Here’s a foolproof recipe for thick, luscious coconut yogurt. This recipe has a rich flavor and dense texture, almost like Greek yogurt. It’s Paleo, dairy-free and vegan. It tastes great with fruit, and is easy to digest. Coconut yogurt is naturally sweeter than milk yogurt, so it doesn’t need to be sweetened. You can add a bit of raw honey if you like.
Fermented foods help to build healthy intestinal flora, the foundation of a healthy immune system. If you’re dairy-intolerant, you’ve probably noticed that store-bought coconut yogurts contain chemicals, stabilizers, and sweeteners. Homemade coconut yogurts are often thin and liquidy. So I set out to discover an easy, healthy way to make it. After 18 trials with varied results, this recipe came out fabulous! Coconut milk is different from dairy milk. It takes twice as long to ferment as dairy, and I had to use a thickener to get a dense texture.
My favorite starter is one Bio-Kult probiotic capsule, available from Amazon. The most successful type of coconut milk was canned, full fat, and thick, which kept its creamy texture when blended and fermented. Homemade coconut milk and milks in a carton were more problematic as they tended to separate in fermentation. For thickening, I chose Agar agar, a tasteless vegan seaweed thickener. It is available in powder or flakes. Agar powder is economical, instant, and best purchased online. You can buy 1-lb. or 4-oz. quantities from Healthy Village, Penn Herb, HerbCo, or Amazon. Agar flakes are available in most groceries – just be sure you cook the flakes for a 2 full minutes and blend well. It takes about 24 hours to make coconut yogurt, more than twice the time needed to make milk yogurt. Equipment: You’ll need a small blender or immersion blender. Yield: Makes 2 cups, which is 1 pint. You can also double the recipe and make a quart. This is easy to make – you can do it!
Easy ingredients: A can of full-fat coconut milk, a capsule of Bio-Kult probiotic as starter, and a bit of agar. You’ll need a glass jar (pint or quart), and a small blender or immersion blender.
I made 18 trials using various types of milks, thickeners, sweeteners, starters, times, and methods. And that’s a LOT of yogurt! Here are the top 3 recipes. The winner is in the center.
And the winner is….full-fat canned coconut milk blended with BioKult starter and agar powder. It came out super-thick and didn’t separate. I added fruit, nuts, and ate the whole thing. Yum!
- 1 can thick, full fat coconut milk, Native Forest, at room temperature (Coconut beverage in a carton will not work. Homemade coconut milk tends to separate.)
- 1/2 teaspoon agar powder, or 1/2 tablespoon agar flakes. (Thickens the texture and prevents separating.)
- Best Starter: 1 capsule BioKult probiotic, opened and emptied. This made by far the thickest and creamiest yogurt of all the starters I tested. Order it online at Amazon. I got fair results with Inner-Eco fermented coconut water probiotic kefir, or 1 capsule any probiotic.
- 1 - 2 teaspoons raw honey is optional.
- 1 glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. (I used a pint, which is 2 cups)
- A small blender or immersion blender
- Open the can of coconut milk, pour into a clean blender. Blend well.
- Pour 1/3 cup of the coconut milk from the blender into a shallow pan on the stove. Add 1/2 teaspoon agar powder (or 1/2 tablespoon agar flakes) into the milk, and stir it in.
- Turn the heat on low. Heat mixture very slowly to boiling, stirring a bit. Allow it to bubble gently for 60 seconds (2 minutes for agar flakes).
- Remove from heat. Immediately put the agar mixture into the blender with a clean rubber scraper. Blend well until completely smooth.
- Open a probiotic capsule into the blender (do it over the container so you don’t lose any). Blend again.
- Pour the mixture into a clean 2-cup glass jar, and put the lid on.
- Put the jar in a quiet, happy place for 24 hours at 105º F. (Oh, go ahead and talk to it!) The trick is to maintain a constant warm temperature, and here are several options: Easiest are a dehydrator or a yogurt maker set at 105º F for 24 hours. If you don’t have one of those, put the jar in an oven that’s not hot, and turn on the oven light, which is probably enough to maintain a warm temperature. If your light doesn't stay on when the door is closed (like mine) set a heating pad on low heat, and leave it in the oven with the door closed as much as possible, connected to an outlet nearby .
- After 24 hours, remove the yogurt from its fermenting place. Chill at least 3 hours to thicken. Then try it!
“Look deeply into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein