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Homemade Coconut Milk

I love using coconut milk as a replacement for dairy, but I’m often frustrated by the additives used in most canned and boxed coconut milks. Luckily, making homemade coconut milk is super easy and actually tastes much better than the store-bought variety (really, the taste is so clean and naturally sweet).


  • 1 cup organic, unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of stevia (optional)


1. In your blender, soak the coconut in hot water for about 20 minutes. (My blender just so happens to be a retro yellow beast from the early 80’s. Don’t judge.)

You’ll see the coconut plump up a bit.


2. Blend on high until mixed well. This may take a few minutes. Be careful when blending hot liquids. I leave the lid ajar and hold a kitchen towel over the top.


3. Set a colander lined with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth in a large bowl. (Alternately, use a nut milk bag. I’m not that fancy yet, so cheesecloth will have to suffice).


4. Pour the blended coconut into the cheesecloth-lined colander.

straining-homemade-coconut-milkStrain the liquid, using clean hands to squeeze out every last drop.


5. Pour milk into a glass container. Stir in the vanilla extract and stevia.


6.  Serve and enjoy!


  • Homemade coconut milk will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. Without preservatives, fresh coconut milk lacks the shelf life of the canned or boxed stuff. For this reason, I prefer to make small batches.
  • The milk may “separate” in the refrigerator, leaving a layer of fat at the top. That just tells you there aren’t any emulsifiers in it. I don’t mind, but if you want it to look all pretty, simply let it sit out at room temp for a few minutes before serving.
  • Use the leftover pulp in baked goods, granola, or as a “breading” for meat or poultry. At the very least, you can throw it in the compost.
  • This stuff is a divine addition to your favorite black tea! As you may already know, I am addicted to tea.

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

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