Frugal Homemade Coconut Milk

Whenever I need a non-dairy milk for a recipe, my first choice is coconut milk. It’s full of nourishing benefits (and is soy & nut-free!).

However, cans of quality coconut milk can be fairly spendy; over $2 at some natural food stores! Even purchasing them in bulk, the cost adds up quickly.

Other non-dairy milks (such as hemp milk), also carry a high price tag, as well as lots of packaging.

Then I came across directions on how to make homemade coconut milk! I don’t have fresh coconuts available to me in my rural town, but I can get bulk bags of dried, shredded (unsweetened) coconut through our co-op for $1.55 per pound. So, this recipe was the perfect frugal solution.

All the recipe required was some cheesecloth (I picked up a package in the baking aisle at the local grocery store) and a basic blender or food processor to whip it all together.

I store the milk in a glass pitcher in the refrigerator. When the milk is refrigerated, the “cream” solidifies on top (just like what you’d see in a can of coconut milk), but then I just stir it briskly before pouring a glass.

The recipe only makes about 1 – 1 1/2 cups. You can make a small batch to start with, but if you think you’ll use it regularly, I recommend making a larger batch to save on time (and dirty dishes!). However, the milk typically only lasts for a few days, so don’t make too much.

If you decide to double it, the proportions would be:

3 cups Water
1 3/4 cups dried Shredded Coconut

See the original recipe at Tropical Traditions for all their tips along with their recipe!

To make “buttermilk” for a recipe, I use my usual frugal shortcut of adding
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 cup of Milk.
(Often, you can also dilute the milk with water, so you can make the milk stretch, too.)

It’s delicious, frugal, and healthy!

This post is part of:

Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy’s Recipes

Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday (hosted at The Well this week)

{Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik}

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23 comments to Frugal Homemade Coconut Milk

  • Hey Michelle, Just an FYI — I buy my whole coconuts at an Indian food store. We love chewing on the meats, and the milk is delish too:)

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @Tiffany, Yum! How wonderful that you have a source for whole coconuts! :) The only store in our little town is a basic little market (mostly canned food), with no coconuts. :) I do miss those “ethnic” grocery stores in the city. I used to find them at Asian markets, too, when we lived there.

    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • ~M

    Yum! Is the consistency of this milk like (full-fat) canned coconut milk or like a coconut milk beverage (like So Delicous)?

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @~M, I think it’s kind of “in between,” but it could be that my blender didn’t mix up the coconut pulp enough. In the recipe she says it is equivalent to the canned milk, but it seems a more “drinkable” consistency kind of like “So Delicious” (but the fat does solidify on top when cold, like the canned stuff). I just stir, and pour a glass for drinking.
    Blessings,
    Michele :)

    [Reply]

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by frugalgranola, frugalgranola. frugalgranola said: Frugal Homemade Coconut Milk: Whenever I need a non-dairy milk for a recipe, my first choice… http://goo.gl/fb/mrj1i […]

  • I thinkI only pay 79Cents for shredded coconut! this is a great tip/recipe…thanks!!
    http://bit.ly/9uCyuK

    [Reply]

  • Brianna

    Could I use the “buttermilk” version for soaking grains instead of cultured buttermilk?

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    I think you could! :) Since it has the “acidic medium” of vinegar, it should work. (Depending on what you are soaking, you may need to add more like a Tbl. of vinegar, instead of a tsp.)

    Sometimes just soak with water & vinegar (such as if I am out of milk), too. :)

    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • I didn’t realize I could make this. I’m finding coconut milk used a lot in pumpkin recipes which I’ve been seeking because we have a ton of homegrown pumpkins this year. Now I’ll have to look for shredded coconut which I think I may be able to find at a bulk foods store near my mil.

    [Reply]

  • Joy

    Yay! I was so happy to read this! I am slowly trying to eliminate all the canned products we buy, and coconut was one of the remaining foods (along with seafood). Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  • Kendra H.

    I’m so glad you mentioned the apple cider vinegar!!!! Now I need to go look in my husband’s van for ours. I bought a gallon and it has gone a missin’.

    [Reply]

  • Michele, does coconut milk have the same wonderful properties as the coconut water you posted about a while back? From what I’ve found googling around, I’m thinking no, but I bet you know a lot more about that than google anyway. :>) Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    As far as I know, coconut water and coconut milk have different benefits. Coconut water is a wonderful source of electrolytes (in the previous post you read), while coconut milk is a good source of the medium chain fatty acids/lauric acid (like what is found in breastmilk). Isn’t it amazing how God created the simple coconut to be so full of nourishing benefits? :)

    Great question! Thanks!
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • Love Coconut milk! as so my twin babies that do not do well on store bought milk! SO glad that you are getting the benefits out there and bout how easy it is to make!!!

    [Reply]

  • Beth

    Hi! I read that you sometimes dilute your milk with water. Can I do that in most baking? I use whole milk (dairy) and sometimes depending on what I’m making I a)want to reduce the calories a little or b)want to stretch my expensive milk!! Are there specific times when I should NOT dilute it for baking? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    Yes, I usually dilute the milk when I am baking to make it stretch. I haven’t found that any of my recipes seem affected by the dilution. (I wouldn’t do that in a “creamy” dish, such as rice pudding or custards, though.) But for the usually quick breads, etc. it has worked well for me. :)
    Thanks!
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • […] And a recipe to file away for when we seriously try for dairy-free: Coconut milk […]

  • Thank you for the recipe. I’ve just made my successful batch of yogurt and I’ve been reading up on kefir and other healthy alternatives. We’re trying to take baby steps to healthier eating rather than getting overwhelmed by changing everything at once. I wish I knew about this when my children were babies, but I guess late is better than never.

    [Reply]

  • This is SO smart! I purchased some coconut though Azure and can’t wait to give this a try, thank you!

    [Reply]

  • Kim

    Instead of cheese cloth, try using a paint strainer bag that you can buy at a paint store. I use them as an economical substitute for sprout and nut milk bags. And unlike cheese cloth, you can use them over and over again.

    [Reply]

  • Heather Brandt

    Do you use a certain brand or type of shredded coconut?

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @Heather Brandt, I’ve used a few different ones, but I remember that Edward & Sons/Let’s Do Organic is gluten-free.

    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • – Thanks for the comment, Jody. I’m not sure how fuoalbus my life is but it’s definitely fun. Thank you! I’m with you on the games. I think they feel really forced and most ppl I know do not like them. I think food and drinks are enough to bring people together. Sometimes it’s more painful if you don’t know anyone and have to interact by playing games. It’s like a team-building exercise at work!

    [Reply]

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