Homemade Coconut Milk

The other day, my husband randomly wanted to buy a fresh coconut.  Ooookaaay, but what the heck are we going to do with it?  Based on my research online, it seems that most people either make homemade toasted coconut or coconut milk.  I went with the coconut milk route because it’s a great excuse to use my handy dandy new blender.

Here are some easy tips on how to make homemade coconut milk using only 2 ingredients.

02Homemade Coconut Milk

Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe
(Makes 16 ounces)


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh coconut meat, chopped (see directions)


  1. Figure out how to break open the coconut without hurting yourself.  (My husband hacked at it with a large heavy knife with the coconut on the sidewalk.  This gave it something to sit on while keeping coconut shell bits from getting everywhere in the house.)
  2. Take the flesh of the coconut out of the shell (a clean flat head screwdriver can serve this purpose).
  3. Cut the brown inner skin off (a potato peeler does a decent job at this or you can just carefully cut it off with a knife).
  4. Cut the coconut meat into chunks.
  5. In a blender, blend the water and coconut until it is the consistency of milk.
  6. Put a coffee filter into a tall cup and secure it to the top.  (If you are using the short shallow kind of coffee filters you will probably need a rubber band to hold it in place.  I used the standard #4 cone shaped filter and after folding it over the top of the cup it stayed in place on its own.)
  7. Slowly pour the blended coconut mixture into the coffee filter, a 1/2 cup at a time.  (Note, I strongly recommend using a new coffee filter about every other pouring in order to prevent the filter from tearing or busting through the bottom.)
  8. Allow the coconut milk to drain.
  9. Discard the coconut pulp.


I made my husband in charge of cutting open the coconut since it was his idea to buy it in the first place.  It wasn’t pretty.  Pieces of coconut flew all over the kitchen until he decided he’d rather make a mess outside.  (He really did decide that on his own.)  There are many great tutorials online for how to disassemble a coconut, like the one from David Lebovitz.  Good luck and may the force be with you, it really is quite a task.

01Homemade Coconut Milk

It took my blender about 3 minutes to blend the ingredients, but it may take your blender longer so be patient.

Once all of the pieces of coconut are gone (you know, from all that blending), you will still have coconut “dust” in the liquid.  Drain the coconut milk through a coffee filter to remove the fiber.  (This step can actually be skipped if you want to keep the fiber.  Filtering it definitely does make the milk more pleasant to drink for me though.)  You can use the coconut milk right away or chill it.  Note that over time, the coconut cream will rise to the top and naturally separate out from the milk.  You simply need to shake it up prior to using it.

If you’ve never had it before, it tastes exactly as it sounds.  It’s a yummy coconut flavored drink. You know what’s the best part about making coconut milk at home?  It’s all natural and I can pronounce all of of the ingredients (you know, water and coconut, both pretty easy to say, and coconut is even kind of fun to say…  coconut.     🙂 )

05Homemade Coconut Milk

Here’s what I learned from this experiment:

  1. Cutting open and removing the shell from a fresh coconut is a pain in the butt.
  2. Making homemade coconut milk using a fresh coconut takes a LONG time.  While there are relatively few steps to this recipe, it will test your patience.     😉
  3. For me, the key to making homemade coconut milk is the filtering process.  Which is also a pain in the butt but at least has the advantage of being redo-able if your filter breaks.  (Mine did, several times.)
  4. Like with most homemade products, it’s cheaper to make it at home than it is to by it pre-made.  (Though not a lot in this case.)
  5. Coconut milk is a great dairy free alternative.
  6. Coconut milk is packed with all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants, but it’s high in saturated fat and thus whether it’s actually good for you or not is a topic of hot debate.
  7. Coconut milk can be used as an ingredient in smoothies, savory dishes (most commonly in Indian and Thai cuisine), desserts, you name it.  You can also enjoy it as a chilled beverage.  In that case, some people add sugar and other ingredients to it, but I found it delicious without any additions.

03Homemade Coconut Milk

Have you ever worked with a fresh coconut?  If yes, what did you make and how long did it take you to wrestle the meat out of the shell?



3 Hats

Source: Vitamix


Here are some great recipes, using coconut.

Blackberry Coconut Smoothie

01Blackberry Coconut Smoothie

German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

04German Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Coconut Fudge Bars







  1. Wow, I’m super impressed that you DIY’d coconut milk!!! Super cool!

    1. Tina says:

      So am I. 😉

  2. A really useful tip. I love to work with coconut milk.

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome, glad to hear it. 🙂

  3. Yum! This looks so good! I love fresh coconut meat and this coconut milk looks delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  4. I want to try this right away! So question, is the end product thick and creamy like the canned stuff? Or it is more “watery” like almond milk?

    1. Tina says:

      Great question! I’ve used this at room temperature and chilled for a few hours. Both ways have the consistency of almond milk/milk (watery).

  5. Tina, I am in pure heaven! Love this. I always let my hubs crack it open, too. Pinning and keeping in mind. Hope you’re having a lovely day!

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome sauce! 🙂 It’s rainy and chilly here in CT, but otherwise all is good. Have a beautiful day, Gloria!

  6. Ashley says:

    I’ve never bought a fresh coconut before …. largely because I couldn’t imagine actually cutting it! haha I don’t trust myself : ) This is really cool though … I love the idea of making coconut milk at home!

    1. Tina says:

      Hehe, yeah, I wouldn’t trust myself with cutting into a fresh coconut either. 😉 Thankfully my husband was up for the task. 🙂

  7. I love that this uses fresh coconut and has no added sugar! The only time I actually liked coconut was when I was in Costa Rica and it was fresh from the tree- so maybe I would like homemade coconut milk since there would be no added sugar.

    1. Tina says:

      How fun!

  8. ooooooh, this looks good. I would love to try this, Tina.

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks! 🙂

  9. Mary Frances says:

    Haha, that would so be me! “This is great … what do I do with it??” This is a fantastic recipe and gorgeous photos. Delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      True story. 🙂

  10. Oh my gosh, cutting open a coconut is SO HARD. I tried my hand at homemade coconut milk a few years ago and finally had to give up because I could not get that dang coconut to open. Andd I didn’t have any strong men in the house to help me. LOL. You make it look so easy and delish-looking, I just might have to give it another try! Wish me luck with that coconut! 😉

    1. Tina says:

      Please be super careful if you try again (and good luck)! Even my husband had a tough time cracking it open.

  11. I would actually love to try this out, but seeing as we live in a big city right downtown, I think people would think we were nuts if we tried chopping a coconut on the street lol. Maybe one day 😉

    1. Tina says:

      LOL. Yes, that might be odd. If anyone gives you the stares then simply let them know it’s for your food blog. Turn an embarassing moment into a marketing one. 😉

  12. Be so careful. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I have taken care of in emergency room with self inflicted wounds trying to open up a coconut. I love coconut milk and use it in so many dishes. Have a super day. BAM

    1. Tina says:

      Bam, you are SO right! My husband was very careful, but accidents happen. I can’t emphasis enough that my readers please please please be careful!!

  13. marcie says:

    This is very useful information for me, because I LOVE coconut milk! Thanks for sharing, Tina, and I’m pinning of course. 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! Thanks Marcie. 🙂

  14. I have never purchased a whole coconut. I envision myself with a hammer and chisel or an electric saw trying to open one. So, obviously I’d be dead on a deserted island if that was my only source of food. Haha your photos are lovely! Makes me want some coconut milk 😀

    1. Tina says:

      Haha…You are too funny! Thank you so much for you lovely compliment. 🙂

  15. Marie says:

    Yummy…..I grew up on this stuff. If you’d like to take it a step or two further, boil some of the cream after it separates to make small batches of coconut oil.

    1. Tina says:

      Love that idea! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

  16. Wow, I have never thought of doing that. Great idea. Thanks so much for sharing

    1. Tina says:


  17. Joanne says:

    I am waiting for the day the.boy comes home with a fresh coconut! At least now I’ll know what to do with it!

    1. Tina says:

      Nice. 🙂

  18. Kelly says:

    This is such an great idea – love that you made homemade coconut milk using a fresh coconut! Haha I have no idea how to crack open one either – yay that your hubby was able to crank it open in the end 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      I definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone to make this but I’m glad I did. Both my husband and I learned a lot. 🙂

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