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How To Make Fresh Coconut Milk At Home

Let me be  honest, I am not  above using  canned  coconut  milk. With every passing year  the canned milk seems  to  get  better  with less and less additives  and  more  creamy coconut  taste.  But  nothing  compares  to  the  taste of freshly extracted   coconut  milk.   Food  tastes  heavenly when  slow  cooked  in  thin  coconut  milk and  finished  with the  thick, creamy coconut milk. That is how it is  done  in traditional  Kerala dishes like Ada Pradhaman  or Pariipu Payasam  or  Fish Curry with Coconut Milk.

Fresh Coconut MilkMaking fresh  coconut milk  was an  everyday  task  when I was  a  child.  Dad used  to de-husk the   coconuts  while us  kids  made a  bee line for the   coconut  water.  Often  times  we  used  to   disappear  as soon  as  the last drop of  coconut  water  went passed  through our lips. With  good  reason too – grating  the  coconuts  and  extracting  the  milk  were  part of  the   kitchen  duties   that often  fell on us.

Making  fresh  coconut  milk is  simpler  than  you think ,  especially with  today’s   kitchen gadgets.   Fresh  grated  coconut is  the  best, but  if  that is  not  available  frozen coconut  is a  very good  substitute.  I would not  recommend  dried  coconut – but  if  you must,   soak the  dried  coconut  in  warm  water  for half  an hour  before  trying  to extract  the  milk.

The  traditional  way  is to   grate  the  coconut,  add   about 1/2 to 1 C  water  per  each grated  coconut  and squeeze  it   with  hands  to  coax  the  milk out. This  mixture  will be  placed  in a  piece of cotton  cloth and  squeezed  to  extract  the  milk .   The  process  will be  repeated   with the  remaining  coconut  bits in the   cloth to  get  the 2nd 3rd  and possibly a  4th  extraction, each  with  progressively less  and less cream content.

This is   essentially the  process  I  follow  as  well , except  that  I  use the blender and a  fine mesh strainer.

Start  with  grated  coconut  or  chopped  coconut.  If using  chopped  pieces,  process in the  blender ,  without  adding  water,  till  the  mix  looks  like  coarse  bread  crumbs.  Add 1/4  to 1/2 C  warm  water –  just  warm to  touch –  to the  coconut   and  set  aside for 2 to 3  minutes .  If  working   with  frozen  coconut,  let it come t o room temperature  before  adding  water.  Pulse   the  coconut  and  warm  water mix  a  few  times. Open  the  blender, and  you  should  be  able  to see  the  milky liquid  settled  on top – as  in picture 3.  Let it  rest for a  minute  and transfer   the  mix  to a  strainer   set over a  bowl and press down  with  spatula  to  extract  the  milk.

The  coconut  bits  remaining  in the  strainer is  transferred back to  the  blender  and  the process is  repeated.  Every successive  extraction of  the  milk produces  thinner  versions. Usually by the  3rd  time  almost  all the   cream  would  have  been  removed  from the  coconut.

I know , it  is  a little  more  involved  than  opening  the  can 🙂  but the  freshness and  the  taste make a  world of  difference.  Refrigerate the  milk, if  not  planning  to use right  away and  use it   in a  day or  two.  For  longer  storage , let  the milk  rest  for a  30 minutes. Scoop up the   cream that settles on top (see the pictures below) it  up and  freeze to use  later.

The picture  shows  how  the   cream has  settled after  30 minutes. The  first to  third  extractions  are left  to  right, in that order. Notice how there is  hardly any cream  settling  on the  top of  the  3rd  milk .


  • Warm water  gives  better  results.
  • Do not  grind  the  coconut  to a  paste, a  few  pulses  in the  blender is  all you need.
  • When cooking  with fresh coconut milk, keep the  1st  extraction or  the  thick  milk  separate.  Do not  boil  this  as it  will separate.  All the  other  versions  can  be  boiled.
  • If  using  as a  substitute for  milk  in  drinks,  let  the  grated  coconut  sit  in the  warm  water  for 5  minutes  before  and  after  blending. Use only the 1st and  second  extractions.
Fresh Coconut Milk

Fresh Coconut Milk

By Syama
How  to  make  coconut  milk  from  fresh coconut  at  home.  The  coconut milk can  be  used  to make  drinks, smoothies  or  to  flavor  curries  or  soups. 
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Indian


  • 2 C Grated Coconut - Packed, See Notes
  • 3 - 4 C Water


  • Heat the water till it is slightly warm to touch.
  • Place the grated coconut in a blender jar and add 1/2 C water to it. Let it rest for a few minutes. Pulse a few times, and rest for a minute. Transfer the contents to a strainer set atop a bowl. Let the milk drain to the bowl. Press firmly with a spoon to speed up the process.
  • Return the contents of the strainer back to the blender. Add 1 C water and let it rest for a minute. Pulse the blender for a few times and repeat as in the above step to extract milk.
  • Repeat this process one or two more times until the extraction resembles water more than milk.


  • If using frozen coconut - bring it to room temperature first.
  • If using dried/ desiccated coconut, soak it in warm water for 30 minutes before processing.
  • Use a fine mesh strainer or layers of cheese cloth or cotton towels.

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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