How to make coconut oil at home? It’s easy! All you need are brown coconuts, a few tools, and a little time. That’s it. And you know how good coconut oil is for you. Check out all the coconut oil benefits for skin right here.
How to Make Coconut Oil: What You Need
The first thing you need is brown or mature organic coconuts. Five or six brown coconuts will give you about one cup of coconut oil.
Next, you need a cleaver or hammer, a few bowls, a sturdy knife and grating equipment. These are necessary to open the coconuts and extract the white coconut meat.
You don’t need expensive grating appliances either. A rough grater or a coconut scraper works well to remove the meat. But using a blender, food processor or juicer makes life a lot easier.
You also need something to strain the coconut meat and coconut milk. A simple strainer, cheesecloth or any clean, regular cloth will do what you need.
Finally, you must have spoons and containers to put your coconut oil in. I prefer using a bottle with a wide top because I can easily scoop the oil out when I need it.
Everything I mentioned is what you need to make cold pressed coconut oil. But the oil may have some water and impurities.
So you can process it further with heat to make 100% pure coconut oil. You can cook with this oil and use it on your skin too.
To process the oil, you will need a heavy-bottom pot. I use an old cast iron pot but any thick, heavy pot will work.
It takes me about two hours to extract the coconut meat and strain it.
Then, I like to leave it overnight to make sure the oil separates fully.
So, in total, it takes me about 12 hours to make cold pressed coconut oil. And it takes less than an hour to further process the oil to make pure oil.
How to Make Coconut Oil: Step-by-Step Guide
Step #1: Get brown/ mature coconuts
You can get brown coconuts at your local farmers’ market, big box store or specialty grocery. Ask them when they restock their coconuts so you can get fresh ones. And find out if their coconuts are organic.
The number of coconuts you should buy depends on how much oil you want to make. Five or six coconuts can yield one cup of oil. But yield also depends on the size, quality and freshness of the coconuts.
So how do you choose the right nut?
Inspect them carefully. The best coconuts are brown, heavy, and don’t have mold on them. When you shake them, you should hear liquid sloshing around. These are great coconuts that will have a higher yield.
Coconuts that are lighter, grayish, moldy, or don’t have much liquid in them are older and may be rancid. These will make poor quality coconut oil.
Still, you will only know if a coconut is truly good when you crack it open.
Step #2: Open the coconuts
To open a coconut, place a bowl under it to collect the water or do it over a sink. Hold the coconut in one hand. Use the hammer or back of the cleaver to sharply tap the center of the coconut against the grain. Rotate and repeat until the coconut shell breaks.
You can strain the water from the coconut and drink it. Or you can use it later on to extract coconut milk.
I recommend emptying the bowl before opening the next coconut in case it is bad. Bad coconuts smell rancid and their meat can be slimy, runny, and gross. Discard them! Good coconuts (like the ones below) do not smell and their meat are hard and white. These are perfect for making coconut oil.
Step #3: Remove the coconut meat
To remove the coconut meat, you will still need the cleaver or hammer and a sturdy knife. Use the back of the cleaver or hammer to gently tap the shell of the coconut. Sometimes, the coconut shell will pop right out. If it doesn’t then insert the sturdy knife between the meat and shell and twist it slightly.
Note, the coconut shells can be a little unstable so be very careful when tapping and using the knife.
Separated coconut meat:
You can peel the brown ‘skins’ off the coconut meat before grating but this isn’t necessary.
Discard the coconut shells or use them to make cute bowls and decorations. You can also add the smaller pieces to your garden.
Step #4: Grate/ shred the coconut meat
If you don’t have these scrapers, you can simply use the rough side of your grater to shred the extracted coconut meat. It takes a while to get done and you can accidentally grate your finger, but still, it is one of the best ways to get coconut meat into a really fine consistency.
You can save time and your fingers by using a blender or a food processor. But you will need to cut the meat into small pieces to make it easier for your appliances. You may also have to add water to ensure the coconut meat blends properly. Note, by adding water, you will end up with a slurry-like consistency.
I, personally, don’t like adding too much water in this step because my cold-pressed coconut oil tends to have more moisture when I do. That’s why I prefer manually grating the coconut meat.
Step #5: Extract the coconut milk
There are a few ways you can extract coconut milk from the meat. You can use a strainer, cheese cloth, or … a juicer!
Here’s a great one:
I love using the juicer because I don’t have to add a lot of water. I simply load the chute with my grated coconut meat and switch on the appliance. The milk pours right out and the coconut meat left is really, really dry. Some powerful juicers can get the meat to an almost powdery texture, which is awesome since you’ll get all the milk out. Note, you can also add the coconut meat slurry from your blender to your juicer.
With my juicer, I run it once, collect the dry coconut meat, mix it with a little water and add it back to the chute. I double juice 🙂 … Here’s after first run:
If you don’t have a juicer, no worries. All you need to do is add a little water to the grated coconut and squeeze the coconut meat. You’ll start seeing the water turning white. That’s your coconut milk. And the more you squeeze the meat, the more milk you’ll get out.
You can also work the slurry from your blender in the same way.
Step #6: Strain the coconut milk
You’ll need a strainer, or cheesecloth or any cloth for this step.
The coconut milk and meat from your juicer, blender or gratings must be properly strained to remove any particles from the coconut milk. You can double strain and triple strain if necessary. And make sure you squeeze out as much milk as possible from the meat.
You can eat the coconut meat that is left behind. It is a great source of fiber. You can also add it to your garden as an all-natural fertilizer.
Step #7: Leave the coconut milk to sit overnight
Once you’re sure the coconut milk is properly strained, place it in a large bowl and let it sit undisturbed in a cool place overnight. Sometimes I put it in the fridge to make sure it stays cool. If it does get warm, your milk will start to smell a little rancid and the odor does transfer to the oil. So it is important to keep the milk in a cool place.
You can also cover your milk with a thin cloth when leaving it overnight.
Step #8: Scoop out cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil
By morning, you will find your coconut milk has separated into a solid, white layer on top and clear-ish liquid below. Using a spoon, gently remove the solid, white layer. This is your cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil! It’s also called coconut cream or coconut curd.
You will notice your oil will have a slight watery feel to it. That’s because there is still water in the oil layer. But over time, the water will evaporate out. You can bottle the oil and store it in a cool place or in the fridge. If it is always cool, it will be good for several months to a year.
Here’s my cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil/ coconut curd/ coconut cream:
How to Make Pure Coconut Oil
To make pure coconut oil, you have to process the cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil/ coconut curd further to remove the excess water. To do this you have to:
Step #9: Heat the coconut curd
Add the coconut curd to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir continuously to prevent the curd from sticking. After 10 – 15 minutes, you will see the curd will separate into light colored oil and white particles.
After a few more minutes, you will notice the oil changes to a pale yellow color and the particles become brown. You can turn off the heat at this point.
Step #10: Strain the coconut oil
While the oil is still hot, carefully strain it using a cheesecloth or any other type of cloth. If you don’t strain the oil, you may find tiny brown specks settling in it.
Step #11: Extract as much oil as possible
The brown curd particles also contain a lot of oil so it’s a good idea to squeeze as much oil out of them too… Carefully! And while they’re still hot. If they get cold, the oil will solidify around the particles and you won’t get it out.
So you can strain the hot curd particles in a few ways. For instance, you can twist your cheese cloth at its ends and continue twisting until you get some oil out. You can also place the cheese cloth on a slotted spoon, and squeeze down on the cloth using another spoon or something heavy. Either way, get as much oil as you can out without getting burned. It is oil after all.
Your final products are 100% pure coconut oil and brown curd particles. I used 3 coconuts and got about 90 milliliters of coconut oil. If kept in cool conditions, the oil will turn white and last for a few months to a year.
Note #1: The brown curd particles will still have some oil in them and they are great additions to your skin scrubs.
Note #2: You can use the pure coconut oil for oil pulling and cooking. Plus it’s great for all your skin care and beauty regimes.
Note #3: So there’s an old saying about making coconut oil and full moon. According to my mom – among others – you can get a higher yield of coconut oil when you make it on or around the date of full moon. Try it at different times and tell me if you got more or the same amount.
So now you know how to make coconut oil! Leave a comment and let me know how your oil turned out. 🙂
Updated: December-2017; First published: May-2016