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Coconut Cream Pie

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This coconut cream pie is made entirely from scratch and worth the effort. A thick coconut cream filling in a graham cracker crust, topped with fluffy whipped cream and toasted coconut. Tons of coconut flavor and the perfect creamy texture.

slice of coconut cream pie on a white plate.

Homemade Coconut Cream Pie

I am not much of a pie person. I would take a brownie or a cake over pie any day, but I still like baking pies for the pie lovers in my life.

I first made this easy coconut cream pie for my dad’s birthday, who loves coconut.

It is made in three parts – the crust, the filling, and the topping.

Each layer is made from scratch but you could take a shortcut and use a premade graham cracker crust or cool whip for the topping, if you’re short on time.

The components are simple but you do need to allow enough time for the filling to set up (about 3 hours), so make sure to plan for that!

Why you’ll love this Coconut Cream Pie recipe

Easy recipe – It’s a great recipe for beginner pie makers because even though it is made from scratch, it’s an easy old-fashioned recipe.

Tons of flavor – This pie will make coconut lovers very happy.

Simple ingredients – The creamy coconut custard filling, homemade pie crust, and whipped cream is made with easy-to-find ingredients.

bite of coconut cream pie on a fork.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mixing Bowls – you’ll need a large bowl & medium bowl. I like to use glass bowls lately, they’re microwave & dishwasher safe.
  • 9-inch Pie Plate – there are so many pretty ones or just stick with basic glass.
  • Food Processor – I use a mini food processor and it works just fine.

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

For the Homemade Crust

  • Shredded Coconut – You’ll want unsweetened shredded coconut. Coconut flakes will also work but flakes are larger so the texture will be different.
  • Graham Crackers – Plain graham crackers, broken into pieces.
  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar.
  • Butter – I like to use salted to balance the sweet.

For the Creamy Coconut Filling

  • Canned Coconut Milk – Coconut milk is made from pureeing the pulp of a coconut, not the same as coconut water (the liquid inside a coconut). It is white and opaque and also used in savory dishes like butter chicken.
  • Milk – Use whole milk here, you need the higher fat content to add to the creamy filling.
  • Shredded Coconut – More unsweetened shredded coconut. Sweetened can also be used if that’s what you prefer (or all you can find).
  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar.
  • Salt – For balance.
  • Egg Yolks – Paired with the cornstarch, egg yolks work to thicken the pie filling.
  • Cornstarch
  • Vanilla – Try to use a vanilla extract that isn’t imitation, the flavor makes a difference!
  • Butter – A bit of unsalted butter adds richness to the filling.

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • Heavy Cream – Sometimes called whipping cream, heavy cream has a high fat content. For the best results, start with it cold, don’t let it sit out while you’re prepping other things.
  • Sugar – Again, granulated white sugar.
  • Rum – If you don’t have rum you can sub brandy, or extra vanilla extract.
  • Vanilla – Again, a high quality vanilla extract will give the best flavor. I pick it up in bulk from Sam’s or Costco or you can make your own.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients to make coconut cream pie.

How to make the best Coconut Cream Pie

STEP ONE: Toast the Coconut

First, toast the coconut in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often.

Once fragrant & light brown, remove from the heat and reserve a tablespoon for garnishing the finished pie.

collage of 2 photos showing toasted coconut in a skillet.

STEP TWO: Make the Pie Crust

Next, use a food processor to crush the graham crackers with the toasted coconut into fine crumbs.

Pour them into a medium bowl and stir in the sugar and then melted butter with a fork until evenly moistened.

Use a glass to press the mixture evenly into a 9″ pie pan and bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until golden.

collage of 4 photos showing the process of making graham cracker crust.

STEP THREE: Make the Filling

Add the coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of sugar, and salt to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar (don’t let it boil).

Separately, to a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, rest of the sugar, and corn starch until smooth.

Gradually whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper it then pour it back into the saucepan and bring it back to a simmer over medium heat until the mixture is thickened (it should be pudding-like).

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.

Pour the mixture into the baked pie crust, cover with a piece of plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm (approximately 3 hours).

collage of 6 photos showing the process of making the filling of a coconut cream pie.

STEP FOUR: Make the Whipped Cream

To a chilled bowl, beat the cream and sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form and then add in the rum and vanilla and continue beating until barely stiff peaks form.

Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie and sprinkle with the reserved toasted coconut.

You can slice & serve immediately or place the pie back in the fridge for a bit to really come together.

collage of 4 photos showing the process of making whipped cream for a pie.

Tips & Suggestions 🥥

  • For the best results, place a mixing bowl into the freezer at least an hour before making the whipped cream – don’t start with a room temperature bowl and cream. Cold is best!
  • If you’re short on time and want to use cool whip instead of homemade whipped cream, you could certainly do that.
  • If you’d rather use pie dough for a flaky pie crust instead of graham cracker, you could use your favorite recipe (or store bought).
  • Want even stronger coconut flavor? Add a splash of coconut extract to the filling.

How to store Coconut Cream Pie

Should coconut cream pie be refrigerated?

Yes, store leftover pie covered in the refrigerator. Otherwise it can get melty, plus it is dairy & needs to be refrigerated.

How long with coconut cream pie last in the fridge?

Up to 5 days.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, you can freeze this pie but I recommend freezing it before adding the whipped cream topping, if possible.

Once the filling and crust are completely cooled, wrap them tightly and freeze up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, move it to the fridge overnight to thaw and then top with whipped cream and serve.

side view of the inside of a coconut cream pie.

FAQs

What is coconut milk?

Coconut milk comes in a can and is unsweetened. Make sure you shake it or stir it before using because it can separate a bit.

At the grocery store, it is generally found in the Asian/Thai aisle.

Not to be confused with a carton of coconut milk, or coconut water, you want the canned coconut milk.

Here is a review of the best coconut milks, if you’re interested in learning more.

What is the difference between coconut custard and coconut cream pie?

Coconut custard pie thickens in the oven.

Coconut cream pie is similar in that you do make a custard, but it is made on the stovetop and chilled until set, you don’t bake it.

Why is my coconut cream pie filling runny?

If you have a runny custard, you likely didn’t cook it long enough. It should thicken while you’re simmering it. It should be a pudding-like consistency.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Sure can, it’s actually best to make it a day or two ahead of time since it needs time to set up.

More favorite pie recipes

Lemon Meringue Pie

Banana Cream Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

Sheet Pan Apple Slab Pie

Click here for my entire collection of pie recipes.

More ways to use coconut

Pineapple Coconut Cake

Coconut Oatmeal Scotchies

Coconut & Pecan Crusted Bananas

Dark Chocolate Toasted Almond Hearts

overhead shot of sliced coconut cream pie.

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slice of coconut cream pie on a white plate.

Coconut Cream Pie

Melissa Williams
This coconut cream pie is entirely made from scratch and worth the effort. A thick coconut cream filling in a graham cracker crust, topped with fluffy whipped cream and toasted coconut. Tons of coconut flavor and the perfect creamy texture.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Chill Time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 504 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Crust

  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 9 graham crackers broken into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted

For the Filling

  • 14 ounce coconut milk well stirred
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • cups heavy cream chilled
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoons dark rum
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Make the Crust

  • Preheat oven to 325º F.
  • To a large skillet, pour in 5 tablespoons of coconut and toast until golden brown, stirring often. Remove from heat and reserve 1 tablespoon for garnishing the finished pie.
    5 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Pulse the graham crackers pieces with the remaining 4 tablespoons toasted coconut in a food processor into fine crumbs.
    9 graham crackers
  • Pour the crumbs into a medium bowl and stir in the sugar to combine. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 5 tablespoons butter
  • Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch glass pie plate and press evenly along the bottom and sides. Use the bottom of a glass to press it down. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool while making the filling.

Make the Filling

  • To a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
    14 ounce coconut milk, 1 cup whole milk, ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt
  • To a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch until well combined and lump free.
    5 large egg yolks, ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Gradually whisk the simmering milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper it then return it to the saucepan. Once again, bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and a couple bubbles burst on the surface (approximately 30 seconds – it should be pudding consistency).
  • Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and butter.
    1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pour the filling into the cooled crust, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

Make the Whipped Cream Topping

  • When ready to serve, in a chilled metal bowl, beat the cream and sugar at medium speed to soft peaks. Add in the rum and vanilla. Continue to beat to barely stiff peaks.
    1½ cups heavy cream, 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar, 1½ teaspoons dark rum, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Spread evenly over the chilled filling.
  • Sprinkle the reserved 1 tablespoon toasted coconut over the whipped cream and serve.
  • Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Brandy can be used in place of rum, or additional vanilla.
For even stronger coconut flavor, add a splash of coconut extract to the filling. 
Store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 504kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 6gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 218mgPotassium: 239mgFiber: 2gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 932IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Originally published June 18, 2012

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  1. Misty Martin says

    My husband loves coconut cream pie, so I will have to give this one a try.

  2. Six Sisters says

    We love coconut cream! Looks delish! Thanks for linking up to “Strut Your Stuff Saturday!” We hope to see you again! -The Sisters

  3. Cynthia L. says

    This pie looks wonderful! I have often dropped things while cooking – that is why I have a dog! I have pinned this wonderful pie and shared it on facebook!
    Cynthia at http://Feedingbig.blogspot.com

  4. Shawna says

    5 stars
    My husband absolutely LOVES this coconut cream pie!!! I’ve made it twice already and he’s still asking me to make it again, and he’s usually more picky of an eater than our kids!

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