How To Make Coconut Milk

homemade coconut milk

I was NOT looking forward to making my own coconut milk because when I was a kid it was all but a fun experience.  I remember throwing it onto the concrete floor, what seemed like hundreds of times, but to no avail the coconut wouldn’t budge and it stayed intact.

Fast forward 20 years later and I’m holding a coconut in the fruit aisle and looking at it with fear. I’m sure I looked like a wierdo but alas, I made myself put it in the grocery cart and BUY it. We had company coming over and for the life of me I couldn’t find coconut milk cans anywhere at the grocery stores.  In our little neck of the woods, sometimes you can find an item and the next minute it’s like the earth opened up and swallowed up all the coconut milk, peanut butter, healthy cereal… And of course, this happened when I was playing hostess trying to make my favorite Thai chicken meal.

Well, rest assured this experience definitely replaced my childhood one–it was pretty easy.  Not complicated at all unless you’re scared of using a hammer.  Once I had my fill of watching countless of videos with island accent men (the accent gave them more authority), cracking open coconuts, I felt empowered.

I have also tried the method using coconut flakes and that was super simple but I love all that I can extract from the fresh coconut.  I use the coconut pulp for my smoothies and baking. I use the coconut water for my green juices and I get milk from the coconut meat which I use for curries, soup, baking and drinks!!!  I bought the coconut for $1 compared to $4.50 for a can of coconut milk, so it looks like I got a good deal.

Since I didn’t own of those handy dandy little hatchets I saw on videos or maybe I was just too scared to look for one in my husbands treasure chest, I mean tool box, so I used a hammer. Worked just fine!

homemade coconut milk

How To Make Coconut Milk

1. Place your coconut on a flat surface.  Since I’m a weakling I went to my patio to do this because unlike the videos I looked at, I knew I would have to hit it more than 1 or 2 times for it to crack open.

diy coconut water

2. After 4 or 5 hits (my son loved hitting it) it cracked opened.  You need to have a bowl nearby so you don’t waste the coconut water.  It’s great for your healthy smoothies, juices and shakes.  I pried it open a bit more with my hands and let the water out.


3. There’s my milky white meat! So, now to remove it.  What you need to do is turn it over so it looks like a dome on your surface and hit it slightly at the top, so the meat loosens up and it pops out. There were parts where I had to help it out a bit but for the most part it was nothing like my childhood experience. Note it will pop out with the brown skin on it.


4. Once you have it out, you can choose to peel it the brown skin off or not. I chose not to because it doesn’t bother me. But it will turn your milk a slight brownish color.  Then you chop it up in pieces this size (see image above) or a bit bigger is fine.  I made them smaller because I wasn’t sure how my food processor would do, I usually just make hummus in it.

coconut milk

5. Place chopped up pieces about half way up your food processor with a little bit of the coconut water. You’ll need to do this at least two more times with the other half of your coconut, depending on the size of your processor, so make sure you leave enough coconut water for the next batch or just use water.

diy coconut milk

6. Once it’s chopped up into fine little pieces, place  your 2 cups of hot filtered water in it and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then run it through your strainer.  Strain using a fine linen cloth bag or I use coffee filters. I run it through the strainer and then I place the coffee filter on top and squeeze all of the juice out. You’ll have to do this a couple of times to get ALL of the milk out of the flesh.

7. You may want to repeat the same process again (#6) with just 1 cup of water to get the most from your fresh coconut.

Place your coconut milk in the fridge in a glass bottle with a lid.  Mine didn’t make it past 2 weeks.

Enjoy your fresh coconut milk!

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    • Hi Jacquie,

      Yea, it’s not as hard esp. if you leave the brown skin on it (Not the brown shell :)).

      Enjoy! ~mari

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