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 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 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

179 Comments

  1. Can I use cream of coconut instead of coconut milk?

    1. One 14 ounce can of cream of coconut will work here. The pudding layer will be nice and thick.

      1. No no no cream of coconut is the gooey,ultra sweet stuff you put in a piña colada. Coconut cream will work as a substitute but not cream of coconut.

  2. I am a 44 year old man (who is just learning how to cook/bake from scratch, so I asked my mother what her “favorite pie ever” was. When she said coconut cream pie I immediately thought “how can that be her favorite, she’s been baking pies her whole life and that’s what she calls her favorite…hmmm”. So here it is Christmas Day 2019 and I’m cooking her favorite pie! Thankfully I had a rehearsal run at this to realize just how much went into this pie and started with theorem scratch pie crust yesterday, blind baked it this afternoon and just finished the filling and it is in the fridge right now. Let me tell you, my first bite of this pie was a real eye opener! Sally really knows her stuff and now I know why Coconut Cream Pie was Mom’s favorite as it is now mine too. The filling is to die for delicious! And of course the homemade whipped cream and extra flakes on top were a real nice touch! Absolutely perfect pie… if you’re thinking about trying out this recipe, don’t hesitate any longer, you won’t regret it.

    1. Can you substitute the half and half with more coconut milk or perhaps coconut cream? I’m dairy free…

  3. Great pie with easy to follow instructions! Made it for Christmas party and it was a hit! I used Cream of Coconut milk…super rich and worth it!

  4. Just made my third pie from this recipe. I have a new customer today, my aunt. I know she is going to love it as much as my family did at Thanksgiving. Out of this world! Perfect explanations and clear instructions make me look like a genius! I did use the coconut extract in the whipped cream. Yummy!!

  5. Had some problems getting the right consistency for the filling so I crumbled the crust, folded in the whipped topping, sprinkled toasted coconut on top and called it a parfait ! Super yummy

  6. I made this pie today, and I’ve got to tell you it it delicious!!!!
    Thanks I’ll be fixing it again probably Sunday!!!!

  7. Great recipe! I made it 3 times in 2 weeks and each time it was a big hit! I only put a 1/4 tsp of coconut extract but stayed true to the rest of the recipe! It has the perfect amount of sweetness and coconut flavor. Thank you so much!

  8. Susie Buchmyer says:

    Is there a sugar substitute I can use? This is my hubby’s favorite pie but he is diabetic.

  9. Can you use a regular baked meringue recipe with this pie and if so what changes need to be made, for instance should you put it in the hot custard or cool it?

    1. Hi Loretta, baking meringue on top of this pie isn’t ideal since the pie’s filling should not be baked.

      1. I don’t feel meringue is very tasty with a coconut cream pie..takes away from the the real star of it. Even a 7 min. frosting is too sweet. Whip cream flavored is the best for us. I also love using a lemon or lime custard to line the shell before placing the coconut to add dimension..

  10. Instead of using the coconut extract I use almond extract. It’s really yimmy.

  11. The best Coconut Cream Pie ever. I shared this recipe with everyone I could. FANTASTIC PIE. I used a Wick pre-baked crust. I browned it furthur in a 400° oven for 15 minutes. Then cooled it before filling. Perfect with this pie filling.

  12. I made this pie for Easter last April and my family went CRAZY for it! It’s now March the following year, and when I asked my mom what she wanted for her birthday cake, she requested this pie. I used Sally’s graham cracker crust here instead of the baked pie crust, and we LOVED it (and so much quicker!) My mom has deemed it her absolute favorite, and said it’s her standing birthday cake request. Definitely try this one if you’re on the fence!

  13. So I tried out this pie, and the filling was delicious. However, my filling didn’t actually set, and I’m not sure why. My only thought is that it should have been cooked longer after adding the eggs back into the pot. The only reason I say that is that when I make creme brûlée, I baked the mixture after tempering and then cool it in order for it to set. Any ideas as to what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Hi Jake! Thanks so much for trying my pie recipe. Typically, with pudding, you only cook it until it’s thickened and large bubbles burst on the surface. (Unlike crème brûlée, pudding is not baked.) Make sure you aren’t making any substitutions and the full fat canned coconut milk is crucial to it setting up.

  14. Hi Sally,
    Followed your instructions to the tee and the pie is delicious, but it wasn’t firm enough—a little runny. Do you know what I could’ve done wrong?

    Thanks Sally!

    1. Hi Jan! Did you make any substitutions? I know you said you followed the recipe. The egg yolks, canned coconut milk, and 1/4 cup cornstarch should thicken things up considerably!

      1. Jan Leyland says:

        Hi Sally.
        No, I didn’t substitute anything. However, I realized that I let the custard cool a little bit in the pan because my pie crust wasn’t completely cooled when I finished the custard. I let the custard cool for about 10 minutes and I’d stir it from time to time before I finally poured it into the pie crust (which turned out perfect). Would that do it? I’ve been racking my brain.

        Thanks for your reply, Sally!

  15. Cathi Schmidt says:

    I just made this coconut cream pie and it was amazing if I do say so myself. The filling turned out beautifully as well as the cream topping. The crust was very good, but I noticed it was very difficult to roll out. I am wondering if I did not let it chill long enough. It took a long time to bake and was a bit pale, but overall very good.

  16. Maria LeBlanc says:

    Made this the other day and it turned out amazing, even though I had to make my own half and half. I love the idea of the extra strips of dough for the shrinkage.

    Thanks

  17. Judith Novack says:

    I could only find unsweetened shredded coconut.
    Will this work?

    1. Yes. The pie will still be plenty sweet if subbing unsweetened shredded coconut.

  18. Could I substitute coconut milk creamer for the half and half. Looking for a dairy free option

    1. I’m unsure, I haven’t tried it before. Let me know how it turns out.

  19. I don’t usually make things from scratch but now that I have a ton of time during quarantine I can! This came out delicious! I love coconut and custard so coconut cream pie is one of my favorites. You have to be very patient when heating the milk mixture in the pot it took 10-15 minutes for mine to boil but it was worth it. I also just used a store bought crust. I will definitely make this again!

  20. I only have medium eggs- is it still only 4 yolks??

    I’m excited to try the recipe!

    1. Yolks from large eggs are best but in a pinch– yes, I would still only use 4 egg yolks if you have medium eggs.

  21. Laura Przekop says:

    I cannot find canned coconut milk is there a substitute?

    1. Hi Laura! Half-and-half or whole milk can work in a pinch, but the flavor and texture will change.

  22. I want to make this pie for Easter. In looking at my pantry, the only canned Coconut Milk I have is “A Taste of Thai Coconut Milk (Unsweetened First Pressing); total fat is 13 grams so I assume this is okay to use for the recipe? I have never cooked or baked with Coconut Milk before so I am not sure if the Unsweetened First Pressing means anything.

    1. Sure is! Give it a shake before using in the recipe.

  23. I made the crust and filling and put filling in crust and refrigerated it. I was planning on doing meringue tomorrow. Did I ruin it or can I still do meringue tomorrow.

  24. This recipe is bound to be a classic in my kitchen. With the first bite I was reminded of my Grandma’s coconut cream custard…only this was even better because it was an entire pie! I had to fight with my husband over the last piece. Of course I won because he is a gentleman. Thank you for this recipe and your informative videos. I’ve just discovered you your site and I am inspired to cook now that we are all forced to stay home.

  25. Sally,
    Thank you so very much for this recipe and tutorial! I just discovered your site on Friday as I decided at the last minute to make a coconut cream pie for Easter and did a google search, of course! ( I have never made one before and never really liked them until about 1 year ago, but my husband loves them and orders one at a restaurant whenever it is on the menu – with varying degrees of satisfaction). Your directions and notes made this very easy for me to follow and feel successful and best of all the pie was delicious! My husband said it was one of the best he had ever had. I loved it myself and I know I will make it often (more often than I should probably, given the fact that there are only two of us in the house anymore). The only change I made was using a refrigerated crust from the store due to time constraints, but I did follow your tutorial on blind baking, etc. I know I will be coming back to your website to try more of your recipes. Thank you!

  26. My daughter was going to make me a coconut cream pie for my birthday, she is the pie ! But it was never made, so I followed your recipe and now have a delicious homebaked pie!
    The crust was her recipe frozen and already made, but I blind baked according to your instructions. Am impressed that the egg tempering went perfectly! Can’t wait to whip the cream and sink into this little bit of sweet heaven! Thanks!

    1. I’m so happy you had great success with this recipe, Kate! I appreciate your positive feedback 🙂

    2. Dusan Sretenovic says:

      Hi, Sally! I am planning of making this for my boyfriend’s birthday (with your salted caramel and ganache for a Samoa cookie pie), but it needs to feed a lot of folks. Would it be easy to just double the recipe and do it in a 9×13 glass dish?

  27. Made this recipe for my husbands’s birthday…ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. My daughter has already requested if for her special day as well!

  28. Louise Nolan says:

    This pie was perfection! I did use coconut extract and think it adds so much to the pie, especially if you love coconut like I do! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Louise!

    2. Can this recipe be made into individual pies?

  29. The custard looks amazing but my husband prefers meringue to whipped cream. Can this recipe be made with meringue topping rather than whipped cream?

    1. Absolutely! I recommend adding it after the filling has set in the refrigerator.

    2. I’ve always been taught to put a meringue on a warm filling, bake and then chill it all together

  30. I have a store bought pie shell sitting in my freezer that I’d like to use for this recipe. Should I bake that shell then proceed with the rest of the recipe (make and pour filling, refrigerate, etc)? I know it would be much better with a homemade crust but I’ll do that next time!

    1. Yes, you can use your store bought crust.

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