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3 Ways To Make Coconut Milk (without cracking a coconut)

If you’ve ever picked up a box of coconut milk from the store and read the ingredients, it probably looked something like this:  water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, guar gum, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors…

The list of ingredients in most store bought coconut milks is absolutely ridiculous, especially since you only need 2 ingredients to make it – COCONUT AND WATER!

I’m here to show you 3 ways to make coconut milk with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. I think some of you might be shocked at how easy it is… 

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This is why I don’t buy store bought coconut milk, just look at all the unnecessary ingredients… 

Earlier this year when Starbucks made their big announcement that they were going to start offering coconut milk, they failed to mention the most elementary thing – what the ingredients are! But some of you have sent me pics of the box it comes in, and I hate to admit that I’m not surprised:

Starbucks coconut milk

Starbucks Coconut Milk Ingredients: Water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2.

Packaged coconut milks are full of unnecessary additives like these :

Carrageenan – I’ve written extensively about carrageenan since 2012, when I found out that it’s used in many dairy-substitutes like nut milks. Carrageenan is added as a thickener and to keep ingredients from separating as an emulsifier, but it’s known to cause digestion problems and is contaminated with“degraded carrageenan”. Tests have found as much as 25% degraded carrageenan in “food-grade carrageenan” (the kind used in some coconut milks). As reported in the news recently, a new study published in Nature, found that emulsifiers may be contributing to the “rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract”. Many mainstream brands are removing (or have removed) carrageenan from their products, like Silk and So Delicious – but it’s still found at Starbucks and in Coconut Dream brand.

Gellan Gum, Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum– These ingredients are known to cause stomach issues like bloating and gas in people who have sensitive digestive systems. I personally try not to consume these ingredients on a regular basis especially for foods that I have often like coconut milk and other nut milks. 

Added Sugar – There is no need to sweeten coconut milk, and you can always sweeten it with sweeteners you prefer at home. Also, some of us would like to drink a coconut milk Starbucks latte without added sugar, and if customers want a sweet drink they can request that sweeteners are added when they order.

Natural Flavors – If they simply used more coconut cream and less “thickening agents”, would these fake flavors be needed? This proprietary concoction of chemicals could contain just about anything naturally-derived, and as recently reported on CNN, may contain “anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume”.

Synthetic Vitamin D2 – This form of vitamin D isn’t natural (created in a lab), and you’ll often see it added to non-dairy products. Vitamin D2 has been shown to be insufficient and not suitable for fortification, but food manufacturers continue to needlessly fortify their products with it. 

Corn Dextrin & Xanthan Gum – These are more thickening agents, typically made from GMO corn. Xanthan gum is often derived from corn, and its consumption can cause gastrointestinal issues. Corn is an increasingly common allergen and more people are reporting an intolerance to eating corn-based products. What’s corn doing in coconut milk, anyway?

The bottom line: None of these ingredients belong in coconut milk, and they certainly don’t improve the nutritional value.

The crazy thing is that coconut milk is one of the easiest things to make in the world (as you can see from the video above). There’s absolutely no reason to ever buy coconut milk at the grocery store (or from Starbucks) when it literally takes less than five minutes to make – and you don’t even need to crack a coconut!

Food Babe's Coconut Milk With Canned Coconut
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can coconut milk (BPA-free)
  1. Blend or shake really hard and serve.
**Please choose coconut milk that is in a BPA-free can and organic, such as Natural Value brand**


Food Babe's Coconut Milk With Shredded Coconut
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4 cups water
  1. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer.


Food Babe's Coconut Milk Made With Coconut Manna
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 cup coconut manna
  • 3 cups water
  1. Place the jar of coconut manna in a bowl of warm to hot water to allow the manna to soften.
  2. When soft, place the manna and water in a blender and blend on medium speed until combined.
  3. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer
For a lighter version use ¾ cup coconut manna.


Supplies for homemade coconut milk:

Please share and spread the word – making homemade coconut milk is easy!

Do you know someone who is still buying overly processed coconut milk at the store? Please share this video with them and inspire them to make their own! Also if you know someone getting coconut milk lattes at Starbucks – tell them what’s up! Knowledge is power.

If you want more tips like these and monthly guidance from me and my team, please consider getting a Food Babe membership – the details are here and we’d love to have you join!



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156 responses to “3 Ways To Make Coconut Milk (without cracking a coconut)

  1. How long does the homemade coconut milk (canned BPA free version) store in the fridge?

  2. Thank you. I have been wanting to buy coconut milk, but I read labels and couldn’t make myself buy it! Thnaks again! Now I will try it! What is the name of the canned coconut milk?

  3. Thank you so much Vani for your recipes! Now I can stop buying the coconut milk creamer for my coffee! You rock! One other thing. I know that your website is normally about food. But your teeth are amazing WHITE!! Can you share your secret with us, if you have one!? What you use for toothpaste? Do you use something to whiten them!? Thank you! 🙂

  4. So what is Natural Value Brand lining their cans with since they stopped using BPA?

    1. Vani, I have heard that the linings they are now using in cans to replace BPA is just as bad. Can you please comment on this? I don’t know what is being used in the USA to replace BPA, but I did find a comprehensive article that says: When alternatives are developed they also have to be tested for any possible health and environmental risks. Despite this, it cannot be ruled out that future problems might occur with these materials too. But as in the case with the cornstarch alternative mentioned above, it seems highly unlikely that the alternative has properties as dangerous as BPA does. Nevertheless, any alternative substances must always be thoroughly tested, before they are put into use, regardless of whether they are produced from naturally occurring materials or industrially.

      1. I have contacted Natural Value Brand and asked what is being used instead of BPA in their organic coconut milk. They are using:

        Internal coating system:

        Can Body – BPANI Aluminized Polyester plus Organosol
        Normal End – BPANI Aluminized Organosol
        Easy Open End – BPANI Aluminized Polyester plus Organosol

        These need to be researched but they don’t sound good to me.

  5. Hola

    como esta ? i know alittle 🙂
    anyway i felt bad when no closed caption cuz i m deaf need read it as what u say on your vlogs ! just let u know thank / keep up

  6. I can’t wait to try these. I just started drinking coconut milk and did not know about all the chemical additives. I have made coconut cream from the can–if I remember correctly, I just whipped rather than add water.

  7. This just took the stress out of buying a product I never wanted to buy because of the ingredients, but felt I did not have a choice but to drink the commercial stuff. Thank you for all that you do for us out here caught by the commercial food industry-yeah! Not Anymore since you published the best book ever.

  8. What about almond milk? Do you have an alternative to the ultra expensive bag of almonds? Even at Costco are way too much for my pocket. Hurts. Please let me know.

    1. I have the same question, Eunice … We love almond milk, but have a hard time finding it in the store without a lot of additives! Would LOVE to know if Vani has a video on making our own almond milk.

  9. All the canned coconut milk I saw at Sprouts have guar gum. I could not find Natural a Value brand. Who sells this?

  10. Hi,
    I know that coconut milk, oil, etc. are all the rage right now (for good reasons). Unfortunately, all things coconut make me gag (literally). It’s happened to me since I was a kid. Don’t know why. Are there just-as-beneficial alternatives?

    1. I make Almond milk all the time, very easy also. I soak cup of raw Almonds in water usually overnight, drain water and put in blender with clean water approx. 2+ cups, and blend then strain, and that is Almond milk, can add vanilla extract, I don’t. Then save the pulp to add to smoothies.

  11. Hi ! :o) And what about the coconut milk powder ?

    Is it okay, and if so how many do you need and with how many water ?

    Thanks a lot :o) You’re the best !!


      1. Well it’s not written that it’s organic, it says raw coconut milk powder. There is no ingredients list, so coconut must be the only ingredient.

        I don’t know if you have it in the U.S., I’m from Quebec, Canada.

        You can but it at, but their website is only in french.
        On my package it’s not written «organic» but they talk a lot about organic food on their website.



      2. Hi vani will adding 4 cups of water or 3 cut back on the fat or carbs? My concern is the fats since I’m doing a Keto Diet..thanks in advance

  12. Of the three options presented, #2 seems best. Most canned products are pasteurized which I believe destroys much of the nutritional value. And though that may not be the case with the brand mentioned here, what guarantee is there of shelf life safety, or the safety of the alternate can liner? A simple coconut manna can be made with shredded o’ coconut and food processor (I think you taught me that!), while the packaged manna (Nutiva, etc.) goes through a process of separation, freeze drying, and then recombination, and it’s lots more expensive. Thank you Vani, you’re the best!

  13. I’ve been checking Silk products and still see carrageenan listed. What’s up with that?

  14. Thank you for the coconut milk recipe. I have been making your pistachio milk and almond milk for a year now and that saved us from ingesting all the horrible things in creamer…THANK YOU VANI! Thank you for adding a few more years to our lives and showing us how to live a healthy, organic life. Luv u

  15. Thanks! These are great!

    Is one of these three methods healthier? (my toddlers drink tons of coconut milk – main beverage along with water) I’m a bit leary of cans.

    Is one more cost effective?

    Finally, curious if coconut is the healthiest milk for kids. I have a casein allergy and my son had issues but is now starting to eat yogurt and cheese. He dislikes the taste of cow milk.


  16. Hi Vani! So I LOVED your Container Store glass jar (the first one you put your coconut into). I was just on their website- what is it called, do you know? I see “Glass Milk Bottles” but wasn’t sure if that had the cool cap like you had. Thanks for your help!

  17. Very interesting but since I’m always watching my weight I would have loved to see the nutritional information for each method. At least the calories for each.

  18. WHY do these videos have music in the background? Its very distracting and you have to make a mental effort to block it out to listen to the message. If you go to an lecture, there is no music being played in the background. Watch Dr. Gregor or Dr. Fuhrman give a lecture. You won’t here them playing music in the background. With them, you can concentrate on the message not on blocking out the music.

  19. Thanks for the how to make your own coconut milk tutorial. Do you have a recipe for the coconut pulp?

  20. So I’m guessing that the ratio of 1-13.5 ounce can of coconut milk to 4cups-(32 ounces) of filtered water is a lot of liquid. Since there is 14 grams of saturated fat in the can, I guess I’m not too concerned using only a couple ounces solely for coffee daily??? BTW: Manna is superb laid on a split date!!!!! Thanx-Rattle.

  21. Hi Vani,

    Thank you for all the good work you do! My naturopath recommends Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk. What do you think of this brand. They use three ingredients: organic coconut, purified water, and organic guar gum. Thanks!


  22. Thank you, Vani.
    I love this!
    So easy and delicious.

    One question regarding “Natural Flavors”. I was always under the impression that natural flavors are flavors derived from nature including but not limited to fruits, vegetables, yeast, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, tree bark, to name a few.

    You mention here that natural flavors contain all kinds of chemicals, and I have heard that before. Are there any chemicals mixed with these natural ingredients? I thought that artificial flavors are the ones with the chemical cocktail…

  23. So many preservatives an additives….plus who knows when these coconuts were blended to make coconut milk. Another DIY tip you can try at home is to use the coconut water and mix it with the coconut meat. Deliciously rich 🙂

    1. Oh yes, why didn’t I think of that? That does sound like a great option, even though much more expensive. I’m going to try it at least once! Thanks, Chris!!

  24. I was just thinking about this today. Coconut milk is the only “milk” I use but i’ve been discouraged with the ingredients. I’m looking forward to making my own!

  25. I use an organic coconut cream concentrate to make coconut milk. It is made form 100% pure finely ground coconut which about 70% is coconut oil.
    There is no water or other ingredient in this product. It is sometimes referred to coconut butter. This stuff taste so good I will sometimes just eat a tablespoon full of it for a snack. I buy all of my shredded coconut, and coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. I like the flavor of their products. I have tried other brands and I just did like the taste of them.

    1. Wow, I just checked out the Tropical Traditions website and I’m very impressed. I have not heard of them before, so thank you for sharing this. The way they process the coconut and quality of their products gives me confidence that they have some wonderful products.

  26. Wow. My favorite post ever. Trying to reduce my dairy and actually had Starbucks soy milk today… can’t begin to imagine what’s even in it :-(. This coconut milk will be perfect with my morning blonde roast!! Thank you!

  27. Hi Food Be,

    What story carries the Natural Coconut Milk BPA Free?

    Please advise.



  28. It is difficult to hear every word of your presentations because there is background music at the same time you are speaking. Your comments and actions are interesting enough to stand on their own without that background, which will make it much easier for us hard-of- hearing viewers to understand you. Thank you for considering this request. I really appreciate all you are doing to educate all of us. Wally B.

  29. It is difficult to understand every word in your presentation because of the background music. Your comments and actions are interesting enough to stand on their own, so that us hard-of-hearing viewers can benefit from the full benefit of your research Thank you for considering my request. I appreciate your commitment to educating educating your viewers.

  30. This recipe will be much lower in protein than cow/goat milk, so I add protein powder to the blender (stevia sweetened chocolate flavor is my favorite). Most canned coconut has about 15-17% fat so to get a similar fat/protein ratio I use 25g of protein powder to one can coconut and 3 cans water. Using my local goat milk as a reference this recipe yields 109% of the fat, 88% of the protein and 23% of the carbs of the milk. My son loves it too…

  31. Maybe I missed it going through posts here . Need the recipe for almond milk.
    Love this site Vani. Thank you . Carolyn

  32. Which method do you like the most Vani (as far as taste, texture, etc)? And which one seems to be the most budget friendly?

  33. Did I see a dish of coconut ice cream on the counter? Do you make it in the same way, and just freeze? Ty for the great tips and advice Vani.

  34. You are so awesome and have really helped change our food world!! I make my own almond milk with the Soyabella machine and it is super easy but I was just wondering if I could use that to make coconut milk also. I like that machine because I don’t have to strain or use nutbags. Thanks for the coconut recipes! Keep on doing such great work-love your TV!

  35. “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ― Robert F. Kennedy. And you, Food Babe, are headed in that direction every day. I appreciate your daily service to this end.

    I want to help in a small way. There is a science behind a presentation hitting the bull’s-eye. If you don’t hit the mark, its simply noise. Sad, but true. I like the realism of this particular video. It is simplistically educational. Which is a good thing. Excellent. However, because you have audiences from all over the globe, you have reached a higher level of NEEDED effectiveness. I would suggest tightening up the presentations. Straighten that arrow as it streaks along. Adding sharpness while preserving the down to earth, real life Food Babe from Charlotte, NC can be done. Examples: (1) Yes, the music is pulling a lot of cognitive power that should be given to “this video on making my own coconut milk has endeared me to Food Babe and I feel better as a person because I saw it and acted on it and I need to find out what else she is saying”. Intermittent is best if you want to use music throughout. (2) The various excerpts, while creative are unnecessary. They breakup your message in a distractive way. (3) “Me and Mr. Food Babe”? “Me and Mr. Food Babe” or even “I and Mr. Food Babe” are never correct. (4) One last suggestions if I may. The down to earth, real life Food Babe still needs an adhered to script. Your pauses while you are “caught in thought” are overly noticeable and become uncomfortable. These four examples can cause your audience to jump track cognitively and produce “negatively impacted emotion” (i.e. empathy or otherwise) which will result in the message missing its FULL potential. Take me for example. I started thinking about writing this message to you and the contents of it while in the distant background, you were using a blender on something. See what I mean? (I did go back through your presentation to get what I needed for a healthier me) In your presentations you MUST achieve these two objectives aside from delivering a core message: Effectiveness and credibility.

    You are an amazing talent and I want your message to reach and stick to every human for the sake of health and wellbeing.

  36. Thank you for these recipes, I love coconut milk but can’t stand the store bought junk. I can’t wait to try these!!

  37. I found this information online about replacing BPA with cornstarch. But since most corn is now pesticide laden, GMO grown, is that really a significantly safer alternative? I found this article to be very enlightening regarding BPA: An alternative to BPA based on isosorbide produced from cornstarch has been developed by collaboration between Michael Jaffe, from New Jersey’s Science & Technology University (NJIT) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB). In the form of isosorbide-containing epoxy resin, this alternative product can replace BPA in the coating on the inside of canned foods. Cornstarch is used because corn is both cheap and readily available in the U.S., but other sugar-containing materials can also function as raw material. The further development of this BPA alternative will be carried out in collaboration with food packaging manufacturers, and possibly reach the market within a few years.

  38. Hi Vani, question. Which of the three options you listed is the cheapest option? Want to transition but we are on a budget! So that would be really great to know. Thanks so much. I appreciate this post!

  39. Hi All, great to see this post. I have been making my own almond milk for over a year now and recently started making coconut milk (heated water with organic coconut chips–let sit/muddle & strain/run thru 2-3 x’s) then mix them together. so easy. Mixing is great as the almond milk seems to keep the coconut milk from clumping. however my cholesterol is a bit higher. (I didn’t realize coconut oil is high in cholesterol) not too worried about it though. I am a HUGE supporter of Vani and her mission. I am a Food Babe member- not necessarily for the recipes (although they are GREAT, love most of them) but mainly to support her mission of shouting on the rooftop to remove the chemicals from out food! Highly recommend her book. Thanks Vani for all the good work you do!

    1. forgot to say I LOVE the canned milk version, quick and super easy.
      great video, thanks!

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