Homemade Coconut Cream Pie

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.

Coconut cream pie

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 – Very simple. You can add toasted coconut on top, too.

 

Coconut cream pie

Fully Blind Bake Pie Crust

Some cream pie recipes call for fully baked crust and some 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 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 blind baking 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

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.

Egg yolks for coconut cream pie

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

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 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!

Coconut cream pie

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
Coconut cream pie

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
  • 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

  • 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 400°F (204°C). Fully blind bake your pie crust. (Follow blind baking 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 coconut milk. 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

96 Comments

  1. Sally, this pie is gorgeous! It is beautifully decorated and photographed.
    We just finished your delicious recipe for coconut cake. Dare I follow that with this coconut cream pie? I think yes!

  2. Sally, can show a picture of the toasted coconut that you buy for the topping? I have not had much success buying one that actually tasted good enough to put on a pie. Also, why have I not bought the Ateco tip yet? I need to do it now and everyone should have it.

    1. It is 1.75 inches deep, so it would be on the shallow end of a deep dish pie dish. This pie fits into a regular or deep dish pan.

  3. I lovelovelooove coconut cream pie! I’ve always wanted to make it, but was waiting to see whether I could find a more dependable recipe than the ones I found already. So glad my first try at this beautiful pie will be along the lines of a SBA recipe! I’m loving this coconut binge you’re on, Sally 🙂 First that glorious layer cake, then homemade Easter buttercreams with a coconut variation, and now this pie! I’m hoping for more coconut in the future…maybe some pure coconut cupcakes? Yummm.

  4. Oh no you didn’t. Oh yes you DID!!!!! You followed up your amazing coconut cake with the most perfect and beautiful coconut cream pie I’ve ever seen! I am crazy about coconut and adore these two posts!!!!

  5. I have a few questions about this pie, Sally. Firstly, could I half your All-Butter Pie Crust recipe to yield just one pie shell? If not, I could always either make some other kind of pie soon, or maybe make a double batch of this coconut cream pie and give one to my neighbours 🙂 Second, could I make my own half-and-half by using 1/2 cup cow’s milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream? And I was just thinking about making some kind of mini coconut cream pie trifles by layering this coconut custard with whipped cream and maybe some crumbled shortbread or something (flavoured with coconut extract). What do you think about that? 😀 Thanks!

    1. Happy to help! You can halve either of my pie crust recipes to yield 1 pie crust, but the dough freezes so wonderfully and you may want another pie in a few months anyway! You can combine equal parts heavy cream and whole milk to produce half-and-half, yes. Trifles would be fantastic! You could use store-bought shortbread or even homemade angel food cake, pound cake, etc. Lemon pound cake would be tasty!

  6. Oh, my very most favorite dessert ever! I have made a few of these. One of them incorporates the leftover egg whites (whipped stiff) into the actual pudding. I can’t remember if it was cooked a little or not, but it made for a very light pudding. However, yours is very classic and straightforward and not as many steps as that one, so, I may do this one for Easter. I’m the only one in my immediate family that will eat it, so I don’t make often unless for bigger family events. I love the video tutorial too! My only problem is the pie crust and blind baking. No matter what I do, it still seems to fall a bit. But I’ll keep trying. Maybe mine isn’t as thick as yours, and the fluting on yours was pretty thick so that may be the trick! Thanks so much Sally!

  7. When you were boiling the coconut milk etc on stove before adding eggs and cornstarch did yours boil up real bad like almost Overflowing? I am now kinda worried about my coconut milk. I’ve never used coconut milk before but I shook the can real good and when I opened it was mixed good, no separation. It didn’t smell really strong but maybe slightly like I don’t know dog food or something, can’t really describe, not a rotten smell though. Is it suppose to smell like that, it looked fine maybe slightly grey, and the date is good for two more years, it is the aroma brand. I am really hoping this is all normal and it’s ok becaus I am awaiting tomorrow to put whip cream on.

    1. Hi Kayla! Whisk the boiling coconut milk mixture occasionally, especially if you notice it overflowing. Make sure you are using a large enough pan too. Coconut milk is a very thick, creamy milk. I don’t find it to have a particularly rotten smell though. However, I can’t speak for that brand! Did you sneak a taste of the pudding? Hope you enjoy it!

  8. I suggest creamed coconut! (about 4 Tbsp but you can add to taste). I use that instead of sweetened shredded coconut and no need for extract, it’s a super powerful coconut flavour AND you can avoid too much of a pulpy texture by using a lot of shredded coconut. That way, you can add unsweetened shredded coconut if you want some of that texture or omit it if you don’t. Otherwise, my own recipe is the same as yours!

  9. Hey Sally, super excited to make this! Just wondering – sweetened shredded coconut isn’t widely available in Australia, only unsweetened. Am I still able to make this and how should I adjust? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tash! The pie will still be plenty sweet if subbing unsweetened shredded coconut. If you’re nervous, though, you can increase the sugar to 3/4 cup. Let me know how you like it!

      1. Sally, the pie was perfect with the unsweetened coconut! Thank you for another great recipe.

  10. The flavor of this pie is wonderful, however, the filling didn’t thicken much. And was very soupy. Any idea what I did wrong?

    1. Hi Sarah! Did you make any substitutions. The egg yolks, canned coconut milk, and 1/4 cup cornstarch should thicken things up considerably!

  11. I made this with a store-bought, roll out the crust. It was delicious and light in coconut flavor. It was especially enjoyed by my senior friends as it was not too sweet and quickly devoured!

  12. I have a question – the shelf life of this pie is two days, is that because the pudding and topping will separate?

    Currently making this pie and trying to decide if should just eat bigger pieces to finish it sooner

    1. Hi Kait! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The topping and pudding don’t really separate. Rather, it loses its fresh quality after that.

  13. Sally, I’ve printed this recipe to make at a later date but I can’t access the video showing how you made it :(! There’s no link to click on.

    1. Hi Mary! The video displays under the heading Video Tutorial: Coconut Cream Pie. If you temporary pause any ad blockers, the video will display.

      1. Thank you, Sally! That did the trick! My oh my…those ad blockers are marvelous things!
        One question…when the pie crust goes back into the oven after removing the weights, approximately how long should it take to lightly brown?

        Thanks Sally!

  14. Will this pie keep in the fridge for two days? I want to make it Tuesday for a dinner party on Thursday. I would leave off the whip topping until Thursday. Thoughts??

    1. That’s completely fine! See the make ahead note and instructions in the steps. Best to top with whipped cream as close to serving as possible.

  15. Love your site!!
    Good explanations – fast and straight to the point – good pointers also for beginners – love the measurements you give as you go along and the recipes come out very nice. 
    Thank you so much for this wonderful Recipe! Making this for my mom after asking her what her favorite dessert was. She is going through a hard time.
    Hoping to lift her spirits with your wonderful coconut pie :)

  16. So far so good! I have the pudding in the pie shell chilling for tomorrow. Everything tastes great! I did have a little separation when adding the butter, but just kept whisking before adding the shredded coconut in. I’d this normal?

    I’ve made several of your recipes and they are always delicious! Thanks.

  17. Girl- my swimsuits are not going to fit if I keep baking all your delicious recipes!! Coconut cream pie is my absolute fav and I was able to convince the family we wanted this pie on Easter instead of carrot cake 🙂 🙂

  18. Coconut Cream Pie is one of my favorites! I made this today and Oh MY, it is the BOMB! So creamy and rich, the perfect amount of sweetness and coconut-y-ness! My son and I devoured our slices! The toasted coconut on top just sent this over the edge. Another winning recipe, Sally! You rock!

  19. I made this for Easter and it was AMAZING!!! Everyone raved about it and my elder sister who is also a baker even said that this was the best coconut cream pie she has ever had, which is extremely high praise. I’ve tried some other coconut cream pie recipes but was never really sold on any of them. My search has now ended lol. This recipe is perfect!

  20. This is possibly the BEST thing I’ve eaten in a long time. My coworkers were sad that there were no leftovers to share with them today. I didn’t even feel guilty about having the last slice, lol. I guess I’ll have to make another one to share with them. I’m even contemplating skipping the pie crust althogether, I could totally just eat the filling and whipped cream, ha. The recipe was super easy to follow and sooo tasty. I did have to bake a second pie shell, because the first one collapsed just enough that it wouldn’t have held as much filling, and that would be a shame…

  21. I followed the recipe to the letter and it came out beautifully. It set and sliced well, and had a nice coconutty flavor. So good my husband had two pieces. It is, in my opinion, a very sweet coconut pie. I used Sally’s Flaky Pie Crust recipe and it was indeed flaky and delicious.

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