How To Make Coconut Cream Tutorial


I can’t tell you how excited I am about this post! Here is how it happened. I started having trouble getting my canned full-fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk to separate. I have put at least a dozen cans in the fridge over the last year, sometimes leaving them in there for days, even turning down the temperature in the refrigerator, to no avail. I should pause the story for a second.

Wait, what is coconut cream?

“Coconut cream” or “whipped coconut cream” is the thick cream at the top of a can of separated canned full-fat coconut milk (you can also make it yourself—instructions below). It’s awesome stuff. You can use it any way you would use dairy whipped cream: On top of ice cream, on top of pie, as pie, in parfaits, all by itself… You get the idea. Back to the story…

So what’s a dairy-free girl to do? Well, I took this opportunity to 1) Make homemade coconut cream from whole young coconuts, and 2) Search high and low for other brands of packaged coconut milk that might work. And I decided to only look for packaged brands that were gum-free and BPA-free. And I found two. Score!

Let’s get right to the how-to! First lets start with the most expensive, most time consuming, most crazy delicious option. HOMEMADE. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.


Option 1: From young coconuts

In the US whole young Thai coconuts can cost $2.50 to $4.00, depending on where you live (they’re cheaper in California than in Colorado). It takes about two and a half whole coconuts to get a cup of coconut cream, making it the most expensive option. However, what you also get is tons of coconut water, which is also crazy good for you and full of electrolytes. My coconuts had about a cup and three quarters of water in each. Mmm… But back to making the cream:

Open with a knife


1. Lay the fresh young white coconut on its side and carefully trim the pointy tip until some brown is showing, then position it right side up.

2. Put your left hand behind your back (or your right hand if you’re left-handed). Why? This is just a safety measure. I don’t want you accidentally ending up in the emergency room!

3. Using the heel of the knife strike the coconut on a 45 degree angle. Rotate the coconut a little bit, striking again with the knife. Repeat until you make a circle of cuts.

4. Pry the top off with the knife.


5. Pour the yummy coconut water into a large glass. I put mine in big mason jars. Store what you don’t drink right away in the fridge. Note: The water should be clear or slightly yellow. Pink or purple water means it’s gone bad, and you shouldn’t use it.

6. Take a flexible silicone spatula and wedge it between the meat and the inside wall of the coconut.

7. Run the flexible silicone spatula around in a circle, dislocating the coconut meat.

8. You can reach in and remove the coconut meat. Mine all came out in one piece.

9. Repeat the process with two more white coconuts.

10. Add the meat from all three coconuts to a food processor fitted with the S-blade.

11. Puree the coconut, scraping the sides periodically, until it is completely smooth and heavenly.

Makes just over 1 cup of cream.

Or open with the CocoJack


If you want a really super easy way to open a young coconut, then check out the CocoJack. We absolutely love this tool. A few taps with a mallet, and the top of the coconut pries right off like a lid. And their little scoop tool is perfect for removing the coconut meat on the inside of the shell. If you use my coupon code spunkycoco you’ll get 10% off your purchase. (As an affiliate, I receive a percentage of the sale)

But aren’t coconuts dipped in poison for shipping? I had to ask this question myself, since I have only ever bought packaged coconut milk, and I too had heard the rumors. Coconuts are dipped in sodium metabisulfite, a preservative which does not penetrate the inside. Such a relief. See HERE

Option 2: Using Packaged Coconut

Don’t want to mess with a coconut? You can also get really yummy coconut cream from Aroy-D and Natural Value coconut milk. Both are gum-free and BPA-free, which is why I am officially switching to these two brands. I bought mine on Amazon, but you can buy these brands for less in Asian grocery stores. The costs listed on the chalk board (at top) are based on the prices I got on Amazon.



1. Open your package of Aroy-D and pour the milk into a large mixing bowl, then freeze it overnight, or until completely frozen.

2. Put the bowl of frozen milk on the counter and let it come to room temperature. This will take all day. Heating it won’t work! Heating it will help it to emulsify again, and we need it separated.

Note: My Aroy-D did not arrive separated. If yours does then skip steps 1 and 2.

3. Place a thin cloth napkin over another large mixing bowl and pour your thawed separated milk into the napkin.

4. Lift the napkin and squeeze some of the water out. Don’t go crazy squeezing or your coconut cream will be too dry. Just remove most of the water.

5. You will be left with a little over two cups of cream (from one 33 oz package).

Natural Value


1. Place a thin cloth napkin over a large mixing bowl and pour the contents of the can over the napkin.

2. Lift the napkin and squeeze some of the water out. Don’t go crazy squeezing or your coconut cream will be too dry. Just remove most of the water.

3. You will be left with almost one cup of cream (from one 13 oz can).

Note: All of my Natural Value cans have arrived partially separated, so I did not freeze them first like I did with the Aroy-D brand. If your cans are not separated at all then first follow steps 1 and 2 for making Aroy-D cream.So from now on I will be using Aroy-D or Natural Value in ALL of my recipes, and I am updating my FAQ page to note that I have switched to these gum-free, BPA-Free brands. Use the blended liquid straight from the package in my recipes, unless otherwise specified.

♥, Kelly


  1. says

    I’ve been using the Arroy-D brand for several years now. I’ve never tried the freezing technique to separate it. Usually, I just pour it out of its pack into a mason jar. I refrigerate that, like you would a normal can of coconut milk, and it separates just fine. I’ve done this for both the regular coconut milk and the coconut cream, but I never thought to strain it even further through a cloth. Great tips, Kelly!

  2. says


    I tried that! My Aroy-D didn’t separate in a glass container in the fridge. At least not to the point where I had cream for whipping. I got some water on the bottom, but the top was still liquid, and when I squeezed it in the napkin all of the cream came out with the water. That’s what led me to the freezing/thawing technique. But I know some of my friends have even had theirs show up separated at room temp! I think it’s a very tricky business 😉

  3. says

    I use the aroy-D and just stick the box in the fridge for a day cut open the top and dump it out. Usually the cream is so hard and seperated it is like a brick. In fact it broke my whip on my kitchenaid. Which brings me to a lot of questions. When dairy free people talk about whipped coconut cream what do they mean. Do I whip this brick? Does it change when whipped to be like whipped cream you could put on a fruit salad? I miss whipped cream so much can I ever have that texture again? Also what is the liquid I pour off the cream called? Ok that is it! Thanks :)

  4. says


    Thank you! The liquid is just water. They don’t add the coconut juice/water to packaged coconut milk, so there’s nothing special about that liquid

    I wish it always did that! My Aroy-D did not firm up at all in the fridge. It was still totally liquid.

    Yes, it is supposed to be very similar to dairy whipped cream. Just put the solid cream in a mixing bowl and whip it with the electric mixer. I add some NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia, or a dash of honey and vanilla extract. It sounds like sometimes yours is really dry, and in that case you may actually need a little water.

  5. Ha says

    Just an FYI, I use to live in Longmont and would get my young coconuts from Pacific Ocean Market in Broomfield. It’s only about $1.50 each. Asian markets have the best price on them and it’s the same coconuts you get at Whole Foods etc. Thanks for your blog! We love the recipes here and miss Colorado!

  6. Anna says

    Now that’s interesting, I’m gonna try! I live in Germany, where it’s impossible to find BPA-free cans. It’s also impossible to get the american BPA-free brands, so I’m excited to see that you use Aroy-D, because that happens to be a brand that’s available here. One thing I’m curious about though: How do you know it’s BPA-free? Does it say so on the packaging? Our packaging looks different than the american one, and there’s no note about being BPA-free on ours, I’ve checked that before. Thank you for answering :-)

  7. Emily says

    I’m so happy to hear that I’m not the only one who has problems with my coconut fat separating. I always see these pictures online of people with really thick cream at the top of their cans and mine never turns out like that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried. I’ve kept the cans in my fridge for several days before I used them and my cream is still very watery.
    I’ll have to try freezing and thawing my cans next time. Fingers crossed! I really would love to have nice whipped cream again!

  8. says

    Thanks Ha! Must get down there!!!

    Gwyn, We don’t have Trader Joes here, but I heard one is coming. I hope it’s true.

    Anna, I read online that it was BPA-free.

    Emily, Yes, there are those of us who have that problem! :-) But make sure you pour your cans into a large bowl, and don’t freeze them in the can itself. But you probably already knew that!

  9. says

    Hi Kelly,
    thanks for the great post. I have been using Native Forest coconut milk which I order from IHerb. It is BPA free, too. Though sounds like your brands may be cheaper. But IHerb gives good discounts so it all may work out in the end. I can’t comment on how well it separates though because I have yet to try making whipped coconut cream. Soon, though!
    Love your site and your blog and your books and everything about you!

  10. Anonymous says

    Hi Kelly,
    I noticed that neither of these brands are organic. Is there not an acceptable organic choice? We try to buy only organic and non-GMO foods. We have actually been using Edward & Son’s Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk in BPA-free cans. My problem w/this product is that despite putting it in the refrigerator for days, I can’t seem to get it to separate consistently. I have gone through can after can…. Thanks,
    ~Robin in GA

  11. says

    Karen, Thanks! I have never been able to get Native Forest to separate, but maybe putting it in a bowl and using my freezing/thawing technique would work with it. Let me know if you try it!

    Robin, The Natural Value brand is organic. I have heard that coconut trees aren’t treated with pesticide though. I never tried to find out if that is really true.

    • says

      coconut trees are not sprayed and like most farmers they can not afford to have their product certified organic because of the costly fees. This is the same for cocoa trees they are not sprayed with pesticides because first the farmer just can not afford to do so and the fees to certify organic is very expensive and only the big corporations profit from this from their costly prices of products.

  12. Tanya says

    Great Job again Kelly!
    My problem – I have never ever even seen a young coconut… ever LOL. That looks so yummy. I make my own coconut milk from dry coconut because I don’t like the taste of the canned – but the cream doesn’
    t whip so well, I think I will try the freeze thaw method with the homemade and see what happens!
    Thanks for your hard work!

  13. Tanya says

    !!! So here’s what happened with the freeze thaw with homemade (from dried coconut) coconut milk. After the thaw, I had the nice thick top of cream on top (as usual), so I scooped it out and started whisking. This is where the magic happened. Not the magic I was looking for but hey – it is still awesome…. The cream DID NOT whip, it turned to butter. Like actual dairy does when you make butter! The fat and the water separated and the texture is exactly like butter. I sprinkled some salt on it and it was really good, I am making some of your scones tomorrow to eat it with. Yay! Fun in the kitchen.

  14. says

    Hi Kelly, I live in Dubai and we get fresh grated coconuts. I use it to make coconut cream and it’s the best. :)

    Did you know? The more mature the coconut, the more milk/cream you can extract from it. I am not sure how the coconut cream tastes when using young coconut.

    In the Philippines where I grew up, we eat the meat of the young coconut in your pic and never use it for coconut milk/cream for cooking (it’s the mature coconuts for this).

    But I guess it’s hard to get mature coconuts in the US?

  15. Anonymous says

    I just read this on “Ladycakes”, which may (or may not) explain why some separate easier than others:

    The issue with Native Forest coconut milk appears to be the source. Milk sourced from Thailand typically separates, while the milk sourced from Sri Lanka usually does not. Also, I used Whole Foods brand coconut milk for the first time and it is superior to every canned coconut milk I’ve ever used – including Thai Kitchen. The milk fat is super dense and there appears to be more of it per can, compared to other varieties. If you can get your hands on it, go that route.”

    Maybe that will help?

  16. says

    Thank you for your post “How To Make Coconut Cream Tutorial” ~ helped much on a raw vegan recipe I’m developing! I love Aroy-D Coconut Cream, but to make it from scratch… your post was perfect! xo Stephanie, The Sensual Foodie

  17. says

    Thank you for your post “How To Make Coconut Cream Tutorial” ~ helped much on a raw vegan recipe I’m developing! I love Aroy-D Coconut Cream, but to make it from scratch… your post was perfect! xo Stephanie, The Sensual Foodie

  18. Anonymous says

    Every time I try to make whipped coconut cream it doesnt whip. I have a whole case of the Natural Value brand and have gone through half of it and not had any luck. Each can is very nicely separated when I open it, the top is hard and solid, but as soon as I turn on the mixer it liquifies and just ends up being a greyish puddle of grainy liquid… Has anyone else noticed this brand is really grainy and has a slight grey hue to it?? I wondered if I got a “bad” case and that lead me to search the internet, and this post.
    Anyway, Kelly -so if I follow your wonderful steps, I should technically just be able to whip it into texture that resembles whipped cream, right?? Or are there more steps or things to add to it once you get it separated?? Thank you so much for your website by the way! I wanted to purchase your ice cream book, but amazon said its sold out… =)

    • Carmen says

      I also have this problem with Natural Value coconut milk- grayish and grainy. It never gets smooth and creamy.

  19. Alicia says

    Have you tried Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream? It’s so creamy, there is hardly ANY coconut water in it. I just put mine in the refrigerator for say 4 hours, and open it up, pour out any water that might be in there (many times there isn’t any at all) and whip up the cream! Yum!

  20. Gina says

    Hi Kelly
    So I bought a can of sprouts brand coconut cream. Forgot to refrigerate added honey and vanilla and tried to whip it. Put it back in fridge overnight and whipped next morning. Really good. So now I want more and I bought three small brown coconuts. So any idea how to make the cream with this type of coconut?

  21. gina says

    What type of coconut did you use? Is it white when you bought it and cut clean like in the picture? I bought three brown ones that no way in hec the meat was going to separate and come out in one piece! In fact, I found other websites to tell me how to “chunk” it out from the hard shell. Yours sounds a hec of a lot easier than the way I went!
    Thanks Kelly

  22. Gabriella says

    Hello! I am enjoying your web site. Thank you <3

    I do have a question: can I use cream from a adult coconut?

    Keep on keeping on!


    • says

      You’ll want to use the soft meat that is in the young coconut. It becomes too hard when the coconut is old (the brown kind that is sold without the husk).

  23. gina says

    Thanks Kelly, I found the young coconuts at Sprouts, 2 for $5. Meat was super simple to get out – thank goodness, since my fingers are still sore from the mature coconuts. I did find some instructions online on using hot water with the meat from the mature coconuts and refrigerated overnight and volia I had the fat cream at the top!!! I whipped it up in my kitchen aid and found that I needed more fatty cream to work in this sized device. (no hand mixer). No worries, stuck this in the fridge again and just mixed it with the water again and made ice cream the next day. The texture was like cross between a slushy and ice cream. Tasted delicious but needed more coconut fat. I’m now on my 5th coconut attempt and I’m not giving up! I put the meat from the young coconuts from the food processor back in the fridge and will mix tonight with a hand mixer….my family thinks I’m crazy, but they do line up to eat what I make! I just can’t see how this meat is going to turn into whipped cream! I’m hopeful and you have never steered me wrong! My fingers are crossed!

    • gina says

      Hi Kelly,
      So when you say you are making coconut cream do you mean whipped cream? I followed your instructions with the young meat and made nice and soft in the food processor I then refrigerated and whipped with my hand mixer and it never became like whipping cream, so I’m thinking I have misunderstood what the end product should be. It still was not a waste because I used it for chocolate frosting on your fabulous vanilla bean cake! Yummy! But really wanted the whipped cream. I think I may just give up on fresh cream and go to canned! I wish you would do a video on the whipped cream and if you can really get whipped cream (like heavy cream whipped cream) from a young coconut!
      Thanks Kelly,

  24. Daniela says

    Really nice tips Kelly!
    Can I use the homemade coconut cream for Virgin Pina Colada?

    Thank you!

  25. Karen says

    What is the difference between coconut cream and coconut butter? I bought some butter to use in a smoothie recipe, and the fat (?) was solidified on the top of the jar to the point that I couldn’t even break it with a knife. So, I stuck it in the microwave for 45 sec., and it melted just fine. I stirred it up together, and it had the consistency of condensed milk. I don’t think it could be whipped, but it sure is tasty just the way it is, and was wonderful in my smoothie!
    However, I need to make coconut cream to use for making avocado oil, and wondered if the butter could be used for that.

    • says

      Coconut cream comes from separated coconut milk (I make this at home), and coconut butter comes in a jar similar to almond butter. Some companies sell products called “coconut cream,” but in my experience they are actually like a thick milk.

  26. Vendela says

    Hi there, I’m new to coconut cream. Maybe I’m missing something, but why does all of this separating and straining have to happen? I’m looking for a dairy-free alternative for a coffee creamer. I love coconut and coconut cream seems perfect – can I not use something right out of the package?


    • says

      Coconut milk in the can is thicker than the coconut beverages you see in cartons, but it is still liquidy. So, if you want a thicker “cream,” then you have to separate it. Sometimes you’ll ope a can and the creamy part has already separated naturally, and you can just scoop it out. But most of the time you need to follow a procedure like this one.

  27. AMy says

    Were you able to whip the coconut cream from the young coconut after refrigerating, and did you end up with a gritty final product due to miniscule shreds of coconut?

  28. AMy says

    I had moderate success with your method of removing the white pulp/meat and running it through the food processor for an endless amount of time. I had two problems – one is that I ended up with little bits of the brown skin from the side of the coconut in the pulp/meat when I removed it. How did you avoid this? Second, even after a long time in the food processor, there were a few bits of coconut grit left behind. Do you have any suggestions? This didn’t whip much more beyond the texture achieved with the food processor, but it is definitely a better alternative than the canned crap that has a nasty singed taste and consumes resources and chemicals to process and package.

  29. Claudia says

    We dont get green coconuts in the Uk but I have started buying creamed coconut instead because it is 100% coconut. It is different from yours though as it is a dry hard block so has to have water added, I dont supose you know how to make coconut cream out of this as I would prefer to use this instead of tinned coconut cream which they all seem to be nasty over here. I take it I have to remove the fiber (flour) to make it coconut cream ?

    • says

      Hi Claudia, I haven’t encountered the dry coconut block before. I have seen recipes on how to make coconut milk using water and dry shredded coconut, but I’m not sure you could get a cream texture that way.

  30. Beverly says

    I love Aroy-d coconut milk and coconut cream and would love to have a recipe for making homemade yogurt with it.
    I have searched the internet for recipes trying to make yogurt as good, thick, creamy and tasty as COYO yogurt -a product of the UK and available at Whole Foods in the USA.
    I found heating the Aroy-d to 180 as the recipe suggested destroyed the sweet coconut taste. Do you have a recipe for Coconut Milk Yogurt using Aroy-d?
    Thank you:-)

  31. Mrs Roks says

    Hi ladies.
    I live in Africa so i get both young and mature coconuts direct from the tree.
    coconuts of both variety contain fibre, with the mature/brown one more fibrous and the young/green, creamier. You need to sieve with a cheesecloth after processing to remove fibre and then seperate the water and cream in order to get a smooth cream that can whip.
    I use coconut cream for body lotion and the fibre for face pack (binds with honey, lemon, aloe vera, acv, etc.) in place of oat.

  32. Carol says

    I haven’t read all the comments, so pardon me if I am repeating an idea. It is a lot of time consuming work making whipped coco cream, and I find it is so easy to just make this substitute:

    Pour 2 cans of ArroyD (the richest I have found) coco milk in a pot. Take about 1/2 cup out and mix in 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (or you could experiment with other types of thickening agents). Heat the milk, with 1/4 cup sugar, or other sweetener, and when it is hot, stir in the coco-cornstarch mixture, and use a whisk to beat air into it as it thickens. When it has come to a boil, it is ready to cool. No skin will form on the top, as would happen with a milk custard. You can now add some vanilla if you like, or any flavoring, and this ‘custard’ will be a great substitute for whipped cream. It is really easy to make, very creamy and delicious. No need to separate or whip or strain this mixture. Spoon it over fruit, on a pie, etc.

    If you want this to be the filling for a cream pie, use 1/2 tablespoon more of the cornstarch – it will come out incredibly creamy, and will hold a shape when you cut into the pie.

    Add cocoa to make the very best chocolate pudding. Hooray for coconut!

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