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Creamy Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe |

I have been on a serious coconut yogurt kick recently. It all started when my friend Starlene from GAPS Diet Journey sent me a little bit of the yogurt starter that she uses when she posted her great recipe for coconut milk yogurt. It was instant love from my first batch. The rich, creamy, thick, and slightly tangy, yogurt was just what I had been missing since going dairy-free in August 2012. I had always seen the coconut yogurt at the store, but they are all full of too much junk, so frankly, I had gotten used to the fact that yogurt was no longer part of my diet. But, now it's back and I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner! Since she sent me the starter a few weeks ago, I have made about a gazillion batches … well, not quite that many, but a lot. So much that I decided to buy a couple cases of coconut milk from my health food store!

We all know that fermented foods are beneficial to our health. After all, true health begins in the gut, and if our gut is not healthy, we are not healthy. Incorporating a wide variety of fermented foods is a great way to ensure our body is getting the beneficial bacteria that we need. There are many different strains of beneficial bacteria, which is why variety is key. I often find myself eating the same ferments over and over, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, there are going to be strains that I am missing. I am excited to have yogurt now, so that I can incorporate some new types back into my diet. And, my husband even likes it. As a matter of fact, he loves it and told me to make sure I mentioned that he gives it a glowing review! Thanks babe! 🙂

What Do You Need? Cultures, Thickeners, and More.

So, I received these cultures from Starlene and then proceeded to try to figure out how to make coconut milk yogurt. The main dilemma that I faced was that I don't have a yogurt maker. Nor do I have a dehydrator, so my options for keeping the yogurt incubated were slim. I found a few crockpot recipes around the Web, but was not too keen on those either. So, I started experimenting and I have finally found what works for me — my oven. I can't guarantee this method will work for everyone else, but hopefully it will spark a little inspiration for you to play around and see what works for you. My “recipe” is a combination of Starlene's recipe and the recipe from Cultures for Health.

You will need a thickening agent for your coconut milk yogurt, and I like to use gelatin for that (please see my important note about gelatin below). Gelatin is very nutritious and healing to the gut, so this is a great way to get a little more into your diet. I have never used anything other than gelatin, but according to the recipe from Cultures for Health, you could also use tapioca starch/flour.

When it comes to yogurt starters, there are a lot to choose from. Yogurt starters are broken down into two categories: Thermophilic (heated) and Mesophilic (non-heated). For this recipe, I use a thermophilic starter, since I heat the coconut milk up and incubate it at a warmer temperature (108 – 110 °F). I have not yet played with making a mesophilic-style yogurts.

Also, when looking at yogurt cultures, you will probably see the terms “direct-set” and “reusable” used. Direct set cultures are a one time use only culture. This is what we will be using for this recipe. Reusable cultures are where you can take a small amount from a previous batch of yogurt (that uses a reusable starter) to make your new batch. If taken care of, these reusable cultures can be used indefinitely.

What strains of bacteria are in these cultures? The GI Pro Start, which is what I use, contains:

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei

The vegan direct set culture from my affiliate partner, Cultures for Health, contains:

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

The GI Pro Start site says that for nut milks, you often have to increase the amount of starter and also play with the fermentation time. They recommend 1/2 tsp. or more of the starter per quart of nut or non-dairy milk. I experimented with the amount of starter culture and found that 1/4 tsp. gives me a yogurt that I like best. This yogurt does not get super tart. It stays pleasantly tangy, which is nice if you have eaters with sensitive palates. The texture will depend on how much gelatin you use. If you use a full 2 tbsp., you will end up with a super thick Greek-style yogurt. As you lessen the gelatin, you will get a softer, thinner yogurt. My favorite consistency is right around 1 tbsp. of gelatin, but, depending on what my plans are for the yogurt, I make it thinner or thicker.

Important Note On Gelatin Types 

When it comes to gelatin, you don’t want any old gelatin off the supermarket shelves. You want to look for 100% grass-fed gelatin from healthy animals. Just like other animal products, quality is important.

That is why I recommend Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Gelatin products and Perfect Supplements products exclusively. I have compared these brand with other brands on the market and the quality far surpasses anything else I’ve tried. I am thrilled to be one of their affiliate partners and support such great products and companies.

Perfect Supplements offers a grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen (cold-soluble) right now and has a gelatin (hot-soluble) in the works for 2016. Read my review of their product here or watch the video below. You can order their own products via their own site here or on Amazon here.

Vital Proteins offers two types of gelatin. The green top (Collagen Protein) is what you need for this recipe and for recipes where you are making gummies, “jello”, etc. The blue top (Collagen Peptides) is cold water soluble and does not thicken or gel like gelatin does. Both are very nutritious, but can't be used interchangeably. You can order their own products via their own site here or on Amazon here.


I'd love to hear from you! Do you make your own yogurt without a yogurt maker? What have you found that works? What's your favorite starter? Let's start the discussion below!

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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food wellness educator and the founder of the Delicious Obsessions website. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. She began helping her mother cook and bake around the age of three and she's been in the kitchen ever since, including working in a restaurant in her hometown for almost a decade, where she worked every position before finally becoming the lead chef. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

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