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Making homemade coconut milk is easy and only needs two ingredients, simple kitchen tools, and about 20 minutes of your time. As a result, you’ll find the end result to be a creamy, dairy-free milk with no gums, artificial flavors or sweeteners. Let’s learn how to make coconut milk and my fav ways to use it.

pouring homemade coconut milk into a glass pitcher on a counter with coconut flakes in a jar.

Knowing how to make my own plant-based milk helps me even when buying store-bought milk! If I’m in a pinch and need to get milk from the store, I know to look for limited ingredients as well as no fillers or sweeteners. Let’s be honest though… once you make your own coconut milk, you’ll never wanna buy it from the store again!

Table of Contents
  1. Making Homemade Coconut Milk
  2. How to Store Plant Milk
  3. Where Does Coconut Milk Come From?
  4. Homemade vs. Store Bought
  5. How to Use Coconut Milk
  6. How to Make Coconut Milk Recipe

Making Homemade Coconut Milk

tools + ingredients in glass containers for coconut milk.

Once again, it can be difficult to find milk that’s free of additives, stabilizers, and gums (I’m looking at you carrageenan!) to use in recipes that call for coconut milk. Yet, never fear! Your blender’s here! All you need to make this homemade version is:

  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • 3 cups boiling filtered water
  • Pinch of sea salt (optional!)
  • High speed blender
  • Cheesecloth, tea towel, or nut milk bag
  • Mesh strainer
a glass bowl with coconut flakes, then water getting poured over them, then the flakes soaking in the water.

Now let’s get milking!

  1. Place the shredded coconut in a bowl of boiling water. Stir to encourage the flakes to stay submerged. They will naturally absorb some of the hot water during soaking, which will break down the flakes to a creamy goodness.

Cream is the best sort of homemade coconut milk, don’t you agree?

blending coconut flakes and water in a blender until thick and creamy.

2. Blend. The #1 appliance in my kitchen is my blender. In addition to using it for my daily green smoothie, I use it for homemade hummus, pancakes and yep, even milk from plants.

A high speed blender will break apart coconut flakes the best, and gets you as many nutrients possible. I recommend checking out my blender guide if your blender isn’t up to the challenge.

straining homemade beverage through a cheesecloth and a strainer into a glass measuring cup, to separate the pulp.

3. Strain your milk like a pro…Having a two-layered strainer will get you the creamiest results. To do this, I use a mesh strainer and a nut milk bag. Just place a strainer over a bowl and line with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Gather the cloth at the top, twist and gently squeeze as much milk from the solids as possible. The remaining coconut pulp should be fairly dry.

Pro tip: if you want a thicker milk, just use a cheese cloth. You may get a bit of ‘pulp’ from the coconut yet you’ll also get a creamier finished product.

pouring coconut milk into a glass pitcher.

How to Store Plant Milk

Transfer your freshly made beverage to an airtight jar or bottle and refrigerate until ready to use. The milk will keep 3-4 days, maybe a little longer. As a result of the (healthy!) fat content, the milk will separate into layers, so be sure to shake before using.

The top most layer is the coconut cream. In addition to other uses, it can be spooned off for recipes calling for the full-fat version.

Where Does Coconut Milk Come From?

After all, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “almonds don’t lactate“. Of course we’re talking about coconut here, yet the same confusion applies. Actually, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, the word lactate actually comes from the Latin root word of lettuce – meaning the milky white juice that comes out of certain plants.

In addition, various types of non-dairy milk, have been staples in Southeast Asian, African and Indian cuisines for ages.

perfect diy beverage in glass pitcher next to a container of dried coconut flakes.

Homemade vs. Store Bought

Meanwhile which is better? Recently we tested as many store bought almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk brands as we could find in Central Florida to see which were best. When it comes to buying from the store, we’d def avoid brands that contain additional sugar, gums, fillers or those always mysterious ‘natural flavors’.

While there are always decently healthy options out there, if you want to know for sure what’s in your milk and going into your body – I’d opt for homemade when possible.

How to Use Coconut Milk

And speaking of recipes that use coconut milk, can I share a few? This particular kind of plant based milk is one of my favs to use, especially in dessert leaning recipes because it has a natural touch of sweetness. Now that you’ve made some of your own, give these a try:

Don’t forget to rate + review this recipe once you’ve tried it. I wanna know how yours turns out!

4.91 from 20 votes

How to Make Coconut Milk

An easy homemade coconut milk recipe without any extra fillers or gums is here. This is the cleanest coconut milk you'll find.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Plant-Based
Serves: 4



  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 3 cups water boiling
  • pinch sea salt
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  • Place coconut in a pot of boiling water and allow coconut to soak for a minimum of 10 minutes. 
  • Add to blender and carefully blend until smooth.
  • Place a strainer over a bowl and line with cheesecloth, tea towel or pour into a nut milk bag, and allow the coconut milk to drop down into the bowl.
  • Gather the cloth at the top, twist and gently squeeze as much coconut milk from the solids as possible. The remaining coconut pulp should be fairly dry. (The pulp can be added to baked goods and smoothies for extra fiber.)
  • Transfer to an airtight jar or bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • Less water can be used for thicker, creamier coconut milk.
  • The coconut milk will keep 3-4 days, maybe a little longer.
  • Shake well before using. The milk will separate into layers. The topmost layer is coconut cream. It can be spooned off for recipes calling for full-fat coconut milk.
  • This coconut milk recipe makes a similar product to refrigerated carton coconut milk from the store. It doesn’t have the fat content in canned coconut milk.


Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 17mg, Potassium: 115mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. 5 stars
    Is there a certain type of shredded coconut that works best? What if I use fresh coconut?

    1. Our household loves Bob’s Red Mill Organic Shredded Coconut, yet really any brand you prefer will do. And fresh coconut would be a wonderful option if you’re up to the extra step!

  2. Can the Almond Cow be used for this? I looked at the recipe on their site and they use 5 cups of warm water. I’ve got the “cow” so thought I’d use it for this recipe?

    1. You can totally milk the Almond Cow for this Coconut Milk recipe! Def come back and let us know what you think. 🙂

  3. Very detailed.

    It was easy to do and the final result was simply delicious.

    My son just loved it.

  4. 5 stars
    Adorei a receita, muito saudável e fácil de preparar, farei hoje mesmo. Muito obrigada!

  5. I love coconut milk, I’ll try it at home, thanks to your recipe, thank you!

  6. Jen, I loved this! I’ll make this to my family tonight. It seems to be delicious and plus healthy!

    1. YAY!! I hope you love this recipe! Reach back out + let me know what you thought! 🙂

  7. 4 stars
    Nossa, sensacional sua receita! Parabéns! Minha mulher costuma fazer o oleo de coco para passar no cabelo.