Homemade Coconut Vegan Yogurt

I recently came across a DIY Probiotic Coconut Yogurt recipe on Celeste Thomas’ blog The True Spoon and I was like, wait? It’s that simple? In the past I’ve seen complicated recipes, yogurt incubating machines (I still don’t understand the need behind that) & really sensitive ingredients (one hour too long here and it’s done, one teaspoon shy of this and it’s wrong). So to be honest, I thought this was too good to be true. I’ve since experimented with it and made multiple batches and I’m happy to say it’s a go. 

The recipe is here and because it’s Celeste’s (work, time, energy and original experimenting)  I’m going to avoid retyping it out here and just let you reference her post to get the step by step. I will, however, take the time to share with you some insights on the process & how I plan to use mine. 

Here is what I walked away with: 

  1. Use a wide mouth jar rather than a regular. This will make it easier to scape the sides down and get every last drop.


  2. It’s not overly coconut-y in flavor. It doesn’t taste like anything “coconut flavored” that you’d normally buy. It’s plain and tart in flavor. That said, you can mix in toppings or additions to add flavor.


  3. The original starter (from the packet) will make more than one batch. Definitely two, maybe three. I intended to save the rest of mine for a friend because I didn’t have enough coconut cream for more than one but accidentally left it out. So moral of the story, if you want to take full advantage of the starter, get a few cans of coconut cream. It can go in the same (big) jar. 


  4. One can will yield about a pint/16 ounces of yogurt AFTER it’s been mixed at the end. Without being mixed it’s about ⅔ of that because it is so thick and dense. This is another reason why I recommend making more than one batch at a time if you plan on using it everyday for different purposes. The plus side is, if you have too much, this yogurt keeps for 8 months in the fridge.


  5. Celeste shared that when mixing at the end you can add things to increase the flavor (vanilla, stevia, etc.). It is somewhat tart and bland but I’ve just been adding toppings to sweeten it up and change the flavor and that was enough for me. I like the idea of leaving it flavorless so I can use it for salty and savory dishes as well. 


  6. I initially loved this recipe because I was like: wow I can DIY which is great because it eliminates unnecessary ingredients, I can save money and I can eliminate single-use plastics. It also keeps giving because you can use the made coconut yogurt as your starter for the next batch. Yes, there are coconut yogurts that exist out there in glass jars but they’re a small amount for around $6. When I bought the can of coconut cream for the store it was just over $5 so when I saw that it made about 16 ounces I realized I wasn’t saving that much money (though I still very much loved the idea of DIY, low-waste, etc.). I have a Thrive Market account that I use to stock up on pantry items that I cannot find in our local organic market or grocery stores. Some of their products are $2 or less cheaper than what I’d find on the shelves of the chain grocery store so I take advantage of that too. I generally like to use our local Organic Store first for speciality items but Thrive comes in handy for the things they don’t have. They’re sustainably aware and forward, even with their shipping, but I still only like to do a big order once every couple of months to hold me. You do have to pay a membership fee but I see that back with my annual savings. Turns out, they have coconut cream for half the price of those at the store so during my big pantry orders I plan to order a handful of them at a time to cut costs even more (interested in Thrive? I’ve got a referral link here that will save you 25% off your first order and you can use a free trial to see how you like it). 


  7. This is the perfect base for non-dairy savory sauces, even if you’re not dairy free. 


  8. The last step of the recipe is to blend it in the food processor. She recommends this over a blender and has suggested that if you do not have a food processor, to use an electric mixer. I do have a food processor but I didn’t feel like pulling it out of the cabinet so I used my standing mixer that lives on the counter. I think this particular process led to it having a very whipped, light and airy texture. I should note that I did whip it on a higher setting to get all the clumps out for a minute or two. If you like a more dense, spoon cutting through, type of yogurt, I’d try the food processor first or if using an electric mixer, focus more on just getting it blended and less about the clumps. I personally love it being this light and airy. I’m hit or miss with yogurt and have to really be in the mood for it because it’s a texture thing for me. Turns out, this almost cool whip like texture is best for me. 


  9. Celeste mentioned an opaque watery bit that you discard before blending. I’ve yet to have this. If anything, it’s soft and creamy on the top and as I get to the bottom it’s so thick I have to really scrape it out. 


  10. There are some cultures and probiotics in yogurts that you should not use a metal spoon with. I thoroughly went through Celeste’s comments from readers and some were regarding this. Her reply was that with this particular starter, you don’t have to worry about the metal and probiotic mixing. 


  11. I mentioned it above but it bears repeating, you can use the made yogurt as your starter for the next batch. I tablespoon to a can of cream. You can double or triple that in the same jar. You do not have to keep buying starters. 


  12. In the effort to save a little more money and play with thinning out the yogurt so it goes a little further, I made a batch that was half coconut cream and half full fat coconut milk (full transparency: 2 tablespoons of made yogurt, 1 can of each). When it was finished the fermentation process, it wasn’t as dense as just the coconut yogurt but was still thick and creamy. It also had the same texture after mixing it. It may have been a bit thinner but by the time I mixed in my toppings, I didn’t notice. I also noticed that it may have been a little more tart than just coconut cream but again, after I mixed in my toppings, I wasn’t able to tell. 


What I plan to use it for:

  • As a ‘sour cream’ 

  • Mixing with chopped adobo peppers and their sauce (they’re spicy, start small and work your way up!) for a smoky chipotle sauce 

  • In yogurt bowls: mixed with honey, granola or fruit 

  • As a blob on top of soups and chili 

  • As “creme fraiche” in certain recipes 

  • Frozen & topped with chocolate or fruit for a summer dessert 

  • Blended into smoothies (not the kind that to start your day, but the kind where you got a sweet tooth and want to satisfy it in a healthy way) to make them extra creamy 

  • I’ll freeze some in small glass jars to grab and go to the beach for a cold treat

If you are a yogurt fan or looking for a creamy non-dairy option, I hope this helps. I’ll also take this time to encourage you to check your local organic or specialty grocer for the starter to support small or local, first. I love that the yogurt itself just keeps giving so the only thing you need to buy is a can of coconut cream, keeping things affordable, healthy and low-waste!

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