Want to learn 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. Get step-by-step photos along with some of my favorite ways to use it!
Homemade coconut milk is a versatile ingredient with a naturally sweet flavor and a wonderful creamy texture that isn’t overpowering. I love drinking it to calm a sweet craving without having sugar, but it has so many other uses!
It’s excellent in smoothies, cereal and oatmeal. Sometimes I’ll also use it in place of water while cooking rice. Coconut rice pairs extremely well with my chicken massaman curry.
Once I realized how easy it is to prepare homemade almond milk, I knew I had to try this immediately. Now I’m hooked!
What’s the Difference Between Coconut Milk vs Coconut Water?
Coconut water is found inside young coconuts and contains none of the flesh from the coconut. It’s high in potassium and can be enjoyed straight from the coconut (although there are quite a few bottled coconut waters on the market now).
Coconut milk is very different from coconut water. It doesn’t occur naturally like coconut water, and is prepared by boiling water and shredded coconut. The coconut gets strained from the liquid and you’re left with a silky sweet milk.
Homemade Coconut Milk Ingredients
You only need two ingredients for this easy recipe:
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Water (does water count as an ingredient?)
Very important: make sure you’re using unsweetened coconut and not the super sweet kind you use on top of cakes and cupcakes.
How to Make Coconut Milk
Making homemade unsweetened coconut milk is so simple that I’m not even sure you can call this a recipe!
The ratio used here has a consistency slightly thicker than regular milk. Consistency-wise, it’s similar to what you’ll find for sale by the carton alongside other non-dairy milk alternatives like almond and soy.
Keep in mind that the canned version of coconut milk is much thicker, and it’s what I typically use in curries and ice cream.
Step 1: Puree coconut flakes and hot water in a blender
You first need to bring water to a simmer in a saucepan or kettle, then pour it into a blender along with the shredded coconut. Puree the mixture for about one minute.
Step 2: Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag
After pureeing, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag to filter out any coconut piece.
Nut milk bags are an inexpensive, worthy 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.
Give the ingredients a good squeeze to extract every last bit of liquid. You don’t want any milk going to waste! I like using kitchen tongs to assist with this step, especially since the coconut milk might still be hot.
How to Store Coconut Milk
You can store coconut milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Natural separation will occur, so shake or stir it before using. I store my milk in a mason jar for easy shaking.
How to Freeze Coconut Milk
To freeze, let the milk come to room temperature, then store in an airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to thaw, place it in the fridge or on the counter. Again, separation will likely occur so you’ll need to give it a good shake before enjoying.
More Coconut Milk Recipes
I also have quite a few shredded coconut recipes you might enjoy!
Homemade Coconut Milk
- 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.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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