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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 9. 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. 1. Would the whipped cream be better with a little bit of coconut?
    2. Can you tell me how and at what step to make the whipped cream more coconutty?
    3. How should I store the pie once whipped cream is applied?

    1. Hi Ben, If you wish you can substitute part of the vanilla extract in the whipped cream with coconut extract for even more coconut flavor! I suggest adding the whipped cream just before serving this pie.

  2. Followed the recipe exactly. Came out light, creamy and delicious. Crust was flaky and butter. Took most of the day but was well worth it. I ended up tripling the recipe to deliver to a few family members and they loved it as well. This is why I love Sally, her recipes are tested and perfected!

  3. Easy to follow and delicious!!! I’m so glad I used this recipe.

  4. Absolutely perfect!!! I made a large pie, so next time I’ll double the filling ingredients. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  5. This was amazing. My husband requested a coconut cream pie for Father’s Day so I gave your recipe a whirl. I was nervous because I’d never made a cream pie before, but this was actually pretty easy to make. He said it was the best pie he’s ever had. Thank you so much for an awesome recipe!

  6. Would Graham cracker pie shell work for this pie? I have no pie tins but I do have the store bought ready graham cracker pie shells.

    1. Absolutely! Make sure the graham cracker crust is completely baked and cooled. The pie may be a little more difficult to cut.

  7. Absolutely the BEST Coconut Cream Pie! My neighbor is always trying to get me to expand my list of goodies for people to choose from. This month he chose this pie. Oh my goodness. I could have just given him the crust and whipped cream! It was a tasty memory from my childhood. It is definitely going to be made for my household this weekend and put on the list. Thank you so much for the incredible recipes. Mixed berry cobbler with peaches is his choice next month!

  8. LOVE this recipe! I also couldn’t find full fat coconut milk so I used heavy cream vs half and half and it turned out perfect! This is a perfectly balanced recipe! Another home run from your recipe collection!

  9. I made this pie on Sunday the crust was exceptional and the pie filling as well however I would say it’s extremely sweet so next one I would break down the sugar in the filling to 1 3/4 cups of sugar I used almond and coconut essence was very delicious

  10. Best recipe yet that I have tried for coconut cream pie l have made it several times and it always gets rave reviews.

  11. This was just great! I added a little less coconut than called for and no coconut extract and it still had wonderful coconut flavor. Will definitely make this again!

  12. Hey Sally!
    This looks amazing. I’d love to use the custard as the filling for your Fluffy & Moist Coconut cake and was hoping you could give me some recommendations:
    – For a 3 layer cake (2 layers of custard), should I halve the amount of custard that
    this pie makes?
    – If I let the custard cool/set in a bowl, do you foresee any problems being able to
    spread it onto the cake with a frosting dam?
    Any other feedback / watchouts would be super helpful!!

    1. Hi Steph! I’m glad to help. Now I haven’t used this as a cake filling before, so these are my guesses. (1) Yes, I would halve the filling to yield an appropriate amount to fill the coconut cake. (2) Let the filling cool completely. It should spread just fine on the cooled cake layers.

  13. I followed the directions exactly. After cooking it on the stove, it was thick and tasted delicious. However it did not set so that it was thick when I cut it, rather runny, even after refrigerating it overnight. Maybe I let it cool down too much before I put it in the piecrust and in the refrigerator.
    I also would like to make a coconut cream pie that has a very high filling. Would that mean I just double the recipe and put it in more of a deep dish pie pan ?

    1. Hi Kath! For a thicker filling, you can try doubling it in a slightly deeper pie dish pan. (I haven’t tested this so I can’t be sure.) To thicken the filling itself, try replacing the half-and-half with heavy cream.

  14. This recipe is perfection! My brother in laws favorite pie is coconut cream. So I made him this recipe for his birthday. His grandma used to make him coconut cream pie and he is VERY picky about it. He LOVED this pie. He said it was the best he’s tasted since his grandma’s! I forgot to add the coconut extract to the custard, so I ended up adding about 1/4 teaspoon to the whip cream. Pretty sure he will be requesting it every year. I wish I could post a picture because it came out beautifully!

  15. Oh my pie-ness, I just found this website and thank you thank you for teaching me how to make pie crust that didn’t suck! I made the peach blueberry pie a week ago with good old Georgia peaches and I was just amazed that the crust came out so flaky and delish. So good. Coconut Cream is my mom’s favorite. I want to make it for her October birthday. During the Covid, I started a bored baking binge in hopes to hone my skills some. I love this site. Thank you!

  16. Made this for the first time last night and my dinner guests were raving about how good it was. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a coconut cream pie as much as this one.

  17. GoodDay Sally!
    I would love to try this recipe, all this coconut deliciousness is tempting.
    Although i have a question and it’s a crucial one as it concerns the half and half.
    I cannot get any half and half here in S.A so i need to ask: may i use another sort of cream?
    Will heavy cream or normal fresh cream (whipping cream) do?

    I am currently making your coconut cake and the leftover yolks will fit perfectly here.
    Awaiting your reply before going through with it.

    I hope all’s well with the family!
    Thank you to you and your crew.

    1. Hi Ariffa, You can use whipping cream in place of half and half for a thicker filling. Or you can try to use more of the canned coconut milk instead of half and half but it may not set up as thick. Let us know what you try!

      1. If you use normal fresh cream and cut it by a third with whole milk that would work just as well, so 2/3 cream to 1/3 whole milk 😀

  18. This tasted amazing! I did your all butter crust and it was a little tough to cut through. Do you think I over baked it? Thanks

    1. Hi Sofia! The crust may have been over-baked. It also could have been over-worked when preparing the dough and rolling it out. Be overly gentle with pie dough and try reducing the bake time by a few minutes.

  19. Sally, I love love love your recipes! Just made this- it was super easy and even though I haven’t tasted it YET I did sample the filling with my finger and so yummy. I made a 10 inch shell so I 1.5’d the recipe to maximize the filling to shell ratio:)

  20. I made it exactly as directed and the filling did not set. i am thinking of pouring out and reheat with more cornstarch just to try to save it. The filling tastes good but I don’t want to eat it with a spoon. I am a little concerned it will end up tasting too much cornstarch. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Sandra, Did you make any substitutions? The egg yolks, full fat canned coconut milk, and 1/4 cup cornstarch should thicken things up considerably! If you wish you try it again you can try replacing the half-and-half with heavy cream for a thicker filling.

    2. DAIRY FREE WORKS! I used Miiyokos vegan butter, and for the half and half I used equal parts oat milk and So Delicious plain vegan coconut yogurt. I also used an extra TBSP of cornstarch as I read a comment that dairy free might not thicken as much. With extra cornstarch the egg mixture was more like a paste, but it was alright once I started slowly tempering. In the end it was the perfect texture and set up amazingly! For the topping I used store bought vegan whipped topping but if I wasn’t lazy I would have made whipped coconut cream (tons of recipes online and easy). For the crust I was also lazy 🙂 and used store bought graham cracker crust. It was small and I thought I’d have too much filling but it was just right!

  21. I going to make this pie today, but instead of whipped cream I thought I would top it with your wonderful Swiss Meringue Buttercream. What do you think, overkill? Thanks for any suggestions.

  22. OH MY GOSH!! This was delicious. My husband loved it. Love your detailed instructions. I used your recipe for the pie crust also. Thanks. I will be trying your other recipes soon.

  23. Absolutely love this recipe! The filling is so full of flavor! I would not change a thing!! My new go to coconut cream pie recipe….I did use my own pie crust recipe.

  24. Can I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk???? If so do I still use half and half in it???

    1. Hi Mary, You can try using the coconut cream to replace BOTH the coconut milk and the half and half but we haven’t tested it. Let us know how it turns out!

  25. THIS! This recipe was PERFECTION! I made is exactly as written and it came out perfect and delicious. Due to preference I used a graham cracker crust. But the filling was set perfectly-creamy yet set, and the filling had a very natural coconut flavor. I’d give it more than five stars if I could!

  26. I have used this recipe a number of time and have not used the extra flavour, it is a great tasting recipe and now when searching for a recipe to try I look for Sally first. Thank you for sharing it.

  27. Hi Sally!

    It’s been a couple years now that I’ve been fan girl-ing () on your recipes and this coconut cream pie has drawn me to finally comment and tell you how AMAZING you are! First things first, my 7 year old daughter and I are on our 3rd round of coconut cream pie baking in the last month due to all the rave reviews from neighbors and friends. We followed it exactly as written including your pie crust recipe which we’ve LOVED and enjoyed getting the hang of over all this time spent at home these last few months. The whipped topping is just lovely and we’re planning to make a little extra tonight to add to our cinnamon rolls for tomorrow, Thanksgiving morning. Thank you for drawing me into baking and cooking with all your wonderful and helpful tips, pictures, and videos. I appreciate the time you put into all this to share with us ✨✨

  28. I was hesitant to try out a coconut recipe other than my 40 year favorite. I was not disappointed. It was delicious and easy too!!

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