Screwy Haired Girl

I've got really screwy hair. LOVE IT.

Recipe: Hot Mama’s Homemade Coconut Oil

Coconut oil isn’t easy to find in Nigeria and when you find it, it’s either expensive or adulterated, partly because a large number of coconuts yields a relatively small amount of oil. And buying it overseas is just another hassle I could do without. So what’s a screwy-haired girl to do?  One day about 4 months ago, my mother said to me, “Why don’t we just make our own?” Hot Mama’s one smart cookie, y’all :-)

My camera makes it look like pee, but it's really lighter in color :-)

Homemade coconut oil smells heavenly*, like freshly baked cupcakes, and it works beautifully as part of my hair care regimen. The whole family loves it, including DK, to whom we sent a batch in the US. So here’s Hot Mama’s recipe. Unfortunately, I only have photos of the finished oil and not the process, but it’s really an easy one to follow.

This is not the cold-press method. Some heat is used in this process.

What you’ll need

  • Very mature coconuts**
  • 1 large bowl of hot water
  • Grater
  • 2 large bowls
  • Fine mesh sieve/strainer
  • Food processor (or a blender)
  • Large cooking spoon
  • Saucepan or pot
  • Glass or plastic jar (for storage)
What you do
  1. Shell the coconuts. Their inner brown skin will darken the oil, so if you prefer a paler-colored oil, you can peel off the skin. (The coconuts in our yard have a white skin, so I skip the peeling.)
  2. Grate the coconut flesh on the finest side on your grater.
  3. With the food processor, finely blend the grated coconut flesh, adding enough water–just a little will do–to turn it into a soft paste. You could use a blender instead, but do so in smaller batches to get the right consistency.
  4. Transfer the paste into the large bowl and, stir in some hot water into the paste to release all the oil from the coconut paste. Stir well.
  5. Sieve the mixture into the other bowl and allow to fully cool in a refrigerator or freezer. The oil will rise to the top and congeal (just like the oil in the stew that maid who kills everything with oil makes).
  6. Carefully spoon off the congealed oil from the bowl into a saucepan (or a pot if you’re making a large batch) and place on very low heat to slowly boil off any water lurking in the oil. (Don’t use high heat–it’ll scorch the oil. Also be careful to make sure all the water evaporates, otherwise the oil will go rancid a lot more quickly.) Once the last of the water’s gone, remove the saucepan from the stove and allow to stand until warm.
  7. (Warm up the glass jar before pouring in the warm oil to avoid cracking.) Pour the oil into your desired glass jar or durable plastic tub. Seal properly and keep refrigerated.
  8. Enjoy! If you use this recipe, don’t forget to come back and share how it turned out!
*It’s interesting to note that coconuts from western Nigeria and our westerly neighbors produce a sweet-smelling oil, but my mother tells me that the coconut oil they made when she was growing up in the east smelled a tad awful. I’m not sure if eastern coconuts are still that way, but the smell shouldn’t obviate the wonderful properties of the oil.
**The best coconuts for coconut oil are the fully-matured ones. They’re all grown up. Don’t use babies.

30 comments on “Recipe: Hot Mama’s Homemade Coconut Oil

  1. Gold
    July 7, 2018

    Hi! I did it this morning and it came out perfect.thanks a lot!

    • screwyhair
      July 11, 2018

      Oh, so happy to help! Enjoy your coconut oil! You can get the most out of it by mixing it with other carrier and essential oils. I use my current oil mix–coconut, olive, jojoba, Jamaican black castor, peppermint essential, grapeseed–as both a hair and scalp oil and, with a little aloe vera gel, an eye area oil. (I generally just mix up the oils I have on hand.) And if I’m out of body butter and in a hurry, I add my oil mix to shea butter or lotion until I can make more body butter.

  2. Abisola Awofeso
    March 6, 2015

    Its a easy step to follow,trying it out tomorrow thanks!!!

    • screwyhair
      July 9, 2016

      I’m hardly ever here anymore, but I’m glad you found the recipe useful. How did it go?

  3. njoku
    October 4, 2013

    Please where can i get ur coconut oil to buy. Tanx

    • screwyhair
      October 4, 2013

      I don’t sell it. The recipe’s here to help those interested in making it.

  4. Pastor Precious Ezewuzie
    October 3, 2013

    Awesome!! Thanks a million for this info. I will get back to you once I make mine.

    • screwyhair
      October 4, 2013

      You’re welcome :-)

    • screwyhair
      October 4, 2013

      You’re welcome :-) Please do let me know how it worked out.

  5. Pingback: Coconut Oil – Types

  6. Olga
    December 13, 2012

    Hot Mama, thank you so much for this recipe! I live in Russia and we do not sell coconut oil in grocery stores. Sold only small (10-50ml) bottles in special cosmetic stores for big money. I am very upset about this. But in supermarkets can often be found whole coconuts at a reasonable price. So your recipe just saving for me, my hair, my skin, my cakes and more. Best wishes to you!
    Q: How long is the shelf life of the oil? And how much oil is obtained from one coconut?

    • screwyhair
      December 13, 2012

      She’s always happy to help, Olga :-)

      The oil should last you a few months if you ensure you get all the water/moisture out. It should be refrigerated, since it’s homemade.

      It depends on the size and age of the coconut–the older it is, the more oil it’s had a chance to produce–but generally, one coconut should yield a few tablespoons. You have to use a lot of coconuts to get a good amount of oil.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Iy
        January 20, 2017

        The last I made was in April, 2016. I still have some left and never refrigerated. I guess the trick is in boiling the water off completely, it help to extend the shelf life.

  7. chioma
    January 26, 2012

    I have been making my own coconut oil for a few years now, so Im glad to see there are many of us! It does smell heavenly and the goodness of it makes it worth the hassle. ur method is almost identical to mine, only difference is that i dont put it in the fridge , i just let it stand but will try your method and see if it yields more oil faster.

    I also do some for sale now as alot of people now know most of the stuff they see in stores is adulterated. Im going to say that coconut oil from the west (the one i have bought from ekiti) smells just as horrid as your mum im not sure its an east west thing..i think they may be a different way they process it back in the village…but hey i aint as smart as ur mama so i may be wrong. I also make natural hair care products like you do!

    ps. ur site is really nice will try and visit more often.

  8. Lola Zabeth
    November 22, 2011

    Love this! I am totally going to try this. Great post!

    • screwyhair
      November 22, 2011

      Cool. Let me know how it goes. Thanks!

  9. Pingback: » Hot Mama’s Homemade Coconut Oil Strawberricurls

  10. Geri
    November 16, 2011

    This makes you appreciate being able to buy this stuff already made lol. Making it from scratch is really an involved process. Kudos to you Screwy!

    • screwyhair
      November 16, 2011

      LOL! Thanks. Actually, my sister prefers the homemade stuff to what she buys online, so it’s worth it :-) But yes, it would be great to just be able to walk into a store and buy coconut oil without paying an arm and a leg and not worrying if it’s the real deal or not. There are a few places you can buy homemade coconut oil in Lagos, though. Zebra Living is one of them.

  11. Misi Isaac
    November 16, 2011

    I’m excited to try this out. Looks like this is the easiest method I’ve yet to read about.

    • screwyhair
      November 16, 2011

      Lovely to meet you too, Misi!

      I know exactly what you mean–I had lots of hair issues when I first moved back home. The different climate, the different products, the different type of stress, the Lagos traffic–when you’re new in town, all these things conspire to frustrate you and your hair. I wish I knew then what I’ve learned now. I’ve finally–FINALLY!–learned how to truly take care of my hair, whatever the climate, and working mostly with what I can find where I am is a big part of that. This is why I started making my own hair butter. Hair care doesn’t have to be complicated. What products do you use now?

      I’ve always envied the quick length you get with locks. If you decide to shed them, I hope you enjoy the new growth. Whichever decision you make, I hope you have fun with your hair!

    • screwyhair
      November 16, 2011

      Yep, it’s not too difficult and the low heat preserves most of the nutrients.

      Having some oil made now; started last night and should be done today. It’s not coconut season, though, so about half of the coconuts are from our garden. So far, we’ve gotten about 25 oz., or half a large bottle of water, from 20 coconuts. This is, by the way, why coconut oil is so expensive here. Best thing about the process, though, is how the house still smelled like a bakery this mornin :-). I’ll do a post on the hair butter I’m going to make with the oil.

  12. DK
    October 23, 2011

    I can testify that Hot Mama/screwyhair’s coconut oil makes my hair feel even better and softer than the rather expensive extra virgin organic oil I order online, which is actually pretty good in its own right.

    • screwyhair
      October 23, 2011

      Guess a little heat doesn’t hurt. Glad you like it! Many coconuts sacrificed themselves to have the privilege of making it into your lovely hair :-)

    • screwyhair
      October 22, 2011

      Your method’s the one I thought my mom used before I asked her. Some people don’t like heat and buy cold-press oil, but the oil from these two methods works. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Nat.
    October 21, 2011

    Thanks for sharing. I make my own coconut oil as well but I use the old school method. My Aunt taught me how it was done in Cameroon back in the day. I think I prefer your method sha. I’ve run out of mine and like you I can’t bring myself to buy some^_^. So when I get back to Abj I’ll make some and share with you.

    • screwyhair
      October 21, 2011

      Oh cool; I’d love to know what the Cameroonian method is. My mom’s is also old school, but from when she was growing up in the east. Oh lovely; do take lots of pictures of your oil and share!

      • Rachael
        July 8, 2016

        I followed same method but got no oil, what must have happened?

        • screwyhair
          July 9, 2016

          Hi Rachael. You may have had a young coconut. You need one that’s old, i.e., super ripe. Young coconuts have mostly water and have soft flesh. They haven’t yet started getting oily, which is probably what happened with yours. The older a coconut is, the drier it becomes and the more oil it’s produced inside it. They’ll still have water to drain off, but their flesh will be hard and dry.

          How to tell the difference between young and old (via

          Young coconuts have either a green shell or a white “husk” if the outer shell has been removed while mature coconuts are the more familiar-looking brown, hairy variety. The nutrients and physical characteristics change as a coconut matures. Young coconuts have more ‘water’ and soft, gel-like meat, and mature coconuts have firm meat and less ‘water.’ 

          What did your coconut husk look like?

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2011 by in Oils + Butters, Recipes, Resources and tagged , , , .

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