I love to use coconut yogurt in desserts and smoothies. It can be made completely dairy-free if you use a dairy-free starter.
There are a few different ways to make coconut milk yogurt. You can make it from scratch with coconuts or from shredded coconut or you can use canned coconut milk.
How to Make Coconut Milk
After making coconut milk, both ways we definitly prefer to make it from shredded coconut…it’s quite the project to open a coconut.
You could make it from coconuts, if you want to go through the hassle of it (I only tried it once).
How to Open a Coconut
This is how you are supposed to open a coconut:
- Drill 2 holes in the “eyes” of the coconut.
- Drain out the water.
- Pop in the oven 375 degrees for 15 minutes to make it cracked easily.
- Crack and pull out pieces.
- Peel brown skin with a vegetable peeler.
Well, I couldn’t find the drill so I used a sharp knife. Then I wrapped the coconut in a big dish towel and hit it with a hammer. I was able to crack it open, but lost some of the coconut water inside (you want to use that too).
Anyways, it’s difficult and slightly dangerous.
It’s not something that I will realistically do every week so I found a better way.
If you do go to the trouble of opening a coconut be careful to get all of that precious coconut water, you can use it to make coconut kefir.
Fortunately, there is an easier way!
How to Make Coconut Milk Without Opening a Coconut
You can also make coconut yogurt with shredded coconut.
This is a super easy way to make your own coconut milk.
You will need to buy organic shredded coconut (unsweetened) at your local health food store or online.
- 2 cups organic shredded or flaked coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2 cups hot filtered watered
Blend the coconut and water together, ideally in a Vita mix blender. If you don’t have a Vita mix you can use a regular blender or food processor, but blend it by pulsing it for 30 seconds several times.
Use a sprout bag to strain the coconut milk into a clean glass jar. After you squeeze out all of the milk, there will just be white powdery coconut. When I did this I ended up just putting it in the compost, but there may be a way to use it for something else. Maybe coconut flour?
You could stop here and have delicious coconut milk.
This coconut milk will last refrigerated for 4-5 days.
Sometimes a film of coconut oil will rise to the top and you will want to scoop it off. If you mix it back in, you will have chunky coconut milk.
To use your coconut milk to make yogurt…continue on.
How to Make Coconut Milk Yogurt
- 4 cups coconut milk at room temperature (from recipe above)
- 1/2 package of unflavored gelatin
- 1 package of vegetal vegan yogurt starter
- 4 dates or 2 Tablespoons raw honey
Blend coconut milk on low speed in a vita mix blender.
Sprinkle gelatin in and then slowly add in the yogurt starter.
Add in the dates and process on high for 1 minute or until the dates are liquified.
Pour the mixture into a yogurt maker (or use whatever yogurt making method you prefer).
Incubate for about 6 hours.
After 6 hours check to see if the yogurt tastes tart enough for you (the cream may have risen to the top..no biggie…just mix it back in).
Ferment the yogurt for another hour or two if desired.
Place your fresh yogurt in the fridge to cool and set up further.
Enjoy after a few hours in the fridge.
How to Make Coconut Milk Yogurt with Canned Coconut Milk
The only kind of coconut milk I can recommend buying is Native Forest Organic because it is BPA-free. This is really important because the coconut milk is high in fat and can leach a lot of BPA from aluminum cans (as much as tomatoes do). Another option I’ve heard of people using is Aroy-D Tetra Packs, although I think this is harder to find.
- A stainless steel or glass pot
- a yogurt making thermometer
- a yogurt maker or other way to incubate yogurt
- 2 cans of Native Forest unsweetened coconut milk (not lite)
- 1/4 teaspoon of vegetal starter
Open the cans and pour the coconut milk into a glass or stainless steel pot. Heat the coconut milk on medium high heat while stirring. Warm the milk to 110 degrees. Check the temperature before adding the starter because if it is hotter than 110 the heat can damage the culture. Gently stir in the starter. Pour the milk into mason jars or yogurt maker and let is set to incubate.
It will take 6-8 hours and needs to be kept at a temperature of about 100-110 degress (just like regular dairy yogurt).
After 6-8 hours, check to on your coconut yogurt. You can tell if it has set up by gently tippin the jar. The yogurt should be a solid mass that stays together when tipped.
The Vegetal yogurt starter from Cultures for Health is dairy-free.
Not only is it suitable for vegetarians, vegans and people with dairy sensitivities, but it actually works better then a dairy starter for coconut milk.
The bacteria in this starter are different then the strains in a dairy starter that feed on lactose. These bacteria don’t need lactose they are happen with plant-based milks like coconut, almond, rice or seed milks.
Ways to Use Coconut Milk Yogurt
Coconut milk yogurt is very sweet and rich. It is perfect for smoothies and desserts. It is a bit much to eat by itself.
Coconut milk is incredibly high in saturated fat. I am okay with this. It’s fat from a great food source, but I don’t need a lot of it.
We like to mix ours up with frozen pineapple and bananas to make a pina colada smoothie.
If you make your own coconut milk yogurt and want to share a picture, your are welcome to post it on my facebook page
Happy Yogurt Making!