Coconut Milk from Coconut Flakes

I am making another batch of almond milk today, but I wanted to share another simple way to make a non-dairy milk. Using coconut flakes you can make your own coconut milk!

This will not be like the coconut milk you can buy in the stores. It’s thinner than canned coconut milk, and the fat rises to the top when cold, unlike the coconut milk sold for using as a dairy replacement (like the So Delicious Brand coconut milk). It has a light coconut flavor and is also great for using to drizzle in tea, use in smoothies, add to soups (though it won’t add quite the same creaminess) and used to make hot cocoa.

My four year old prefers coconut milk over almond milk. Because some of that rich fat is in the milk, you will certainly also be getting some of the benefits of coconut oil.

Once again, I use a higher ratio of coconut flakes to water to make a richer coconut milk. But you can certainly water it down to make it go further, and you can also make a weaker second batch of coconut milk by reusing the coconut flakes one more time.

One last tip, make sure you don’t use coconut flakes that have been de-fatted or partially de-fatted (the packages will often say “low fat”). This type of coconut flake will have a lot of the goodness taken out and won’t make a good coconut milk.

Coconut Milk from Coconut Flakes

    2 cups of coconut flakes, unsweetened and fine
    4 cups of boiling water

Place four cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the coconut flakes and cover. Let sit for 1 to 4 hours. Blend in two batches in a blender (or one, if you have an extra large blender) for 1 to 2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve (pressing down on the coconut mixture to release all of the milk) or through cheesecloth or a nut bag (squeezing to release all of the milk). Keep refrigerated

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    Don’t you mean “make sure you DON’T use coconut flakes that have been de-fatted” ? Because without that ‘don’t’, the following sentence makes no sense.

  2. says

    Yum! I love making homemade coconut milk. I have a local Asian Market that sells raw grated frozen coconut for $1.60. I use it to make coconut milk the same way as above. Its soooo good. I also love that I can extract the coconut oil from it.

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Tiffany,

      I’ve heard of many Asian markets carrying that item. I haven’t found it yet, but I should keep looking!

    • Judith says

      I am going to try making my own coconut milk today, but I was wondering how do you extract the coconut oil from it?

    • KimiHarris says


      I am sure that there is something you can do with it, just like with the almond pulp. I don’t have any specific recipes to share with you, but I am sure that there are ways to use it.

    • TZ says

      We use the fresh coconut pulp in pancakes in place of some of the gluten flour. We used probably a little extra pulp though. They were the fluffiest pancakes we have ever had! Now we are sad when we make healthy gluten free pancakes and we have no pulp left. Lol. I cannot use regular gluten free flour because I cannot have potatoes/potato starch. So we use a homemade blend of brown rice, arrowroot, and sometimes almond pulp (i too make YUMMY Almond Milk), almond flour/meal and or coconut flour. When we made the pancakes we just used the coconut pulp with the brown rice flour and arrowroot. I alternate making coconut milk and almond milk now. It gives me a variety of nutrients. I make a Turmeric Tea Golden Milk using the coconut milk, but I have never made it from anything but fresh coconut. I sliced off the edge of my middle finger with a veggie pealer when I was pealing the brown skin off the coconut…so I was looking for SAFER less time consuming options! Lol. I did just buy a very inexpensive Coconut Scraper from an East Indian Market, with eliminates removing shell and skin, but my finger is not quite healed and I cannot hold the coconut well enough. I also bought frozen shredded coconut from this same market, which I bought to try as a freh coconut milk alternative. Out PCC market has complete whole shelled and peeled young Thai Coconuts, which I want to try as well. Anyone out there used a young Thai coconut for milk making? Also, has anyome tried using room temp filtered water to soak the coconut flakes/shreddes instead of hot water? My first batch with fresh coconut I soaked in regular tap filtered water, and then used the coconut water and strained, soak water to make the milk in my nutribullet ( 1/3 cup coconut -which always weighs about 4 oz – to 2/3 cup of the water mixture). It never seperated as I read by those who used hot, but it was still good. The nutribullet does end up warming/heating the mixture though, because you run it for a few minutes. I have to stop it at 30 second intervals, because this model cannot be run for more than a minute and I already had one burn out from running it longer that 30 seconds multiple times in a short period of time. I need the RX model at some point! I could get a ninja, or a vitamix, but they are much bulkier in size, come with parts I do not need, and are much more expensive. Anyway, I was going to make some with organic coconut flakes today, but I hate the separating…you have to either run the container under warm water and shake, or let it sit out and them shake. I just want to get it out of fridge and drink it! 😛

      • Jenny says

        TZ, I see your comment was over a year ago, but if you see this, do you mind sharing your pancake recipe? I know you use arrowroot, brown rice flour, and coconut flour, but what quantities and what other ingredients. It sounds like something we would really like! Thanks!

      • Rosemary says

        Just get a Vitamix and problem solved with a proper blend. Nothing comes close to the Vitamix and I’ve had mine for years. Ninja will not work. My son had that and he said it did not get a smooth blend.

        • Lisa says

          Except vitamix = bpa lining on blades in you food. Look on youtube. I’m SO glad I never was able to afford one and read about it before I was about to purchase one. Also they were horrible to their customers once this came out and first refused to make any statement except that small amounts of bpa are perfectly safe. It’s in the nonstick coating of their blades. They wouldn’t replace the blades for all the existing customers. Bullet blenders for babies turned out to have lead in the part where the blades are, it might be the part where it screws on or that metal plate at the bottom. I think they recalled that one. Just be careful about appliances that seem to good to be true. It may be better to do things in a more old fashioned way by hand. Maybe a stick blender where you can see whats going on or even a whisk if it’s something where that would work. Or maybe we’re not meant to eat smoothies! Though I like one now and then too.

  3. Brooke says

    Sounds pretty easy :). Question though… After you boil the water and add the flakes to let sit… do you turn off the burner right when you add the flakes and then let it sit on the stovetop for 1-4 hours? Or boil it for 1-4 hours? And what’s the difference b/w sitting from 1 hour to 4? Thickness? thanks!

    • Lorraine says

      As far as what I have read, they say to use very hot water, not boiling water, to the coconut flakes and let them sit for 1-2 hours. Then put the mix (can add vanilla extract or Stevia it says) in the blender, then strain. I believe the 1-2 hrs stated is to allow the water to be better absorbed by the coconut flakes before putting in the blender.

  4. says

    hi kimi! thank you so much for sharing this- it is just what i needed! also, i am loving your zucchini chips.. mmm! i tried them with real minced garlic and am really happy with the results!

    just wondering if i could get your advice on something: i am wanting to make buckwheat pancakes, would you suggest grinding the grain into flour first, and then soaking? or soak the grains first, then toast/dehydrate, and then grind into flour? thank you so much!

  5. says

    What a fantastic idea. I went ahead and gave it a try. I ended up using about 2 1/4 cups of coconuts, and it seemed to be about as rich as I would have liked it. This might become a regular thing in the house if my significant other is on-board with the taste. Looks like we’ll have a lovely bunch of coconuts in the household here soon.

  6. Celia Browne says

    Thanks for all the suggestions and information, guys. Tried it today and I burned out the motor on the blender but it came out AWESOME. Once it was chilled I drank a big glass of it straight. I’m making homemade granola right now with the coconut pulp…

  7. Mary Kathryn says

    I started making my own coconut milk a few weeks ago following a different method. I use some coconut milk mixed with castile soap as a shampoo. But I have to say the results of this coconut milk vs. the canned stuff is absolutely amazing!! I am hooked and will be buying a 25 lb. bag of coconut so I can keep this on hand. Also looking forward to finding ways to re-use the pulp. I will store in the refrigerator and add to stuff as I see fit– maybe in some oatmeal?

  8. Kari says

    So, can you start with a whole coconut? I would assume so- but it seems a bit more labor intensive if I have to shreed the “meat” either with a chopper or a grater.

    How do you get to the oil? (I’m new to coconut milk and have only used the unsweetened via safeway and trader joes which both offer boxed because the can has msg and is just not real coconut milk)

    • says

      Kari – If seen recipes using a whole coconut but it sounds much more difficult.
      Coconut oil is sold in many stores (I’m assuming this is what you are asking) however, it’s usually pretty expensive in stores. I recommend buying from or Tropical Traditions.

    • Jill Sanders says

      Could you tell me what Safeway is? I tried to find it on the web and could not. Is there a certain Trader Joe’s carton milk that does not have carageenan and guar or xanthum gum? I haven’t found one.

  9. says

    Do you buy your shreded coconut from azure? I”m trying to decide how many pounds to buy. Does this recipe make about four cups of milk? I noramaly go through one or two cans a week. I can’t believe how much the price of coconut milk has jumped resently! Thanks for sharaing!

  10. says

    What do you do about the oil that rises to the top and hardens in the fridge? I’ve made coconut milk a few times now and it’s great freshly made but out of the fridge it’s a pain as I can’t really shake or stir it so it mixes back together and I usually have to heat it up to mix it.

    Is that what you do or am I missing something?

  11. Mary says

    SoDelicious coconut milk is coconut cream, water and vitamins with guar gum added to keep the fat and water in solution. Guar gum is from guar beans. I have not yet tried to make coconut milk, though!

  12. KJ23 says

    Does anyone know about how many calories per cup that would be? A lot of the flakes are left over when strained, so I would think it would be a lot less than the 500 calories they are saying it is online.

  13. Dianne says

    What do I do with the fat that rises to the top and hardens after refrigeration?
    Saw this question in 2011 email. Here it is again in2013.

    Love the taste but am a newbie at making coconut milk.

  14. Dianne says

    What do I do with the fat that rises to the top and hardens after refrigeration?
    Saw this question in 2011 email. Here it is again in2013.

    Love the taste but am a newbie at making coconut milk.

  15. Brenda says

    I am wondering what you do with the fat that rises to the top and hardens after refrigerated. do I need to reheat again?

  16. Brenda says

    I am wondering what you do with the fat that rises to the top and hardens after refrigerated. do I need to reheat again? Sure would appreciate an e-mail if possible! Thank you!

  17. Bekah says

    Hello! I was also wondering about the 1-4 hours? Sort of what’s the difference in the outcomes?
    Also which brand of coconut flakes are the best to use & meet all autoimmune paleo standards? As this is why I’m eating/drinking this way. Thank you very much, and God bless

  18. Lina says

    How can I get the full fat ? and what can I do with the remaining coconut in the nut milk after squeezing out the juice?

  19. Ivone says

    Hi, please live in the bush basically and coconut milk is not available. When you say you make a substitute with coconut flakes, is that the same as dessicated coconut. I can find dessicated coconut for baking, but that is all I can get here. I hope you can help me.

  20. Angel says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I had previously tried to make coconut milk, but the recipe did not call for boiling the water first, and soaking the coconut for a few hours. Doing that made all the difference!

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