Dairy-Free Easy Coconut Yogurt

4.92 from 70 votes
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This 3-ingredient homemade coconut yogurt is thick, creamy, super easy to make, and a delicious dairy-free yogurt alternative! It’s gluten-free, plant-based, low-carb, keto, whole30, vegan, contains gut-friendly probiotics, and has no added sugar!

A jar with homemade coconut yogurt and strawberry syrup

It may have taken a few attempts, but now that I’ve perfected this thick, creamy, velvety homemade coconut yogurt, there’s no going back. You only need three ingredients and no special equipment (other than a thermometer) to prepare this diet-friendly vegan yogurt recipe!

This coconut milk yogurt is rich, with a tangy flavor and super creamy texture like “real” yogurt. But it’s got the added subtle coconut flavor which is divine. Plus, through my many initial failed attempts, I’ve learned plenty of first-hand top tips. I’ve compiled them together below, along with ingredient notes, and top FAQs.

Making coconut yogurt should be a breeze with all this information at your fingertips. And if you want more plant-based yogurt inspiration, you might also like these almond milk yogurt and soy yogurt recipes.

A spoonful of homemade coconut yogurt and half a coconut

What is Coconut Yogurt

Dairy yogurt is made by fermenting dairy milk with a starter. Meanwhile, coconut milk yogurt recreates the process using dairy-free coconut milk and a vegan starter. Most recipes also contain a thickener (usually cornstarch) to achieve the thick, creamy consistency we want from any yogurt.

The result is a delicious coconut milk yogurt free from lactose, casein, and dairy. Plus, unlike commercial versions that may contain stabilizers, sugars, and fortified vitamins, this homemade coconut yogurt requires just three ingredients.

Homemade coconut yogurt in a jar

Coconut Yogurt Vs Dairy Yogurt

Along with the flavor difference, the nutritional values between cow’s milk yogurt and plain unsweetened coconut yogurt also differ. For example, coconut milk has minimal protein and calcium, fewer carbs, and higher fat content. These benefits of coconut yogurt make it great for a keto diet.

This vegan coconut yogurt is also a good source of several minerals. Plus, like dairy yogurt, this coconut milk yogurt recipe contains gut-friendly probiotics. These improve gut health, immunity, and overall health.

Recently, I’ve been trying to pay more focus on consuming more probiotic-rich foods. So along with yogurt, I’ve been enjoying more miso, tempeh, kimchi, and kombucha.

Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt Ingredients

This vegan coconut yogurt recipe requires just three ingredients. So, what is in coconut yogurt?

  • Coconut Milk: It’s best to use canned organic, full-fat coconut milk. Alternatively, you can use homemade coconut milk with 1 cup of coconut meat and 2 cups of filtered water.

If using canned coconut milk for this homemade yogurt, the brand matters. I recommend Whole Foods 365 or Aroy-D for great results.

  • Cornstarch:  To help thicken the dairy-free yogurt to the correct consistency. Tapioca starch should also work.
  • A “starter”: In this case, you have two options:
    • Probiotic capsules OR a non-dairy yogurt starter culture.
    • Plain coconut yogurt (look out for one containing live/active cultures).
Ingredients to make coconut yogurt

If you use probiotics, ensure they don’t contain any pre-biotics or other enzymes. Otherwise, the process won’t work.
When selecting yogurt, ensure it doesn’t contain unnecessary additives (i.e., “The Coconut Collab” plain yogurt). You could also use plain natural yogurt if you aren’t bothered about making a dairy free yogurt recipe.

You Also Need

  • Non-reactive tools like wooden or silicone spoons (not metal),
  • Sterilized jars,
  • A saucepan,
  • An instant-read thermometer.

How to Make Coconut Yogurt

Step 1: Heat the Coconut Milk

First, sterilize all the tools (refer to FAQs for the method).

Then, combine the cornstarch with 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut milk in a small bowl and whisk until lump-free. You can sieve it to remove the lumps if needed. You can add the starch directly to the pan, but it’ll be harder to get out the lumps.

If the coconut milk is separated, just whisk it well to bring it back together. Shaking it thoroughly before opening the can should help.

Transfer the cornstarch slurry and the remaining coconut milk to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture reaches 180ºF/82ºC, stirring occasionally.

Leave the milk to cool down until it reaches 108-111ºF/42-44ºC. This is warm enough to encourage fermentation without killing the starter.

Steps for heating coconut milk with cornstarch

Step 2: Add the “Starter”

With Probiotics: Combine the yogurt powder starter or probiotic capsule contents with a tablespoon of the cooled coconut milk. Then mix it until lump-free.

Then, pour that into the remaining warm coconut milk and stir.

With Coconut Yogurt: Add the coconut yogurt directly to the warm milk and mix well.

Steps for adding yogurt starter to coconut milk

Step 3: Allow the Coconut Yogurt to Incubate

Transfer the warm coconut milk mixture to your desired glass jar/s. Then leave them to incubate in a warm, draft-free area.

The conditions of your fermentation will affect how long this process takes. For example, ideal fermentation takes place at around 104ºF/40ºC for 10- 12 hours. However, simply leaving the jars in a warm area of the kitchen can take 24-48 hours. The longer it ferments, the tangier this DIY coconut yogurt will become.

I like to wrap mine in a large, warm blanket and keep it in my oven (switched off, but with the oven light on). If you do this overnight, you shouldn’t need to use the oven during this time. You may also use a yogurt maker. Likewise, an Instant Pot on the YOGURT function should work (for between 16- 24 hours).

Coconut milk poured into small jars to make yogurt

Once the incubation period is over, transfer the jar/s to the fridge to set for a further 6 hours minimum. During this time it will thicken further and become a really creamy plant based yogurt.

If there is some separation, that’s okay. The thick yogurt should rise to the top while chilling, so you can just scoop it off and enjoy!

How to Eat Coconut Yogurt

You can enjoy this coconut milk yogurt like you would dairy yogurt, including:

How Long Can You Keep Coconut Yogurt in Your Fridge

Homemade coconut yogurt will last between 1-2 weeks in the fridge. I recommend storing it in several smaller jars rather than one larger one. This way, the unopened jars will remain unspoiled for longer.

You may also be able to freeze the coconut milk yogurt for up to a month, though I haven’t tried this.

If you plan to make more, set aside 2-3 tablespoons of the yogurt to use as the starter for your next batch. You can repeat this over 2-3 batches until the starter weakens.

A spoonful of homemade coconut yogurt

FAQs

Does coconut yogurt contain probiotics?

Yes. Even if you use coconut yogurt as your starter, that yogurt will contain probiotics.

How to sterilize the jars and equipment?

First, preheat the oven to 325ºF/160ºC.
Wash everything in hot soapy water, rinsing it well. Then place the jars (but no rubber or non-heatproof elements) onto a clean oven tray. Heat them for 10-15 minutes until completely dry.
Alternatively, you can sterilize the tools by boiling them for 10 minutes.

Which “starter” works best for making coconut yogurt?

I’ve had the most consistent results when using a powder yogurt starter. Using pre-made coconut yogurt is my second favorite option. Probiotic capsules have the least consistent results, especially as it can take some experimentation.

Can I make coconut yogurt without a thermometer?

Technically yes, though you’re leaving yourself open to more of a chance of failure.
When heating the milk, bring it to the point that tiny bubbles are only just forming on the surface. To test if it’s cooled enough, carefully stick a clean finger in the milk. The aim is to keep it there for 7 seconds before it hurts.

How can I tell if the plant-based yogurt has spoiled during fermentation?

If there is significant separation, awful smells, odd taste, pink spots on the vegan coconut yogurt. In any of these cases, it should be discarded.
When re-trying, I suggest using a different brand of coconut milk. Also, carefully manage the temperature of the coconut milk mixture.

What are the best probiotic capsules to use?

When making coconut yogurt with probiotics, I recommend choosing capsules that provide a minimum of 30 billion CFUs. I usually use two pills that contain around 15B each.
Also, ensure the probiotics don’t contain any pre-biotics or enzymes. These can interfere with the fermentation process.
When looking at probiotics, look for specific strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Streptococcus thermophilus.

A spoonful of coconut yogurt made at home

Top Tips For Making Coconut Yogurt

  • Results will vary: Depending on the culture/ starter used, fermentation process and duration, the brand of coconut milk used, etc.
  • The brand of coconut milk matters: The brand you use to make this coconut milk yogurt will affect the results. If it doesn’t work at first, try another brand. Of course, you can also make your own coconut milk.
  • For flavored yogurt: Only add flavorings (vanilla, maple syrup, fruit purees) to the yogurt when it’s ready to eat. Also, consume any flavored coconut milk yogurt within 3-4 days.
  • Sterilize everything: (Method in FAQs) To avoid bacteria competing with the yogurt cultures and causing the fermentation to fail.
  • Avoid reactive tools: i.e., metal spoons, as these can deactivate the yogurt starter/probiotics. Instead, use wooden, ceramic, or plastic/silicone.

More Fun DIYs

If you try this homemade easy coconut yogurt recipe (coconut milk yogurt), I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Dairy-Free Easy Coconut Yogurt

4.92 from 70 votes
By: Samira
This 3-ingredient homemade coconut yogurt is thick, creamy, super easy to make, and a delicious dairy-free yogurt alternative! It's gluten-free, plant-based, low-carb, keto, whole30, vegan, contains gut-friendly probiotics, and has no added sugar!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • 3 Glass jars small – 6 fl oz/180 ml each, or 1 larger (18 fl oz/500 ml)

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk organic high-quality coconut milk is best like Whole Foods 365 or Aroy-D
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch or 2 Tbsp tapioca starch/arrow root
  • 1 tsp powder yogurt starter OR 2 Tbsp store-bought unsweetened coconut yogurt

Instructions 

  • Sterilize all the tools (refer to the FAQs on the blog post for the method).
  • Combine the cornstarch with 1-2 Tbsp coconut milk in a small bowl and whisk until lump-free. Use a sieve if needed to remove the lumps.
    If the coconut milk is separated, just whisk it well to bring it back together. Shaking it thoroughly before opening the can should help. 
  • Transfer the cornstarch slurry and the remaining coconut milk to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the mixture reaches 180ºF/82ºC, stirring occasionally. It's should take 5-10 minutes.
  • Leave the milk to cool down until it reaches 108-111ºF/42-44ºC. This is warm enough to encourage fermentation without killing the starter.
  • Once cool, combine the yogurt powder starter/probiotic capsule contents with a tablespoon of milk and stir until lump-free. 
    Then, pour that into the remaining warm coconut milk and stir. 
    -OR-
    If you are using store-bought coconut yogurt, just add it directly to the heated coconut milk and stir well.
  • Transfer the warm coconut milk mixture to your desired glass jar/s and then leave them to incubate in a warm, draft-free area. 
    The conditions of your fermentation will affect how long this process takes. For example, ideal fermentation takes place at around 104ºF/40ºC for 10-12 hours. However, simply leaving the jars in a warm area of the kitchen can take 24-48 hours. The longer it ferments, the tangier the DIY coconut yogurt will become.
    I like to wrap mine in a large, warm blanket and keep it in my oven (switched off, but with the oven light on). If you do this overnight, you shouldn't need to use the oven during this time. You may also use a yogurt maker. Likewise, an Instant Pot on the YOGURT function should work (for between 16-24 hrs.). 
  • Once the incubation period is over, transfer it to the fridge to set for a further 6 hours minimum to become a thick, creamy plant-based yogurt.
    If there is some separation, that's okay. The thick yogurt should rise to the top while chilling, so you can just scoop it off and enjoy!

Storage Instructions

  • Homemade coconut yogurt will last between 7-10 days in the fridge. I recommend storing it in several smaller jars rather than one larger one, as the shelf life on the sealed containers will last longer. 
    You may also be able to freeze the coconut milk yogurt for up to a month, though I haven't tried it. 
    If you plan to make another batch of this coconut yogurt recipe, you can optionally set aside 2-3 tablespoons of the yogurt to use as the starter for your next batch. You can repeat this over 2-3 batches until the starter weakens. 

Video

Notes

  • If you use probiotics, ensure they don’t contain any pre-biotics or other enzymes. Otherwise, the process won’t work. When selecting yogurt, ensure it doesn’t contain unnecessary additives. You could also use plain natural yogurt if you aren’t bothered about making a dairy-free yogurt recipe.
  • Results will vary: Depending on the culture/starter used, fermentation process and duration, the brand of coconut milk used, etc.
  • The brand of coconut milk matters: The brand you use to make this coconut milk yogurt will affect the results. If it doesn’t work at first, try another brand. Of course, you can also make your own coconut milk.
  • For flavored yogurt: Only add any flavorings (like vanilla, maple syrup, or fruit purees) to the yogurt when it’s ready to eat, and consume the flavored coconut milk yogurt within 3-4 days.
  • Sterilize everything: (Method in the FAQs) To avoid bacteria competing with the yogurt cultures and causing the fermentation to fail.
  • Avoid reactive tools: i.e., metal spoons, as these can deactivate the yogurt starter/probiotics. Instead, use wooden, ceramic, or plastic/silicone.
For a thicker Greek coconut yogurt: For a thicker consistency, you can leave the yogurt to strain through layers of cheesecloth into a bowl for several hours to drain away excess liquid and just leave behind the thick vegan yogurt.
Alternatively, make a super thick vegan coconut yogurt with just the thick coconut cream layer in your canned coconut milk. To do so, leave the can in the refrigerator overnight, and the cream and liquid should separate. You can then scoop off the thick cream. You can reserve the liquid from the can to add back in at a later point if you find you want it a little thinner.
 
Check the blog post for more tips and answers to top FAQs!
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, DIYs, Snack
Cuisine: American, Global
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 7-10 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 15mg, Potassium: 252mg, Fiber: 0.02g, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.92 from 70 votes (62 ratings without comment)

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78 Comments

  1. ashton says:

    I don’t understand where the FAQ section is in order to find the best way to sterilize. Why can’t this just be put in the recipe????

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for you feedback, Ashton. 🙂

  2. Karina says:

    Hi! If you use an instant pot yogurt function, do you place inside the jars first?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Karina,
      You need to pour the milk into the instant pot – you can boil it in there, then add the starter and incubate. Once the yogurt is ready, you can transfer it to your jars.

  3. Sue S says:

    The ingredients call for 2 cups of full fat coconut milk. Are you using only the coconut cream from the cans or the whole can? My cans are 13.66 oz each in the US.
    If using tapioca powder or arrowroot powder, would we still use the 1 tablespoon amount?
    When using your suggested belle+bella starter, is 1 teaspoon equal to their 1 packet?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Sue,
      I’d use the whole can (cream and liquid).
      If using tapioca or arrowroot powder, it’s best to double the amount.
      For 2 cups of milk, I use half of their packet (a full packet is for 1 quart/4 cups milk). I hope this helps.

  4. Sue says:

    5 stars
    Hi, You mentioned using full fat canned coconut milk. Is the whole can used or just the cream like in so many other videos? How many cans were used to make the 2 cups?
    Thank you for giving up dairy free ways to eat yogurt!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Sue,
      You can use the whole can (cream and liquid). Depending on the size of the cans, maybe you need 1 and a half. I hope you give it a try.

  5. Sue says:

    5 stars
    Hi,
    I have Agar Agar and Tapioca flour for a thickener and was wondering how much of either one would I use and if it would be the same for both. Thank you so very much for this recipe and I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Sue,
      You can use 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or arrowroot instead of 1 tablespoon corn starch. I hope this helps.

  6. Nicole says:

    You mentioned not using metal spoons , what would you use instead!?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Nicole,
      It’s best to use a wooden spoon.

  7. Didi Rai says:

    Can I use diary unsweetened yoghurt as a starter for this recipe

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Didi,
      Yes, you can use dairy yogurt if you don’t mind it!

  8. Kai says:

    Hi there!

    If you put it straight into the fridge after cooking overnight, is it ruined?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Kai,
      The yogurt needs time to incubate after cooking and the process stops when you put it in the fridge. I’m not sure if the end result will be the same. I’m curious, did you taste it? Was it still runny?
      The incubation takes about 10-12 hours (or longer).

  9. Carol says:

    5 stars
    Hi love this recipe but have a question can I use arrow root starch in place of cornstarch?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Carol,
      Yes, you can. 🙂