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My Grandmother's Recipe for Making Coconut Oil (With Photos)

Thelma Alberts is passionate about baking and cooking. This is her grandmother's traditional recipe for homemade coconut oil.

Making coconut oil

Making coconut oil

How to Make Coconut Oil at Home (With Pictures)

Making coconut oil is not as hard as you might think, but it does take some time and effort. Modern appliances like blenders, food processors, and juicers can make the job easier—but given the choice, I prefer to use the old Filipino methods. Perhaps it's because that's the way my grandmother taught me.

My grandmother used to make coconut oil from scratch. When she was growing up, the supermarkets did not sell coconut milk, so she had to start by harvesting mature coconuts. When I was young, she taught me how to do it her way.

Today, I live in Germany, but when I go home to the Philippines, I like to make coconut oil from the coconut trees behind my house using my grandmother's technique.

Removing the husks from the brown coconuts

Removing the husks from the brown coconuts


  • 6 brown (mature) coconuts, husked and grated
  • 3 liters water, lukewarm

Tools and Utensils

  • Wood for an open fire (or a burner)
  • Large pan
  • Cheesecloth
  • Ladle
  • 2 jars


  1. Remove the husks from the brown, mature coconuts.
  2. Cut each coconut in half. Grate the coconuts manually with an old-style coconut grater (see video below).
  3. Place the grated coconut in a big bowl. Add lukewarm water to the bowl. Blend well.
  4. Squeeze the grated coconut hard so that the milk comes out.
  5. Using a cheesecloth, sieve a small amount of coconut mixture over a pot or a bowl (see the photo below). Repeat this step, portion by portion, with the remaining coconut mixture.
  6. Place the coconut milk mixture in a large pan. Cook over an open fire (or stove).
  7. Using a ladle, stir the coconut milk frequently to avoid burning.
  8. The water will evaporate and the oil will rise to the surface. The coconut cream that separates from the oil will turn brown. Take care not to burn the cream, as it will make the oil too dark. It takes about 2 hours of cooking to make the coconut oil.
  9. Strain the coconut oil from the solidified coconut cream. After the oil has cooled, pour the oil into jars (I filled 2 jars). Store the jars in a dry place.
This oil is a bit darker than it should be because I burned the cream.

This oil is a bit darker than it should be because I burned the cream.


  • Since not everyone has access to mature coconuts, you can buy canned coconut milk from the supermarket. No need to grate the coconuts! Canned coconut milk is a handy shortcut for making this oil.
  • Traditionally, this oil is prepared over an open fire—but you can also use any type of stove, burner, or gas range.
  • Try to get some help when it's time for the stirring. Two hours is a long time to stir, and doing it all by yourself will certainly result in sore arms.
  • You can eat the solidified cream that separates from the coconut oil. When I was growing up in the Philippines, we used to love eating the solidified cream.

I want someone to love me

The way I love coconut oil

— Coco Calla

10 Ways to Use Coconut Oil

For Cooking

  1. For stir-frying meat, fish, and vegetables
  2. In a healthy and delicious salad dressing

For Skin and Hair

  1. As a moisturizer for the skin
  2. In a homemade body scrub to help make the skin smooth
  3. As a soothing treatment for chapped lips
  4. As a carrier oil for a massage treatment
  5. As an eye makeup remover (apply oil to a cotton pad and gently wipe the eyes)
  6. To help treat and fade pregnancy stretch marks
  7. As (limited) protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which can cause wrinkles and dark spots on the face
  8. As a hair conditioner (after washing with shampoo, condition the hair with coconut oil and leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing)

Remembering My Grandmother

As a child, I used to watch my grandmother and my mother make coconut oil in our "dirty kitchen." We called it that because it was indeed very dirty as a result of cooking over an open fire. The pots and pans were always black from cooking our food. Nevertheless, the food was delicious.

I remember being very happy every time my grandmother and mother made coconut oil, since I knew my siblings and I would soon be able to eat the brown, solidified coconut cream. It was always yummy—especially when we used it as a filling for our pandesal bread.

God bless them in heaven. They didn't know how much I learned from them. By sharing this recipe with the world, I hope to honor their legacy.

Thank you very much for reading.

I made this coconut coffee body scrub. This scrub is wonderful for making my skin feel smooth.

I made this coconut coffee body scrub. This scrub is wonderful for making my skin feel smooth.

© 2018 Thelma Alberts