Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Make Toasted Coconut Butter from a Whole, Fresh Coconut

This post has nothing to do with this blog other than the fact that it is what I did today. Months ago, we found coconuts at the local Lotte Department Store. We bought two because they were only a couple dollars each. Living in a place without a ready supply of coconut butter, I knew you could make it yourself out of coconut flakes, so I figured I'd try to make it out of a whole coconut. I checked the internet, but I couldn't find any step by step instructions about how to make coconut butter from a coconut. Trial, error, flesh wounds, and I totally know how to do it now. I am putting it here so it will be somewhere on the internet.

First you take a screwdriver and a hammer, and you bust a hole through one (or all) of the dimples on the top of the coconut. Then drain the coconut water and cook rice with it or something. Yum, coconut rice.

Next, put the coconut, hole(s) side down, in a 400°F/200°C oven and cook it for 20-25 minutes. This loosens the shell from the coconut flesh.

Let it cool so you can handle it, then bust it around with the hammer some more until the shell breaks completely off. Usually it will crack some in the oven, and it just takes a couple good whacks to get the shell off.

Then, and here's where I start having pictures, peel the skin off the coconut flesh. I just use a vegetable peeler.

Quarter the coconut and pulse it up in your food processor.

Spread it on a baking sheet. I like to use parchment paper because it makes it easier to funnel back into the food processor.

Marvel at your baby son's creative vision (and assertiveness) in adding the coconut shell to the picture at the last minute.

Toast the coconut at 200°F/100°C for a couple hours until it starts to turn golden brown. You have to get the moisture out of the coconut flakes or the butter won't ever form. The first time I attempted homemade coconut butter, I blended coconut flesh for two solid days, wearing out my food processor and my patience every quarter hour or so. If you're struggling to blend the coconut, my advice is to toast it a little longer. Of course, your coconut butter won't be white, but it will be toasty tasty.

And then start blending and scraping. Here it's starting to oil up a bit.

This is how you know you're on the right track. Eventually I switched blades to the one with closer proximity to the floor of the processor. I don't know what it's actually for. I like to process two coconuts at a time, usually, because it makes more, obviously, but also because it fills my food processor perfectly so that I don't even have to scrape down the sides, which is, of course, the most loathsome part of the whole operation.

One somewhat small coconut will yield slightly more than 1/2 cup of coconut butter, I think. I didn't measure it, but this is a really small jar. And next to it is the only plant that's ever grown under my tutelage. (Mom, buy a succulent!)

Toasted coconut butter from a whole, fresh coconut, and they said it couldn't be done. Literally, someone did say that on one of the blogs I found.

Lens cap for size.

Little oily bubbles. Joash and I like to eat it on toast or as coconut butter and jelly sandwiches. Also, make peanut butter cups with it or some chocolate bars.

I bought the last coconut at Home Plus, just like Jimmy Buffett. I'm afraid it might be the last ever, as they have already stopped selling them at Lotte Department Store. I can't imagine what Koreans are doing with whole coconuts. A boy and his dad were joking around with the coconut when I arrived, and I thought they might snatch it from me, but the dad just pretended to crack it over his kid's head.


  1. You're so cool, and now I need to do this.

  2. Do it! I knew I could count on you. It's at least cheaper than buying a jar of coconut butter, I think. How much are coconuts in DC?

  3. Never had or knew about coconut butter. But I could totally do this, for half the work. They have these coconut shredding machines all over the place, my next door neighbor sells stuff from her house including coconut that she'll shred right there for you, for like 20 cents all together. The good thing about living in the tropics. :) I'll let you know how it turns out!

  4. We always had coconuts in Seoul but one has to know where to find them. Have you guys been to Foreign Food Mart in Itaewon (Itaewon, Line 6, exit:3, on your way towards the mosque)? They sell fresh coconuts, the year round for 2-3,000 Won. You can also find coconut butter there. In South India cooking, coconut is the main ingredient.You can read about them here: