Homemade coconut milk yogurt is incredibly simple to prepare, and is a fraction of the cost of high quality store-bought options. Though I do eat regular whole milk yogurt pretty regularly, also having a dairy-free alternative in the fridge is ideal. To make your own coconut yogurt you will need to use full fat canned coconut milk — I like the Whole Foods 365 brand, Thai Kitchen, or if you’re near a New Seasons their store brand is a reliable option, too. I’ve made it with the Trader Joe’s brand before as well, but that was over a year ago and from the research I’ve done I believe they’ve changed their formula and people aren’t having consistent success with it for making coconut yogurt. All of these options are kept in BPA-free cans, and made with organic coconut milk.
10 tips for success
I’ve never had an issue with this recipe, but I’ve only made it a handful of times. There are a lot of variables involved in successful fermentation; the natural microbes in your home, temperature, probiotic quality, and the list goes on. I tried my very best to think of all the possible inconsistencies that might make this recipe go amiss, but if your first batch doesn’t turnover success I encourage you revisit this list and give it a few more shots. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before diving into this recipe.
Use a wooden spoon. Metal spoons can react negatively with the probiotics, altering the success of the recipe.
Sterilize your jar before hand with hot water only.
Fermentation time will vary depending on your environment. In Portland during the late winter, 40 - 48 hours is the sweet spot. In the summertime or in warmer climates, 16 - 24 hours would probably do. The longer it rests, the tangier the final product will be.
Fermentation may not occur if the environment is too chilly. If this is the case for you, try letting the fermentation process happen in your oven with the oven light on.
Using a high quality, potent probiotic is vital for this recipe to be successful. I’ve only ever tried this yogurt with the Jarrow 25 billion CFU formula. I use 6 capsules per batch.
Be wary of coconut milk cans with BPA and BPS linings. The brands I’ve listed above are trustworthy, but if you can’t find those brands near you make sure to avoid these toxic substances.
The canned coconut milk will also come with major separation. Consider yourself lucky! Spoon out the thick cream, and save the coconut water for something else, like smoothies. I’ve read that refrigerating the cans will sometimes help this separation occur, but I’ve never needed to do this.
If you experience separation once the yogurt is stored in the refrigerator do not be alarmed!
If your yogurt takes on weird colors or smells spoiled, than something is not right. I’d toss out the batch and try, try agin.
Don’t over do it when eating this yogurt. The final product of this yogurt has a dense supply of healthy probiotics. Most people take about 10-25 billion CFU’s per day, 50 billion max. Consume this yogurt in small doses, especially if probiotic supplements aren’t a typical part of your regimen.
This recipe requires two cans of full fat coconut milk. If the cream and water are separated upon opening your cans, scoop out the cream and discard the coconut water or save it for a different use. After putting the coconut cream in a sterile jar, mix in 150 billion CFU’s worth of probiotics with a wooden spoon. Place a cheese cloth or thin towel over the jar, and secure it with a rubber band. Let the yogurt rest somewhere warm for approximately 24-48 hours. Test a sample periodically to find your sweet spot of tanginess! Keep in mind that if you live in a climate with seasons, this “sweet spot” will vary throughout the year. Once the yogurt has fermented to your liking, cover the jar securely with a lid and store in the refrigerator. Separation after being in the fridge is completely normal.
This coconut yogurt can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Raw honey, fresh berries, and sprouted nut butter make a nice combination. It’s also a great topping for smoothies, pancakes and baked goods. I personally love to top 100% dark chocolate with a dollop of this yogurt and sprouted nut butter for dessert. The options are truly endless, and it’s an easy way to promote good gut flora. My acupuncturist is always ensuring that I am incorporating lots of fermented foods in my diet to support my gut, and I can’t wait to tell her about this recipe. She is an avid sauerkraut maker and just shared one of her favorite recipes with me, so I’m betting that will be my next fermentation experiment… Or perhaps another whirl at gluten-free sourdough bread… We shall see.
* I adapted this method and recipe from the Minimalist Baker! So, I owe Dana all the credit!