A Tutorial: How to Make Coconut Milk

Ever wondered how to make coconut milk? No, not the tinned stuff; rather, have you ever wondered how to make truly fresh coconut milk?  While tins of coconut milk do just fine – a compromise food that balances the traditional with the modern, the flavor of a true homemade coconut milk is unsurpassed. Take the time and the effort to learn how to make coconut milk at home, and your work will be well-rewarded.

Coconut, traditionally eaten across the South Pacific and in parts of Asia, is a powerhouse of nutrients.  Coconut is rich in trace minerals including manganese which is essential in metabolism, healing and collagen formation, copper which plays a role in immunity and bone health as well as selenium, a nutrient which is critical to thyroid function as well as developing healthy skin, nails and hair.  Beyond these trace minerals, coconut is a potent source of lauric acid – a wholesome and nourishing saturated fat with strong antimicrobial properties which may help to bolster immunity and even show promise in the treatment of acne1.

So, there you have it: coconut is a beauty food which makes learning to how to make coconut milk a worthwhile pursuit, no?  Consider it a beautifying tonic, essential in your routine like an afternoon beauty rest or a tonifying French clay masque.

how to make coconut milk how to make coconut milk how to make coconut milk

Better than Store-bought: Learn How to Make Coconut Milk

If you’ve read Nourished Kitchen for any length of time, you’ll know we don’t take much of a liking to any canned or processed food which makes coconut milk a bit of a quandary; after all, it’s a rich source of lauric acid – a deeply nourishing fat which is otherwise only available in human breast milk.  It’s also a good source of minerals and for those who avoid fresh raw milk by necessity or preference, coconut milk makes an excellent alternative – substantially better than high-glycemic oat and rice milks, undoubtedly better than hormone-disrupting soy milk and better still than nut and seed milks which tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids.  In many ways, those cans of coconut milk are a compromise food – and one of the only canned foods recommended by the Weston A Price Foundation, a nutritional advocacy group, though it is not recommended for GAPS patients.  Add the challenge of cans lined with bisphenol-A, a known human endocrine disruptor2 and probable carcinogen3,4, and you couple the degradation of nutrients by high-heat canning methods with the adverse effects of endocrine-disrupting. Canned coconut milk is, at best, a compromise.

Fresh, homemade coconut milk is also richer in vitamins, food enzymes and nutrients than coconut milk from a tin.  Indeed, fresh coconut milk contains three times as much vitamin C as canned coconut milk and is richer in thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and panthothenic acid.  Moreover, fresh raw coconut milk contains vitamin E, a heat-sensitive, fat-soluble vitamin that is otherwise absent in canned coconut milk.  Learning how to make coconut milk is, indeed, worthwhile for its nutrition benefits alone, let alone the culinary pleasure you’ll experience in tasting something truly fresh, creamy and markedly lacking in that unpleasant dull metallic aftertaste that comes from any tinned food.

Fortunately, learning how to make coconut milk is easy.  So you can drop the cans and pick up a fresh coconut, widely available at most grocers as well as online, and make your own.

how to make coconut milk

By Jenny Published: January 2, 2011

  • Yield: about 1 quart.
  • Prep: 20 – 30 (preparation) mins
  • Cook: 5 (blending) mins
  • Ready In: 25 mins

Learning how to make coconut milk is easy. Select a ripe coconut by holding it up to your ear and gently shaking it; if you hear the sweet slosh-slosh of liquid, you’ve got a good one. In this recipe for homemade coconut milk, we call for hot water which produces a richer coconut milk that’s higher in coconut oil; however, if you’re intent on making an unheated coconut milk, you can use cold filtered water.


  • 2 brown coconuts
  • 3 to 4 cups filtered water (preferably hot)


  1. Pierce the eyes of the coconut with a sharp knife and drain coconut water into a mixing bowl. Split the coconuts by covering in a kitchen towel and smashing with a rolling pin or hammer.
  2. With a sharp knife, pry the coconut meat from its husk, then peel off any remaining brown bits of skin that adhere to the coconut meat. Place the coconut flesh and coconut water in a blender, adding three to four cups hot water Blend until the coconut and water forms a smooth slurry.
  3. Pour coconut mixture through a butter muslin or nut milk bag into a mason jar or pitcher. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, and transfer the coconut milk to the refrigerator.