Coconut Milk Made from Dried Coconut

I make my own coconut milk for several reasons:

  • Store-bought coconut milk is packaged in either wasteful cans lined with plastic or hard-to-recycle and even more wasteful Tetra-Paks that contain plastic
  • Many of these plastics contain BPA or a replacement that is just as harmful
  • Store-bought often contains food-like and suspect ingredients
  • Homemade contains only two ingredients, one of which comes from your tap
  • Homemade costs little
  • Homemade tastes good
  • Homemade is easy
  • Homemade makes me a rebel with an apron

The short version of how to make coconut milk

Combine 1 part coconut and 4 parts hot water in a blender, let sit for 10 minutes or so, whir, strain, enjoy.

If you feel more energetic, you can also make coconut milk from a whole coconut. My daughter posted that on her blog several years ago. I will probably never do this.

A few notes

Cost

  • The organic coconut for the four cups of coconut milk I made in this post cost a whopping 84 cents. The water was free.
  • I use a blender with a glass pitcher. As I mentioned above, plastic and food do not go well together (read about yet more recent studies that show this). I found my blender on Craigslist and paid very little for it—$10 I think, less that the sales tax on a new fancy blender with a plastic pitcher.
  • You don’t need a nut milk bag to make nut milk. If you have a bowl, a sieve (which you’ll use for many tasks) and a thin cloth, you can save yourself some money.

Use and storage

  • The fat will separate from the milk rather quickly. When this happens, just give the jar a shake. If you won’t use the coconut milk immediately, refrigerate it. Once chilled, the fat will harden into solid chunks. If you need a homogenous consistency for a recipe such as ice cream, melt the fat and add it back to the coconut milk.
  • This will keep for four or five days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.
  • You can use this coconut milk in recipes that call for canned coconut milk. I made a coconut curry vegetable dish last night with half of the coconut milk pictured in this post. It tasted delicious!

The pulp

  • The pulp is quite dry at the end of the process. I didn’t have the oven on the day I made the milk for this post, so I simply spread the pulp out on a glass dish and covered that with a cloth. It dried within a couple of days.
  • The pulp has had most of its fatty goodness stripped out but it still makes good filler for oatmeal, baked goods, veggie burgers, soup… You’ll find a use for it.

And now some pictures (lots of pictures…).

Two ingredients
I use a glass blender
Add hot water
Let this sit for about 10 minutes
Blend for a couple of minutes
Ready to strain
Pour into a cloth-lined sieve placed over a bowl

All in
Squeeze out as much milk as possible

Ready to consume
If very dry, dehydrate in a covered glass dish or just put this in the oven on low for a few minutes
Add spend pulp to oatmeal, granola, quick breads, pancakes, crackers, soup…

Homemade Coconut Milk from Dried Coconut

Yields approximately 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 cups hot water

Directions

1. Place coconut and hot water in a blender.

2. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soften up the shredded coconut.

3. Whir for a couple of minutes.

4. Place a cloth lined sieve over a large bowl. Pour mixture slowly into sieve.

5. Gather edges of cloth together and squeeze out as much milk as possible.

6. Pour coconut milk into glass jars or bottles and refrigerate for four five days. Separation of the milk from the fat is normal and happens quickly. Give the jar a shake to try to combine the two. If the fat has solidified and you need a homogenous consistency for a recipe such as ice cream, melt the fat and add it back to the coconut milk.

7. Use this in place of canned coconut in recipes.

8. Refrigerate, freeze or dehydrate pulp to use in other recipes such as oatmeal, granola, quick breads, pancakes and so on.

13 Replies to “Coconut Milk Made from Dried Coconut”

  1. I had no idea it was this easy. I have purchased countless containers of coconut milk which i find very expensive. Thank you for this. Thank you. Thank you.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kathy,
      My pleasure! I actually did the math but forgot to add it to my post (I’ll go edit it now). The ingredients for my 4 cups of organic homemade coconut milk cost 84 cents :O
      ~ Anne Marie

  2. Great recipe. I avoided canned coconut milk because of plastic and waste issue. Now I can go back to making my favorite Indian and Thai dishes guilt free.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Melissa,
      I’m the same way. I stopped buying all nut milks because of the packaging and plastic. Had I not done that, I wouldn’t have discovered how easy it is to make this.
      Enjoy! ~ Anne Marie

  3. Wow I didn’t know it was so quick and easy! Is there any harm in not straining the milk if you’re going to use it for cooking? Can it be frozen?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      It’s ridiculously easy. You don’t have to strain it if you don’t want to, just shake it well before pouring. And yes, you can freeze it too!

  4. Madeleine Lawrence says: Reply

    I am wondering why I didn’t think to do this myself!!

    Madeleine

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Madeleine,
      I say that to myself constantly! Every time I try making a new fermented food, I wonder how I didn’t know about it sooner!
      Anne Marie

  5. This is a revelation! Of course making coconut milk is that easy! I feel silly for not thinking of doing this sooner.

    Do you think this coconut milk could be used to make coconut yoghurt by adding pro-biotics? I’ve wanted to do that for so long with tinned coconut milk but I’m wondering if this would work instead. No worries if you have no idea! Will probably give it a go anyway!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Lydia,

      Since we first went plastic-free and I started making more things from scratch, I have said that to myself so many times! I’ve asked myself, how did I not know this already???!!!

      I am trying to make yogurt out of this. I don’t know if it’s fatty enough. Also, I don’t have probiotic pills but I have lots of starters so I added a piece of kombucha SCOBY to mine and a little sugar for it to eat. I will find out tomorrow if anything happened. I think the coconut milk might need a thickener in or this might work better with coconut cream. I’ll probably have to tinker with it.

      Anne Marie

  6. Lindsay McWhirter says: Reply

    I just use my Vitamix (plastic jar) & there is no pulp left at all. I usually make coconut cream (thicker) & dilute it for recipes that call for coconut milk.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Wow Lindsay, that’s impressive! I’d love to make coconut cream and then maybe try to make yogurt out of some of it. My blender isn’t powerful enough to pulverize the coconut. Thanks for the info. ~ Anne Marie

  7. I have only seen dry coconut sold in plastic bags, usually in the baking aisle. But I guess if I can make one half gallon of milk from one bag, it’s less waste than the plastic lined carton?

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