coconut milk recipe, how to make coconut milk

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How to make coconut milk at home from scratch – since I make coconut milk often, here is a step by step post, which I thought would help many of you.

coconut milk, how to make coconut milk

This post has been in the pipeline for 6 months. It has taken me so long to write something as simple and basic as preparing coconut milk, which I often use in my cooking. Apart from adding it to the South Indian curry recipes and payasams, I also make banana milkshake with thin coconut milk. And the milkshakes are really refreshing and light. I have also shared recipes of Vegan yogurt and Almond milk.

I always use fresh coconut to prepare coconut milk. the method is very easy. I always prepare 3 extracts. The last two extracts of thin coconut milk goes into curries or making payasams like moong dal payasam, paal payasam and sometimes into milkshakes. The first thick extract is added towards the end in curries or payasams.

Keep in mind, the 2nd or 3rd extract can be boiled or simmered, the 1st extract cannot be boiled. If you boil the 1st thick coconut milk, it will curdle.

So before you get confused into 1st or 2nd extract let me take you through the process of preparing coconut milk.

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 also have a manual grater which has a seat and is used traditionally. Here I have grated the white meat with a hand held grater.

grate the coconut

2: take the coconut grating in a blender jar. Add 1 cup water and blend till the coconut is ground well for a couple of minutes.

blend grated coconut with water

3: pour the contents in a bowl or pan lined with a thin muslin or fine strainer.

coconut milk preparation

4: the coconut milk will be strained. Press with a spoon on the coconut shreds so that all the milk is strained away.

strain the coconut milk

5: what you get now is the Thick coconut milk or the 1st extract. I used this in chole biryani recipe.

thick coconut milk

6: put back the coconut shreds in the blender again. Add 1 to 1.5 cups water and blend again. Again strain the content in a different bowl or pan using the same strainer or muslin. Press with a spoon on the shreds again.

thin coconut milk preparation

7: this is the Thin coconut milk or the 2nd extract.

thin coconut milk

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 extract separate or mix them up. Mostly when making curries, I mix the 2nd and 3rd extracts.

how to make coconut milk

So now you have fresh homemade coconut milk ready which you can use in your cooking or baking. You can also keep the coconut milk in the fridge. It stays good for 3-4 days. You can add this coconut milk to mango milkshake or banana milkshake also.

The leftover coconut residue can be roasted in an oven or a pan. Then ground to a flour when cooled to give coconut flour. This coconut flour can be added while making cakes, cookies or breads.

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coconut milk recipe

coconut milk

How to make coconut milk - preparing homemade coconut milk from scratch with fresh mature coconut
4.95 from 20 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Cuisine South Indian
Course Beverages


  • 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 coconut in a blender jar.
  • Add the 1 cup water and blend on high till the coconut is ground well.
  • Strain in a cheesecloth/muslin or a fine sieve and collect the first extract in a bowl or pan.
  • This is the thick coconut milk or the first extract.
  • Then collect and put back the coconut residue 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.


If using unsweetened shredded coconut, then preferable to soak the coconut in warm water for a few hours and then blend.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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Comments are closed.


  1. Hi, I wanted to know if it’s possible to make coconut milk Greek Yogurt with this? I have a Greek Yogurt starter. Thankyou.

    1. 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.

  2. can i add ashwagandha ,shatavari ,white muesli and other herbal medicines/powders in lukewarm coconut milk and consume it in night ?

    1. i am not sure how the combination can affect the body. it is better to consult an ayurvedic doctor.

  3. 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?

    1. just make it warm. do not heat or boil as then coconut milk can curdle

  4. 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???5 stars

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. Hi
    Could you please tell me if i can use the leftover coconut residue for sambar or bhindi fry, something simple or cococut rice.5 stars

    1. 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.

  7. 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.5 stars

    1. Thanks Shoaib for your positive feedback. Its always better to prepare food items at home. Nice to read your feedback.

  8. 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.5 stars

    1. thanks seb. i do plan to add the preparation of coconut, but in a separate post.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. Can i drink coconut milk, any extract from these 3 steps ?
    is it ok for pregnant lady?5 stars

    1. 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.

  10. can i drink 3rd extracted coconut milk after boiling and adding sugar to it ?

    1. 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.

  11. 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?

    1. 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.

  12. Hello Dassana,

    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…

    1. 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.

    1. hiral, it will become rancid. use it within 2-3 days if kept in fridge.

  13. 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

    1. 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.

  14. Hi,
    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 🙂5 stars

      1. 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?

        1. thats a coconut grater and its good. i use it to grate coconut. i got locally. but i think its available on 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.

  15. i have never tried making coconut oil from coconut milk. so cannot say. you try searching online on how to make coconut oil.

  16. 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.

    1. thanks jennifer. the grating part takes time. if you have chopped coconut pieces, then you can easily grate them in the food processor.

  17. 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!! 🙂5 stars

    1. 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 🙂

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. Thanks for sharing the post Dassana, my next target now is to get the coconut grater 😀 😀