Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Homemade Coconut Milk (Kobbari Paalu)

Even after all these years living in US, still I can’t bring myself to buy or use canned stuff in metal containers. Commercial Coconut milk is available here, packed in metal tins only. So, I avoid that stuff and I make fresh coconut milk at home whenever a recipe calls for it. Very easy to do, the only things required are fresh coconut, muslin cloth (cotton cloth), a hammer and a blender. 10 minutes of work- homemade fresh coconut milk, without any additives will be ready to add in cooking.

Fresh Coconut Pieces


Hold the coconut in your hand firmly. Hit coconut hard with hammer. Show off your aggression and hit hard. Depending upon your aggression level:), it will break open in few attempts. Catch and pour the coconut water in a glass/pitcher. Hitting with hammer, break each coconut half into pieces. Do all this, over a clean, empty kitchen sink- very convenient to pick up the falling coconut pieces and also to clean the whole mess.

Using a knife, separate the coconut piece from its shell. Young coconut is easily separable from the shell, but mature ones, some with attachment issues won’t come off that easily. Then try this old time tip - soak the pieces in water for 5 minutes. Water seeps between shell and coconut, creates a thin barrier and makes it easy to separate the coconut from the shell.

Rinse the coconut pieces with water. Slice them into very thin pieces. Place the coconut pieces in a blender, add water and grind smooth. Cover a bowl with muslin cloth (cotton cloth/gangi gudda) and pour the grinded coconut liquid-slush into the cloth. Allow it to drip for few minutes, and then squeeze handfuls of the coconut meat to extract as much liquid as possible into the bowl. Discard the squeezed pulp and use coconut milk in recipes. Stored in a glass jar, coconut milk can stay fresh for 1 or 2 days refrigerated.

Compared to store-bought concentrated stuff, homemade coconut milk tastes completely different. Fresh, tasty and watery. By playing with water quantity added to the blender and by cooking, you can control the consistency and thickness of coconut milk according to your needs.

Coconut, Finely Powdered and Squeezed Coconut Powder Using the Cheesecloth and Coconut Milk
Homemade coconut milk

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Coconut (Fresh) (Monday February 13, 2006 at 10:07 am- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

37 comments for Homemade Coconut Milk (Kobbari Paalu) »

  1. I had no idea coconut milk would be so simple! Now if only finding a fresh coconut were!

    Indira replies…
    Tell me about it.:) Tough to find a decent quality coconut here in my town.

    Comment by Alanna — February 13, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

  2. Thanks for the great tip! I’ve never tried to make coconut milk this way, but I do remember as a child in Los Angeles we would occasionally buy coconuts whole. Lots of fun to eat.

    Indira replies…
    You are welcome, Elise!

    Comment by Elise — February 13, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

  3. Hey Indira,
    You have a cool site and I find such good stuff here always. I tried your fenugreek dal and it was great. Hope the recipes keep flowing in.


    Indira replies…
    Thanks Mythili. I just checked your new food blog, like the name of your blog.

    Comment by Mythili — February 13, 2006 @ 12:32 pm

  4. Indira, do you think there is a big difference in quality between the coconuts you find in Pittsburgh markets and the coconuts in India? Compared to the coconut milk in Andhra Pradesh, is the stuff you make here nearly the same or is there a difference in quality? I’ve only made coconut milk in the US and I’ve always wondered how the stuff compares with what you can make in a place where coconuts are grown in your own backyard (or at least nearby). Thanks.

    Indira replies…
    Where should I start?:), the difference is tremendous, both in taste and quality - like between a freshly baked bread and a stale, smelling, days old bread. Atleast I can get some good quality ones in Pittsburgh, but here in Boardman, OH, my current residence - most of the times, I can’t even find a coconut. The grocery shops here, don’t carry them at all. Fresh coconut of good quality is a very exotic thing for us now.

    Comment by Brett — February 13, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

  5. I am wondering if I can get coconuts here in Athens worth making coconut milk from. If not–I can always bring them back from Columbus–Patna’s had some yesterday, and I almost bought them. (But then I got distracted by the ivy gourds and baby eggplants, and then forgot.)

    Indira replies…
    Very tough to find a decent quality coconut, same here in Boardman too. I’ve to buy them from Pittsburgh most of the times.
    Baby eggplants, yum…

    Comment by Barbara — February 13, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

  6. Hi Indira..

    U seem to throw away coconut pulp in the first round..Why so? Is it because you add water?
    I use whole milk instead of water and actually get three rounds of coconut-milk the first one being really thick, the second one being thin and the last round being the thinner version…But as yourself I dont like the quality in the commercial tin containers so its always best to use home made coconut-milk…

    Indira replies…
    I know, we do that in India. But here, I’ve learned that, by grinding repeatedly, like you mentioned, the resulting coconut milk will be very oily and also tasteless. Reason is ofcourse - poor quality coconuts. That’s why I don’t do that anymore and usually discard the pulp on just one grinding.
    Adding milk instead of water to make coconut milk - the idea is completely new to me.

    Comment by BDSN — February 13, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

  7. Thanks Indira…could you also suggest some tips to select a good coconut. Many a times they look good on the outside, but inside it would be rotten.

    Indira replies…
    Really I don’t have any tips, except shaking them by earside, to check the water levels. That’s an old tip, you probably know -more water, lot of giggling, shusing sound means fresh, less water - stale.
    Check out this site, it has some neat tips about coconuts. Hope this helps.

    Comment by Ammoos — February 13, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

  8. please put up that recipe for cake of chaoclate and coconut bits on it and biskuit..its called “?upavci” in my country

    Comment by vurdlak — February 13, 2006 @ 11:57 pm

  9. Another thing about selecting good coconuts is make sure there are no tiny cracks and check the “eyes”, and press them to make sure they have not leaked the coconut water. If either of that has happened the coconut will be rotten inside.

    Comment by yum — February 14, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

  10. That is a great tip! I have made coconut milk by grating the coconut, sooo not fun. But this looks easy.Wecan often get goodcocnuts soIwillhave to try this!

    Comment by clare eats — February 14, 2006 @ 5:55 pm

  11. I have had problems in the past with separating the meat from the shell. I look forward to trying this technique.

    The first time I had homemade coconut milk- I was amazed! It was a swirl of fruit flavors in that single coconut. I swear it had hints of strawberry!

    However, i had problems cooking with it. It seemed that applied heat made my fresh milk seperate and curdle. I was hoping to condense it into a coconut cream, but that never happened. help?

    Indira replies…
    Curdling of coconut milk usually because of cooking on high heat or cooking for too long after addding it to the dish. Cook on low, don’t cook it more than needed and stir in between - these are tips I apply to prevent curdling.
    I really don’t have any knowledge of how to make coconut cream, sorry.

    Comment by McAuliflower — February 14, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

  12. isn’t coconut milk available in cartons? or packets? its something i’ve come to rely on heavily, as a student in singapore… very handy…and I jus love reading all ur recipes…so colorful, and sounds so delicious:)

    Comment by shub — February 14, 2006 @ 9:53 pm

  13. There are a lot of brands of bad (very very bad)canned cocnout milk out there, but I’ve found that Chaokah (beware of similar sounding names) is pretty good. And Bangkok is good and doesn’t seem to have any preservatives (but not sure how widely its available outside of the SF Bay Area). They are both Thai brands. I tried making it from scratch a few times, and while it was good, it was thinner and with the indifferent quality of coconuts you can get in the US, I didn’t find it was worth the effort.

    Still, I applaud you for the effort - I am sure it makes a difference in flavor!

    Indira replies…
    Thanks for the information, Diane. I’m going to write it down the brand names you mentioned.
    Finding a good quality coconut and making a decent quality coconut milk - very simple but so frustrating here, that’s why I rarely attempt it.

    Comment by Diane — February 15, 2006 @ 8:44 am

  14. I have a lot of funny memories about my dad trying to open coconuts in our basement at home… It never worked out the way he had planned. And that’s why I never attempted to make my own coconut milk. But your description makes it sound so easy :)

    Comment by Nicky — February 20, 2006 @ 2:31 am

  15. The coconut picture at the top of this page seems to have a thick layer of meat on it. The only coconuts I can find have a very thin layer inside them. Is this normal?

    Comment by Jonika — March 22, 2006 @ 7:58 pm

  16. i want to ask you, do you know about ‘coconut milk squeeze machine’?

    Comment by fadil — May 4, 2006 @ 10:01 am

  17. Hi

    My only problem is finding the time to make it. I use Coconut Milk as a substitute for dairy milk.. Every day..
    So 1 to 2 days is not going to cut it for me… Is there a way to have it last longer?


    Comment by Frantz — November 29, 2006 @ 10:18 am

  18. Thanks for that. Never knew it can be that easy. Was just getting the grater out.
    Femi (LONDON)

    Comment by Anonymous — December 23, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

  19. What a wonderful blog. I have copied down some recipes. It would be easier if they could just be printed out. But understand your copyright reservations.

    Cant wait to get back for more.

    Warm wishes for the new year.


    Indira replies:
    Hi Annie, thanks and Happy New Year!

    Comment by Annie Taylor — January 1, 2007 @ 10:32 pm

  20. I love it

    Comment by Isabella — January 20, 2007 @ 1:50 am

  21. Hi Indira - I love your site! You SAVED my Valentine’s Day dinner - I had a coconut and no idea what to do with it and because of your site I figured out how to open it. I did coconut shrimp and added the water (and some of the ground coconut) to a Thai green curry. Yum! Thanks!

    Comment by Carol — February 15, 2007 @ 8:40 am

  22. Indira

    I make my own milk when i get the chance but lets face it sometimes we get a bit lazy and whip the can out.

    When a recipe asks for the milk from one coconut, how much would you think i would use?

    Comment by Leanne — March 29, 2007 @ 2:46 am

  23. Can I make cocmut milk from shredded coconuts?????

    Comment by janet — April 6, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

  24. Hey Indira just wanted to say Hi! It is always delightful to see someone from Orissa…..My home is in Cuttack, right near Birupa! I know the way you make coconut milk… my mom used to make it the same way! Good old days and dear moms! Keep up the good work with this website people in US actually have very less idea abt the life there. bbye.

    Comment by sudesna — April 11, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

  25. After emptying the coconut water by piercing the eyes, if you bake the coconut in a hot oven for a few minutes, the coconut will crack and the flesh will come away from the shell easily. I don’t know if this would affect the milk you then made with the flesh.

    Comment by Heidi — April 23, 2007 @ 1:08 am

  26. I make coconut milk quite often and want to know if anyone out there knows how to can it in a pressure canner. (number of minutes and what pressure are required) That way I can make it and store it for more than 2 days with no issues of it going bad. I have looked everywhere and can not find any information on doing this.

    Thank You

    Comment by Glenn — June 26, 2007 @ 6:45 am

  27. […] Make Home Made Coconut Milk […]

    Pingback by Cooking -how to’s « Josie’s Home — August 22, 2007 @ 5:17 am

  28. Hi Indira,
    I thought of preparing coconut milk rice. I couldnt get the flesh of the coconut from the shell … I tried the tip which you said… it came out with less effort. If I didnt find your site… then I felt tht I should not get coconut again.

    Thanks a lot Indira,

    Comment by Sailaja Prakash — September 7, 2007 @ 9:04 am

  29. Coconut milk extraction is like coffee-making, the more fine the grinding, the more stronger the milk (density) will be,… so enjoy coffee and coconut milk (FYI, any creamer - liquid or powder, has coconut milk in it…). Coconut belongs to nut variety and any nuts is good for health (if anyone deny this then the whole story behind the nuts is not cracked yet…). We guys were living on coconut and products for the past 3 or 4 generations… and everyone had a sound health and mind… eat more coconut and think the correct way…

    Comment by arasaandar — March 17, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  30. Any thoughts on how long homemade coconut milk can be safely stored in the refrigerator? I made a bulk amount 5 days ago, and think I probably should toss it because it’s more than 2 days old, but I sure don’t want to if I don’t have to!


    Comment by Shelli — April 7, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  31. Indira…i made my coconut milk just now…yummy! my steps:1cc, drain water, bust in bag, peel meat from shell, peel skin from meat, rinse, toss in blender w/ 2c water, blend like a smoothie, double strain in a bowl w/spoon (i have a big and a small bowl strainer.
    although, i’m going to use it for my hair…i’m glad i have a homemade milk. my dd likes the strained cc.!
    thank u for the simple steps…it beats boiling n baking cc anyday!

    arasaandar…all the way at the top it says the milk lasts 1-2 days.

    Comment by jusareader — June 11, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  32. one quick question…is there a reason why my milk seperates? it looks like water at the bottom and milk at the top. is this due to the oil content?

    Comment by jusareader — June 11, 2008 @ 9:35 am

  33. this is a completely different thing to what coconut milk really is. but its still nice.

    Comment by Sye — September 2, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  34. Great! I tried it on my own last night.I had some freeze dried organic coconut and put some in the blender with hot water,blended and strained.It smells and looks wonderful and not all the fuss of the fresh.If I can find a fresh decent one I will do it with the fresh cocout.Isn’t it sad that we can’t find good healthy fresh items easily?I got my coconut at the health food store in Texas called Sprouts but have seen it at many.It is unsweetened and tastes great in recipes or just to eat.It is quite dry and really soaks up the hot water.Thanks for your website.I love to try different recipes and do it myself stuff.Your site is very nice.

    Comment by Diane — August 19, 2010 @ 7:22 am

  35. great site! do you have any ideas for what to do with the pulp after extracting the milk? can you use it in chatnis or other dishes?

    Comment by Shaani — October 27, 2010 @ 8:24 am

  36. Shaani: I have dried the pulp in a warm oven and then ground it as finely as I can in a food processor, and then I have tried using it as flour in a few baked goods. I haven’t tried using a very large proportion of it yet, but so far I haven’t even been able to detect its presence.

    Sye: perhaps you are thinking of coconut water? This is what coconut milk is. Coconut water is the liquid inside a young coconut.

    Jusareader: yes, the fat naturally rises to the top. The thick part on top when it separates is often called “coconut cream” and you can use it as you would use dairy milk cream, such as making whipped cream. The only reason commercial coconut milk doesn’t separate like that is that they add in emulsifiers. You can just shake it up before you pour it.

    At all the stores around me, it seems like a fresh coconut is like $2, so I found a place online that I can get organic dessicated coconut for cheap, and I’ve been making coconut milk out of that. I’ve just been putting it in the blender with very warm water (not hot because I prefer it to be raw), blend it up, leave it sitting for an hour or two, blend it again, and then strain it. That has yielded milk that’s about half cream, and then I’ve done a second squeezing and gotten some thin milk. I’ve used the cream to make iced cream, and it came out very tasty, although I’m still trying to figure out how to make it as soft as regular iced cream.

    As someone mentioned before, I’m looking for a way to make this stuff stay fresh for longer than about 2 days. I was wondering if maybe I could get some pure vitamin E and add some of that in there. You see a lot of products that use “tocopherols,” which is vitamin E as a natural preservative.

    Comment by Matt — February 4, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

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