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.

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 – 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 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 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
  • 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 375°F (190°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 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

327 Comments

  1. First time making a coconut cream pie, but I’ve made a ton of pies and this is by far the best pie I’ve ever made! I made it for my boyfriend and I’s Thanksgiving and I’m pretty sure we’ll devour the whole thing by the end of the weekend! Glad we didn’t have to share 😉 I did not add coconut extract and I lightly toasted sweetened coconut flakes for garnish. I also cheated and used Pillsbury refrigerated crust and it was delicious. (Next time I’ll make your crust)

  2. Coconut cream pie is my husband’s favorite, but no one else in the house likes it (myself included!). For Thanksgiving with just the four of us, I told him I’d make whatever dessert he wanted. He LOVED this pie. Excellent recipe. He’s also diabetic, so to ensure he could REALLY enjoy the pie, I substituted the sugar in the pie and whipped cream with Splenda, which worked beautifully. I’m so happy because usually you can’t really just sub in Splenda for baked goods. I also used unsweetened coconut and Land o Lakes fat free half and half (because that’s what we usually buy), and both of those subs worked out too. I don’t usually make any substitutions, but I researched these first and I’m so happy they worked for him. Oh, I also ran the filling through a strainer before adding the coconut due to a few eggy bits, oops. Easy save though!

  3. This is the best! The filling was the perfect amount of sweetness and had a great texture. It was a huge hit with everyone!

  4. Hi Sally!
    Any suggestion on when to add the whipped cream if the pie is being transported? Or can I add anything to the whipped cream to make it more stable?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Anne! The whipped cream will hold up on the pie for a few days if refrigerated, but if at all possible, it would be best to wait until you arrive to add the whipped cream. Or you can certainly add a stabilizer such as gelatin. Hope this helps!

  5. Jennifer McPeak says:

    Hi! This looks amazing. I want to make it for my dad’s birthday (his fave pie) but have a question about the homemade whipped cream. How do you get the whipped cream to hold up for more than a couple of hours? There is no way this pie is going to be eaten in one sitting, so how does the topping not separate and deflate into a mess when the leftovers are sitting in the fridge for a few days? Thanks in advance for any tips for how to get homemade whipped cream to last because the taste is far superior to commercial stuff!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, When refrigerated this whipped cream won’t deflate on the pie after a couple of days. Usually with leftovers are are not quite as concerned with the looks, so if you pipe it on it may lose its shape a bit but it will still taste great! That said, feel free to add a stabilizer such as gelatin to your whipped cream.

  6. I made this for my father-in-law for Thanksgiving per his request. CCP is his favorite and my mother-in-law would make it every year just for him. She passed away in March and so I was determined to find the Best CCP for him. It was also the first time ever making pie. It was very simple and easy to follow your directions.
    Needless to say- HE LOVED IT!
    And so did everyone who tried it. I was told to keep this recipe for all future pies! Thank you!

  7. Hi. I love this recipe it is delicious. I am wondering if it could be turned into a banana cream pie. Leave out the shredded coconut and coconut extract. Could I replace it with banana extract? Could I replace the coconut milk with anything else? The pudding base is just so good and fits a 9 inch pie great. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

  8. Hi. I love this recipe it is delicious. I am wondering if it could be turned into a banana cream pie. Leave out the shredded coconut and coconut extract. Could I replace it with banana extract? Could I replace the coconut milk with anything else? The pudding base is just so good and fits a 9 inch pie great. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Abby, I would recommend using my Banana Cream Pie recipe instead!

  9. So good! I made this for a pie bar at my cousin’s wedding (and made one for myself while I was at it), and while I didn’t attend, I’m told it was the first to go. I’ve even had several people say it’s haunted them ever since
    I added 1/4 tsp coconut extract to the whipped cream and thought it was a good addition.
    Also I used a can of coconut cream, since I had it on hand, and I would reccomend subbing part of the half and half for milk if that’s what you’re working with, too. The super fatty coconut cream makes the pie a little too thick, but clearly that wasn’t a deal breaker. 10/10.

  10. Louise Breves says:

    This recipe turned out beautiful !! When we go to CA I always like to eat at Arnold Palmers restaurant in La Quinta. Their coconut cream pie is so good. I have never had a coconut cream pie anywhere else as good as that restaurant. The other day I wanted to make a coconut cream pie so naturally I checked Sally’s Baking addition for a recipe. I make this pie today and it is fabulous! I just had a piece and I must say it’s as good as Arnold Palmers Restaurant. Love your recipe!!! Thank you so much for putting it on your blog.

  11. This pie is the absolute best. The instructions are so easy to follow and it’s come out perfect each time I have made it. Definitely my go to recipe! It is delicious with and without the coconut extract.

  12. Gwyn Caldwell says:

    I made this recipe for some out of town guests. They said it was “The best coconut cream pie they had ever had.” and I have to agree. It was so delicious. I’m looking forward to making it again and again. One of my new staples in the cupboard is a couple cans of coconut milk.
    Also, I have tried to many recipes for pie crust, I lost count. I am now using yours and after watching your video, I know what I was doing wrong. I just wish it came out a little flakier – how do I accomplish that?

  13. Followed this recipe to a T – except I used Jeremy Scheck’s (from Tiktok) pie crust recipe, and I swapped sweetened shredded coconut for unsweetened. This was the best pie I have ever made in my life! I recommend using unsweetened shredded coconut, as I felt the pie was totally sweet enough as is. Highly recommend!

  14. Karen Robertson says:

    I made this pie today for my husbands birthday. Coconut cream is his favorite. My pie crust shrunk quite a bit even though I chilled it longer than required. But oh my goodness, it was awesome. Best pie crust and coconut cream pie I have ever had. I am a faithful follower of yours now Sally. I have made a few of your recipes through this pandemic and your videos and instructions are extremely helpful. Thank you for doing all this for us! I am going to try some of the items on your baking bucket list!

    1. My pie crust shrunk a lot too but it’s chilling now, and can’t wait to dig in – smells yummy

  15. Creamy, sweet, coconutty….delicious. As always read all the notes and tips. Watch the video so that when you are making it, you have a visual of what each step should look like. The contrast of the crust with the thick creamy coconut filling and light whipped cream is the perfect bite. Plan ahead for this one since the filling needs to set for a few hours. Enjoy…you won’t be disappointed.

  16. Best coconut cream pie I’ve ever made, but not the best I’ve ever had…
    I followed the recipe closely, but used frozen pie pastry because I was lazy. Here are some recommendations:
    – don’t be lazy, do the homemade crust
    – don’t over (blind) bake the crust
    – find the best, freshest coconut and coconut milk you can
    – spend the $3 on some coconut extract
    – add the browned, shredded coconut on top for the texture

    Overall, the recipe is well organized and easy to follow, and the pie was very good!

  17. I love your recipes because the instructions are clear enough for my 8-year-old to follow and the result is always delicious!! This pie was worth testing my daughter’s patience for 🙂 Delicious!!!

  18. Delish! I am not a Baker, although at 70 I’m learning and loving it. My husband is a Diabetic and on insulin 4 times a day. So I have learned several substitutes for sugar and so on. LIke Monk sugar, made by the Monks but NOT sugar. Very sweet too! First time making a pudding from scratch and my eggs did NOT scramble lol. PHEW!. Also, I decided to use crumbled graham crackers as a Topper and of course whip cream. It quenches our sweet tooth just enough and allows for less fat (butter, etc). Thank you jojo

  19. Can I use heavy cream in the pie filling instead of half & half?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diane, For a thicker filling you can try replacing the half-and-half with heavy cream.

      1. Thank you. I added an extra egg yolk too since ours were small. I think it came out great! Fingers crossed it tastes as good as it looks.

    2. I used evaporated milk and it turned out perfect!! Delicious recipe.

  20. My husband enjoyed the pie. It’s his favorite. The only the crust was a little tough but tasty.

  21. Has anyone used an Emile Henry 9 inch pie plate with this recipe? It’s much deeper than my Pyrex, and I think I’ll need to scale up the filling. If you’ve done this, could you reply with the ingredient measurements? Thanks.

    1. That’s the pie plate I use. I didn’t scale up the recipe but you totally could. I added more whipped cream to fill the pie to the top and it was delicious.

  22. Can you make the filling and whipped cream ahead of time and refrigerate and then assemble the pie just before serving so the crust doesn’t get soggy?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi there! We haven’t has any issues with the crust getting soggy in the blind baked crust. It’s best to allow the filling to set in the pie crust. We include plenty of make ahead options in the recipe notes as well!

  23. Made this recipe for my boyfriends parents and it came out delicious! His dad’s favorite pie is coconut cream and he said it was really good. Definitely never using another recipe when is come to coconut cream pie! Follow this to a T and you will not fail!

  24. Ronaele Novotny says:

    I made this pie for the first time on Saturday. I am a coconut baked-goods fanatic, so I’ve made and eaten many coconut desserts over the years. Your coconut pie filling IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST I’VE EVER TASTED!!! The custard was easy and quick to make. And with both the coconut milk and coconut extract, I was in coconut heaven! The only issue I had is that the pie didn’t set up properly and spread out like custard when I sliced the pie. Do you think it could have been the brand of coconut milk? Any other ideas of what prevented a perfect pie?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ronaele! We’re so glad you loved this pie! Using full fat canned coconut milk is crucial to this recipe setting up.

  25. Thank you, Sally! This recipe is amazing!
    I haven’t been able to find coconut pudding at the grocery store. I need it to fill a four layer coconut cake. Out of desperation, I decided to make my own. I’ll be using this recipe from here on for my cake filling.
    I tried it with coconut cream, duck eggs, and half & half my first try. That failed. I think it was because of the coconut cream. The second try was perfect with chicken eggs, coconut milk, and all cream. It was perfectly thick for the cake layers.

  26. I have made this pie now at least 12 times. I never was a huge coconut fan, but this pie…oh my! It is so perfect just as is. I actually made 8 of these pies for Thanksgiving for sale in my neighborhood. Yes, more popular than pumpkin pie. Who knew? Thank you Sally! I also made the French Silk pie which was delish and runner up to most sold. My mom, who “likes pies but not the crust”, actually said the crust that I made using your recipe was the best she ever had.

  27. Amazing. My husband would’ve finished off the whole thing if I’d let him.

    Here in Hong Kong, it’s hard to find shredded coconut, so I used unsweetened desiccated coconut and I think it’s actually a better texture. But everything else I followed exactly. Will definitely make this one again. My piping tips are on the way so it will be much prettier next time!

  28. Has anyone made this pie with a graham cracker crust?

    1. I haven’t made this specific recipe with one but usually do coconut cream pies with graham cracker crusts and love them!

  29. Will this recipe work if I use a grahm cracker crust instead?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! Make sure the graham cracker crust is completely baked and cooled. Bake for about 12-15 minutes at 300°F The pie may be a little more difficult to cut.

  30. Carol Davis says:

    Can we add pineapple to the filling? My father in law loves coconut pineapple.

    1. Hi Carol, we haven’t tested the recipe with the addition of pineapple. I fear it may be too wet and the filling won’t set properly. If you try that addition, let us know how it goes.

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