How to Make Coconut Oil

Here’s how my grandmother and mom makes coconut oil from fresh coconut milk. This version uses heat and so is not cold-pressed or extra virgin coconut oil.

Enjoy this guide and check out my guide on making your own turmeric powder too.

How to Make Coconut Oil from Fresh Coconut Milk

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How many coconuts to use

How much coconut oil you want will dictate how many coconuts you use for this recipe. A good average is 1 brown coconut = 2 ounces of coconut oil. So 4 coconuts = 1 cup of oil.

There’s also an old East Indian saying that if you make the oil around full moon, you will have a better yield. My mom swears it’s true from her experiences with making the oil for many decades. I’ve also seen the differences with my own eyes!


You only need fresh brown coconuts and water for this recipe. That’s it!


For making the oil, I used:

  • hammer or cleaver: for opening the coconuts
  • knife: for prying the coconut meat out of the shell
  • juicer or blender or grater: for finely shredding the coconut to extract the milk
  • large bowl
  • pot: for heating the coconut cream
  • strainer or cheese cloth: for straining the coconut oil

How to make coconut oil (steps)

1. Crack open brown coconuts

Strike the center of your coconut (perpendicular to the grain) a couple times until it cracks and coconut water flows out. Pull the two sides apart and check the coconut meat. It should be hard, white and have the slightest coconuty smell. Discard the coconut if the meat is slimy or has a foul smell.

Cracked coconut

2. Remove the coconut meat

Insert a paring knife between the meat and the shell. Twist the knife to dislodge the meat for easy removal. There are other easier ways to remove coconut meat. You can try a manual coconut scraper or electric ones too. You can find them all on Amazon.

Removing coconut meat with knife

3. Juice the meat

Cut your coconut meat into smaller pieces and add them to your juicer. Out will come coconut milk on one side and the other will have finely grated coconut meat. Usually, I add the finely grated coconut meat back into the juicer for a second pass. Doing this helps to get as much liquid out as possible.

You can add water to the meat and mix thoroughly before adding again to the juicer. But I prefer not to add water to the milk.

The traditional way of making the milk involves grating the meat finely, adding water and squeezing the meat before straining everything out. It is labor intensive and time consuming. Who has the time, nowadays? But if you don’t own a juicer, don’t let that stop you! You got this!

Coconut meat and milk after juicing

4. Wait for the cream to rise

Place the coconut milk in a wide bowl and leave it overnight. If you are in a more tropical climate like I am (or it’s summer), place the bowl in the fridge. If it’s colder where you are, you can leave the milk on the counter. Keeping the milk cool helps the cream to separate and prevents the milk from going bad.

Coconut cream

5. Skim the cream

The cream usually hardens on the surface making it easy to skim. Add the cream to a small pot. If you get liquid or a little water in the pot, don’t worry. Everything is sorted out in the next step.  If the cream doesn’t fully harden, that’s ok too. Add it to the pot.

Any clear liquid below the cream can be discarded or used to water your indoor plants. Heh!

Skim coconut cream

6. Heat the cream

Place the small pot on low heat. The cream will melt and start to curdle. When this happens, the cream will begin to release pure coconut oil. Stir often when this happens to ensure even heating and to prevent the particles from sticking and burning at the bottom of the pot.

I heated the cream for about 10 to 15 minutes. But you can leave it for longer. In fact, the longer you leave the pot on, the more oil will be released. But the curdle particles may start to brown, and the oil will develop a light yellow color. That’s ok though! As the oil cools, it’ll become white again.

Heat coconut cream to make coconut oil

7. Strain

After 15 minutes (or more if you so choose), strain the oil to remove the cooked curdle particles… And that is it… 100% pure beautiful coconut oil!

The oil will last several months unrefrigerated; even in this tropical climate. And if you keep it in the fridge, it’ll last many, many months.

Tips for making coconut oil

This is how I make my homemade coconut oil. It guarantees pure oil, 100% of the time. I’ve tried to make virgin coconut oil before where no heat is used. But it never worked. The milk always spoiled and oil never separated. And let me just say, spoiled coconut milk smells terrible… It’s so bad.

I’ve found using a juicer to extract milk is the most efficient and effective way. Its milk yield is amazing. The bits that remain are so dry! You can drop them into your cakes for a nice coconut flavor. Or spread them out on a baking tray and place them in the sun for an hour or two (or pop them in the oven on low heat). When they’re done you can grind them up to make coconut flour… Your very own homemade gluten-free flour!

If you don’t have a juicer, that’s completely fine. Use your blender and a little water to it. Then strain and squeeze all the milk out of the meat. And continue with steps four through to seven.

The cooked curd particles you get at the very end can also be used too. I like to use them in my foot scrubs. They tend to be abrasive and still have a lot of oil in them. So they’re exfoliating and moisturizing at the same time! Maybe I’ll do a coconut scrub post sometime to show you.

That’s the beauty of coconuts. Everything can be used. Nothing is wasted.

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