How to Make Coconut Oil From Scratch...




About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write...

Assume you are stranded on a tropical island. You have made a temporary shelter, found a source of drinking water, learned how to catch fish, identified edible plants and also learned how to make fire. One think which you will not find in those isolated islands is oil, oil for your hair, for your body to cure sunburns & itches from insect bites and also for cooking. In any tropical island, you may normally find few coconut trees and matured coconuts fallen from the trees. The problem is you do not know how to extract oil from those coconuts...!!!

I lived in a tribal island in Andaman and Nicobar group of islands for about five years and my wife stayed with me for an year. She used coconut oil for hair and it was very hard to find it even though there were so many coconut trees in that island. We learned from the tribal on how to extract coconut oil from scratch.

This instructable will teach you how to make oil from those coconuts. You do not require any special equipment for this and you got all the time in the world.... let us get started

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Step 1: Collect Coconuts

Search around and collect few fallen coconuts. You also need couple of rocks, one may be a big boulder on the ground and the other may be smaller in size which you can lift up easily.

Step 2: Husk the Coconuts

Let us see how we can husk the coconuts using those rocks

  • First, remove the cap from the coconut. It can be removed by lightly tapping the cap on the rock.
  • Now place the coconut on the big boulder, uncapped portion facing down.
  • Lift the other rock with both hands and hit hard on top of the coconut.
  • After few hard hits, you will find cracks on the sides and the husk gets loosened
  • Remove the loosened husk from the nuts.

Step 3: Crack Open the Coconuts

You might have collected few utensils washed ashore. Even helmets worn by the soldiers during world war II can be found on the beach. A well cleaned turtle shell also serves the purpose.

Holding the husked coconut in your palm, lightly tap on the edge of a rock in a circular motion. Now the coconut will crack open. You can collect and drink the coconut water in the bowl or helmet whatever it may be. Here you can see four halves from two coconuts cracked open.

Step 4: Remove and Collect Coconut Meat

You can remove the coconut meat using any sharp metal object. Here, you can see I have used an old broken spoon for this. You can scrap out the flesh from the nuts or remove chunks with the sharp end of the broken spoon. Just insert and twist the broken end to take out the chunks. I have collected the coconut meat from two halves, that is from one coconut and stored in the utensil.

Step 5: Grate the Coconut Meat

Search for a worn out stone like this one in the picture here along the shore. We will use this stone to grate the coconut meat. You can do it in an empty coconut shell, in a helmet, over a rock or even in a well cleaned tortoise shell. Place the chunks of coconut meat in the container and pound with the stone to grate them.

Step 6: Extract Coconut Milk

Now we will extract the coconut milk from the crushed meat.

  • Add some water to the grated coconut and mix well.
  • Squeeze out the milk from the mix. You can do it with your hands, or better use a piece of cloth to filter out the milk from the mix.
  • Do it twice to extract more milk from the leftover. Do not over do otherwise you will end up with lot of water in the extract.

Step 7: Make a Fireplace

  • Find out a place to make fire.
  • Lay two stones perpendicular to each other so that it will have enough space in between.
  • Check by placing the milk filled utensil over the stones

Step 8: Boil the Coconut Milk

  • Collect dried branches or dried coconut leaves and make fire.
  • Keep the milk-filled utensil over the fire. You can use a tortoise shell also for boiling the mix.
  • The coconut milk may boil up. Use a wooden stick or a piece of bamboo to stir the milk while boiling.
  • Carry on till all the water gets evaporated from the mix. This may take considerable time as all the water needs to be evaporated. Now you can see oil bubbling on the surface of the heated milk.
  • Remove from fire and allow the oily milk to cool down.

Step 9: Extract Oil From Boiled Coconut Milk

  • When the mixture is sufficiently cooled down, you can separate the oil from the mix. You can use a small piece of cloth, the size of a hand-kerchief for this.
  • Lay the piece of cloth flat over the heated mix and lightly press with your fingers. You can note that the cloth is absorbing oil from the mix.
  • Remove the piece of cloth and fold it keeping the side facing-up out.
  • Squeeze the oil from the cloth into another container or an empty coconut shell

This oil still contains lots of coconut flesh.

Step 10: Separate Pure Oil

  • Keep the oil still to settle down. After few minutes you will find the pure coconut oil floating up
  • Now tilt the container and slowly drain out the oil into another container.
  • You got pure coconut oil, which you can use for your hair, on your body and also for cooking.
  • The left-over may still contain some oil, which you can use on your body to cure sunburns and for relief from itches caused by insect bite.
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166 Discussions

Abimx 01

1 year ago

Yes this information is very useful to me by I really are a lot of water in extracting the milk
And after everything the oil I got was very very small


1 year ago

Thanks. I will try that


2 years ago

Can you do anything with the brown solids that get filtered by the end of the process?

2 replies

Reply 2 years ago

You can use it to make coconut balls. Like this:

That's another mystery solved! Thanks for the detailed instructable!

Also I never knew I was ingesting so much oil because of choosing the malaai-wala instead of paani-wala coconut :)

13 replies

Reply 3 years ago

I don't know how to get that specie of coconut or how to identify it if I do see it . Pls tell us the outward characteristics so I can purchase when I do see it.


Reply 3 years ago

You can use any matured coconut for extracting oil. The outer shells of immature coconuts are lighter in color. Select the dark shelled ones.

You've used coconuts which have dried malai (aka giri)?

Or is it another variety from the ones sold on streets for a refreshing drink? As far I remember, the ones sold on streets do not have any outer husks.

they are husked tender coconuts exported for consumption in other countries. this will also reduce the weight of the nuts. you can see the video here how they remove husk from tender coconuts, though you may not understand the language (it is in Tamil)


Reply 3 years ago

I've spent three hours listening to a guy sing in Japanese and can translate it. he said

agake kutsojoku ni mamire,

tsukame sono kumo no ito,

soshite zetsubou no fuch wo,

nogare furidashi ni modore

translating to- struggle smeared in humiliation,

take that spider thread,

escape the pit of despair

and go back to the start.

I know it sounds strange, but that is getting me through sixth form


Reply 3 years ago

his name is Yuya Matsushita. listening to Bird... it ends the Kuroshitsuji musical... his voice is so romantic... type into Youtube Bird- yuya matsushita.


Reply 3 years ago

You watch Kuroshitsuji lol, love that manga lol!


Reply 3 years ago

now I have to go shopping, I need coconuts because I want a curry that is home made, I usually make Thai curries, they have a nice flavour and look good with any side dish. I usually serve it with rice and mango chutney


Reply 3 years ago

Thanks. Do you know any good recipes for mango chutney? I can't find one that tastes of mango, only sugar... if possible can you send a link?


4 years ago on Introduction

Too easy to buy it but I'll try it once just to see if it works. Self-reliance is addictive.