How to Make Coconut Cream and Milk

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The first pressing is called the coconut cream. With each pressing, the fat content drops and there is less flavor. The first two pressings are suitable for using in a curry, while subsequent pressings can be used for boiling rice.

NotesHow to crack a coconut:

To open a coconut can be difficult, occasionally even dangerous. The hard brown nut can seem absolutely unbreakable, and when it bounces around in the kitchen, it has an ability to bump into anything breakable. This is seldom a problem in the tropics, however, where most coconuts are eaten before they have time to harden. The coconut vendors on Zanzibar simply cut the nuts open with a sharp knife or machete.

If you cannot find green, softer coconuts, the best method is to bake the coconuts in the oven until the shell becomes more porous. The liquid inside the coconut can be drunk as a refreshment with ice and a twist of lime, It can also be used for cooking rice.

1 fresh brown coconut

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Pierce two of the eyes of the coconut using a skewer, small screwdriver, or corkscrew. Pour the liquid into a bowl Sample the liquid, it should taste fresh and slightly sweet. If it tastes oily or at all fermented, the coconut is rancid and should be discarded

3. Place the coconut in a small baking pan and bake on the highest oven rack for 10 minutes. There is a good likelihood the nut will and crack if not, let cool, wrap in a kitchen towel, and crack with a hammer.

4. Remove the white flesh with your hands and discard the hard shell. If you are using the flesh in itself, not just for making coconut cream, you will probably want to remove the brown skin from the flesh, using a vegetable peeler.


Total Timeunder 1 hour

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentfood processor

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturecreamy, sweet


  • 1 coconut, cracked (see Notes)
  • Boiling water


  1. Finely grate the coconut flesh into a bowl, or process it in a food processor. Add 2/3 cup boiling water. If using a food processor, pulse to mix. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Line a sieve with a cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel. Add the grated coconut and press out the liquid, using a large spoon or a spatula to extract as much of the fatty liquid as possible.

  3. Return the grated coconut to the bowl or food processor and repeat the extraction process two or three times, straining each pressing into a separate container.


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