coconut yogurt

This raw coconut yogurt is creamy, silky smooth, and thick yet it doesn’t contain any thickeners or emulsifiers. Not only is the yogurt raw, but it’s also vegan (dairy-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.

There are two types of coconut yogurt – raw coconut yogurt (from the flesh of young coconuts) and pasteurized coconut yogurt (from canned coconut milk and/or coconut cream).

Making raw coconut yogurt is a rather simple process, though involves cracking into said coconuts. Fortunately, with the right technique, opening coconuts doesn’t take longer than a few seconds.

How to Open a Young Coconut

One thing that will make your life much simpler is to buy a coconut with the husk already removed. Once that’s out of the way, all you need is a cleaver or chef’s knife with a heel to crack it open. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Prepare the coconut. Start by trimming away the soft skin from the top of the coconut with a sharp knife to expose the hard (round) shell.
  • Make the first incision. Place the coconut on a flat, non-slippery surface. Assuming you are right-handed, hold the coconut steady with your left hand around the base (not the pointed top). Using the bottom corner of a cleaver, hack the coconut at a 45-degree angle, about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm below the tip of the coconut. Strike hard enough to crack through the inner shell of the coconut, not just the soft outer fiber.
  • Make the next three incisions. You’ll be making four cuts in total to form a square shape. So, turn the coconut and create a second incision, perpendicular to the first one. Turn the coconut one more and create the third incision, parallel to the first one. You should now have three incisions forming a “U” shape around the top of the coconut. The last (fourth) incision should connect the three incisions, forming a square around the top of the coconut.
  • Open the top of the coconut. Using the corner of the blade, pry the “lid” open.
  • Pour out the coconut water. Drain the coconut water through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits of husk that might have fallen in.
  • Scoop out the coconut flesh. Using a spoon, scrape the soft white coconut flesh out of the shell.

Now onto making the actual yogurt.

coconut yogurt recipe

Tips for Making Coconut Yogurt

Ingredients

Raw coconut yogurt is one of the easiest dairy-free yogurt recipes because it requires only two ingredients:

  • Young coconuts: look for the whitest, brightest Thai coconuts with as little discoloration as possible. The top is usually the first part of the coconuts to turn brown with a little bit of age (because the husk is the thinnest there). Good coconuts should feel heavy for their size, and be firm (no cracks or soft spots). Mature (brown) coconuts don’t work in this recipe because mature flesh is too dry for blending into a smooth consistency. One more note – if you want to make the coconut yogurt quickly and easily, you can use frozen young coconut flesh (from the freezer section).
  • Probiotics: it wouldn’t be yogurt if it didn’t contain live cultures. You can either use probiotics or plant-based yogurt starter. The advantage of using a yogurt starter is that it contains cultures specifically found in yogurt. If you go with probiotics, look out for probiotics with lactic acid forming bacteria. At a minimum you want Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles strains. Other good bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. 
  • Coconut water: bacteria need something to feed on to allow the culturing process to take place. Coconut flesh has very little naturally occurring sugar. Coconut water (from the young coconut), on the other hand, has much more. If you wanted to use plain water to make coconut yogurt, I would recommend adding a little bit of sweetener – maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, date paste, etc. all work. 

coconut yogurt ingredients

How to Make Coconut Yogurt

The most labor-intensive part of this recipe is opening the coconuts. Once you have the young coconut flesh ready (see the tips above), the rest is a breeze.

  1. Blend. Add the young coconut flesh and water into a high-speed blender and blend on high until completely smooth. I recommend starting with only a little bit of water and adding more as you blend. This is because every coconut is different. Some young coconuts have very little flesh; some have a lot. Sometimes the flesh is very tender and gelatinous and sometimes it’s a bit dry and fibrous. Also, the amount of water will depend on how thin/thick you like your yogurt. Once blended, transfer the blended coconut into a sterilized glass jar.
  2. Add the live cultures. Using sterilized non-metal utensils, stir the live cultures into the blended coconut. Metal self-sterilizes, i.e., it kills bacteria, including the good bacteria, so avoid metal bowls and utensils. Make sure the starter culture is well mixed in, so the good bacteria are evenly spread out.
  3. Let the coconut milk culture. Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth, and let the coconut culture at a consistent temperature for a few hours. The time will depend on the strength of the probiotics, the number of strains the probiotics contain, and the temperature at which the milk is culturing. I used a 50 billion probiotics with 20 different strains, and let the yogurt culture at 77°F/25°C for 18 hours. The longer you let the coconut yogurt culture, the tangier it will be. 
  4. Refrigerate the yogurt. Once the coconut yogurt reaches the tanginess you like, place it in the refrigerator to stop the culturing process. As the yogurt cools, it will thicken.

raw coconut yogurt

How to Serve Coconut Yogurt

I typically have plain coconut milk yogurt for breakfast with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of grain-free granola or muesli. Another great add-in is this high-protein cereal with chia seeds. 

If you don’t like plain yogurt or want switch things up a little, there are many ways to flavor plain yogurt and create exactly the kind of taste you want. Here are some of my favorite ways to flavor yogurt to get you started:

  • Layer ½ cup pureed fruit with 1 cup yogurt.
  • Swirl 3 Tbsp. jam into 1 cup yogurt.
  • Add a sweetener, such as maple syrup, date syrup, or coconut nectar, to taste.
  • Stir in 3 drops of extract – vanilla, lemon, orange, cherry, and strawberry are my favorite- per cup of yogurt + sweetener to taste.
  • Mix in 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp. maple syrup per 1 cup yogurt.

Make sure you add any of the flavorings after the yogurt has finished culturing so you don’t upset the bacteria.

How To Store Coconut Yogurt

  • Refrigerating: transfer the cultured coconut milk yogurt into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • Freezing: coconut yogurt does not freeze well.

More Dairy-Free Yogurt Recipes

  • Coconut milk yogurt: if you don’t have access to young coconuts but still want to make coconut yogurt, coconut milk yogurt (from canned coconut milk) is a great alternative. It’s just as thick and creamy (thanks to the added agar), but the flavor is not as coconutty. 
  • Almond milk yogurt: another great dairy-free alternative to regular yogurt. Almond milk yogurt is just as thick, creamy, and tart as coconut yogurt, but it’s made from blanched almonds. 

If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

coconut yogurt
4.41 from 5 votes

Coconut Yogurt

Prep Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 4 (1/2-cup) servings
This raw coconut yogurt is creamy, silky smooth, and thick yet it doesn’t contain any thickeners or emulsifiers. Not only is the yogurt raw, but it's also vegan (dairy-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Blend. Add the young coconut flesh and water into a high-speed blender and blend on high until completely smooth. I recommend starting with only a little bit of water and adding more as you blend. This is because every coconut is different. Some young coconuts have very little flesh; some have a lot. Sometimes the flesh is very tender and gelatinous and sometimes it’s a bit dry and fibrous. Also, the amount of water will depend on how thin/thick you like your yogurt. Once blended, transfer the blended coconut into a sterilized glass jar.
  • Add the live cultures. Using sterilized non-metal utensils, stir the live cultures into the blended coconut. Metal self-sterilizes, i.e., it kills bacteria, including the good bacteria, so avoid metal bowls and utensils. Make sure the starter culture is well mixed in, so the good bacteria are evenly spread out.
  • Let the coconut milk culture. Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth, and let the coconut culture at a consistent temperature for a few hours. The time will depend on the strength of the probiotics, the number of strains the probiotics contain, and the temperature at which the milk is culturing. I used a 50 billion probiotics with 20 different strains, and let the yogurt culture at 77°F/25°C for 10 hours. The longer you let the coconut yogurt culture, the tangier it will be. 
  • Refrigerate the yogurt. Once the coconut yogurt reaches the tanginess you like, place it in the refrigerator to stop the culturing process. As the yogurt cools, it will thicken (you can always add a splash of water and give it a stir for a thinner consistency).
  • Store. Leftover coconut yogurt keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

*I used two young coconuts If you can't find young Thai coconuts, you can purchase frozen coconut meat. If you go that route, you'll need to let the coconut flesh thaw first.
**I used 50 billion probiotic capsules with 20 different bacterial strains, including Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis.
***Nutrition information is approximate and many contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4, Calories: 142kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 13g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g