Learning how to make coconut milk is a great way to save money and control the ingredients in your non-dairy milk. You can save over $200 a year! (gluten-free, vegan)
I’ve wanted a high-powered blender for years. The reasons were many, but at the top of the list was homemade coconut milk.
I’ve been dealing with a dairy sensitivity for several years, and all the non-dairy milks I’ve found at the store have long lists of ingredients that I don’t want to be drinking.
Once I finally got a good blender and learned how to make coconut milk the easy way, my dairy-free life became much easier. I can now enjoy non-dairy milk without all the additives, and the savings are amazing.
With my high-powered blender, I can make smooth, flavorful coconut milk in just a few minutes using dried shredded or flaked coconut. It takes a little longer using fresh coconut, but the results are so creamy and fabulous that I recommend trying the whole coconut version once in a while.
Homemade Coconut Milk Price Breakdown
Store-bought coconut milk costs up to 10 times more than the homemade version. Ten times!
Prices are always changing, but this will give you a sense of the cost of homemade versus store-bought. I’m currently using this Bob’s Red Mill shredded unsweetened coconut, which typically costs $.28 per ounce. I use ¾ cup of this coconut in a batch of homemade milk, or about 2 ounces. So the total price is $.56 for 4 cups of homemade coconut milk using shredded coconut. When using a whole fresh coconut, the cost is $.25 per cup (with a 2 lb. coconut costing $1.50).
By comparison, canned coconut milk typically costs $2.00 or more per can, or about $1.14 per cup. And you get something extra with the canned version: preservatives and thickeners trying to replicate the real thing.
If I go through 4 cups of this milk a week, I’ll save over $200 a year by making it myself.
How to Make Coconut Milk Two Ways
My husband compares the shredded coconut version to skim milk and the fresh coconut version to whole milk. They’re both delicious in my opinion. If cracking open a whole coconut is more effort than you want to invest, try the shredded coconut version first.
How to Make Coconut Milk
Two ways to make homemade coconut milk ($.14 to $.25 per cup)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut OR a 2 lb. fresh coconut
- 4 cups to 5 1/2 water
To use the shredded coconut, place 1 1/2 cups of water in a high-powered blender along with the shredded coconut. Blend on medium-high for 45 seconds. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water and blend for another three minutes. Scrape down the sides if needed during this process.
To use the fresh coconut, break open the coconut and remove the hard outer shell. The thin brown skin doesn’t need to be removed. (Don’t discard the coconut water! It’s full of nutrients. Drink it plain or add it to a smoothie.) Chop the coconut meat into pieces. Place 2 3/4 cups of water in the blender, followed by half the coconut meat. Puree it for 2 minutes. Start blending on a lower setting, and gradually make your way up to high during the first 30 seconds. Pour this mixture into a container and repeat the process with the rest of the coconut meat.
Regardless of which form of coconut you used, strain the mixture in a fine mesh sieve lined with butter muslin or cheesecloth. I love this butter muslin because it’s woven more finely than cheesecloth, and it’s machine washable. I use it over and over for nut milks, homemade yogurt, and homemade ricotta.
Leave the mixture in the strainer for a few minutes, and then lift the muslin out of the strainer. Gather the edges of the cloth together to make a ball. Squeeze out any extra coconut milk by compressing the ball over the bowl with the rest of the coconut milk. If you're in the market for coconut flour, you can dehydrate the strained coconut and use it in a baking recipe.
Transfer the coconut milk to a container and refrigerate for up to four days. If you won’t use it all in that time, freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray. These small portions are great for smoothies.
Adapted from this recipe from Whole New Mom