How To Make Coconut Milk

Wondering how to make coconut milk? This homemade coconut milk is a naturally sweet, creamy, non-dairy alternative that can be enjoyed on its own, in cereal, or in a wide variety of other recipes. Keep reading for the recipe along with several of my coconut milk recipes!

Note: This is an updated version of a post that first appeared on the blog in 2011.

I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy for awhile now. While I still use quite a bit of gluten, sugar, and dairy in my recipes, I suspect that one of them has been causing my migraines, and they’re all cited by reliable sources as a potential cause (though it seems to me like everything is cited as a potential cause for everything these days).

Regardless of whether I’m cutting back on dairy, I love using coconut milk in recipes. It’s such a versatile ingredient, with an exotic flavor and creamy texture that isn’t overpowering. In addition to using it in recipes, I add it to smoothies, cereal, and sometimes as a subtle flavor in rice.

Once I realized how easy it is to prepare homemade almond milk, I knew I had to try this. You only need two ingredients: water and unsweetened shredded coconut.

You can strain the milk through cheesecloth, but I like using a nut milk bag, which is a very cheap investment if this is something you plan on making regularly. The bag has a much finer mesh than cheesecloth, so there’s no chance of any little bits escaping and adding unwanted texture.

The ratio used in this recipe has a consistency slightly thicker than regular milk, but tastes like the canned variety. Canned coconut milk is much thicker, and it’s what I typically use in curries and ice cream.

Coconut Milk Recipes

You can cut down the water in this version for thicker results. Either way, it will definitely work in my chicken curry with coconut milk (my version is specifically a chicken massaman curry, but other curry pastes will work). This recipe will also work well in my toasted coconut amaranth porridge.

I haven’t tested this recipe yet in my espresso coconut ice cream, but I’d imagine it will work. The ice cream might be a bit less creamy.

How To Store Coconut Milk

You can store coconut milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. It will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Natural separation will occur, so shake or stir it before using.  I store my milk in a mason jar for easy shaking.

Photo of homemade coconut milk surrounded by shredded coconut
Print Pin Recipe

Homemade Coconut Milk

5 from 4 votes
This homemade coconut milk is a creamy, non-dairy option that can be enjoyed on its own or in a variety of other recipes.
Course Condiments, Drinks, Kitchen Staples
Cuisine American, Mediterranean, Thai, Vietnamese
Keyword coconut milk
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 3 1/2 cup servings
Author Jennifer Farley


  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the water until it begins to steam and simmer (you can also use a kettle for this step).
  • Add the water to a blender along with the shredded coconut.
  • Puree the mixture for 30-60 seconds, then strain into a bowl through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag, squeezing to extract all of the liquid.
  • Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Homemade coconut milk can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Yields 1 1/2 cups. 


This recipe can be scaled up as needed.  

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Wondering how to make coconut milk? Get this easy recipe with only two ingredients! It's a naturally sweet, creamy, non-dairy alternative that can be enjoyed on its own, in cereal, or in a wide variety of other recipes.

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Posts may contain affiliate links. I am a participant in the rewardStyle and Amazon affiliate programs, which help support Savory Simple by providing me with a small commission fee when you shop through my links, at no additional cost to you.

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  • Lovely blog!

    This particular post takes me back to my native in India. This is the only method of getting coconut milk in some parts there, no cans or tetra paks, only coconuts in the backyard. For dishes that require thick AND thin milk at various stages, the extraction is reserved as first, second and so on milks (adding more water and squeezing every bit !)

  • After a life long of deceptions by the food industry, i, too, made it a life style to become healtier. In retirement i finally have the time to do my own research, and make the necessary changes. First i’d cut out all meats (helping the prevention of animal cruelty and less cattle also helps the greenhouse effects) and replaced it with coconut oils and other coconut products. My cholesterol has never been better! Next i cut the dairy and all wheats and soy out of my diet, and last but not least, i abandoned all processed foods and sugars. Not the easiest thing to do, although i can skip at least 80% of the supermarket isles!
    All together it became more than a spring cleansing. In short, i have never been healthier. I did depend a bit too much on the produced cans of coconut milk, with the usual aditives, so many thanks for this easy recipe to make my own milk. All bits helps. And every bit to stop the food manufacturers will make this world a better place!