Fresh Raw Coconut Milk

by Susan on April 12, 2012

It all started with a  craving for raw Pad Thai. I haven’t made it yet, and have been wanting to for quite a while. Knowing that coconut milk is an important ingredient that I want in my Pad Thai sauce, I set out to make fresh, raw coconut milk for my raw Pad Thai raw food recipe.

I use young Thai coconuts all the time. I open them with ease (see here) and am very familiar with how to use them. Traditional coconut milk is made from mature coconuts. Something I am not familiar with at all. I bought a couple and brought them home and stared at them for days. The hairy little buggers intimidated me. In fact, they down right scared me.

I have memories, as a very little girl, of my mother trying to open a coconut. I believe there were hammers, chisels, and maybe even a car involved. Much huffing and puffing, and extreme frustration. There may have even been a few off color words from my very prim and proper mother. A frightening scenario for a little girl. Honestly, I also think there was quite a lot of laughing as each attempt failed and each following attempt got more extreme. I seem to remember the final attempt involving her 64 pontiac. 

Well, here is the thing. Opening those hairy little guys is actually a piece of cake. A little research on line and I was able to pop right through the shell and dive into one of the most heavenly substances I have encountered for a while. Traditionally coconut milk is made from mature coconuts and I quickly found out why. The flesh is pure coconut heaven. Very different from the young coconuts.

To open the coconut, simply tap (ok…whack) the coconut around the midline with the back of a cleaver.

 After a couple of good whacks, you will hear a crack. Keep turning and tapping and within seconds, the coconut will have split! You will want to do this over a bowl as there is water inside. Discard the water. 

You can then either pry out the flesh with a table knife or my favorite, turn it over, give the outside shell a good whack with a hammer and the flesh will just pop right out (this does require breaking the shell). 

Once you pop the flesh out, peel off the brown skin with a vegetable peeler. Chop up the coconut and put it in the high-speed blender. Add water, blend and then strain through a nut-milk bag or a few layers of cheese cloth.

The extra pulp can be dehydrated at 115 degrees until dry. Give it a quick spin in the blender after it is dry and you have lovely, fragrant raw coconut flour! 

Raw Coconut Flour

Fresh Coconut Milk


  • 1 to 4 mature coconuts (depending on how thick you want your milk)
  • 3 cups water

1.Remove flesh from coconut (see above)

2. Place the flesh from one coconut in high-speed blender with 3 cups water and blend a few minutes. 

3. Strain through nut-milk bag. (Set pulp aside to dehydrate for coconut flour)

To make thicker coconut milk:

1. Take coconut milk you just made and blend with second coconut in high-speed blender. Strain through nut-milk bag.

*You can keep blending the coconut milk with more coconut flesh until you get coconut cream. 

Note: If your coconut milk sits in the refrigerator the fat will collect on the top. You can give it a quick spin in the blender to reincorporate it. 

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Dina April 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Ummm!! One question- any reason you got rid of the water? Thanks for sharing!


Susan April 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Yes…because the water in a mature coconut tends to be a bit bitter and not tasty.


barbara weith April 12, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Thank you! I love the great illustrations and clear directions. Will look forward to trying this out. What actually is a good use for “coconut flour?”


Irina April 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

This is perfect! Thank you so much! I had been intimidated by them as well, but now you helped to embrace them and create such lovely things! Sending love and gratitude your way!


Ari'Ana April 13, 2012 at 12:31 am

Thanks for all your amazing recipes. This demonstration is very helpful as I’ve had the experience with drills and hammers and a few words. Looking forward to trying it as well as your Phad Thai recipe. Looking forward to trying the zucchini fries too. May do the same thing with sweet spuds.


Susan April 13, 2012 at 12:32 am

It’s amazing how easy they are to open! Cheers!


Lilley April 13, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi, Just wanted to let you know I use a drill and a vice like the ones in a workshop. I drill the eyes out of the coconut then drain it. Then I put the coconut in a vice like the ones you get in a workshop and squish it. I then turn the coconut and squish it again. You don’t end up with very much meat on the shell and then you just take out the small amount with a knife that is left on the shell. This is the easiest way to open a coconut with the least amount of effort. Cheers


Jo Connelly April 13, 2012 at 1:00 am

I have been making raw coconut milk for several years and it is wonderful. If you pop the whole coconut in the freezer for half an hour first, the outer shell comes straight off when you tap around with the back of a cleaver. Then just peel the whole, shelled coconut with a peeler. Please don’t throw the water away. It if often even sweeter than young coconut water. If it is sour then you are unlucky. So taste before discarding and enjoy.


Kelli April 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

I recently started getting into coconuts (mostly middle-aged white/cloud coconuts from Mexican stores). John Kohler knows a lot about making your own coconut cream, oil, and flakes. Through his videos, I found out about the coconut demeating tool ( It makes life much easier. I use the back side of a cleaver to open them, and then use the demeating tool to fairly easily get the meat out in large chunks or even unbroken. It’s worth the modest cost of it. Regular knives are a bit trickier.


Dot D. April 13, 2012 at 6:22 am

Are they easier than the Young Coconuts to open? I’m a senior and have a hard time with those. I should look into the above video site for some help then…?


Carolina April 13, 2012 at 6:26 am



Susan April 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

Dot…both are quite easy if you know the technique. You can see how to open a young coconut here: Cheers!


Faith April 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

I agree that the water is good in a mature coconut, unless it’s getting moldy.


Chris April 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing!


Annette April 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for your awesome recipes they look great!


Chrisy April 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

I made raw panang curry last week, it’s something I have wanted to try for quite some time, as I love curry, coconut! It was amazing, I used kelp noodles and made coconut similar to the way you have listed on your website. I have just recently began eating raw, and this dish is my favorite!


Dominique April 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

This looks so great. Your photographs are as fantastic as your ideas and instructions. Thanks. I can’t wait to see your raw pad thai.


Superfoodie April 15, 2012 at 4:45 am

this is uh-mazing!


Razia April 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Hey thanks, you explain every step of the way so lovingly / caringly and as for the pictures well done. Anything with pictures makes it so much easier. I am looking forward to using this recipe as well as making the coconut flour.
What would I use the flour for? any suggestions please.


Emily April 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Funny you make this post today. Just yesterday I opened one of these because I love using fresh coconut in many different ways. I was having trouble getting the shell off of the flesh in the inside so I just popped the whole thing in the oven (400 degrees) for just about 10 minutes — not long enough to cook it or get it too warm/dried out. When I cracked it open, though, the flesh came right off of the shell. It was SO easy!!! You have to try it!


Susan April 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I have heard of that technique but don’t want to put it in such a hot oven. :-)


Maggie April 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I just tried making coconut milk the other day, too. Mine ended up turning out fairly decent, but there was a good bit of trial and error involved – wish I’d seen your post beforehand! Great step by step instructions, thanks for sharing!


Jeani April 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

Oh, happy day, Susan!!
Last summer the Walmart here sold the baby Thai coconuts for $1.99, but they have stopped for some reason. So I haven’t used the big, hairy, beastly coconuts because it is such a hassle to open them. It’s made me sad.
Then you posted the kelp noodle dish, and I quickly glanced at your instructions for opening the cocos, but did not read the comments. I picked one up at the store and went to work last night. How unbelievably easy!
I did have a problem with the dehydrating process. I have an Excalibur and no matter what temperature you use, the air flow is always pretty turbulent in there. The coconut pulp was so fine and light, it was blowing all over the place. I tried several different ways to keep it in place, and finally settled on my straining bag. I knotted the top and laid it as flat as possible on a mesh screen, turned it a couple times before I went to bed, and it was perfect this morning. It is so fine and delicate. Next time I will try the tip that someone left about putting the nut in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Anyway, my mother thought the cold coconut milk was regular whole cow’s milk. She has dementia, so I will let her keep thinking that, since she sometimes likes a bowl of cereal with milk, and this is easy enough to whip up quickly.
By the way, what is the best way to store this coco flour? I put it in a container in the freezer.
Thank you again!


Matthew April 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Awesome post, very detailed and great photos! I’m inspired to take my coconut popcorn to a new level with getting my own oil and flakes from a coconut!


Kristina May 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Wonderful, thanks so much for the great information! My milk came out wonderfully.

Don’t discard the water! It is nutritious, you get more for your money, and it is way better than buying the pasteurized coconut water at the store! Drink it or use it in some other useful way. :)


Susan May 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm

It is the water from the young Thai coconuts that is really nutritious. The older coconut’s water does not have the same level of nutrients.


JoAnn May 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Hi Susan!
I landed on your blog long ago and ever since then I’ve been loving the great posts and pictures. But I came to you specifically for this coconut milk recipe when my son had an allergic reaction to coconut milk powder in a haupia dessert mix. Little did I know at the time how it was made. I have to be careful not to get casein into my son’s diet. I have never opened a coconut before, so it was a bit funny, but I got it!
Thank you!


Lisa Reynoso July 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I can’t wait to show this to my husband. He’s from the Caribbean and used to open coconuts with a machete–which we don’t have anymore. Does it have to be a cleaver, or will any large knife do? I don’t have a cleaver.

I’m new to this site–found it from a friend’s raw food board on Pinterest. I’m intrigued by raw food and want to try some raw meals now and then. With a new baby (6 days old) I am not even cooking right now, but we just got a big Excalibur dehydrator and plan on getting a Vitamix this weekend while my Costco-card-holding mother is here, because I’m so tired of my little Oster blender that is malfunctioning lately, and my Ninja that doesn’t blend as fine as the Oster, in spite of being more powerful. So I’ll be all set to try some real raw un-cooking. :) I’m going to start with crackers made from a recipe I got at a raw food demo a couple of works ago. By the time I get my blender, the buckwheat should be sprouted enough.


Susan July 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Lisa! What a great start you have. You can use any larger knife. I usually just grab my chef’s knife. Good luck!


Liana July 29, 2012 at 11:43 am

Love the pictures, super helpful. I looooove coconut yet am doing all raw now so this is my only option now. However, I am slightly confused since coconut milk isn’t actually an ingredient in Pad Thai (Google did turn up a decent number of other recipes, but you’d never see that in a restaurant). But to each their own…I’m sure it’s still super good :)


Susan July 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

No, coconut milk isn’t a traditional pad thai recipe. I was being non-traditional and using artistic licence. :-)


pumpkinopolitan July 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm


I would love to try your recipe when I have the time and manage to get my hands on a coconut. Just wondering, how long does the raw coconut milk keep for refrigerated? How do you recommend taking this coconut milk — drink as is or more for incorporating into cooked dishes? I was thinking of using it as a non-dairy milk in smoothies and coffee and using it to make vegan ice cream.


Susan July 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

It would work for both those purposes. It keeps for a few days. Think about how long fresh ingredients keep. It is a fresh ingredient. Cheers!


Maria @ Little Miss Cornucopia August 12, 2012 at 5:15 am

I’m soooooo happy I found this amaaaaaazing recipe!! Can’t wait to try it! Thank you sooooo much for sharing!!


Josh October 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I’ve been drinking Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water for the past year. Decided to try So Delicious Original Coconut Milk this past weekend as I didn’t have time to make my weekly batch of fresh coconut milk. First of all, I was totally disappointed when it had no taste at all. Secondly checkout the ingredients, for something that suppose to be so good and pure; sure has lots of BS. Real coconut milk suppose to harden a bit when cold because of its fats, the ones in the Tetra Paks don’t. Basic recipe buy fresh mature [brown] coconut coconut flakes blend it with fresh coconut water or buy Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water to get more nutrients. This would taste 10,000 times better and have lots more nutritional value. Google raw coconut milk recipes.


Maria Carolina October 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Hi there, I currently have a lot of coconut pulp leftover from making milk. Do you have any recipes to use up this pulp or do you suggest using it in recipes that call for (store-bought) coconut flour?


Katrina Le November 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm

My only trouble with making fresh coconut milk so far is that it goes off so quickly. Made fresh salads using coconut milk the other day, and I could taste the sourness of the coconut milk on salads just a few hours afterwards. Perhaps living in a tropical country doesn’t help.

Any tips?


Susan November 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Something doesn’t sound right about that. It shouldn’t sour so fast. Are you keeping it in the refrigerator?


Rach November 11, 2012 at 4:33 am

Hi, can you make coconut milk from coconut flakes or unsweetened shredded coconut?


Susan November 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I have not tried making coconut milk from coconut flakes. Cheers!


Chris December 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I wondered if anyone had any thoughts regarding the freshness of Young Thai coconuts? I previously lived in South Florida where I had access fresh unpeeled coconuts (still in the green, brown, orange, or yellow husk) and they were quite often extremely fresh. Having moved to Northern California, no such coconuts seem to exist out here, rarely anyone even knows what a natural “off the tree” coconut even looks like.

So my question is: once the coconut is peeled and you’re left with the (often) diamond shaped husk, how fresh do the coconuts stay compared to if the complete husk was left in tact? My family and I go through about 3 gallons of coconut water a week… at least we did in Florida.

Also, to comment on some of the questions about the taste of water/milk: A very young coconut and very fresh will have barely any taste to it, it will closely resemble pure “water” with a hint of flavor. The older the coconut the sweeter the water will taste. If you drink water that has a little “tang” to it but is still sweet, it is still okay, that’s just the water beginning to ferment. But if there’s a sourness or if it just tastes “off” then it’s going bad and you’re better tossing it out. As with most foods, if your body gives you an, “ick, that’s doesn’t seem right” feeling, then you’re better off passing it by.

Coconut water you buy on the shelves is just a semi-healthy sports drink without all the synthetic junk in it. There are very few “living” things that retain all of their natural properties and health benefits if they have any sort of a shelf life. With many foods, coconuts included, the close you get to how it comes in nature, the more your body will benefit from it.

*fyi: raw unheated honey is one of the few foods that will stay fresh on the shelf indefinitely.


Jenny January 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Thank you so much for sharing, my lab shreds coconuts constantly and I cant wait to add into my Clean Thai Ginger Soup. <3


michelle January 29, 2013 at 5:34 am

Lots of people making milk or flour were using flakes was looking for some one using real coconuts thanks so much for posting going to make my own soon :)


Jenn February 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

Thankyou for this! I opened my 1st coconut last night and made fresh coconut milk for my toddlers this morning!


Nichole February 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm

What is the difference in taste between young thai coconut meat/water and the mature variety you used in your recipe? I spent a fortune on young thai coconut meat and water and my son hates the taste :( I have to admit – the texture is a bit weird. I now use the stuff for raw pina coladas sans rum. I would love for him to have another milk choice for him. Thanks!


Kathryn February 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

I want to put the home made coconut milk in my food dehydrater, is this possible?


Susan February 13, 2013 at 11:40 am

What exactly are you trying to do?


Betty February 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for the instructions about how much to use. I have made the coconut milk in awhile i forgot how much water to use. I use the coconut water in with normal water when making my coconut milk. I figure it gives more nutrients to the coconut milk. I used to give fermented young coconut water to my autistic grandson but stopped somewhere along the line. It seemed to be more for gut issues that he did not have & buying 9 coconuts at a time really adds up after a time. I remember saving that coconut & powder’ after i had made the coconut milk & drying it. I started adding it to my gluten free flour mixes I was making at the time. Anyway, thanks for the site.


foodimake February 18, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Great pictures, I had no trouble following your instructions and the coconut milk tasted devine!
Loved the idea about making coconut flour….. can’t wait to use that in pancakes :-)


Miss Cellany March 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

Bah, the coconuts here in UK don’t come with a pre-scored mid line, how can I score the middle so that I can use the tap method? It looks like it makes a nice clean break into even halves, which is what I want.


karina March 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Here is a tip: before you crack it open, make a hole with a clean nail where the coconut has natural little dark indentations and drain the water. This way you don’t lose any of it or make a mess! This coconut water is nature’s Gatorade, by the way. Enjoy it chilled!


Susie March 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm

How much of this luscious stuff may I allow myself to drink per day?


Susan March 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Susie, that would completely depend on so many different things I couldn’t begin to guess. It is probably not low fat so I would take that into consideration. Cheers!


CoconutLover August 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

Fresh coconut milk is not only easy to make, it also tastes soooo much better than the stuff in the can. Plus when you make it at home it is just coconut and water.

Thank you for the tip on whacking the shell. I will have to give it a go I usually use a paring knife and pry it out piece by tiny piece. So time consuming! And if you don’t have a blender or food processor then you need to grate the coconut. Trying to grate tiny 1 inch pieces of coconut is not fun!


Anna August 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I’m interested in trying this and use coconut milk quite frequently, but have never used coconut flour before. How long can the freshly made coconut flour keep?


Susan August 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm

If you want to keep it for more than a week or two, put it in the freezer. :-)


Ashly September 22, 2013 at 1:52 am

Can you dehydrate the coconut in the oven?


B November 29, 2013 at 7:59 am

“Discard the water” – coconut water does a better job at keeping you hydrated than plain water, like a “natural Gatorate” :) Is a very refreshing drink with electrolytes and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body. I used the locknut water mixed with the water and I thought the recipe tasted a with a little more flavor. :)

Sorry my bad english :)
I love your blog!


Susan November 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Honestly, I think that the water that comes out of young coconuts is so much superior to the water that comes out of old ones. I love to drink that coconut water…


biosong January 13, 2014 at 4:13 am

i dont suggest drinking the juice of this type of coconut.
the juice that is for drinkign comes from those that of have thin meat. less mature if you may say.
from my experience the juice from this mature coconuts isnt good.
in my location we call this “niyog” (usually brown in color), the once for eating and drinking is “buko” (usually green in color).


Laong (Wan) Hertz February 10, 2014 at 5:25 am

In Thailand we discard the coconut water from the old coconuts and shred up the coconut meat and toast it to be used in different recipes. It is also best to use the freshly made coconut within 24 hours. It goes bad very quickly and sometimes spoils before 2 days.


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