How to make pure coconut oil from copra at Home

Coconut (Copra) cold press oil at home and Small mill.

Regulation and licensing doesn’t ensure purity. Even, and especially, for cooking oil. Big industries and lobbyists draft these regulations. Just like pesticides and insecticides; these things can kill humans and any other living organisms. So ideally they should be called biocides. Still it’s the other way.

Large oil manufacturers use solvent extraction and other cost-effective methods to sell in bulk. A small mill or ghani on the other hand is a service provider, not a product seller. You have to taste the oil from large manufactures and Ghani oil to know the difference. (I am aware of only one bullock operated ghani in entire Kerala). Mills may use electricity for the crushing, as bullocks are no longer feasible here. It uses the same old concept of heavy press.

Cold-pressed oil is just a latest phenomenon globally for health benefits, where as Indians have being consuming it for centuries. Lot of people are fooling and minting money. Small mills however have not gained anything out of the boom; on the other hand modi govt is under way to implement stringent law to test oil at ghani level, which will face out many more small mills. People go crazy about cold pressed virgin oil from other parts of the world, when small mills are dying out in India. Next time try purchasing oil from a local mill, instead of packed oil.

Small mills and ghanis generally don’t sell you oil unless you get them raw material.

Let’s see how we can make our own coconut oil from small mills. Most mills will require you to bring at least 3kg of material.

  1. Break open coconuts in two equal halves.
  2. Then let it drain water for 2 hours by placing open-side facing down.
  3. Make sure there is enough sunlight(never make copra during raining season). Now sundry for 3 days. Outer hard shell will come loose. Now remove the outer shell with knife or any other device. Don’t have coconuts, copras can be purchased at most grocery stores.
  4. Cut copra in 1 inch long and ½ inch thick pieces and let it dry for 10 to 18 days. In case of traditional bull ghani 4 days is enough as weight or compressing capacity is less. Too dry it will be a problem for them to extract oil.
  5. Make sure there is no dust or fungus. Good copra will have a clean off-white color.
  6. Store it in a good air tight container or take it to small extraction unit to extract oil immediately.
  7. During extraction, the oil will look filthy and full of muck. Let it settle for 1 day and you will have sparkling clean oil.
  8. Transfer the oil to another container making sure the bottom residue is not transferred along with good oil. Residue oil can be used for lamps or massaging on head and body.
  9. Creamy residue at the bottom is highly nutritious which can be used to cook gravy, chaka or eaten as it is. Make sure you finish it in less than a week.
  10. Add 3 to 4 pieces of salt or Black pepper to oil and keep it under sun light for a day (bull driven ghani extracts should be kept for 4 days under sun). This will extend the shelf life to almost a year.

This process is time consuming, hard work and patience. However it’s worth the effort if you care for your health and sustainable living.

Coconut pieces cut for drying under sun
Coconut pieces cut for drying under sun
local coconut oil extraction mill
Clean local coconut oil extraction mill unit
This is how coconut oil looks immediately after extraction
This is how coconut oil looks immediately after extraction
Clean coconut oil after natural filtering
Clean coconut oil after natural filtering
Once filtered keep it under bright sun for a day
Once filtered keep it under bright sun for a day























Continue reading on how to make your own virgin coconut oil at home

This article has 24 Comments
    1. best way to dry coconut. I am sure you can dry many other things in the dries. Fridge is huge to accommodate a lot of things.

  1. How can we make kopra absence of sunlight, our is ,yet to dry some more the rain started not able to dry it

    1. dear Sreejesh,

      YOu will need a smoke free drier. No other cheap alternate. Coconut is very delicate

  2. A very good article. Really impressed. Good to read Minute details of the work laying emphasis on hygiene. I have been making this for many years. But keeping in sunlight for many days soon after oil is made gives it a bad taste & smell. This year i kept it in sun for a day. The naturally filtered oil was refrigerated. Pl can u tell me how to store more than 5litres without getting spoilt. Large glass jars are out of question. Salt does not dissolve in oil, in what way does it help ? Some askd me to add a small jaggery cube.

    1. Dear Reeja,

      Thank you. Yes don’t keep for many days. One day for 2 hours is enough provided it has wide mouth. I have measured the oil temperate goes upto 60 deg c in few hours. Then in the night keep it covered othewise it will absorb moisture from the air.

      You can keep in fridge for many months like that as it will freeze and oil will not turn rancid.

      Salt attracts water. So oxidization in the oil doesnt happen fast. Not powdered salt (Sea Salt).

      Hope this helps

  3. Hi, Does anyone know how to preserve coconut oil after processing from mill. If so how long it could be preserved.
    ? I have almost 30 lt’s of oil. Please advise.

  4. Hi sir , today I went to an extraction mill here in Bangalore to get the oil extracted. During the process they told me they have to add some glucose gel with the copra, I did not allow them to. Should they add this gel to make the oil?

    No idea why they want to add it???

    1. Actually not required. They usually do it to make the oil sweeter to claim more better price. adding sugar or glucose or jaggery in inferior raw material will also give sweet oil. Thus it becomes difficult to distinguish good oil oil with Inferior quality oil as both will taste nearly same. This is my understanding as I m also a edible oil manufacturer.

  5. Hello,

    A very nice article. Does the oil retain its nutrients after its freshly crushed from the copra. Is it at par with cold press oils

    1. Thank you Brian,

      That will only be determined with lab reports.
      HOwever I would any day buy a sun dried oil.

  6. Hey thanks for the valuable information. I have made coconut oil from wet or fresh coconuts. And it is slightly darker brown in color.
    Please suggest me whether i can use for consumption purpose, being the oil slight brownish (which i got after heating for about 5 hours) and please note that i have used a stainless steel vessel for heating purpose.


    You are most welcome. Its good to know you were able to do it. Keep trying you should be able to get it.

    Yes you can use it for cooking however since it has already become dark i would prefer not to boil it further while cooking.

    It is idea to use as dressing oil or consuming it raw daily a table spoon etc.

  7. Thanks for the information!

    After the extraction of oil from dried coconut…Can the pulp of it can be used in cooking curries??


    You are most welcome.

    After coconut oil extraction from dried copra all you will be left with dried cake which will lack oil and moisture. Its difficult to consume it and it gets chocked in throat. Even today interiors people give this to cattle after soaking in water. Haven’t tried it in curries. However we soak in mil or water and eat it.

    BTW lot of biscuit companies source it! There is also some new that many health supplement companies source it as well. Fact is that cattle bulk up really well with coconut cake. So there is no doubt when people consume coconut cake, corn cake and god knows what all is added in today health mixes; all you need is some flavor, added nutrients and vitamins.

  8. Thanks for the detailed information. For consumption purpose — which oil is beneficial — oil extracted from dried coconuts OR oil from fresh coconuts ( virgin coconut oil)?


    Both are good. Copra is sometimes not clean and many a times unethical ways are used to get extract copra oil. Same is true with Virgin coconut oil. Not everything you buy from market is virgin oil. Processing steps are hidden from customers. There are many types of virgin coconut oil (VCO)

  9. I am looking for home extraction of dry coconut (Copra) oil, please suggest small home machine and procedure, looking forward for the same


    Chinese companies can help you extract coconut oil easily from copra. 🙂
    They make small portable devices.

  10. Hi can the oil from a wooden ghani be called virgin coconut oil?


    Ideally wooden ghani expelled oil cannot be called virgin. However DME process which is called virgin coconut oil is same. Grated coconut is dried on panels and oil is expelled. It sells as virgin oil in today’s market.

    If ghani coconut oil is expelled in front of me; anyday i will consume it over Virgin coconut oil (VCO).

    Many company are not mentioning how the virgin coconut oil (VCO) is derived. However some mention it as hot pressed and some cold pressed VCO.

    DME process is one best example. This oil is ok as compared to filthy copra oil industry.

  11. Hi, Your articles are always an eye opener. I’m from Tamilnadu and our family is following a similar procedure to prepare sesame oil and coconut oil. In our region people generally add lemons while grinding copra, may be for its antioxidant properties.
    We use sesame oil for frying and it starts to foam while frying. Is this normal. Please suggest.


    Dear Karthi,

    Thank you.

    Water evaporates and also because of breakdown of compounds, causes the sesame oil to froth. I am not sure if its bad. I will get back if I come across.

    Yes I will write something more on oil extraction. Lemon, water, cashew nut tree gum, narda valli(type of creeper). Above all materials were used as a solvent to extract more oil, way safer than today’s chemical solvent.
    If you add too much of water, oil will soon turn rancid. Keep oil under sun immediately after extraction for few days. Water is added in wooden press if the nuts are too dry.

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