Homemade Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe

On a quick trip to London a year and a half ago, I spent an embarrassing number of hours exploring the aisles of the Kensington Whole Foods, stocking up on amazing British bean-to-bar chocolate and the paleo granola that inspired my own.

In the dairy aisle I noticed with great curiosity that they sold coconut milk yogurt, and bought a small tub to have at breakfast the next morning — you know how I feel about hotel breakfasts. One spoonful and I was smitten: it had the smooth texture and lovely tang of dairy yogurt, but it was wonderfully aromatic, with that one-of-a-kind, subtle sweetness that coconut milk brings. You had to taste it to believe it.

Coconut milk yogurt had the smooth texture and lovely tang of dairy yogurt, but it is wonderfully aromatic, with that one-of-a-kind, subtle sweetness that coconut milk brings.

It was also fairly pricy (£2 for 125 g, that’s 2.80€ or 3$ for a half-cup, i.e. £16, 22.50€ or $25 for a liter/quart) and unavailable in France. So I resigned myself to see it as a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence.

Until just a few of weeks ago, when I chanced upon this tutorial and saw the light: you can make your own coconut yogurt at home! From regular canned coconut milk! Available at the store!

The process is just as easy as making ordinary yogurt from cow’s or goat’s milk, which I do weekly: you simply combine the coconut milk with yogurt ferment or a probiotic supplement, and leave it to incubate at a steady, moderate temperature (around 40°C or 105°F) until the coconut milk is cultured, which takes 24 hours for the level of tang I like.

And I’ve been loving my homemade coconut milk yogurt. It’s a treat in and of itself, but I love it with a sliced-up banana and some granola, or dotted with berries, and I think it would make an excellent base for frozen yogurt. The yogurt tends to separate slightly, with a thin layer at the bottom and another of set coconut oil at the top, but I just stir it all back together before eating.

To get a thicker, more set yogurt, I have also experimented with adding gelatin (the grass-fed beef kind) to the mix, and although it complicates the process a little — you have to heat up some of the coconut milk to dilute the gelatin, but you shouldn’t add the ferment to too hot a liquid or you’ll kill the microorganisms — I like the end result even better. I’ve outlined both formulas below. (And obviously, the addition of the gelatin means you can no longer call this vegetarian.)

From a price perspective, my coconut yogurt works out to about 15€ (£11 or $17) per litre/quart, which remains more expensive than making yogurt from animal milk, but is notably cheaper than store-bought coconut yogurt.

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If you don’t have a yogurt maker, you can use the light inside your oven to generate the required heat (as outlined in the recipe below), but getting a yogurt maker is a small investment I promise you won’t regret. There is no need for anything fancy: I have a super basic model that doesn’t cost very much, and does the job perfectly. The one I own is equivalent to this model in the US, but if you live elsewhere, here are my criteria for choosing a yogurt maker:

  • Glass jars: the cocktail of plastic and heat is an ugly one, and because you’ll be reusing the jars again and again, you want them to be inert and heat-resistant, i.e. made out of glass.
  • No automatic shut-off: many models turn themselves off automatically after a few hours (6 to 8, depending on the model) because they consider that the yogurt is done after that time. However, you may like your yogurt tangier (incubated longer), or you may want to make 24-hour yogurt if you have trouble with lactose, or you may want to make coconut yogurt, which takes 24 hours also. I understand the convenience of the automatic shut-off, but I prefer to set an alarm for myself and keep control of the incubation duration. Conveniently, these manual models are also cheaper!
  • The possibility of getting extra jars: you definitely want a double load of jars right from the start, so you can begin a new batch of yogurt before you’ve eaten (and cleaned) your way through the previous one. Also, breakage happens (ahem).
  • There are single-container models that allow you to make the yogurt in bulk rather than in individual jars, but for my own use I find it much more convenient to have the yogurt pre-portioned and ready to grab in the fridge.

The coconut milk I use for these yogurt is one I buy at the organic store (the Organi brand) which costs 2.49€ per can, is 15% fat, and has no BPA in the inside lining (I’ve checked with the manufacturer). As for the ferment, I’ve successfully used this yogurt starter as well as this probiotic supplement, which has 7 billion probiotics (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococcus, and Streptococcus strains) in each dose.

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Do you make your own yogurt? What’s your prefered method? Have you ever tried it with non-dairy milk?

Coconut Milk Yogurt

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Homemade Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 24 hours

Total Time: 24 hours

Makes 1 liter (4 cups).

Homemade Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.2 liter (5 cups) canned organic full-fat coconut milk, from three 400-ml (13 1/2-oz) cans (make sure the lining is BPA-free)
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored grass-fed beef gelatin powder (optional)
  • 1 sachet yogurt ferment or probiotics (I use this one, which has 7 billion probiotics in each dose) OR 120 ml (1/2 cup) yogurt saved from the previous batch (see note)

Instructions

    If not using the beef gelatin:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk about 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the coconut milk with the ferment. Pour in the remaining coconut milk, whisking as you go.
  2. If using the beef gelatin:
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the beef gelatin with one can of coconut milk.
  4. Pour a second can of coconut milk into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring just under a simmer. Pour into the large bowl, whisking carefully .
  5. Whisk the ferment into the third can of coconut milk, and whisk the contents of the can into the bowl.
  6. If using a yogurt maker:
  7. Divide the coconut milk mixture among the jars of the yogurt maker.
  8. Switch it on and leave to incubate for 24 hours (if your yogurt maker has an automatic shut-off feature, you'll have to turn it back on).
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature without disturbing, then place in the fridge.
  10. If you don't have a yogurt maker:
  11. Pour the coconut milk mixture into glass jars with heatproof lids, and close the jars.
  12. Place in the oven, close to the oven light (ideally with a 60-watt bulb). Turn the oven light on, and leave the yogurt in with the light on for 24 hours. The temperature inside the oven should remain in the 38-43°C (100-110°F) temperature range; use an oven thermometer to make sure.
  13. Allow to cool to room temperature without disturbing, then place in the fridge.

Notes

You can use a small amount of yogurt from the previous batch as a starter for a fresh batch and repeat this cycle a few times, until you find the new batch is more acidic and doesn't set quite as well as you'd like. Use a fresh dose of ferment or probiotics for your next batch then.

https://cnz.to/recipes/basics/homemade-coconut-milk-yogurt-recipe/

Coconut Milk Yogurt

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  • So very glad you did this work. I used to make yogurt regularly until I slowed down on dairy, and I just haven’t gotten around to the coconut yet. (Have recently had great results from coconut ice cream, though. Yeah!) Going to have to dig out that incubator!

  • Lea

    I do make cow’s milk yogurt, but haven’t yet invested in an incubator. I use wide mouth pint jars, wrapped in tea towels and stashed in a small cooler. Stuffing any gaps with additional towels. That holds the heat long enough for the yogurt to set.

    • A clever contraption! I’m not sure it would keep enough of the heat for 24 hours though, would it?

      • Lea

        I don’t know. I know it holds heat overnight. I generally prepare the yogurt after dinner, stash the jars in the cooler overnight, then transfer them to the fridge in the morning and it will be well set up when I get home from work in the afternoon.

    • myrna

      I do something similar. In addition to the milk soon-to-be-yogurt in the pint jars., I place 2 quart mason jars filled with hot/boiling water in the cooler alongside . It helps to maintain a steady warm temperature and no need to further insulate with a sweater or newspapers.

  • Gwendolyn

    Thanks for an inspiring and timely post, Clotilde! I’m excited to add this to my very restricted diet (Autoimmune Protocol Diet with a few re-introductions). I might get a little enthusiastic here, because I miss making my own cow’s milk yogurt very much and you’ve inspired me to try making coconut yogurt.

    Dairy products are not an option for me (my autoimmune issues are worsened with dairy and gluten). I recall making my first batch of homemade cow’s milk yogurt. Lifting the first quivery ladle-full out of the jar and putting it in a bowl for breakfast was so exciting! I miss that. I drizzled a bit of real maple syrup over it and savored every jiggly mouthful. I couldn’t believe I had a hand in creating something so magical, even though the probiotics got credit for the transformation.

    Coconut milk is now and forever my go-to milk. I’m excited to try making yogurt with it. I’ll finish here with a few things I learned over the years making my own cow’s yogurt:

    Where: On a heating pad set at lowest setting, in a draft free place. Cover the jars with a thick wool sweater (or felted wool cozy). Leave it alone until it’s done.

    When: Bedtime is a great time to make this if you like 12 hour incubated yogurt. It’s fun to wake up to!

    Savory Additions:
    herbs and grated cucumber (sort of like raita). Dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper to dollop on top of fish.

    Ayurvedic Additions: This is for one gallon of cow’s milk yogurt, so adjust quantities for 1 quart coconut milk, and plan to heat coconut milk and let it cool afterward. In a fillable teabag, add 24 crushed cardamom pods (use side of chefs knife to crush on cutting board), several crushed black peppercorns, 12 cloves. Staple, or iron bag closed and add to milk as it heats. Then stir in 3 TBL turmeric powder, a few cinnamon sticks and some grated nutmeg too. Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks before pouring into jars. (I use T-sac fillable tea bags size 2).

    More incubating ideas:
    * Set in a warm spot near a woodstove in the wintertime.
    · A picnic cooler with blankets around the jars and covered with the thermos lid. Or pour 110º water around the jars and cover the picnic cooler with the lid.
    · In a gas oven with just the pilot light on. Some ovens can be programmed for 110º F/ 43ºC. Perfect!
    · Pour yogurt into a “thermal cooker” (non-electric heavily insulated pot).
    · Create a “culturing cupboard”—a place in your kitchen where you incubate your weekly batch of yogurt, like the cupboard above the fridge. Fun for kids.

    Thanks again for your timely post. I’m excited to add something new to my limited dietary options!

    • Lea

      Thanks for the ideas on additions. I’ve previously added cardamom, cinnamon, and the scrapings of a vanilla bean, but I haven’t ever thought of turmeric or nutmeg.

      • Gwendolyn

        I hope you enjoy trying the turmeric and nutmeg. I’ll try the vanilla bean idea you suggested. That sounds delicious.

    • Thanks so much for sharing all your yogurt-making insights, Gwendolyn!

  • Gwendolyn

    I just finished making it. I’ll let you know how it turned out tomorrow! Thanks again for a timely post.

    • Gwendolyn

      Your recipe turned out very well! It’s still setting up in the fridge, but I couldn’t wait so I ate a warm serving and it was delicious. I actually made two batches, one following your instructions, and one with a teaspoon of Great Lakes gelatin for a little extra nutrition; maybe it will thicken it a bit as well. Don’t know yet, since it’s still chillin’.

    • Do let me know!

  • NotJoking

    I used to make yogurt a lot with powdered milk as I lived in 3rd world countries where fresh milk wasn’t safe to use. The electricity supply wasn’t always reliable so made it in a thermos. I’ve never made it with non-milk products but I’m going to try the coconut milk yogurt as I love anything with coconut involved.

  • Bríd

    I make yoghurt much the same way as Lea does – I use a styrofoam cooler box, towels and crumpled up newspaper. Not very professional, I’m afraid, but it works a treat. Must try the coconut yoghurt. Sounds delicious!

  • wickedalchemist

    I’m 12 hours into my fermentation- looking at my jars I’ve noticed that the coconut milk has completely separated. Is this normal?

    • I would remove one jar, let it cool completely and give it a taste. Depending on the coconut milk you’ve used, you may have to stir it to combine before eating.

  • Ida Lorenzen

    Clotilde – how much probiotic do your use for a batch? Or/and yoghurt startet, not sure we have the same quantities here.. And thanks by the way for all inspiration!

    • As noted in the recipe, the probiotic supplement I use has 7 billion probiotics. Let me know if you try it!

      • Ida Lorenzen

        Yes thanks I understand ! But- how many capsules?!:-)

        • Mine isn’t in capsule form, it’s a little sachet. Your supplement should say on the bottle how many probiotics per capsule it contains, and you can work from here. Or am I misunderstanding your question?

          • Ida Lorenzen

            Ok! Now I understand. Thanks a lot!

  • Yum! I’ve never been a huge fan of most coconut milk yogurt

  • Rocky Tsung

    Coconut milk yogurt.. Isn’t the name of recipe is enough for a mouth watering.. I also like cupcake muffins most and they looks even more cool when they are hanged with 3 tier cupcake holder.

  • Vrinda Bhalla

    Hello

    I tried to make this yogurt 2 days ago as you did but it didn’t gel

    its still very runny and in the fridge after 24 hours.

    I used cows milk starter and 1 probiotic capsule powder

    any idea why it didn’t thicken ?

    • I imagine different coconut milks react differently. Did it taste fermented though, i.e. tangier than regular coconut milk? What method did you use? You can also play around with thickeners if texture is an issue. I’ve had good success using grass-fed beef gelatin (not vegan, obviously).

    • vinienco

      use as pure a milk as possible, ie no additives. you might also need to add some form of powder, like coconut milk powder or even milk powder if you drink it, as a thickener. plus, ensure the fermentation temperature is consistent.

  • Hi Clotilde! Do you know if you can strain this yogurt to make it Greek-style, like you would with cow’s milk?

  • annfee

    Clotilde, I’m so in love with you right now… I’m lactose intolerant among other thing, AND, I did stumble on the same coconut yogurt at Whole Food Kensington, slurping it in almost one gulp in the Eurostar back home… so good I went and wrote to the brand to ask them where I could find them…(even at that price…) Anyway, if you say this works quite easily, I know what I’ll get for my birthday… in two days ;). A big hugeeee thank you!!!

    • I hope you get to try it soon — please report back when you do!

      • annfee

        Hi Clotilde!

        So I’ve just eaten the first one from the first batch! :) I like the taste, really “yogurty” ^^. But it is totally liquid (I did use the coconut milk you recommended as I came across it easily). I’m not talking creamy, I’m talking totaly water-like liquid… I don’t really mind but that’ more milk than yogurt.

        I used an organic yogurt to start it and not ferments (have some allergies and probiotics are not really good for me with inulin and friends). Do you think that might explain it? I should have reduce accordingly the coconut milk?
        I’ll try the next batch with a bit of agar agar in it to see if I can get the consistence “better”. I’ll let you know. (and bonus question :) : a yogurt made with agar agar can be use for the next batch as starter do you think?).
        Thanks, I’m anyway looking forward to trying again ;).

        • As you suspect, I think a single yogurt doesn’t contain enough of the ferments to inoculate the coconut milk in the given time. And I’ve never tried it with agar agar so I can’t say, but I think I’ve seen instructions out there so perhaps a search will give you some answers!

  • Ari

    I’ve followed your instructions — bought the same yogurt machine and yogurt starter — and I experimented first with mixing my homemade almond milk with canned coconut milk; the result didn’t yield a great consistency but it was yummy, so I tried it with gelatin — not much difference. And then I did two batches with only coconut milk and starter and both times turned out horribly. I’ve no idea what I’m doing wrong. The consistency seems pretty good (how could it not be with full fat coconut milk, I guess?) but the top is hard and cracked and streaked with a rose color AND it smells awful. Help! (But thank you for all the inspiration!)

    • Hm. Let’s try to troubleshoot! Some separation is normal (i.e. the top is a little thicker than underneath) but the crack is weird, as is the rose color. Where are you located and what’s the weather like right now? It sounds like perhaps it is over-fermenting. Would you try again with a shorter fermentation, say, 12 hours? Also, what coconut milk are you using?

      • Ari

        A wise response, of course! I live in Los Angeles, where it’s been in the 70s F (translation: the 20s C) most days. So while it’s not hot enough to turn on the air conditioning (thankfully), the southern and eastern exposures of my kitchen do heat things up (there’s no direct sunlight on the machine). I will try to halve the time. I’ve used different milks on different tries — Native Forest, most recently Whole Foods….
        Thank you!

    • pj

      I’ve been researching several recipes for coconut yogurt and one of them specifically stated that if you see any pink or gray colors on the yogurt, throw it away and start again. It is unhealthy bacterial growth such as Burkholderia cocovenenans or other harmful bacteria. You might try heating the coconut milk to a temperature of 180 F. This kills off any harmful bacteria before you add in the beneficial probiotic bacteria. Add the thickening agent, if using one while the coconut milk is still hot and then let it cool to 95-100 degrees F before adding the fermenting agent. The cooling is important to make sure you don’t kill off the fermentation bacteria with excessive heat. Bring it back up to 105-110 degrees F to ferment for 7-9 hours.

  • Amy Ballard

    Can you add fruits/flavors to this before it is finished? Like mix in pineapple or mango or cherry? Trying my first batch now and hoping it works. We live on a small military base outside the us and I don’t have selection to shop from (let alone specialty products) so I can’t guarantee the coconut milk is BPa free but still trying it out. Thanks for the recipe!

    • I’ve never tried it, but I know the acidity in fruit can prevent or inhibit fermentation, so I think it’s best to add them afterwards.

  • Tracy Neil Shewchuk

    I tried this yesterday with canned coconut milk and no beef gelatin. When I went to take it out of the yogurt maker the yogurt had separated terribly and expanded up and out the top of the jars. Was the starter yogurt I used to strong or to much?

    • Hm. How strange that it overflowed, I’ve never had that happen, but then my yogurt jars are typically not filled to the top. What starter did you use?

  • Melissa

    Hi! You don’t have to add some form of sugar for the cultures to feed off of? Thank u!

  • Gina

    Bonjour clothilde,
    Je viens de decouvrir Ton blog et je l adore !! Quelle source inspiration !
    Une question sur le noix de coco. Pourquoi tu ne fabrique pas du lait directement d un noix de coco. C est tellement simple dans und blender , beschups moins Cher et plus ecologique.
    Greetings from Berlin!

    • Merci Gina ! Pas évident pour moi de trouver des noix de coco bio dans mon coin, sans compter la galère pour les ouvrir. :)

  • KentuckyFarmerFriend

    Can you use the refrigerated coconut milk or does it have to be the canned variety?

    • Are you sure that’s not coconut water in the refrigerated section? If so, it won’t work here. Needs to be milk.

      • KentuckyFarmerFriend

        Yes, it’s the Silk brand of unsweetened coconut milk; here is a link to the product: https://silk.com/products/unsweetened-coconutmilk.
        I have a Salton yogurt maker I use to make cow’s milk yogurt and I tried to make a batch last week using the Silk coconut milk and So Delicious coconut milk yogurt for the starter. It didn’t solidify even after 20 hours so I searched for recipes online and found yours. Since I didn’t use canned coconut milk I don’t know if the milk or not using the probiotics you recommend is the problem. Guess I have to keep experimenting!

        • This seems to be a very-reduced-fat coconut milk — just 1.6% fat by my calculation — and the recipe calls for full-fat coconut milk (15-20%) so that would explain why it doesn’t work.

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