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Hawaii: Fresh Coconut Milk

This morning my dad showed my boys how to husk and open a coconut. With the finesse and ease I remember from my childhood, he wielded his hatchet, cut away the husk, cracked open the shell and captured the precious coconut water. As we all (dogs included) sat in the yard snacking on chunks of coconut flesh, inspiration hit. I ran to the kitchen to try my hand at making coconut milk. The finished product was divine! Fresh, creamy and rich.

To make fresh coconut milk at home you'll need two things; a high-powered blender (like a Blendtec or VitaMix) and a coconut.

For those living far from the tropics, I have seen coconuts at Whole Foods and other specialty food stores. When selecting one, shake it. If you hear coconut water, you know it's good. If you don't there likely is a crack in the shell and the coconut may be rancid.

When cracking open the shell of the coconut, try your best to capture the coconut water. Coconut water is the purest liquid second only to water itself. It is loaded with electrolytes, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Use this liquid in place of some of the water for blending.


This is Montana. She's sending you some love from Hawaii this Valentines Day.

Fresh Coconut Milk

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free (coconuts are regarded as a fruit) | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw

Makes: About 4 cups
Prep Time: 10-30 minutes




1. If not already husked, carefully husk coconut using a hatchet. Check for husked coconuts at Whole Foods and other specialty food stores—it'll save you some work.

2. On a very hard surface (like concrete), tap around the perimeter of the coconut shell until it breaks in half. If possible, catch the coconut water. The water should smell clean and fresh. If there is no water or if the water is smelly, you'll know it's rancid—don't use it.

3. With a paring knife, carefully cut/pry out the white flesh.

4. Transfer flesh to a high-powered blender (such as a Blendtec) and add an equal measure of filtered water (e.g. 3 cups coconut pieces + 3 cups water).

5. Blend on high for one minute or until fairly smooth.

6. Strain coconut milk using a nut milk bag or reusable mesh produce bag (such as 3B).

7. Enjoy plain or add a splash of vanilla, sweetener of choice and a pinch of salt. This milk is creamy and divine and made the tastiest latte when I added a packet of Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee!


Pick out a brown coconut. The one pictured is a younger coconut and not the coconut I used for making this batch of coconut milk. This coconut yielded softer flesh and would produce a milder tasting coconut milk.

Remove the flesh from the coconut and add to a high-powered blender along with an equal measure of water. Blend and strain milk using a nut bag or other fine-mesh bag.

Another Way to Make Coconut Milk

Elana over at Elana's Pantry recently posted a coconut milk recipe using shredded coconut.

Reader Comments (10)

Fresh coconuts are one of the things that make Hawaii heaven. So, are there coconut meat cookies in your future? You know the coconuts we get here can't possibly be as good or sweet as those off the tree (I've tried). I haven't tried growing a tree in my backyard though. Maybe that would work? Aloha. I hope you enjoy every precious second you have left with your family to its fullest.

February 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

Okay, wow, that is so cool Lexie! Now I want to make my own at home. Now where to find a coconut in the ski mountains? :)

February 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa Fleming

Laurel, tomorrow we are on our plane back ... so today I will fit in the last few must-dos. It's been such a treat to be here so long and to practically move-in with my folks. They've been so patient and wonderful to have us for so long. Thanks for being a faithful commentor. I love hearing from you : )

February 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

just discovered your blog, I can't wait to try some recipes!! I wish you had a facebook *fan* page and not a personal page though!


Hi Danielle,

Glad you found me, too! To friend me, just submit the request and I will click "ACCEPT" :)


February 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Hi Lexie,

We're going to Maui next month and I was wondering if you know of /have any gluten free suggestions? I was just on the cusp of my gluten-free-ed-ness when we went three years ago & it wasn't really a big deal, but this trip I'll need 100% gluten free for sure! We'll be staying in a condo in Kihei so I imagine we'll be doing more cooking than eating out, but any recommendations you might have would certainly be welcomed!



March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Kristin ... let's post this on my FB page. I spent my time on the Big Island. Hopefully someone on Maui, or who has been there can help us out : )


March 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterLexie


There are some health food stores in the Kihei area. As well as some fruit stands for fresh local fruit along the Kihei that follows the coastline in Kihei. That's a good start. In fact, if you stay in the Kihei area I'd venture to guess they would keep you well stocked. I'm assuming you'll have a kitchen to work with. http://www.hawaiianmoons.com/

If you decide to take the scenic road to Hana stop by Mana http://www.manafoodsmaui.com/

If you want to stock up on your way from the airport to your condo I suggest Down To Earth right in Kahului. It should be right along your way to Kihei. I've been to their locations on multiple HI islands. Always a nice choice. http://www.downtoearth.org/

As for restaurants check out reviews for gluten free on places like Urban Spoon etc. Here's one such list. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/561975

Enjoy Kihei! Maui is lovely.


Tara, thank you for the helpful tips. They are appreciated : )


April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

You're very lucky to have coconuts right at your fingertips! There so good for health issues and taste great as a treat. Nice demonstration too.

July 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.D.

May i ask why it is important to strain it? Isnt the fiber beneficial and would make ti more thick and creamy?

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterstacy

Stacy, coconut fiber can be a bit rough ... but by all means if you want to keep the fiber in there, got for it. I like mine nice and creamy. xoLexie

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

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