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This coconut cream pie recipe features a thick and creamy coconut filling, crispy homemade pie crust, mounds of sweet whipped cream, and toasted coconut. Blind bake the pie crust first, then chill the pie filling until thick and lush. It may be helpful to review my tutorial on how to blind bake pie crust before getting started.

slice of coconut cream pie on a plate

Coconut. You either love it or hate it.

Considering my adoration for coconut cake, you know I fall in the first category. And if you’re reading this, I assume you do too. Obviously this is what you need to make next!!

If you’re not in the coconut gang, you should probably skip this one. But coconut cream pie isn’t *just* for coconut lovers. If you appreciate thick creamy pies, flaky pie crust, and all that fresh (not store-bought!) whipped cream has to offer, you’ll enjoy each forkful.

Coconut cream pie

I’m hosting Easter Sunday this year and have my heart set on coconut cream pie for Easter dessert. I worked HARD on this recipe, taking what I learned from butterscotch pudding and banana cream pie, then incorporating both into a coconut variation. Let’s dive in.

Video Tutorial: Coconut Cream Pie

Let’s watch how to make coconut cream pie in a quick video tutorial. I walk you through each part of the recipe, including blind baking the pie crust.

3 Parts to Coconut Cream Pie

This pie is made completely from scratch!

  1. Pie Crust – Pie crust shell must be fully blind baked. Don’t worry, I teach you how.
  2. Creamy Coconut Filling – We’ll make this on the stove.
  3. Whipped Cream – Have you made my homemade whipped cream before? It’s very simple. You can add toasted coconut on top, too.
Coconut cream pie slice on a plate

Fully Blind Bake Pie Crust

Some pie recipes call for fully baked crust and some recipes need a partially baked crust. Lemon meringue pie requires a partially baked pie crust because it will continue to bake with the filling. Coconut cream pie, like French silk pie for example, is a no-bake pie– the filling does not go in the oven. We obviously don’t want to eat raw pie dough, so we need a fully blind baked pie crust.

I published an entire tutorial about how to blind bake pie crust. I repeat *some* information here, but I encourage you to review the tutorial prior to beginning this coconut cream pie recipe.

  1. Make pie dough ahead of time, then refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to make the pie. Pie crust must chill for at least 2 hours before rolling out.
  2. Roll it out, then fit into your 9-inch pie dish. Crimp or flute the edges.
  3. Chill the shaped pie crust for at least 30 minutes. This prevents shrinking. Remember that pie dough must be cold.
  4. Fill with pie weights. As the pie dough bakes, its fat will melt. The melting fat causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. To prevent the pie dough from completely losing its shape, weigh it down with pie weights. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then pour in pie weights or even dry beans. (Note: 2 packs of these pie weights is needed!)
  5. Bake until the edges are lightly brown, about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove pie weights, then prick the bottom with a fork. This lets air escape the bottom.
  7. Return to oven until the entire pie shell is golden brown.
  8. Cool pie shell completely. You can do this up to 3 days ahead of time!

This baked pie crust “shell” is crispy, flaky, and ready for a creamy coconut filling.

Blind baked pie crust in glass pie dish
Can of coconut milk

Coconut Cream Pie Filling Ingredients

Most of the time, coconut cream pie is nothing more than vanilla pudding with some coconut thrown on top. Let’s make a REAL coconut filling using thick coconut milk. Since coconut milk doesn’t have a very strong flavor, we’ll add sweetened shredded coconut and a splash of coconut extract. Don’t have coconut extract? Leave it out. The sweetened shredded coconut adds plenty of flavor. Here is a run-down of the ingredients:

  1. Egg Yolks & Cornstarch: Egg yolks and cornstarch thicken the pie filling. Combine the two first, then temper into the cooking mixture.
  2. Canned Coconut Milk: Canned coconut milk is a cooking ingredient, not a beverage. It’s very thick and usually found near the Thai food products. Do not use refrigerated carton coconut milk because the two are very different.
  3. Half-and-Half: I found heavy cream to be too thick, while whole milk was too thin. Half-and-half proved to be the best choice for this coconut cream pie recipe.
  4. Sugar: Use 2/3 cup to sweeten the filling. The sweetened coconut also helps!
  5. Salt: A bit of salt adds flavor.
  6. Sweetened Shredded Coconut: Sweetened shredded coconut is soft, moist, and sweet, so you won’t find dry crunchy chunks inside the creamy filling.
  7. Butter: Add 2 Tablespoons of softened butter for a soft, buttery consistency.
  8. Vanilla Extract & Coconut Extract: Both add phenomenal flavor.
2 images of egg yolks for coconut cream pie in glass measuring cup

How to Make Coconut Cream Pie Filling

Like most homemade pudding, the coconut filling is made on the stove.

Bring the coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, and salt to a boil. Whisk the egg yolks & cornstarch together and have them ready for tempering. To temper, add *some* of the boiling coconut mixture into the egg yolks, then add it all back into the pot. This *slowly* raises the egg yolk’s temperature. The purpose of tempering is to prevent scrambling them. You can watch me temper the egg yolks in the video above.

Off-heat, stir in the coconut, butter, vanilla, and coconut extracts. Next, pour the warm pudding into cooled crust, then cover and chill until thickened.

Coconut cream pie filling in saucepan

Perfect Make-Ahead Dessert!

The coconut filling must “set” inside the baked pie crust shell. This usually takes about 3 hours, though it keeps in the refrigerator for up to 1 full day… as long as you keep hungry eyes away from it!! This pie is way too tempting, even without whipped cream on top.

Whipped cream in glass bowl

Homemade Whipped Cream

Obviously we must add decoration and this pie’s favorite accessory is whipped cream. It’s simply… a must! You can go heavy or light on the whipped cream. I love a big mountain of the stuff, especially paired with the thick coconut filling and crispy pie crust. You need heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add a splash of coconut extract too, if desired. Beat the ingredients together until medium peaks form. When you lift the mixer out of the bowl, a slightly sturdy peak should form. It won’t be liquid-y, nor will it be curdled. Keep your eye on it and don’t be afraid to stop the mixer and check the consistency as you whip.

You can pipe or spread the whipped cream on top. I used Ateco 849 piping tip and you can watch me pipe swirls in the video above. Don’t forget to top with more coconut! I actually used coconut flakes that I found at the grocery, but you can use sweetened shredded coconut or any form of coconut flakes you desire. Feel free to toast them, too!

Chill the pie for a few hours or you can serve it immediately.

Want to make coconut cream pie with meringue topping instead? Meringue is a convenient way to use up the egg whites. I recommend this meringue topping. You can toast it with a kitchen torch if desired. It tastes like marshmallows!

top of coconut cream pie zoomed in
Coconut cream pie slice

Coconut Cream Pie Success Tips

  1. Follow the recipe closely including using canned coconut milk, half-and-half, and tempering the egg yolks.
  2. Chill the pie crust inside the pie dish before blind baking. Pie dough must be cold.
  3. Thoroughly chill the pie filling before serving. Otherwise the pie will completely fall apart… and no one appreciates warm coconut pudding.

And if you dig creamy pie recipes…

Print
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Coconut cream pie slice on a plate

Homemade Coconut Cream Pie

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: one 9-inch pie 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This coconut cream pie recipe features a thick and creamy coconut filling, crispy pie crust, sweet whipped cream, and toasted coconut. There are plenty of ways to make this coconut cream pie recipe ahead of time. See various steps.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 unbaked flaky Pie Crust (what I used) or All Butter Pie Crust*
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
  • 1 (14 ounce) can full fat coconut milk*
  • 1 cup (240ml) half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (80g) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Whipped Cream

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons (20g) confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar*
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional for garnish: unsweetened coconut shavings, coconut chips, or sweetened shredded coconut*

Instructions

  1. Pie crust: I like to make sure my pie dough is prepared before I begin making coconut cream pie. Make pie dough the night before because it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rolling out and blind baking (next step).
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Fully blind bake the pie crust. (Follow how to blind bake pie crust instructions through step 10. I skip the optional dough strip trick in step 4, though that trick guarantees thick pie crust edges.) Cool pie crust completely. You can do this up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover cooled crust tightly and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  3. Make the coconut filling: Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together. Set aside. Whisk the coconut milk, half-and-half, granulated sugar, and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisking occasionally, bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then reduce temperature to medium-low heat. Once boiling, remove about 1/2 cup of the mixture and, in a slow and steady stream, whisk into the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture. Keep those egg yolks moving so they don’t scramble. In a slow and steady stream, pour and whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pot.
  4. The pudding will immediately begin to bubble and thicken. Stand back and use caution as the bubbles may burst. Whisk and cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut, butter, vanilla, and coconut extract (if using).
  5. Pour warm filling into cooled pie crust. Cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until chilled and thickened. Pie may be refrigerated for up to 1 day.
  6. For the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts.
  7. Pipe or spread the whipped cream on top. I used Ateco 849 piping tip to pipe. Garnish with extra coconut, if desired. Chill the pie uncovered up to a few hours or you can serve it immediately.
  8. Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. There are plenty of ways to make this recipe ahead of time. See end of step 2, end of step 5, and end of step 7. You can freeze the pie after step 5. Make sure the filling is completely cool inside the pie shell prior to freezing. Cover with an extra layer of plastic wrap before freezing. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter prior to topping with whipped cream.
  2. Pie Crust: Both linked pie crust recipes make 2 crusts. You only need 1 crust for this pie, so freeze the 2nd half for another use.
  3. Coconut Milk: You need one 13-14 ounce can of full fat unsweetened coconut milk. (It’s usually never sweetened.) Canned coconut milk is a cooking ingredient, not a beverage. It’s very thick and usually found near the Thai food products. Shake it up before using. Do not use refrigerated carton coconut milk.
  4. Sugar in Whipped Cream: Some swear by granulated sugar in whipped cream, while others swear by confectioners’ sugar. If you’re only working with a few Tablespoons of sugar, it doesn’t really make a difference. Use whichever.
  5. Coconut Topping: I used unsweetened coconut flakes that I found at the grocery, but you can use sweetened shredded coconut or any form of coconut flakes you desire. Feel free to toast them: Bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 6-8 minutes or until browned to your liking.

Keywords: coconut cream pie, pie

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Also for those who want to do a meringue topping…
    As was said putting it in the oven to broil is not a good idea because of the nature of the filling… However if you have a kitchen blow torch as I do you can use that to give that beautiful brown scorched look to the top of your meringue.

  2. This filling was very good once off of the stove. After chilling, it sort of turned dense and less creamy. The creaminess just off the stove was divine. I’ve brought it back to room temperature, thinking that that would bring it back to its former creaminess, but it didn’t. So, my question is whether substituting the coconut creme for all half and half would change the texture to stay creamy.

    1. In this recipe you use coconut milk not coconut cream. The coconut milk (full fat) adds flavor and can’t be substituted with half and half. If you follow this recipe exactly you will love it. Use the coconut extract, too.

  3. I have been making this coconut cream pie for several years and it is absolutely the THE BEST!!!! I always get compliments and requests for the recipe. I follow it exactly except I use my own crust. I do add the extra coconut oil with the vanilla into the filling and sprinkle toasted coconut on the top. If you are a coconut lover, don’t hesitate to try this recipe!

  4. My first coconut cream pie, it was surprisingly easy and my husband, who wanted coconut cream pie for his birthday loved it!

    1. We don’t get sweetened coconut here. Does it need extra sugar if using unsweetened or will it be fine? Thanks

  5. Not to be dense, but I am planning to make this a day ahead for a small birthday gathering. There is mention that the filling will keep for up to a day in the fridge. So my question is, if I make it Thursday evening for something on Friday evening, if the entire pie isn’t eaten on Friday night, will I need to discard the remainder rather than leaving it with the birthday boy to finish on Saturday?

    1. Hi Beth, leftovers can stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Hope it’s a hit!

  6. I made this coconut cream pie and served it yesterday. It was absolutely delicious! I used your recipe for the all butter pie crust added the coconut extract to the filling and topped the whipped cream with toasted coconut shavings and shredded coconut. It looked great, too. Thanks Sally.

  7. This recipe is delicious, but if I were to make it again I would not mix the cornstarch in with the egg yolks beforehand. I found this made it quite difficult to truly mix the coconut milk/half-and-half mixture into the egg yolks and there were still chunks of thickened egg in the mixture after a lot of mixing. I’ve successfully used the Betty Crocker method of boiling the cornstarch with the milk mixture prior to adding part of it to the eggs, and next time I make this recipe I think I’ll try that. Or maybe adding the cornstarch just before or after the egg mixture! Either way, this recipe has delicious flavors but I think I’ll try a different technique next time!

    This pie filling recipe also works great with a graham cracker crust and I’ve even made it into bars in a 9 x 13 pan!

  8. This recipe was involved, but well worth the effort! My father-in-law was thrilled with the birthday surprise of his favorite pie. I appreciated Sally’s links to her buttery flaky pie crust recipe and the blind baking tips. Will be saving this one for the future!

  9. I followed this recipe exactly and it came out perfect. For plating I generously covered and surrounded each piece with sweetened coconut that I toasted in a saute pan. It added a perfect toasty crunch.

    1. Hi Terri, we haven’t used this as a cake filling before, so these are our guesses. (1) We would halve the filling to yield an appropriate amount to fill a coconut cake. (2) Let the filling cool completely. It should spread just fine on the cooled cake layers. Let us know if you give it a try!

    1. Hi Ryan, The pie is sweet enough already that unsweetened coconut won’t make much of a difference. Use the same amount without any other changes to the recipe. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Pat! See recipe notes for details on the coconut milk – we don’t recommend using anything other than a full fat canned coconut milk because the filling will not set without it.

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