.
‘Kalpavriksha’ or the Divine Tree… wow that is true! I love coconut milk and that is an interesting introduction as well
Hi, I wanted to know if it’s possible to make coconut milk Greek Yogurt with this? I have a Greek Yogurt starter. Thankyou.
i am not sure about coconut milk greek yogurt, but you can make coconut milk yogurt with the greek yogurt starter. just add 2 teaspoons of greek yogurt to 2 cups of thick coconut milk. mix very well. cover and let ferment for 6 to 8 hours in a warm climate or for more hours in a cool climate.
can i add ashwagandha ,shatavari ,white muesli and other herbal medicines/powders in lukewarm coconut milk and consume it in night ?
i am not sure how the combination can affect the body. it is better to consult an ayurvedic doctor.
Finally a plant based milk that is not tasteless and runny. This is going to save me so much money on store bought plant milk.
Can we mix normal cow’s milk and coconut milk and heat?
coconut milk can curdle on heating even if you mix with dairy milk.
Hi.. Can i dilute the first extract of coconut milk with water and then mix with the other the extracts and heat it? Is it ok?
yes you can.
if the child wants to drink warm coconut milk can i heat it
just make it warm. do not heat or boil as then coconut milk can curdle
Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. I have been buying coconut milk from market and it was real heavy on my pocket as Due to PCOS I m not allowed to consume dairy products. Now I will make it at home. How long can I store it???
take care surabhi of your health. fresh coconut milk can be stored for 3 to 4 days. after that it starts becoming rancid. alternatively you can freeze coconut milk and it will stay good for some weeks.
If we are using food procceser for grating coconut shall we peel of the brown skin of the coconut ? Please reply soon as I am making daily coconut milk for a special diet plan.
there is no need to peel the brown skin. i do not use a food processor for grating coconut. i use a table top grater. but i do not remove the brown skin. even when i use a grinder to grate coconut pieces at times, i keep the brown skin.
Could you please tell me if i can use the leftover coconut residue for sambar or bhindi fry, something simple or cococut rice.
yes you can use in sambar and bhindi fry or any veggie stir fry. you can even make coconut based cookies or desserts with the remaining residue. in coconut rice, i am not sure how the texture will be.
Such an easy way to get your very own pure coconut milk with no damn additives and preservatives. I had my oatmeal with homemade coconut milk and believe me I can’t explain how tasty it was. Plus I take a big cup of this milk every night as I am lactose intolerant and it tastes really good.
Thanks Shoaib for your positive feedback. Its always better to prepare food items at home. Nice to read your feedback.
This is a really helpful recipe that will be very useful for all those wanting to get away from buying tinned coconut milk, some of which does seem that appetising given the additives.
It might be useful to add preparation of the coconut: puncturing the three eyes, extracting the fluid inside, then burning off the whiskers on a gas hob, then hitting all around the nut with a hammer to detach the shell from the nut, then hitting along a consistent line to get an even half shell break.
thanks seb. i do plan to add the preparation of coconut, but in a separate post.
Can I use this coconut milk directly into popsicle moulds for my toddler?
you can. if you want you can even lightly warm and then let it cool and then add. but just a lukewarm and not hot.
Can we mke coconut milk from coconut milk powder? If yes, pls tell how!
nashara, in the markets, one gets these packs of coconut milk powder, than you just need to mix with some water and make coconut milk. once i tried but i did not like the coconut milk from the ready made pack. i do not know if coconut milk can be made from desiccated coconut powder.
Can i drink coconut milk, any extract from these 3 steps ?
is it ok for pregnant lady?
coconut milk cannot be drunk as it is. do include in it in some meals. eg you can mix some red poha with coconut milk and jaggery. add some dry fruits and fruits like bananas or mangoes and have it. or you can make smoothies or milkshakes with coconut milk. with any extract also you can make smoothies. also you can add any extract or coconut milk in dishes like rice, pulao or various gravies/curries. it is fine for a pregnant lady.
can i drink 3rd extracted coconut milk after boiling and adding sugar to it ?
no need to boil. you can just warm it and have. if you want you can also have it chilled without warming. just use it as you would add regular milk while making fruit based milkshakes like mango or banana or apple etc.
Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes. I made a batch of coconut milk for the second time yesterday but the taste is off, slightly sour I feel. This is the first milk. Any idea why this happened and how can I use it?
welcome alka. looks like the coconut was not fresh and on the verge of getting sour or spoiled. fresh coconut will give a nice aroma and a subtle sweet tasting milk. discard this coconut milk as won’t be good for the body.
I do not have the traditional Coconut grater. Is it ok to grind the coconut chunks in grinder and then add milk? Or any other alternative you can suggest…
you can grind the coconut chunks in grinder. but do slice in small chunks, so that they are easier to grind. once they are ground, then you add water and continue to grind till the coconut milk can be extracted from the paste.
can i store this coconut milk for a couple of week???
hiral, it will become rancid. use it within 2-3 days if kept in fridge.
I live in northern BC , Canada and we don’t see too many fresh coconuts here!
I’m making this recipe using dried shredded coconut. I soaked it for 3 hours in warm water and used my ” Magic Bullet ” blender to grind the mixture. I then strained it with a jelly bag which worked great because you can really wring all the liquid out with your hands. And guess what? It tastes just like coconut milk! Great recipe thanks! I’m allergic to cow milk and I find the store bought alternatives really upset my stomach I’m assuming because of all the additives. I’ll use this for cooking baking and maybe even in my coffee lol. Looking forward to trying out the almond milk recipe next
thanks you lannie. i would suggest if at any time you manage to get fresh coconut, then do try extracting milk from it. you will simply love its freshness.
Love your explanation on how to extract coconut milk. I have added a link to it in my Recipe for “Goan Prawn and Okra Curry” at my blog.
Do visit and check it out if you’d like 🙂
thanks kimberly. i will check in my free time.
Where can we find that grinder? Thanks
which grinder are you referring to, denise?
If she means the grater in step #1, I’m curious of this as well. Is there a good source to order this type of grater? What else is it used for?
thats a coconut grater and its good. i use it to grate coconut. i got locally. but i think its available on amazon.in. only used for grating coconut. it has clamp which seals the base with the kitchen counter top. so the grater does not move while grating the coconut.
i have never tried making coconut oil from coconut milk. so cannot say. you try searching online on how to make coconut oil.
Thanks, that seems really straightfoward = good. I imagine the longest part is grating the coconut to begin with; I think I may be able to accomplish that in my food processor.
thanks jennifer. the grating part takes time. if you have chopped coconut pieces, then you can easily grate them in the food processor.
I was recently diagnosed with SIBO and have strong allergies to almost every food. Is there a way to make coconut whipped cream?
Other recipes suggest buying canned coconut milk, but they all contain Carrageenan, Guar Gum, or other “Gums” which I cannot eat.
Any Coconut Milk Whipped Cream recipes you can suggest?
I would GREATLY appreciate it!! 🙂
yes you can make coconut whipped cream. what you do is is refrigerate the first batch (first extract) of thick coconut milk in the fridge for a day for 7 to 8 hours. the fat & cream would float on the top after refrigeration. collect the top part in a bowl and then whip it. this is the natural way of making coconut cream. i hope this helps. take care 🙂
I live in remote location of Kutch, Gujarat. Once I came through a biryani recipe online which required coconut milk. I made the biryani but without coconut milk as we don’t get it here. Now I will try with coconut milk. Thank alot for this post.
I and my wife were still wondering how we can prepare coconut milk,learning firsthand that we can use it in place of conventional milk,now we know how to do it perfectly. Thanks a million!
I am from the tropical island of Trinidad where there is an abundance of coconut trees. I have a tree in my back yard. It is very tall and I use the coconut for making coconut cream. The coconut cream is very pure, delicious and healthy. I love to eat a piece of the dry coconut as I call it.
Thank you for the tip on using dry coconut. I felt many of the recipes weren’t right. I kept thing you should soak the dry flakes first. Then I came across your post:)
I am looking forward to making my own butter. I can get grass fed cows cream. I feel like the days when we lived on the farm. Our neighbor always making butter.
Fantastic tutorial. I make my own coconut milk the same way. It’s so easy and so much better than conventional, store-bought coconut milk in a can.
Thank you! I have been searching for a recipe “from scratch”. I don’t care for the recipes that use shredded, dried, packaged coconut when there are fresh coconuts in abundance here. Any suggestions for where to get one of those graters you mentioned? Or what about using a food processor? Mahalo!
thanks. even i have checked some coconut milk recipes online and i was like why to use packaged or dried coconuts. but then i realized fresh coconut is not available everywhere. these type of graters are available in india. may be some online indian store must be selling it. food processor works fine. but in this case you have to remove the flesh from the hard outer cover and then roughly chop and then add in the blender. though i have never tried the blender method. you can just chop the white meat of the coconut. add them in a powerful grinder or blender. add water and blend till all the coconut is ground. and then extract the coconut milk.
Easy and delicious.
Hope to know how to make coconut oil also.Thanks
Can you suggest some receipes which use the roasted coconut powder
i don’t have the recipes on the blog. but coconut flour can be used to make cookies, added to breads, cakes. if you search on the web, you will get a lot of recipes using coconut flour.
Thanks for sharing the post Dassana, my next target now is to get the coconut grater 😀 😀