Coconut Cream Pie

April 2, 2019  ·  Published November 18, 2013

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This is the ultimate Coconut Cream Pie! It’s starts with a buttery flakey pie crust then it’s layered with a rich and luscious coconut custard, fluffy whipped cream and finished with toasted coconut. A must try pie recipe that’s sure to impress coconut lovers!

Slice of coconut cream pie on a white plate set over a dark grey tabletop.

The BEST Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

After many attempts, I finally came up with my idea of the perfect cream pie. From top to bottom, you’ll love everything about it!

This homemade coconut cream pie turns out perfect every time. It’s thickened with both cornstarch and egg yolks so you won’t end up with a droopy, soupy pie. The key is to just be sure to cook the custard long enough to get it to that nice and thick state.

Then in this recipe you’ll use a little cream cheese to balance out the sweetness of the pie and to and a nice faint tang (reminiscent of cheesecake) which pairs perfectly with the coconut.

And if we are going to make a coconut cream pie it better have plenty of coconut flavor so here we use shredded coconut, coconut milk and coconut extract. No one will be left wondering what type of pie this is, it has an abundance of real coconut flavor.

It’s one of those desserts that will have people fighting for the last slice. Soon enough people will be requesting this for the next holiday celebration!

Photography credit: Jenn Davis from Two Cups Flour.

Showing coconut cream pie filling in a baked pie crust.

Homemade Coconut Cream Pie Ingredients

Don’t let the beautiful photos fool you into thinking this is a tough pie to make. This is actually such an easy coconut cream pie recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need to make coconut cream pie at home:

  • Blind baked pie crust – I prefer a homemade pie crust here but store-bought will work fine too.
  • Shredded sweetened coconut – use the medium shredded coconut here.
  • Canned coconut milk – only use full fat coconut milk here for best results.
  • Milk – stick with whole or 2% milk.
  • Heavy cream – this will make the pie perfectly rich and creamy.
  • Sugar – a staple pie ingredient, it adds the perfect sweetness.
  • Salt – this will balance out the sweetness.
  • Cornstarch – a key ingredient, used to thicken the filling.
  • Egg yolks – these also help thicken up the filling so they’ll stand in nice sturdy slices.
  • Cream cheese – once you have coconut cream pie with this you’ll never look back. It adds a delicious flavor.
  • Butter – you’ll only need a hint of butter in the filling.
  • Vanilla extract and coconut extract – using both kinds of extract gives this pie the perfect coconut and vanilla flavor blend.

Whole coconut cream pie in a pie dish with slices cut. Pie is sitting on a wooden cutting board over a dark surface.

How to Make Coconut Cream Pie from Scratch

  • Blind bake the pie crust. Set aside to cool.
  • Grind coconut: Pulse 3/4 cup coconut in a food processor for grind.
  • Make cream pie filling: In a saucepan combine coconut milk, 1/2 cup of the milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the salt.
  • Cook pie filling: Bring mixture nearly to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix thickeners: Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch until well blended.
  • In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks with remaining 3 Tbsp sugar until pale.
  • Add thickeners: While whisking, pour 1/2 cup of the nearly boiling milk into egg yolk mixture.
  • While whisking mixture in saucepan, pour egg yolk mixture followed by cornstarch mixture into saucepan. Cook mixture until thickened, whisking constantly and vigorously to prevent curdling, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Mix in flavorings: Remove from heat stir in cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and coconut extract and ground coconut.
  • Pour cream pie filling into baked pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 – 3 hours.

Removing a slice of coconut cream pie from the whole coconut cream pie in pie dish.

How to Make Whipped Cream

In a cold mixing bowl, whip heavy cream with remaining 3 Tbsp granulated sugar on low speed until thickened slightly then increase to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Check out my full tutorial and post all about it HERE.

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust

Since the pie isn’t cooked with the filling (the filling is cooked separately to thicken properly) you’ll first need to blind bake your pie crust. HERE is a good step-by-step tutorial on how to do so.

Single slice of coconut cream pie made from scratch on a white dessert plate.

Tips for the Best Coconut Cream Pie

  • Be sure to buy full-fat canned coconut milk for this homemade coconut cream pie recipe, not the kind that’s sold in cartons. The canned kind is much thicker and richer.
  • Heavy cream is a must in this recipe. You can’t use a substitute here, otherwise your pie might not set up properly.
  • Coconut extract can vary in intensity depending on the brand. Start with 1/4 tsp and add a bit more if needed.

More Delicious Cream Pie Recipes You’ll Love:

Coconut Cream Pie

5 from 5 votes

This is the ulitmate Coconut Cream Pie! It's starts with a buttery flakey pie crust then it's layered with a rich and luscious (non-runny) coconut custard, fluffy whipped cream and finished with toasted coconut. A must try pie recipe that's sure to impress coconut lovers!

Servings: 8
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust
  • 3/4 cup (65g) shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup (235ml) milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp (138g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup (43g) cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, diced into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp (14g) butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp coconut extract, to taste (the intensity varies by brand)

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup (60g) shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

Instructions

For the filling:

  1. Pulse 3/4 cup coconut in a food processor until ground into small pieces, about 1 minute, set aside. In a medium saucepan combine coconut milk, 1/2 cup of the milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the salt.
  2. Set mixture over medium heat, and bring mixture nearly to a boil, stirring occasionally. 

  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl (or liquid measuring cup used to measure milk), whisk together remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch until well blended. 
  4. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks with remaining 3 Tbsp sugar until mixture is slightly pale, about 2 minutes. While whisking, pour 1/2 cup of the nearly boiling milk into egg yolk mixture. 

  5. While whisking mixture in saucepan, pour egg yolk mixture followed by cornstarch mixture into saucepan. Cook mixture until thickened, whisking constantly and vigorously to prevent curdling, about 2 - 3 minutes. 

  6. Remove from heat and add in cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and coconut extract, stir until well blended. Stir in ground coconut. Pour mixture into baked pie crust.

  7. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 - 3 hours.

For the topping:

  1. In a cold mixing bowl, whip heavy cream with remaining 3 Tbsp granulated sugar on low speed until thickened slightly then increase to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form.

  2. Spread over chilled pie and top with toasted coconut. Cut into slices. Store pie in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

  • Be sure to buy full-fat canned coconut milk. The canned kind is much thicker and richer than what's sold in cartons as a beverage. 
  • Heavy cream is a must in this recipe. You can't use a substitute here, otherwise your pie might not set up properly. 
Nutrition Facts
Coconut Cream Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 615 Calories from Fat 387
% Daily Value*
Fat 43g66%
Saturated Fat 25g156%
Cholesterol 201mg67%
Sodium 323mg14%
Potassium 250mg7%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 1295IU26%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 153mg15%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Coconut Cream Pie
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally shared November, 2013 photos have been updated. Recipe inspired by Cook’s Illustrated.

 

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46 Comments

  • Bre

    Am I able to replace the whole milk with cartoned coconut milk instead?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      For this recipe I don’t recommend it. What would probably be a good alternative would be more canned coconut milk, preferably lite which would be closer to whole milk.

  • Karen

    Hi Jaclyn,
    I accidentally bought the carton instead of canned coconut milk. Will the pie still turn out??

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      For best results I’d recommend sticking with canned coconut milk and waiting to make it. It’s like using half and half or cream vs using skim milk. Canned is much richer and thicker and will have a better taste.

  • Twyla

    Hi Jaclyn,

    This pie tasted divine but I couldn’t get it to set :/ What could be some of the reasoning for this? I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand for the filling so I had to use a substitute (mixing whole milk and melted butter). Do you think this is what broke the camel’s back? Texture seemed perfect right up until I took it out of the fridge and tried to cut it. Thank you so much!!! Can’t wait to try again

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes the milk and butter is likely the issue. Next time I’d stick with the heavy cream and it should turn out well.

  • Mike G.

    I have never made a coconut cream pie before. While I pride myself on my cooking ability, I am not very confident in my baking ability. That being said, I made this pie and had several people tell me thst this was the BEST coconut cream pie they have ever had!. If you can make a pie crust, then this pie is a piece of cake!. I followed the recipe exactly as written and it came out much better than I had hoped. Hmm, maybe I can bake after all…thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.