If you’ve got a hankering for coconut – or just have some extra coconut milk, coconut water, coconut flour, or shredded coconut that you need to use – then you’ve come to the right place. Coconut is a wonderful ingredient for adding a touch of the tropics, wholesome thickness, sweetness, and even crunchiness to different desserts!
Coconut as a dessert ingredient
Coconut is an amazingly versatile fruit (yes, coconut is a fruit) that can bring an amazing splash of flavor to all kinds of desserts. I’ll go a little bit into all the different ways it can be used (with some tips for getting the most out of this wonderful ingredient) before going into the full list of desserts.
- Coconut milk: Use coconut milk to bring body, thickness, and wholesomeness to a recipe. (It’s also a great substitute for dairy milk if you’re baking dairy-free or vegan, and coconut milk is keto-friendly.) You’ll find coconut milk in lots of flans, pie fillings, whipped creams, frostings, and ice creams. Because it’s such a big ingredient, quality is key, so make sure you get the best coconut milk possible.
- Coconut cream: Coconut cream is made from coconut milk (basically you skip the fat off the top of the coconut milk), so it’s basically a thicker and heartier version of coconut milk. This means you can essentially use coconut cream interchangeably with coconut milk and that it’ll appear in lots of similar recipes. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of separating the coconut cream yourself, you can buy from these trusted brands.
- Coconut flour: Coconut flour is naturally gluten-free (another big plus for coconut!), so it bakes pretty differently from all-purpose flour. More specifically, because it’s highly liquid absorbent and lacks gluten, you’ll need extra binders and liquids (usually eggs or their vegan equivalents, depending on your baking) to even it out. You may also be surprised by how little coconut flour you need for any given recipe – a little goes a long way! Especially if you buy good-quality coconut flour. You’ll find coconut flour in all kinds of baked goods, from cookies to pancakes to bread to pies and cakes. (And if you’re running out of coconut flour desserts after this list, check out this comprehensive list of coconut flour recipes.)
- Shredded coconut: A delicious topping for any tropical dessert, or even if you just want a little extra texture. Shredded coconut is delicious and flavorful, and you’ll find it on all kinds of different desserts. (My favorite? To add a little toasted coconut to ice cream with nuts so I get a little extra crunch.)
Best coconut desserts
Coconut ice creams, sorbets, and milkshakes
You’ll find that coconut milk and coconut cream make excellent bases for this collection of ice creams, sorbets, and milkshakes. I highly recommend trying coconut milk if you’re looking for a dairy-free or vegan alternative, as it provides lots of thickness and body – similar to half-n-half – and a hint of natural sweetness too, so you can cut down on the added sugars. (Or eliminate them entirely with maple syrup, honey, or whatever other sugar alternative you want.)
This coconut ice cream is (deep breath):
- Can easily be made Keto or fully vegan (it’s all in the recipe I’ve linked at the top).
Coconut is a beautiful flavor in ice cream – refreshing, sweet, and perfect either on its own or on top of a warm brownie. This coconut ice cream recipe is made with all-natural ingredients and delivers a delicious kick of tropical taste!
If you’re looking for vegan ice cream, coconut milk is the way to go – you get a similar consistency to half-n-half, but with some added flavor and loads of richness. Coconut milk isn’t a neutral taste by any means – it adds to the full-bodied flavor you’ll get, and makes a wonderful combination with chocolate. Trust me – this is great chocolate ice cream (and a whole lot cheaper than store-bought vegan pints).
When I say “tropical coconut drink,” you say – pina colada. It’s just the way it is! And this homemade (vegan) pina colada ice cream has all those delicious tropical flavors on blast. I love topping it with shredded coconut and pineapples to amp it up even more.
This delicious dessert is super simple – it’s just three ingredients (frozen bananas, shredded coconut, and vanilla bean powder), and it only takes a few minutes to make. (Plus, it’s super healthy.) And, unlike typical ice cream, you don’t need to leave it in the freezer for hours – you can just serve and enjoy it immediately! This banana-coconut ice cream tastes great and is great – hard to get better than that.
Coconut milk is an excellent ice cream base, and it pairs particularly well with vanilla. For this simple recipe, you’ll just need coconut milk, vanilla beans, raw honey, and a pinch of sea salt – no added sugars, no preservatives, no nonsense. Just delicious, pure, fresh tropical flavors. You won’t go back to storebought vanilla ice cream after trying this recipe.
This coconut milkshake is amazing. If you’re doing it right, literally every ingredient is coconut – coconut ice cream (ideally homemade, see above!), coconut milk, shredded coconut flakes, and coconut sugar. It’s a great blast of tropical flavor in a sweet and wholesome package. Treat yourself to this delicious homemade milkshake, and you probably WON’T be tempted next time you drive by a fast food restaurant!
Tis the season! If you love pumpkin and cinnamon and want to get all you can, you’ll adore this naturally dairy-free and vegan coconut milk pumpkin ice cream. It’s luscious and silky, with a great texture, and again highlights why coconut milk is such a go-to for vegan ice cream making. Plus, because coconut milk and pumpkin are both naturally Keto-friendly, it’s easy to make this recipe fit in with the Keto diet!
This mango sorbet is naturally dairy-free because it uses coconut cream for body, and you can make it vegan by using maple syrup instead of honey. It’s light and refreshing, and takes just five minutes to make! An easy and delicious dessert for an on-the-go family.
I think you can generally sort popsicles into two types – the icy and the milky. Icy popsicles tend to be more fruit-forward and give you that satisfying “breaking ice” sound when you bite into them, while the milky popsicles tend to have more balanced, creamy flavors. Both are great, and coconut is great for both of them. For icy popsicles, I recommend coconut water since it helps them be extra flavorful and hydrating, while milky popsicles benefit from coconut milk as a base since it’s so much thicker than regular milk.
If you’re looking for a dairy-free popsicle that doesn’t taste super icy…this delicious coconut popsicle recipe is for you. The coconut milk gives the popsicle a creamy consistency, and a few tablespoons of maple syrup deliver sweetness without a ton of sugar (and without any of the nasty processed stuff). Creamy, delicious, sweet, and low-sugar: This popsicle is a guaranteed staple in your freezer!
Because coconut water is naturally hydrating, these ice pops are a perfect dessert on a summer day when the kids have been playing outside. (Or if the whole family’s been out at the beach.) Plus, because it’s such a simple recipe (coconut water and your choice of fruit are the only two ingredients), you can make batch after batch and try out all kinds of different fruit flavor combinations!
I LOVE strawberries and cream – it’s just such a beautiful combination of flavors, with the tartness of the strawberries balanced by the wholesome sweetness of the cream. This popsicle recipe brings all of those flavors together in a delicious frozen package. Coconut milk is the perfect counterpoint to the strawberries, and these delicious and natural popsicles have just four (all-natural) ingredients total.
There’s something about orange and cream – that tartness from the orange balanced out by the softer thickness of the cream. Just a beautiful combination.
Plus – orange and coconut are both tropical flavors, so they go really well together.
Put it all together, and you’ve got these simple four-ingredient orange coconut creamsicles that are naturally dairy-free and paleo-friendly!
Coconut pies, flan, and panna cotta
Here’s where you’ll start finding coconut flour appear alongside coconut milk and coconut cream, because coconut flour makes an awesome pie crust (scroll all the way to the bottom of the article for my favorite coconut flour pie crust recipe). Coconut milk and coconut cream continue to be the hero of these fillings, since they’re so sweet and thick, providing great body.
When I say “coconut dessert,” chances are good the first thing that pops into your mind is coconut cream pie. They’re almost synonymous! This coconut cream pie is Keto-friendly and naturally dairy-free so long as you the coconut whipped topping recipe I’ve linked to in the bottom section. Oh, and it’s delicious, as all coconut cream pies should be.
Flan is one of my favorite desserts because it’s so rich and delicious – and coconut cream adds a beautiful silkiness to the whole affair. In my experience, flan is generally viewed as this “very fancy” dessert, but it’s actually really easy to make with coconut cream. And it’s absolutely fantastic, ESPECIALLY with the caramel sauce adding another layer of flavor, and with shredded coconut for texture. This recipe is a must-have.
You’ll find a lot of coconut ingredients in Keto-friendly desserts, and this is a great example. Coconut cream makes this lemon pie thick and custardy and balances the lemon without distracting from the taste. This lemon pie recipe also has just a handful of ingredients, so you can make it quickly (about 25 minutes of cook and prep time, and then you’ll just want to refrigerate it overnight).
This coconut panna cotta is a go-to coconut dessert because it pairs so well with all of the tropical flavors that make coconut really pop – I highly recommend topping it with berries, tropical fruit, or coconut flakes. Panna cotta has a reputation for being super difficult to make, but this recipe is no-fuss and no mess. Plus, panna cotta automatically boosts the fanciness of any party. Give this a try!
A twist on the lemon meringue pie we all know and love, coconut meringue pie is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser – when you combine the coconut flavor with the eggy meringue, it’s simply delicious! If you’re looking to go gluten-free, you can make it with a coconut flour pie crust (see below under “Coconut dessert components”). Try this and you’ll never go back to lemon meringue again!
Coconut cakes are a step more solid than coconut pies, so again you’ll see more and more coconut flour recipes here. I love how you can get really light and airy cakes AND dense and rich cakes – it really just depends on how you set up your ingredients!
This delicious cake is light and airy, like every angel food cake should be. And it’s naturally gluten-free since we’re using coconut flour instead of all-purpose. I recommend it topped with a little whipped cream and either blueberries or strawberries. It only takes about 25 minutes to prep and 60 minutes to bake, so it’s a great dessert in a pinch!
Seriously, you’ll love this coconut cheesecake recipe. It’s delicious and creamy, with just a hint of coconut thanks to the shredded coconut. It’s made with all real food ingredients, doesn’t require baking, and is naturally gluten-free. Plus, unlike traditional cheesecakes, it only takes 20 minutes to prep. (Traditional cheesecakes can take many hours.) Simple, all-natural, and delicious!
This lemon coconut cake is a beautiful combination of sweet and sour – lemon for the sour, and a delicate coconut glaze for the sweet. You’ll find a little bit of coconut flavor popping through on each bite, but lemon is still the main focus. This cake is excellent both for dessert and also as a snacking cake to munch on between meals. Plus, since it’s a sheet cake, the recipe is easy to make and straightforward!
Coconut flour naturally lends itself to dense, moist bakes like this rich chocolate cake. You may get just a hint of coconut from the combination of coconut flour and coconut oil, but mostly what you’re going to get is a huge (and very welcome, if you’re anything like me) dose of chocolate. Trust me when I tell you that this gluten-free cake is everything you’ve ever wanted if you love chocolate.
This coconut flour cake recipe is simple and straightforward, and a great intro for anyone just getting started baking with coconut flour. It’s just like a traditional white cake (so, made with egg whites instead of the whole egg), and it’s a great base that you can use for various different cake flavors. It’s also good as it is topped with blueberries!
This coconut cherry pound cake illustrates again all the benefits of coconut mixed with a fruit – you get the sweetness of coconut with that hint of tart from the cherry, and it’s just divine. Grated coconut really shines in this delicious take on the traditional pound cake. It’s a simple, indulgent, sweet treat that’s sure to be a hit!
Coconut cupcakes, bars, cookies, and brownies
You’ll find a great combination of coconut flavor and unique textures in this collection of cupcakes, bars, cookies, and brownies – mostly from shredded coconut and coconut flakes. Of course, lots of delicious other ingredients here provide counter-points to the coconut, from lime to chocolate to cherries and raspberries.
These fudgy brownies are absolutely delicious and are topped with a rich coconut macaroon topping. If you love coconut, or macaroons, or brownies – trust me when I tell you that you’ll love all three together. This recipe is also naturally paleo-friendly and has some easy Keto options. These two-layer brownies will be the star of any party.
These coconut lime bars are delicious in their own right, but what makes them even sweeter is the fact that they’re based off the delicious coconut lime bars at Starbucks. And they’re a lot cheaper! So you can save money and eat better. These are great for snacking on any time, and they’ll make a great dessert that travels easily in a pinch.
These magic cookie bars are incredible. That rich combination of chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, nuts…gooeyness and crunchiness…yum.
Plus, this magic cookie bar recipe is:
What’s not to love?
These decadent chocolate coconut bars are cakey, delicious, and topped with chocolate icing. Coconut and chocolate go together great, and these bars will show you why. I love them for an on-the-go snack or a simple dessert for a potluck.
Rice crispy treats are great. Coconut crispy treats are way better. You get a little more taste from the shredded coconut, and you can dip them in chocolate if you want to get an even more delicious dessert or snack. These coconut crispy treats travel well and are very low in sugar. Oh, and they’re super easy to make, too, since you don’t even have to bake them!
If you want a simple and delicious cookie recipe combining the delicious taste of coconut with the simple, natural healthiness of homemade food…this is it. These cookies have no flour, sugar, butter, or eggs – and the recipe is paleo, vegan, and whole30 friendly. Oh, and they’re delicious and easy to make.
Coconut pairs so well with fruit in general and berries in particular. You can make these coconut berry bars a bunch of different ways, but the combination of raspberries and cherries used in this “official” version give the coconut berry bars their rich purple color. Naturally sweetened with coconut butter and raw honey, these bars are delicious, travel well, and are a great way to get some fruit!
Coconut balls are delicious. (If you’ve had them, you know EXACTLY what I mean.) My only complaint with them is that they can get a little cloyingly sweet with all the sugar. That’s one of the great things about this recipe – you get the sweetness through maple syrup and coconut oil, and then coconut cream adds a little extra density and flavor to make it extra-coconutty. You’ll love these!
These delicious coconut crack bars require no baking and are made with shredded coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup, and topped with melted chocolate. You get a great coconutty taste that pairs so well with the chocolate. Plus, these bars are both paleo-friendly and naturally vegan! If you need a quick on-the-go dessert…these take just 15 minutes to make.
These cookies are simple and delicious – they’re made with just three ingredients (coconut flour, butter or coconut oil, and maple syrup), and they bake really well. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but chocolate and coconut go really well together, and if you dip these cookies in chocolate you’ll see why! Highly recommend as an easy coconut flour-based treat.
Coconut clusters are a simple and delicious treat – and they’re made (at least here at The Coconut Mama) with just two ingredients: Coconut flakes and chocolate. You can customize them with a near-endless combination of additions – walnuts, almonds, sea salt (for topping), chia seeds, sesame seeds, and more – but to be honest I’d have them just as they are first so you can see what a simple and delicious flavor combination we have here.
I love candy but hate added sugars and weird chemicals. These homemade candy recipes give you all the taste and lots of healthy fats and alternatives. A must-have if you’re feeling snacky.
I love candy bars, but I DON’T love how much processed sugar and chemicals are in them. These delicious coconut cups give me all the delicious taste of Almond Joy…and you can easily make them at home with just a few ingredients!
They’re sweetened with raw honey, coconut butter and almond butter, and coconut oil – no processed added sugars, no nonsense, tons of flavor.
Ok, I have a confession. I LOVE peppermint bark. (Don’t tell my dentist – he’d kill me.) There’s just something about that crunch and the hit of sweetness that really appeals to me.
What I’ve also discovered is that there are a ton of other bark flavors (like chocolate, cashews, berries, and more) that are just as delicious, and they work year-round!
This coconut bark candy recipe is super flexible and customizable, because its core underlying ingredients (coconut butter and coconut oil) are great with almost any diet – so whatever your restrictions, there’s a version of this candy that should be great for you!
If you want a healthy treat that’s not full of junk…but which also tastes great…then you’ll love these chocolate coconut butter bars. They have just four ingredients (one of which is chocolate, of course), and they pack quite a punch! Coconut butter is one of my favorite coconut ingredients, and it really packs in protein and healthy fats to elevate dessert!
This coconut fudge is delicious and simple – just three ingredients (sweetened condensed coconut milk, dark chocolate, and vanilla) and tons of taste. If you like fudge, you’ll LOVE this dairy-free coconut fudge! It’s dense, sweet, and decadent – just like good fudge should be. (And it takes less than ten minutes to make.) Seriously, you’ll want to try this.
If you love Mounds candy – and I do – but hate the chemicals – and I do – then this is a fantastic recipe. Not only does this homemade Mounds candy recipe have no preservatives, dyes, or weird chemicals – it also has no unnecessary added sugar!
Dates and coconut oil provide the added sweetness (yum) and of course you get some from the organic chocolate chips, too. All in all, this is a sweet treat that’s healthy and delicious.
Coconut dessert components
These are just a few great recipes for coconut toppings and crusts – think of them as the “one more thing” you need to make a cake or a pie fully vegan, or gluten-free, or just plain loaded up with coconutty deliciousness!
If you love cream cheese frosting (and really, who doesn’t?) but you can’t have dairy – this is the recipe for you. It’s such an amazing topping for cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, and – perhaps best of all – it’s super fast and easy to make. You can combine it with all sorts of desserts on this list.
Looking for an easy gluten-free pie crust? Want a little hint of coconut to enhance the fruit in your pies? Looking to skip out on dairy and refined sweeteners? This is the pie crust for you. It works well with both sweet AND savory pies – from pumpkin pie to chicken pot pie, quiche, apple pie, and everything in between.
Also, you don’t have to chill the dough, and it comes together fast – so this is really one of the easiest truly “homemade” crusts you’ll find out there.
Coconut whipped cream is light and delicious. And it’s dairy-free. And it goes with just about everything. What more could you want?
(Especially useful if you’re trying to go vegan or bake for someone who is.)Links on this page may be affiliate links, for which the site earns a small commission, but the price for you is the same