How to make coconut milk yoghurt

****I’m sorry, I will not be able to answer any more questions about the coconut yoghurt making process, and why yours did not work {if it hasn’t}. As mentioned in the post, making yoghurt depends on some factors that are outside of our control. Please read my answers to questions in the comments below. You may find that your questions is answered. Otherwise just experiment with temperature and using different cultures. Good luck!******

On Tuesday I posted an article on real versus fake yoghurt. One sure way to get real yoghurt is to make your own!

Yoghurt-making is a science. I felt like I was back in the lab when I was studying pharmacy all those years ago — with my Thermomix as the incubator!

I had no idea that when I started this venture what I would end up with. It could have been a disaster. Especially since I was using my homemade coconut milk — and not full fat dairy milk.

As luck would have it, my coconut milk yogurt turned out fabulously. It was a little runny the first time, but set the second time round because I increased the kudzu (a wholefood thickener). But I love my yoghurt slightly runny (must be the Indian in me).

I enjoyed the coconut yoghurt in smoothies, with poached berries and activated nuts as a snack, and to make bircher muesli — by soaking my homemade muesli in the yoghurt overnight.

If you like thick yoghurt, I have given some additional tips in the instructions below on how you could do this.

So let’s get on to making the yoghurt, shall we?

Coconut Milk Yoghurt

I did quite a bit of research on this, and ended up modifying this recipe, as I have a Thermomix. However, I’ve included both Thermomix and stovetop instructions below.

Some notes first:

  • If you’re using canned coconut milk, make sure it is high in fat, and not your low-fat variety
  • If you’re using homemade coconut milk (like I did), then the fat content won’t be high, and your milk will separate on standing. So I made the yoghurt with a freshly made batch of coconut milk.
  • Obviously the make-up of coconut milk is not the same as dairy (with no milk proteins and sugars), so we do need to add some ‘natural thickeners and sugars, to help the process along
  • If you like to make yoghurt from full fat dairy, you can follow the same technique below, just don’t use the starch and maple syrup.
  • For the live cultures, you can buy some yoghurt culture from a health food store, or you can use a good quality probiotic. I used two of my probiotic capsules (Polybac 8). The other option is to use a couple of spoonfuls of natural yoghurt with live cultures, so in this case, use CoYo, natural coconut milk yoghurt, so it’s dairy and soy free. Next time round, save a couple of tablespoons of your homemade coconut yoghurt and use that as the live culture.
  • The yoghurt should smell and taste sour, like yoghurt, but it will have a slightly sweet coconut taste.

What you will need:

Ingredients

  • ~900 ml coconut milk (this is the amount I had from making coconut milk)
  • 2 tbsp – ¼ cup kudzu, arrowroot or tapioca starch (depending on how thick you like your yoghurt)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (sugars for the bacteria to eat; it may still work without this, but I have not tried it)
  • live yoghurt culture/probiotic capsules (see notes above)
Utensils
  • a Thermomix; or a food-grade thermometer and a stainless steel pot
  • a small sterilised jug (not plastic)
  • a wide-mouthed thermos (like the Thermoserver)
  • some tea towels and an esky
  • 2 x 500 ml sterilised glass jars and lids (I immersed them in some off-the-boil water and dried the glass jars and lids (not plastic) in a low oven.)

Thermomix instructions:

  1. Dissolve kudzu in equal parts coconut milk (i.e. ¼ cup kudzu to ¼ cup coconut milk). Pour this mixture and the remaining coconut milk into the Thermomix bowl. (If using arrowroot or tapioca starch, just add as is to the coconut milk.)
  2. Cook at 90C for 9 minutes, speed 3. (This helps to sterilise, as well as to cook the starch)
  3. Allow the mix to cool to 37C (this will take about 1.5 to 2 hours)
  4. Then add the maple syrup and stir for 4 sec, speed 3
  5. Pour about ½ a cup of the milk mixture into the sterilised jug and add the culture (if using probiotic capsules, pull them apart and pour the contents into the milk)
  6. Gently stir the culture into the milk and pour the mix into the Thermomix bowl
  7. So that the culture is mixed evenly and the temperature is at 37C, cook for about 3 mins on Speed 2, 37 degrees.
  8. While the yoghurt is heating, fill your thermos with hot boiling water and place the lid on (this helps to sterilise and warm the thermos)
  9. Then empty the water from thermos, and pour in the yoghurt.
  10. Put the lid on the thermos, and wrap it with some tea towels
  11. Place it into an esky, and leave undisturbed for 12 hours.  Then pour into containers and refrigerate for another 12 to 24 hours before eating. This helps the yoghurt to set and thicken.

[Stove top instructions:

  1. Dissolve kudzu in equal parts coconut milk (i.e. ¼ cup kudzu to ¼ cup coconut milk). Pour this mixture and the remaining coconut milk into the pot. (If using arrowroot or tapioca starch just add as is to the coconut milk.)
  2. Cook on gentle heat for about 9 minutes so the starch thickens. Stir continually.
  3. Then turn off the stove and allow the mixture to cool to 43C. Leave your thermometer in and keep checking it periodically
  4. Once cooled to 43C, stir in the maple syrup.
  5. Pour about ½ a cup of the milk mixture into the sterilised jug and add the culture (if using probiotic capsules, pull them apart and pour the contents into the milk)
  6. Gently stir the culture into the milk and pour the mix into pot.
  7. So that the culture is mixed evenly and the temperature is at back at 45C, reheat and stir until you have the temp back to 43C. Then turn the stove off and follow steps 8 to 11 above.]

Ways to make thick coconut yoghurt

I found that ¼ cup kudzu was enough to thicken and set the yoghurt. But you could try any of the following thickeners (Note: I haven’t tried these):

  • agar agar
  • egg white powder — my friend Jules from Stonesoup used this. There’s also a video to show you how to make the yoghurt.
  • pectin (CoYo uses pectin and tapioca)
  • draining water — after setting the yoghurt you can pour it in a muslin cloth and let it drip over a bowl in the fridge
  • coconut meat yoghurt – instead of using coconut milk, use the flesh of young coconuts. Here is a recipe I found.

Now go make some yoghurt. And have fun with it! Be sure to report back. I would love to hear how you go, what you did, and whether you have any tips to share.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Have a FAB trip Lesh!
    And stock up on good food in Mexico because Cuba is a foodie wasteland… although it’s been years since I was there so hopefully things will have improved for you
    Jx

    • Lesh says

      Thanks gorgeous Jules! I’m doing an Intrepid trip in Cuba, and almost half of it is home-stays, so hopefully I get some delicious home-cooked meals. Fingers crossed, hey? The Cubans are known for their community organic gardens, so hoping that I get a taste of that. L x

  2. Sharon says

    Hi Lesh, glad I found you, I am a thermomix consultant and recently discovered coyo, and wanted to make my own, I am just starting to experiment with fermented foods (I am a naturopath too), and wanting to show our team and branch how to make coconut yoghurt.

    Do you have any objections to my posting this recipe or one similiar onto the thermomix forum, and stating that the recipe came from you.

    I may need to tweak the recipe to be able to post it to count towards an achievement award in thermomix. However would give you credit for the original recipe.

    Also, loving your site, Sharon Wilde

  3. christina says

    hi there,
    i have made this successfully a few times using coyo and tapioca flour…but for some reason this recent batch is VERY Runny. it usually sets/thickens in the fridge really well. any ideas why that may be and any suggestions on thickening it up at this stage ?? or is it too late ? thanks :)

    • says

      Hi Christina! Making yoghurt will vary form each batch because we rely on factors that are totally out of our control — like temperature and bacteria growth.
      It could have been that the coyo didn’t have enough live cultures and/or it my have been the temperature wasn’t good enough for the cultures to multiple while your yoghurt was in the esky/cooler. If you have a dehydrator, you can use that to keep the temperature even at 42C. B, like I said it also depends on the culture you use.

      I’m not sure how you can thicken it now. Just use it in smoothies or to make bircher muesli (soaking muesli overnight in yoghurt/liquid), or in baking muffins/cakes. Good luck!

  4. Cherryl says

    Hi Lesh, I have got the opposite problem with my yoghurt, I have made a few batches now and for some reason mine is so ALIVE!!!! I am only using 800ml of coconut as that is 3 tins then I don’t have to worry about leftovers so have adjusted the amount of tapioca i add and maple syrup, I also only added barely a tablespoon of previous made yoghurt as it was very active. I sit out overnight in my old yoghurt maker container then put it in the fridge. I went out for a few hours this morning and when I came home the yoghurt had even pushed off the screw top lid as was oozing all over the place! It still tasted OK sort of sour. Oh I just remembered…. I did add a little bit of vanilla extract could that have done it?

    • says

      lucky you! Do you love in a warm part of the world? cause that could have done it. Not sure about the vanilla extract, as I haven’t tried it and don’t think that would’ve caused it. I’d say it’s temperature. Also, perhaps don’t fill it up to the top, so it has room to grow!

      • Cherryl says

        Thanks for replying Lesh, I do live in southern Queensland but I doubt this is the problem as my daughter who lives in North Queensland doesn’t have this problem, I think it will be just trial and error.

  5. ilona says

    Hi Lesh – I was so excited to give your recipe a try, using coconut milk I made from desiccated coconut. The only thing I did differently was place the thermoserver overnight in a cupboard (as I don’t have an esky). This morning when I went to see my lovely live yoghurt, the milk had separated and left a thick layer of cream on the top and was very runny. Seems it didn’t activate. I used 3 capsules of probiotics. Would it have been because I left it in the cupboard and not an esky?

    • says

      Definitely esky related. I’m not sure where you are located, but since it’s now winter in Melbourne, I’m finding the esky is not enough either. Instead of the thermos you can put in glass jars straightaway then place in a very low oven {less than 50C} overnight {this is how many Indians make their yoghurt} or in a dehydrator. Good luck!

      • ilona says

        Ahhh yes that will do it – the warm environment. I live in Sydney and yes its cold! I will try again using the oven. I have ended up with some totally delicious coconut milk which has been perfect for breakfast. Thank you so much for your advice. I love your site and the recipes! I will definitely be sharing around your gems with my equally passionate health-foodie friends.

        Cheers, Ilona. x

  6. christina says

    HI there,
    Thanks for replying to my previous question…I have another now….the alt few batches I have made have been inedible due to a tangy flavour. They have set fine and gone nice and thick but when you take the lid off there are tiny little bubbles all over the surface ?? and the taste is so tangy and tart it is not enjoyable at all. I am using maple syrup as my sweetener, coyo as my culture and tapioca flour as the thickener….
    thanks in advance

    • says

      I’m not sure what’s happening Christina. AS I mentioned int he posts, yoghurt making depends on many factors out of our control. The souring process is natural ~ that’s what makes yoghurt, youghurt. If it’s too sour, perhaps reduce the culture (yogurt) you are using and see if that works? Good luck!

  7. Erica says

    Hi Lesh

    I made the coconut milk yoghurt yesterday. Because I started the culture at 11am, it sat until the next morning (about 20 hours). It tastes great, but not yoghurty at all. I was wondering if it would still be probiotic. I used two probiotic tablets and 800 ml of full fat coconut milk.

    It tastes great, but am I eating thickened coconut milk or yoghurt? I don’t know of anyway of telling. Do you?

    Cheers and thanks for all your wonderful articles.

    Erica

    • says

      Hi Erica, it should taste and smell a little sour. If it just tastes like coconut milk, then it has not cultured. It could have been the probiotic you used, or perhaps the temperature needs weren’t quite right?

      • Erica says

        Thanks Lesh. I thought that might be the case. I will try it again with a different starter. I used a EasyYo thermos, which has been ok in the past, but who knows with the probiotic, even though they are still current (expire next year) and I have refrigerated them, they could be half-dead.

        I really enjoy your site.

        Cheers

        Ericai

  8. laura says

    I tried making coconut milk yogurt twice. The first time it had a solid crust of coconut on top. The second time I used a blend of coconut milk and rice milk, both homemade, and used the same GI Pro vegan started that I have been using for the last 2 months. I don’t think it ever cultured. It’s not thick, which is fine – but how do I know if it is runny yogurt or just milk? I don’t taste any yogurt favor.

    • says

      Hi Laura, you’ll find answers to your questions in my replies to other comments, so please have read. Making coconut milk yoghurt is tricky as it relies on a lot of factors ~ enough fat in the milk, the temperature while leaving to culture, and the quality of your probiotic.

  9. Jenny says

    Hi Lesh, so you inspired me! My first batch of yoghurt, whilst runny was tangy and delicious. Second batch, different brand of coconut milk, was delicious but not tangy so I don’t think it worked properly. I used 2x inner health plus probiotic capsuals, do you think this is ok or enough? I’ve also got inner health plus loose powder I can use. I’m just not sure how to work out ratio orf milk:probiotic. I was using arrowroot as a thickener but it does leave a floury aftertaste so will try the kudzu next time. I’m using a yoghurt maker. Any advice appreciated! Thank you

    • says

      Hi Jenny, I haven’t made the coconut yoghurt in a while. The yogurt depends on the bacteria behaviour and the temperature ~ things we don’t have much control over, so batches will vary. I’ve answered a few questions in the comments, please take a look. The other thing I’d say is to not overdo the culture. The bacteria need room to grow.

  10. Natalie says

    Thanks for the recipe. I used 800mls of coconut cream, 2 x inner health plus capsules, a 1/4 cup of tapioca and 1 tbls of maple syrup. Popped into a yoghurt maker and whisked until smooth. Left for 12 hours. It is so thick and luscious!!! Love it!! The only down side is probably a little too tangy so I might leave it for 8 hours next time and see what it’s like and I’d probably drop a little tapioca too.

    I want to try chocolate coconut yoghurt next!!

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