Kitchen Basics: How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk (and Cream!)

After a few weeks of pure complicated-ness and busyness and overwhelmed-ness, I NEED simplicity. I need it now, damn-it.

And more often than not, simple is best. As da Vinci supposedly said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Amen da Vinci, amen.

So in honor of my desperation for all things simple, I have for you a kitchen staple: coconut milk (if you didn’t get that from the title ;)).

Homemade coconut milk kicks the butt of canned coconut milk ANYTIME. It’s much more flavorful and way less expensive to make than to buy canned. Not to mention that it doesn’t have your typical additives and gut-irritating stabilizers– guar gum I’m talking to you. In my recipe I used coconut CHIPS, not shredded coconut, not coconut flakes (is there a difference?), but coconut chips.

The reason being is that coconut chips have a smaller surface area than shredded coconut, meaning that it has less exposure to air and therefore, it retains much more flavor and healthful goodness. A good comparison would be the difference between using freshly ground coffee from coffee beans versus pre-ground coffee; the flavor is incomparable. I am 100% sure that all of my coffee connoisseurs are nodding their heads and wrinkling their noseziez at the thought of pre-ground coffee. We’re going for flavor here, so get the coconut chips!

Homemade Coconut Milk and Cream:

Yield: a little less than a quart (32 oz)

Equipment needed: a high powered blender (like a Vitamix), a fine mesh strainer, a few large bowls, and a large glass jar for storage.


2.5 cups of plain, unsweetened coconut CHIPS (get it here)

- 4 cups of nearly boiling water (not all at once, you’ll use one cup in one step, and the other three in another)


1.) Take your 2.5 cups of coconut chips and put them in your blender. Blend the chips until a breadcrumb-like texture is achieved.

The chips.

The chips.

Before grinding!

Before grinding!

The coconut "breadcrumbs."

The coconut “breadcrumbs” after grinding.

2.) Pour the ground up coconut chips in a medium sized bowl, and to it add 1 cup of nearly boiling hot water. Let the coconut steep in the hot water for 30 minutes to an hour. Use this time to get the ingredients for my ganoderma latté or dark hot chocolate in place.

3.) After letting the coconut steep, pour the ground coconut and water mixture back into the blender and add an additional 3 cups of nearly boiling water.

Blending away.

Blending away.

4.) Blend the mixture for 4-5 minutes, the longer, the better! But not too much, don’t get crazy.

5.) After blending, slowly pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. You can lightly press on the coconut fibers that get caught in the mesh to squeeze out a little extra milk.

I got a coconut steam facial while taking this picture.

I got a coconut steam facial while taking this picture.

6.) Voila! You’re done! You can save the coconut fibers and toast them at a really low temperature in the oven to make coconut flour!

7.) Enjoy the coconut milk a variety of different ways: My dark hot chocolate, ganoderma latté, or even a curry (stay tuned, I’m going to have a recipe for that coming soon!)

The finished product after refrigeration! Check out that cream :)

The finished product after refrigeration! Check out that cream :)

2 responses to “Kitchen Basics: How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk (and Cream!)

  1. Venus, have you ever tried the Tropical Traditions coconut chips? I have them on hand. They are more like shaved strips – wide and long – kind of like an egg noodle. The one time I tried making coconut milk from an actual coconut it was very difficult and so I have not tried again since. This seems much more doable. Thanks for sharing your technique!

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