Vegan Kitchen Basics ~ Home made Coconut Cream and Coconut Butter

Like most people who adopted a vegan lifestyle later in life, I too had my apprehensions. Being a Palakkad Iyer (a community that uses milk and curd in generous measures) and a lover of a variety of foods that are often made with dairy, I wondered whether I would be able to survive without milk or milk products. It was quite easy turning lacto-vegetarian (eggless vegetarian) which I did three years before I turned vegan because egg was something I had adopted after marriage and it is still a banned item in my maternal home.  My parents consume cakes and cookies made with eggs, but not other products, and they do not cook eggs at home.

Another thing that nagged me was whether I would be able to do justice to the three other people in our family (P, Jr.P and Jr.H). They were used to getting desserts, cakes and paneer at home at least twice a week and here I was walking the vegan march It took many failures before I could get the hang of perfect vegan cakes. Eggs in cakes are very forgiving and even if you beat more than the recipe demands or the egg curdles, you still have a cake that can be consumed with relish. Eggless was not difficult.  Milk and cream make up for lack of egg. With vegan cakes one has to be careful about ‘how much’ and ‘how long’ the batter needs to be beat. Too much will make it dense, too less will make it crumbly.

Towards the end of last year I warily tried using coconut oil to bake. Coconut oil has more fat than the other oil which helps in giving a good texture, it does not leave a smell and is always available in my kitchen.  My daughter however complained that she could smell it and that it has a strong flavour.

I mustered courage and tried using canned coconut milk and coconut cream in baking and found my Mecca but I wasn’t happy using store bought products. I like making things from scratch so it was natural to make these things at home. Ok, It is also because it is P who buys, grates and extracts coconut milk. 😀

Homemade coconut milk and cream are far better than store brought. The pictures are proof. It takes all my will power to stop myself from slurping them up.

When I posted a picture of the coconut butter in facebook, Manish Jain, requested me to post it in the group, “Indian Vegan”. I thought it would be a better idea to just post it here because I want it to be available to others as well. Had it not been for that nudge, I might not have made this a post at all, simply because it did not occur to me that it qualifies to be posted.

Hope you enjoy the benefits of this preparation as much as we do.

Pssst… Try getting someone to do the grating and the pressing.

Recipe: Making Raw Vegan Home made Coconut Cream and Coconut Butter
Time: P says it takes about 30 minutes which includes grating and pressing.
Yield: One medium sized coconut will yield thick coconut cream – 3/4 cup and milk – 2 cups


Coconut that is mature (heavy, meaty coconut) – 1, grated
Tap water – 2 cups


A grater
Cheese cloth or soup strainer


Grate the coconut discarding the brown inner layer. The yield will be approximately 4 cups, loosely packed.

For the cream, gather the gratings and crushing with your fingers, like how you knead dough. The milk will start oozing. Now express the thick milk without adding any water, one fistful at a time into other cup. Refrigerate the milk for at least four hours. The product you get will be thick and creamy.

To the residue that is left, add a cup of tap water or warm water, if you like, and repeat the same procedure. The milk so expressed will be thinner. Do not mix it with the milk that was expressed without water. Repeat with another cup of water. The second and third extract can be mixed. Refrigerate for two days so that fat rises to the top and hardens. Two days is needed to harden the fat. This forms the butter.  Use up the butter immediately if possible.  It will stay good, refrigerated for 2-3 days.

If you add water, the milk will not yield cream. The cream can be used in the same way as milk cream and will yield the same results.

If you do not want cream skip the first step and proceed for the second extract directly but with only one cup of water. The butter will be richer (See the first picture).

The butter (rich one as well the other) is great for baking but is not the same as butter from milk. It will not be good for puff pastries though it works well for cookies and cakes.

I use the second extract in making soups, apart from traditional Indian and Thai dishes. It yields a mild sweetness and aroma to any soup when used in combination with stock.

I will share the recipe for the cold fruit soup I made with this in my next post.


Do not freeze the cream. Use it within 2-3 days.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • sangeeta swain

    Thnx for sharing this amazing recipe. I landed here while searching for gfcf eggfree bread recipes. We are on gfcf diet since 2mos and my son who likes youhurt started taking coconut yoghurt and milk in his snacks, this recipe will be of immense help to many. greart job!!

    • sangeeta swain

      i’ve a simple query, instead hand squizing the coconut gratings can we use a blender and warm water for Ist, IInd subsequent diluted coconut milk?

      • Harini

        -You can, but the first extract makes good butter/cream undiluted, taste-wise. If you only want to use it for thick milk, grind with warm water.

    • Harini

      Thanks, and glad to be sharing some useful recipes. 🙂

      • sangeeta swain

        Thnx Harini for quick response. I had a feeling that if i use my blender i may end up separating the fats from whey thats why refrain myself using a blender for the same. Thnx for the help can’t wait to try coconut milk within couple of dys. The coconut cream is a nice concept and gives a lot of options for ppl like us who rely on home cooked food. although i am aware of commercial coconut creams but your recipe is innovative. thnx again.

        • Harini

          Glad to help. You will find it difficult to keep your fingers off this coconut cream thought. It is just too delicious for words. 😀

  • Anu

    Wonderful!! I love anything with coconut! Now, we use the cheese cloth while expressing right? but so much thick residue gets caught in the cloth too.

    • Harini

      Anu, glad to know that. Makes two of us. 🙂 Yes, I scrape the residue as much as possible. Add water and extract the juice to the maximum. If you still feel you ought to use the coconut residue, freeze it and add along with veggies while making vegetable stock.

  • Alex H

    Hi, I only started to make my own coconut milk for my many food intolerant daughter. I blended coconut meat with a little hot water just to cover it in a blender and then squeezed out the milk. It was about 150ml from a small coconut. I refrigerated it and after about 1 hour or so it separated and the top bit got very thick. The water underneath was only about 15% of the whole amount, the rest was white thick thing. Is this white thing butter? Or is it cream? 🙂 I am jus trying to find out the calories in what I am making, my little girl needs to gain some weight 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience! Alex

    • Harini

      Hi, Alex! Welcome and thanks for sharing your experience. The milk you squeezed was coconut milk when fresh. When refrigerated for sometime what settled on the top was the butter. Cream is what you get when you express the milk without adding any water to the coconut meat. If I have some idea on what food allergies your daughter has it will help me in developing the allergy friendly recipe-index here, which might have recipes for her too. My experience tells me that it is important that your daughter should concentrate on building stamina, which she will easily gain with vegan food – lots of greens and fruits – rather than weight. All the best to you, Alex! Keep at it, and I am sure soon you will find that your girl is healthier than the rest of the family, like I did! In an odd way, intolerance to certain foods, has actually made my daughter healthier by keeping her off junk food of any kind and helped build her stamina very well! 🙂

      • Alex H

        Hi Harini! My daughter has a genetic condition, which is called CFC syndrome. She reacts really badly to cows milk. To the point of what seems to be hallucinating. She also appears to have celiac disease, which means, she is gluten intolerant. We didn’t do the biopsy test to find this out, but when I removed all gluten from her diet, she stopped vomiting and crying all the time. She is only 18 months old and I am just figuring out what she can eat. A few months ago she was on special amino acid based infant formula milk, then we were prescribed a higher calorie formula, which she did not tolerate. Then another one with the same result. And then I said goodbye to to them and started giving her real food smoothies. Yes, forgot to mention, she was tube fed from 6 until 14 months old and she doesn’t eat with the spoon very well at all, so everything has to be liquid to be fed with the bottle with a very large hole. We are not vegan or even vegetarian, but I tried to be vegetarian for a year and saw my health improve. I probably need to do it again, the problem for me is that I just couldn’t be bothered cooking much 🙂 Now with my daughter being so special, I am gonna have to. I am giving her goats milk and sometimes chicken from baby food jars… I just don’t feel confident about giving her vegan food only, I need to be sure she gets enough nutrition, calories, vitamins, iron, etc… I would be really grateful if you can give me any advice on this, so I can try it? I would also do it myself. My husband is saying often, that he would rather not eat poor animals, but he really craves meat and doesn’t feel well if he isn’t eating it…
        Thank you very much for being so helpful!

        • Harini

          Alex, I am so sorry that you fell into this situation headlong! I completely identify with you. My daughter was lactose intolerant since birth but at that time the doctors just advised me to dilute cow’s milk and feed. She kept reacting but it wasn’t very severe. But all those years of medications hit her now and she has become intolerant to lactose, nuts and gluten now! I realized this on my own, as doctors were not giving the right advise. Her problems have now disappeared and only the marks on her skin need to be taken care of, which was the severe allergic reaction she got whenever she took any of these. In fact she is a very strong and athletic girl, so I hope that comforts you. 🙂 I hope your daughter is being breast fed as she is only 18 months and she should ideally not be taking goat’s milk if she has already shown symptoms of lactose intolerance with cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is milder but it will still cause problems.

          Don’t worry too much. Your daughter is going to be very healthy as long as you take some care. A friend of mine here (who is Spanish) has raised her daughter vegan from birth and she is doing absolutely fine! Another friend told me her daughter, younger than yours does not fall sick like other children of her age. Most vegan children tend to look thinner than their peers during formative age but what is important is the vitality. We are so concerned with ‘statistical charts’ that we forget to look at the picture as a whole, which is more important. I am not a nutritionist or a dietician but I can put you through to like-minded people, with their permission. I will do that if you are interested. I can also help you a bit by giving you food choices. It is good to know that you tried being vegetarian. It can be difficult when you are raised non-vegetarian and that is a triumph by itself. Initially when you make the shift your body will exhibit severe reactions (which is what you describe as your husband not feeling well if he doesn’t eat it). That is because it has to cleanse the system.

          I am building a recipe guide on the site which will also have an allergy friendly list for various intolerance. I will put it up here in a day or two. Meanwhile I will also mail you some quick recipes. I hope that will help you.

  • Bharathi

    Thanks Sunshine Mommy! the best thing about Tongueticklers is the post sales service that it offers :)…meaning you patiently explain and clear our doubts and that too so promptly. customer (reader) is truly treated like Queen here :). will try the method for virgin oil… glad to know the butter can be used for everything

    • Harini

      Ha ha! That’s a nice way to put it. 🙂

  • Bharathi

    Sunshine mom-I had no idea coconut butter could be so delicious and I am not even a coconut fan. Many thanks. I started the coconut butter process 2 days back and was waiting for the result today-excited and a bit nervous. But pleasant surprise-the butter came out beautifully, in fact I had to stop myself from gobbling it. Would like to ask you-how long will this butter last, and would you know how to extract oil from it without using heat. like cold pressed virgin oil.
    lastly can it be spread on rotis/ parathas instead of milk butter/ghee

    • Harini

      I know what you mean! Felt the same way. 🙂 It lasts for about 4-5 days so don’t make in large quantities.

      Even extra virgin oil uses heat but below a certain temperature. I usually buy mine but here is the method that I would follow if I needed to make it at home.

      The butter can be used for spreading and makes everything extra tasty! My son loves it over toast, paratha or rotis. I use it at the end in upma, khichdi, pongal and payasam. Imparts a very appetizing aroma.

  • Bharathi

    thanks Sunshine mom. really really useful. doctor has told me to eliminate dairy for my son. So this is great

    • Harini

      Well, he is going to one healthy boy since he is eliminating dairy so early! Glad you find this useful, Bharathi. 🙂

  • joanie

    Thanks for the detailed post! I first had fresh coconut milk a decade ago in Malaysia. It was used in rice, and it tasted superb. I find myself venturing into coconut land again, and this is a great primer on coconut cream and coconut milk. I’m may start with frozen coconut shavings since grating fresh coconut may be out of my league.

    • Harini

      Glad you find this useful, Joanie! I do understand that grating fresh coconut is not everyone’s favourite job!:D Not mine too, but my husband is gallant enough to do it for me!:)

  • César Gutiérrez

    Thanks for this recipe, i’ll definately try it!

  • meeso

    These are great! I have the intentions of trying this, hahaha! I know it will be amazing compared to the canned stuff I always use! Lots of work but I know it will be so well worth it 🙂

  • Jaya Wagle

    That is a very informative and detailed post Harini. And hats off to you for all that patience in extracting the milk. Thank you for the lovely entry.

    My aunt had taught me how to extract cream from coconut to make kokum saar. Here's one tip I remember: to use warm water while extracting. It helps the coconut release the oils/ fat easily.

  • Sukanya Ramkumar

    That was such a useful post.

  • Lavs

    Eye opening post..didn't know that such things existed for eating:)

  • Priti

    Just a gud post with awesome pics…looks so gud…let me if I have courage to try this 🙂

  • Mints!

    Very nice and informative post Harini. I have made coconut milk in the past but never coconut cream.
    I have to bake using this soon.

  • Sunshinemom

    Sra, he he:) I am glad that a post of mine was of academic value! BTW, it is the wrist that undergoes some exercise. I imagining the shoulders doing some work but the image turns hilarious!

    My pleasure, Anu.

    Priya, thanks! It is not all that difficult these days as I don't eat out very frequently and good places generally cater to individual requests!

    Jaysree, do try it. It is soooo tasty! Believe me, much better than real butter to eat plain:).

  • jayasree

    All I knew was to extract coconut milk. Thanks a ton for sharing the making of coconut cream.
    Though squeezing the milk out sounds like hard work, I will try making atleast once.

  • Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal

    dear, that is one tempting looking coconut cream and butter. I have only recently started cooking with coconut milk and haven't yet tasted the other 2. At this point, I cannot imagine being a vegan (I am a vegetarian with egg allowed only in my baking, and not otherwise). So, I am guessing it is tougher specially outside your home. But, hats off to all the process you did, lovely.

  • anudivya

    Who would have thought making coconut butter at home was doable! Thanks a ton!

  • sra

    I always had an academic interest (read: will not make :)) in coconut cream and butter as I've never seen them, even in packs, here. Thanks for this – it was interesting. My coconut milk, if I use it at all, comes out of packs. I can already imagine the shoulder pains arising from squeezing the coconut.

  • Sunshinemom

    Sumithra, welcome to vegan adventures. I hope my recipes will have you visiting TT again:). Do try and let me know what you made with it too!

    Preeti, we gobbled the fruit soup today at such a pace that I had to hide a little for P before the kids drained the vessel:). I will have it up soon.

  • Sunshinemom

    Thank you Manish, for telling me to do this post. Reading Indrani's comment made me feel good that you gave that nudge.

  • Sumithra

    Hi, I stumbled upon your blog through the link from facebook. I turned a vegan recently. I can relate to your post so well. And, your recipe for coconut butter and cream looks too good for words :-)! Going to try it soon. Thanks a ton!

  • Preeti Kashyap

    wow! I never knew how coconut butter was made. This is so new to me. Thanks for the lovely pics and detailed description. Waiting for fruit soup- post from you.

  • Indrani

    Hello, That was a wonderful and a very informative post. Only thought that one could make coconut milk. Great Work.

  • indianvegan

    You are innovative. Coconut is ultimate fruit.

    Keep it up.


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