Coconut flakes are a staple in many keto, paleo, and vegan dishes and add texture and sweetness to desserts and many dishes. Learn about the different types of coconut flakes available, which brand is the best, and my favorite recipes using them.
Are you looking for a way to make your baked goods, smoothie bowls, and overnight oats even more delicious? Adding coconut flakes is an easy way to boost their flavor! They can be used in baking (I always add them to my coconut flour muffins) and work great as a topping or base in desserts and dishes.
Below I share my favorite ways to use coconut flakes, frequently asked questions, and my favorite brands used in my kitchen.
What are coconut flakes?
Coconut flakes are thick strips of dried coconut meat. They are made by slicing the white meat from mature coconuts, then drying it in an oven or dehydrator until it forms small chips or strips. The texture is similar to shredded coconut, but the shape and size of the pieces vary depending on how thickly the coconut is sliced. Coconut flakes can range in color from light brown to golden yellow, depending on the type of coconut used.
Coconut flakes have a slightly sweet taste and crunchy texture, making them perfect for adding flavor and texture to many recipes. These sweet treats can be used as a topping for dishes like ice cream or yogurt, mixed into trail mix or granola bars, used to make vegan coconut bacon, or on savory main courses like coconut curry.
What’s the difference between shredded coconut and coconut flakes?
While both are made from dried pieces of mature coconuts, there are some key differences, namely size, and texture, which make them suitable for different recipes.
- Shredded Coconut: Made from fresh coconut meat from mature coconut that is dried. Usually sold sweetened (with added sugar), but it can also be found unsweetened or even flavored. The most common type of shredded coconut is long, thin strands with a rough texture and light color. This type of shredded coconut is best used as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, curries, puddings, etc. because it adds texture without taking away from the natural flavor profile of your favorite dishes. See how to make shredded coconut here.
- Coconut Flakes: Larger than shredded coconut and are often sold unsweetened. Made from dried pieces of mature coconuts, diced into small chunks, and then lightly toasted or dried until dry and off-white. The texture of these flakes is less grainy than a shredded coconut but still slightly chewy due to their size. They make for an excellent topping for desserts such as pies or ice cream and can also be added to breakfast cereals or smoothies for a hint of sweetness and crunchiness.
Recipes with Coconut Flakes
While shredded coconut is often used in baked goods and desserts, coconut flakes have their place in some of my favorite goodies! If you love the taste of coconuts, try one of these recipes using coconut flakes:
- Coconut Chips (Sweet & Salty Coconut Treat)
- Chocolate Coconut Clusters
- Coconut Ice Cream topped with Coconut Flakes
Coconut Flakes Nutritional Data
Nutrition per tablespoon:
- Calories: 38
- Carbohydrates: 2.2 grams of carbs
- Sugar: 1.4 grams of sugar
- Net Carbs: 1.4 grams net carbs
- Fiber: .8 grams of fiber
- Fat: 3.2 grams of fat
- Protein: .3 grams of protein
How to Store Coconut Flakes
Coconut flakes are quite shelf-stable and should last a long time in the pantry in an unopened bag. Once you’ve opened the bag, in my experience the best way to store coconut flakes is to transfer them to an airtight container to preserve flavor and texture. You can refrigerate, which will make them last even longer, but their texture will soften over time.
Top 4 Best Coconut Flake Brands
Now that you know the difference between shredded coconut and coconut flakes and how to use coconut flakes, now it’s time to stock up on these crunch treats full of coconut flavor! Below are my favorite brands you can buy from the grocery store, natural foods store, or online!
#1 Bob’s Red Mill
Unsweetened and sulfur-free, these coconut flakes are perfect for baking and are affordable.
Find them at your local grocery store or find them on amazon. Coconut Mama’s #1 pick!
#2 Let’s Do Organic
Tasty for homemade energy bites and for baking, these coconut flakes are delicious and made with organic coconut.
Find them at your local health food store or online. Coconut Mama’s #2 pick!
#3 Food To Live
Makes for a great topping on coconut yogurt or panna cotta; these raw coconut flakes are so super tasty and full of coconut flavor.
Find them at your local health food store or online. Coconut Mama’s #4 pick!
#4 Azure Market Coconut
These large coconut chips are organic, unsweetened, and sulfur free. I like to order them in large 5lb bags since the price is so good!
Available only from Azure Standard. Coconut Mama’s #4 pick!
Oven method: Spread a cup of coconut flakes evenly over a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the organic coconut flakes are lightly toasted. You can add maple syrup or brown sugar and vanilla extract to the flakes to make sweet coconut chips too!
Stovetop Method: Pour a cup of coconut flakes into a non-stick pan. Heat over medium-low heat, constantly stirring to prevent burning. The coconut will toast quickly, so make sure to keep a close eye on the pan to prevent the coconut from burning. Remove the pan from the heat when the coconut is golden brown. Let it cool, then store it in an airtight container.
Store coconut flakes in a ziplock bag or in an airtight container.
Coconut flakes are an excellent option for adding texture and flavor to your favorite desserts and dishes. Not only are they versatile, but they are also full of healthy benefits. You can purchase them at most supermarkets and online stores, so you should be able to find a brand that suits your needs and remember to look for organic variants if you want a pure product.