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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… 
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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
Ingredients
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can coconut milk (BPA-free)
Instructions
  1. Blend or shake really hard and serve.
Notes
**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
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  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
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut manna
  • 3 cups water
Instructions
  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
Notes
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!

Xo,

Vani 

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

  1. Thank you Vani! That was so informative and fun to watch!
    I was wondering if you can do a similar video about almond milk, since this store-bought product is also filled with garbage…
    Thanks for everything you’re doing! We love you!

    1. I was thinking the exact same as you on the almond milk Galia! I use almond milk for most of my smoothies and my protein shakes but for now have been buying it because I’m uncertain how to make. I guess I’m just native, but I had NO idea there were fake, phony ingredients in coconut milk, I just assumed it was good for you. Thanks for sharing this so now I can make my own.

  2. I started watching your video and had to stop it temporarily to make this comment. You suggested using a particular brand of coconut milk that only contained coconut and “water”. I think that for you to be true to your beliefs, you should stop using/promoting products (you promoted because you showed the brand name) that probably used unfiltered or tap water in their product. As as you well know, tap water contains a myriad of poisons. Unfortunately even organically grown veggies and fruits are watered with their local, poisoned tap water. Can’t get around that as for they to use filtered water would be cost prohibitive. Personally for my family, I do every little thing I can do to avoid our consumption of legalized additive poisons in our water and GMOs in our grocery store products. I only purchase organic and distill our tap water we use for drinking and cooking. As distilled water is devoid of everything, I add the necessary trace minerals required for our health and well being. Unfortunately I cannot afford to distill ALL water that we use in our home. My suggestion would be maybe if you just stick with using organic coconut and filtered water as you did with just using organic almonds and water. Forget about using canned products, even tho advertised BPA free, as the replacement of BPA hasn’t been deemed “safe” so far. Pls don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE your website and extend many, many kudos to you for what you are doing to try to get the word out to the world. I truly wish there were more individuals as yourself dedicated to being the watchdog which helps us to preserve our own health and humanity. Keep up your great work!! I only rated the recipe low because of the water issue.

      1. Chelsey, I truly wish I was wrong. You need to do your research before you make a comment such as this.

    1. She’s showing us how to make coconut milk, NOT almond milk! It may not be perfect but she’s showing us an alternative that is at least better than the boxed coconut milk, which is what I’m currently using!

    2. I went to Natural Value’s website and this is the information they have listed regarding the water they use with their organic and non-organic coconut milk: Made with deep well water processed via reverse osmosis filtration

  3. Vani,

    Thanx for all the tips and info.
    I’m so happy I found you.
    Congratulations on the carrageenan victory. That’s how you and your army came to my attention. I never thought I’d say this, but… I guess I joined the army.

    To the future.

      1. That pitcher is only 34 ounces…4 cups of water and 1 can of coconut milk would overflow. Right?

  4. Last week I picked up two boxes of coconut water from Trader Joes; scanned the ingredients and put it in my buggy. Made smoothies a few times and then sat down to study the labels and found out it contained carrageenan. I was so disgusted. Was actually going to submit a question about the best coconut water/drink to buy and this email was in my inbox. Thanks Vani. I’ll never have to purchase the “fake” stuff again.

  5. Thanks Vani for the recipe. I usually make my protein shake with coconut milk, but just recently I read the label on the ingredients of the protein shake and I was so disgusted to find out how many chemicals it has in it and on top of that I’m adding the coconut milk from the carton 🙁 Ugh
    Pls investigate more about protein shakes and their ingredientes, people sell you this shakes claiming nutrition and health but all I see in the labels is maltodextrin and sucralosa. So disappointing and misleading.

  6. SO and Silk, along with many others are in bed with Monsanto, even though they call themselves organic! This is one site that will show you who’s really organic and who’s not….sign up for their newsletter! http://www.cornucopia.org/ Thanks Food Babe, all I’ve ever heard of carrageenan is that it is cancer causing…I stay away from it.

  7. Thank you Vani and your team. Making our food from scratch is really the answer for dodging so many toxins. Salad dressings, soups, smoothies/juicing, pastes, . . . etc….. find someone that grows foods of your choosing and support their business. Find someone that is making bread from scratch and support them. Find someone or several folks that are growing herbs etc and buy their products. Start small, but start growing your own foods. . sprouts and herbs are a easy start. . I know there are classes available to learn how to dry goods and or store fresh foods in bottles. I have known folks that have made their own essential oils from common herbs; oregano, parsley, mint . . . . Granted everyone is busy but if there is a will, there is a way. Work with a small group that gather ever so often and spend a few hours making. I read a lot of comments about watching the quality of water. Wisely so!!!! I am sure many folks have heard of the 11th commandment. . As always, it is great to see folks hashing it out because eventually when the dust settles, the possibilities are exposed. There is so much information shared and personal experiences. That is where wisdom comes to life. Keep swinging and always chase the truth. Carry on and be healthy!
    No body makes an apple like Him!!!

  8. I am a label reader and every time I read the ingredients on “healthy sounding coconut milk” I put it back on the shelf. I have seen recipes using a real coconut but that is not something I want to try because you have to open it with a sharp knife or hammer ans screwdriver.
    thank you for these 3 easy ways to make it. I can even make it in a smaller batch for just 1 person!

  9. Hey Vani,

    Thanks for the info about the coconut milk. I drink the So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk in the carton which I thought was the closest to being good for you. Anyway, it seems that all your suggestions of the canned milk have the guar gum in them except for the Nature Value. I tried Native Forest and it was really good, but again it has guar gum. Any suggestions? Thanks for all your great help, and I’m truly enjoying your book! Take care.

    Regards,
    Christina

    1. Native Forest does make a canned coconut milk without guar gum, but it’s hard to find in the stores. I found it on their website. It’s called Simple Coconut Milk, instead of the Classic or Lite version. I’m trying to get my local Whole Foods to carry it on a regular basis.

  10. Is there a way to make the coconut milk thicker in the recipe with shredded coconut? Also, do you have any suggestions or recipes for the leftover shredded coconut?

    1. There is a scientific method to make it thicker but it’s a really difficult mathematical equation you have to use. Of course you could always try using less water.

  11. Do u mind letting us know where we can purchase that brand of canned coconut milk? They started putting “junk” in the one I normally use! Thanks

      1. And they had a 25% coupon on first purchase!! I also purchased the glass pitcher, it is great quality but a little small for a full batch (it’s 34 oz). Also, the next day the coconut fat foam is solid on the top so needed to pour the whole thing in the blender, blend, and then pour back leaving only the amount needed for my smoothie. Kind of a pain but it’s the nature of real coconut milk 🙂

  12. Loved the video- very professional and kept my attention! I recently switched from almond milk to a spoonful of BPA-free canned coconut cream for my morning coffee. I use it in recipes frequently, too. My almond milk doesn’t have carageenan, but it still has a couple of other additives and I have to be esp. careful with my diet due to Crohn’s. I’ll be making the milk soon!

  13. Food babe
    You mentioned drinking tea and coffee in the morning. I’m curious to know, what brand of tea and coffee would you recommend? Currently, I only drink Iaso detox tea. You won’t find anything other than 9 essential herbs in this one. I swear by it and not only because I sell it. Of course I wouldn’t sell it if I wouldn’t drink it.

  14. Thanks! Great article. How long will any of these keep in the refrigerator? I wonder if I could use coconut butter instead of the coconut manna?

    I’ve become increasingly wary of the ingredients in almond milk. Can you do a video on an easy way to make almond milk…or have you already done one? I tried a recipe on another site and it didn’t taste good plus the recipe was a little too complex for me. I like your recipes because they’re easy and quick!

  15. I saw the question I’m going to ask you, but I didn’t see a reply. I am wanting to know what you do with all the pulpy flesh remains from the shredded coconut and water blended in blender. I hate to waste it.
    Thanks
    Can you please reply to my e mail if not posted?
    Thanks again!!!!

    1. F/U: Searching for the answer to this….found one on Wellness Mama’s sight. To the strained pulp, spread onto cookie sheet as best u can. Can air dry it 24 hrs, or bake lowest setting for approx. 4 hrs. Once dried thoroughly, throw in food processor or blender; now u have COCONUT FLOUR! store in airtight container, in frig. Nothing wasted!!! ; )

    2. Reply

      Krista says

      February 17, 2015 at 4:52 AM

      KEEP the leftover white powdery stuff…you basically have coconut flour!! Just a few more steps:

      1. Squeeze the coconut milk out of the pulp
      2. Spread the pulp on a cookie sheet
      3. Use a fork to break up the chunks

      4. You have many options for drying the pulp:
      a. You can leave it out to air-dry (24 hours)
      b. Put it in the oven on the lowest setting until dry (4 hours approx)
      c. Put it in the oven with the light on (overnight)

      5. Once it is dried thoroughly, throw the coconut pulp into a food processor or blender
      6. Tada! Now you have COCONUT FLOUR!
      7. Store in a airtight container, Lookup coconut flour recipes, and enjoy!

  16. Hi Vani,

    Thank you for this easy + delicious recipes. I made the recipe using coconut manna + stored it an air tight container in my refrigerator. The next day it was more of a solid than liquid form. It was like a foam consistency. Is this normal or perhaps did I have too much of the oil from the jar of coconut manna in my mixture?

  17. GOYA brand (Hispanic brand – check your ethnic foods aisle or go to the Hispanic market) makes a canned coconut milk without any added thickeners, but it does have sodium biphosphate, besides coconut and water. Not sure about the quality of the water though. I discovered it in my local Publix supermarket a couple weeks ago.

    1. Huh! Looks like we found the same item at the same time, Kitty. We’re going through our cardboard carton stuff before we try the Goya canned product. We’ll post a review here.

      1. Update to my post: The preservative in Goya’s coconut milk is potassium metabisulfite. But at least there are no added thickeners. I added 2 cans of filtered water and gave it a quick spin in the blender. Its pretty darned good.

  18. We want to try the canned milk method (no.1) but would like to see how it works for us, without ordering a whole case, on-line. This stuff (Natural Value) is IMPOSSIBLE to find in local stores, in these parts.

    We did find a Goya product (only $1.79 at Acme), that while not in a BPA free can, has none of the other ingredients you cited. But it does contain potassium metabisulfite, a preservative that is widely used in wines. Any comments on that ingredient?

    1. Finally finished the cardboard boxes of coconut milk and made my 1st batch from the Goya can. After all this time, found no alarming comments about potassium metabisulfite, so I proceeded. The result was delicious. I stored the unused portion directly in my blender which fits in the fridge door. As expected, it separates and has to be re-blended. Not a big deal and the $1.79 for about 45 oz. is close to the same as the $3.89 or so I was paying for 64 oz. in the box. Big difference, of course, is no guar gum or such. I’m happy and shall continue to us this method.

  19. Thanks for the great video. I made coconut milk this morning following method #1. I just made myself an iced coffee and went to pour in the milk and there was a thick foam settled on top. Anyone else have this happen to them? Thoughts on how to avoid it??

  20. Another product I love is Orange Juice by Simply Orange (with pulp) but it has way too much sugar in it. I called the company, but they didn’t do anything about it.
    Also so many of the so called natural juices in bottles have 27 grams of sugar in them. Hopefully Vani can look into this and see what can be done about these juices. They do not need sugar in them.
    Even tho some say on front label “No ADDED sugar”, They are still loaded with sugar. Thank you Vani and staff as well as Food Babe Army members.

    1. Any store-bought orange juice is BAD. They are all squeezed, then the juice is stored in huge tanks in which the air is removed so it keeps indefinitely. When they go to “make” the OJ, it has “flavor packets” (made from peels, etc.) added to add back in the OJ flavor. That’s how they have “fresh” juice when oranges are out of season. I read about this a few years ago, and I wrote to one company that promotes a “natural” juice. and they all but confirmed it. Go Google it to read more about it. I now only buy fresh oranges when in season and squeeze them myself.

  21. I made coconut milk according to the recipe in my VitaMix. Some of it separated out like butter. I think I may have used too cold water but, also, that my Vitamix may be too agitating. Has anyone else had this problem?
    I took out the big chunk of solid, put it another container, and used some of it for cooking. Although it didn’t thicken the stew I was making; it made it creamy.

    1. This happened to me as well! I also wondered about using water that was too cold. I used the same brand that Vani did, but when I opened the can it was definitely more solid than in the video. I ended up throwing the chunk of solid away, but I felt so wasteful!

      1. Kerrie, don’t throw away the chunk of solid. As I said, it worked well for making dishes, as stews, creamy. I also used it like butter but had to leave it out of the refrigerator to soften a bit.
        The second time I made it, I emptied the can of coconut into a large bowl. I put in I cup of warm water and mixed it with a wisk. When well mixed, I put in the rest of the cold water and continued to wisk it. It worked well.

  22. The video is different from written recipe on the coconut manna one. 1 cup to 3 cups on written but 1cupto 4 on video. Which one works best? I think I tried 1/2 cup to 2 cups water awhile back and it was good.

  23. Many thanks to you, Vani. You are doing a wonderful service for all humanity as a good health guide. You have made many of us aware of the dangerous ingredients in our food You are a blessing. I love all the information you have to offer.

    God bless you.

  24. Out of the 3, what would be the best tasting? I’ve only done the first method with the coconut milk.

    Thank you!

  25. I’d like to make a chocolate version. Has anyone tried this? Maybe just add some cacao?? Any ideas would be appreciated 🙂

  26. I hope this might not negative BUT canned coconut milk without viscosity modifier is good BUT dried natural coconut milk powder is more natural..sorry but that is reality. In fact the process of canning coconut milk is so intense compared to aseptic packaging. The truth is you can not make canned coconut milk without adding anything aside from water. That is the law of physics and the reality of food processing technology. When it comes to marketing presentation, then it is a different matter. As of labeling..brilliant companies can get away with it. This is based on my hand-on practical experience not from the internet or some articles. Thank you..

  27. Hola me gustaria saber si eso lo puedo hacer con el coco puro ya que lo puedo conseguir. Gracias por tu ayuda

  28. Hi – Just received my jar of coconut manna – but in the video it states to use 4 cups water to 1 cup manna…yet in the printed instructions on this page it lists 3 cups water….what is the correct ratio? thank you!

  29. I buy Native Forest ORGANIC Classic Coconut Milk. It does contain organic guar gum but I don’t seem to have a problem with it and I love the creamy texture. I use it straight out of the can but when my kitchen is cool, I place the can in hot water to liquefy the coconut oil, which is what some of you have described as the solid part. This is coconut oil which turns into a solid when it’s cooler than the low 70’s. Don’t throw it out as it’s very good for you. Mix it in or use it separately. Once the whole can is liquid, I pour some in my organic coffee and the rest in a shaker cup. It stays liquid as long as i use it often enough with just a quick shake. Depending on what you are using it for you might be able to just dilute it as you use it. It is great in soups and makes my nondairy life tolerable!

  30. Hi Vani, I was wondering which is better for you; almond milk or coconut milk? I want to lose weight so keep that in mind. Also how do you configure the calories or fat in when you make your own almond milk or coconut mild?
    Thanks
    Roxie

  31. There is a coconut water (canned) named Badia that only has coconut water listed. No sugar or other ingredients. I get it at Publix markets for about $1.00 a can!

  32. Oh I love this idea! I tried it with a can of organic coconut milk that I had in the cupboard and it was great. So I got a case of the Natural Value coconut milk. When I use this brand I get whipped cream (delish but not what I am going for) and ‘skimmed milk’. I can’t figure out how to make them go together. Can you help? Thanks so much!

  33. Upon careful study I see the only questions that generate a response from food babe are regarding purchase. I had heard this but didn’t want to believe it. So disappointed to see how many of us have been duped into buying her sponsored product.

  34. hi, thanks for educating peeps. One minor remark; you should always rinse cans of food before opening as in shipping they pick up all kinds of contaminates and if lid enters food/liquid, so have contaminates. we remove labels and wash outside of can before opening. Some might say that is extreme, but the toxins and contaminates that sicken us act on a parts per billion ratio.

  35. HELP!!!! I made the recipe using the recommended canned coconut milk. The next morning there was solid layer on the top. What did I do wrong???? I had to break through it and now there are chunks in the milk. Should I reblend it? Did I initially not blend it enough or perhaps too much? PLEASE ADVISE THANK YOU

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