Learn how to make homemade coconut milk with fresh or shredded coconut! Easy, creamy homemade coconut milk recipe with just 2 ingredients - coconut & water!
This is a super simple recipe for homemade coconut milk using fresh, mature coconut or shredded coconut flakes. If you have the time and option, I'd recommend using a fresh coconut as the flavor is soo much more intense and creamy!
Coconut milk is one of my favorite things to drink during the summer and I love adding it to fruity drinks. It has a hint of natural sweetness, it's super creamy, and the tropical flavors go well with any fruit!
If you're using pre-shredded coconut flakes, feel free to skip to the recipe at the bottom of the page as the following will be showing you how to open and peel a mature coconut.
Use your fresh coconut milk in this Homemade Korean Strawberry Milk!
How to Choose a Mature Coconut:
- pick it up and shake it - it should feel heavy for its size and you should hear lots of water inside.
- examine the 'eyes' - these are the three holes you see on the shell. Make sure the eyes aren't moldy or wet. This signals that there's a leak in the coconut.
- examine the shell for cracks or leaks - if there's any cracks or leaks, chances are the coconut meat and water inside has gone bad.
How to Open a Mature Coconut
1.Drain the coconut water by poking holes through the 'eyes' and tilt the coconut water into a glass. Make sure the liquid inside hasn't gone bad. It should smell sweet without smelling sour. The color should be a little translucent but mostly clear.
2. Wrap the coconut in a towel and hit it with a hammer or in my case, a meat tenderizer. You can also take the back of a cleaver and strike it across the 'equator' of the coconut. This didn't work for me but it might if your coconut already has a pre-carved line along the middle.
3. Once it's broken into pieces, take a butter knife or straight edge spatula and wedge it between the coconut meat and the outer shell. Carefully rock it back and forth until the meat separates from the tough outer shell. The meat should pop right out and will have a thin brown skin on it.
4. Optional step: Using a peeler, peel away the thin brown skin from the coconut meat. I only recommend this if you plan on using the leftover coconut meal. It won't affect the taste of the coconut milk if the thin brown skin is left on since we'll be straining it. Tip: if you dry the leftover coconut meal, you end up with homemade coconut flour!
I didn't plan to use all of the leftover coconut meal so left most of it unpeeled. I decided to peeled a few pieces to make dog treats. Millie absolutely loves coconut just like her mom! 🙂
How to Make Homemade Coconut Milk with Fresh Coconut
If using fresh coconut, cut your coconut meat into small pieces and add it to a high speed blender. Otherwise add your shredded coconut flakes to the blender. Add your hot water and blend on high for 1 to 3 minutes until you end up with a smooth consistency. Although it's not necessary to use a high speed blender, I strongly recommend it as you'll be able to extract more flavor from the coconut meat. Instead of adding hot water, you can definitely use the coconut water that came from the shell.
Pour the coconut milk into a strainer, nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or kitchen towel and give it a good squeeze. Ring out all of that creamy homemade coconut milk!
You'll end up with a rich, creamy, and super flavorful coconut milk. I didn't want to add too much water to the coconut milk because I like it better rich and creamy and it's easy to dilute the coconut milk with more water if needed. If you like your homemade coconut milk on the thinner side, feel free to add more water.
I think this is the perfect consistency for homemade coconut milk. Not too thick and not too thin. The flavor is slightly sweet since coconut is naturally sweet and there's a fresh coconut flavor that you don't get from store bought coconut milk. In fact, I can barely taste the coconut in most store bought coconut milk. With this homemade coconut milk, you'll get an intense, unmistakable coconut flavor!
Serve this immediately over ice with your preferred sweetener if you so choose, or you can refrigerator to chill.
Homemade Coconut Cream
You'll notice that after several hours of refrigeration, the coconut cream may separate from the rest of the milk. This is especially true if you use fresh coconut meat.
This is homemade coconut cream and it's probably the best part of the coconut. It's a huge bonus if you use fresh coconut meat as you get a lot of it. It's so delicious, creamy, and rich.
Homemade coconut cream is so luscious, it just melts in your mouth. It has a wonderful silky consistency that's smooth, rich, creamy, and slightly sweet. Canned coconut cream is good too but this is so much better!
You can scoop out the coconut cream and use it in desserts but as you can guess, this makes your creamy homemade coconut milk is not so creamy. Stir it to combine with the liquid before serving.
Homemade Coconut Meal, Coconut Flour
Coconut meal is the leftover coconut meat after the coconut milk has been strained. If you dry this coconut meal, you've just made your very own homemade coconut flour.
What To Do With Coconut Meal - Coconut Flour
There's so many things you can do with the leftover coconut meal. Dry it and turn it into coconut flour, and use it when baking! I recommend peeling the thin outer skin of your coconut if you plan on making something with it.
- dog treats (Millie loves coconut)
You can also compost it as it's great for soil if you don't plan on eating it. Put it in a zip lock bag and stored it in the freezer. Coconut flour is quite oily so it's best to freeze your flour so the oil doesn't go rancid.
I hope you make this recipe for homemade coconut milk! Please share, rate, and comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
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Homemade Coconut Milk with Fresh Coconuts
- 1 whole mature coconut - or 2 cups of dried shredded coconut flakes
- 1 ¾ cup hot filtered water
If Using Fresh Coconut:
- Drain the coconut water. Find the three "eyes" of the coconut and poke holes into them with a sharp knife or skewer. Pour out the coconut water into a glass and set aside for later use.
- Wrap the coconut in a towel and hit it with a hammer or meat tenderizer along the equator. You can also use the back of a meat cleaver and strike it along the equator.
- Take the pieces of coconut and use a butter knife or straight edge spatula to remove the coconut meat from the tough outer shell.
- Optional: remove the outer thin brown skin from the coconut meat using a peeler. I recommend this if you plan to use the leftover coconut meal. Hint: You can dry the coconut meal to make your own homemade coconut flour.
Making the Coconut Milk:
- Add the fresh coconut meat (my coconut yielded about 3 cups) or the dried shredded coconut flakes to a high speed blender.
- For rich, creamy coconut milk, add just enough water to cover the coconut meat (I added 1 ¾ cups of hot water for 3 cups of fresh coconut meat). Feel free to add more water for a thinner coconut milk. If using fresh coconut, you can also use the drained coconut water.
- Blend on high until you get a thick and creamy consistency, about 1 - 3 minutes.
- Pour into a strainer, nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or kitchen towel. Squeeze out the coconut milk until you're left with the dried coconut pulp. This is coconut meal, which when dried, is called coconut flour.
- Refrigerator the coconut milk and serve chilled. If using fresh coconut especially, the coconut milk will separate into coconut water and coconut cream in the fridge. Give it a good stir to combine before serving. You can also scoop out the coconut cream for later use but this would change the coconut milk flavor if removing the cream.
✎ Recipe Notes
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.