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

slice of coconut cream pie on a plate

Coconut. You either love it or hate it.

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

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

Coconut cream pie

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

Video Tutorial: Coconut Cream Pie

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

3 Parts to Coconut Cream Pie

This pie is made completely from scratch!

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

Fully Blind Bake Pie Crust

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

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

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

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

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

Coconut Cream Pie Filling Ingredients

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

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

How to Make Coconut Cream Pie Filling

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

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

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

Coconut cream pie filling in saucepan

Perfect Make-Ahead Dessert!

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

Whipped cream in glass bowl

Homemade Whipped Cream

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

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

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

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

top of coconut cream pie zoomed in
Coconut cream pie slice

Coconut Cream Pie Success Tips

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

And if you dig creamy pie recipes…

Print
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Coconut cream pie slice on a plate

Homemade Coconut Cream Pie

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Whipped Cream

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

Keywords: coconut cream pie, pie

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Can lite coconut milk be used, for health reasons? Would there be something to add to help it set if using the lite coconut milk?

    1. Hi Kristy, full fat coconut milk is important to ensure that this pie will set correctly.

    2. I made this recipe yesterday but the pie is still liquidy. I used the goya coconut milk. Follwed all directions. How can I get it to gel?

    3. I too used the Goya canned coconut and it was NOT good.
      I see two others used it and ask about it but you hadn’t responded.
      Made you coconut cake which was wonderful but won’t make this again- waste of time. Was it tue Goya?
      Maybe Publix has a different brand? ( we live in a rural area- Walmart is the best we have.)

  2. Hi Sally!
    Just a couple quick questions… Wondering if you’ve ever used evaporated milk in place of the half and half and what the results were? Also, I assume you use the regular shredded coconut? Would the larger shavings be too big to put in the pie?
    Btw, I see you are a Wegman’s shopper, too! Don’t you just love that store?!
    Thanks so much and have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Bella, We haven’t tested this recipe with evaporated milk but other readers have told us they made the substitution. The filling may be a different consistency than intended but let us know if you try it. And yes, our whole team is a fan of Wegmans! 🙂

    2. I just made this two days ago and it was such a huge hit, I am preparing a second one. I did use a Pillsbury pie crust, but otherwise I stayed true to the recipe. I’m so new to the cooking game but this was so well explained it was a success on try one. I also made your banana cream pie, so far, they’re both winners!

  3. Can I use coconut milk fresh from the coconut instead of canned coconut ? Could I thicken it and use it?

    1. Hi Beverly, We don’t recommend it. Canned coconut milk very different. It’s a cooking ingredient, not a beverage, and is very thick (thicker than just reducing the fresh coconut milk!).

      1. Fabulous taste! I added frozen grated coconut o the filling and the taste was great….I, too, am a die hard coconut fan….but it didn’t thicken with this addition. Any hints as I’d like to perfect it?
        Thank you!
        Zora, Atlanta, Ga.

  4. Getting ready to make this pie again this year for Thanksgiving it was absolutely delicious!!! Is there a receipe card for this pie that I can print out.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Tricia! The gray box with the recipe in it is printable – just click the “print recipe” button. Enjoy!

      1. Found it! thanks so much! Pie turned out beautiful just like last year.

  5. I have made this pie twice and it worked fine. Today I tried and it fizzed up when I added the egg mixture to the milk instead of thickening. Twice. Help? Why would it do that?

    1. Hi Toni! How strange, could the coconut milk mixture on the stove be too hot when you’re adding the eggs? Make sure to turn the heat down to medium-low first.

    2. Can’t wait to make this pie. Do you add anything to stabilize the whipped cream or do you find it holds up well enough?

  6. Holy crap is this pie good! It’s complicated and takes awhile, but it is so worth it! There is a local restaurant here that I’ve always thought made the best coconut creme pie but that trophy now belongs to me thanks to this amazing recipe. I followed it to the letter along with all the little tips and didn’t change a thing. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m incredibly picky and really appreciate perfect food and this recipe is just that. Perfect!

    1. Definitely. The pie is sweet enough already that unsweetened coconut won’t make much of a difference. Use the same amount.

  7. How far in advance came the filling be made? ( with out putting it in the shell)

    1. Hi MaryAnn, It’s best to let this filling set inside the pie shell. But we have plenty of other make ahead tips in the recipe notes.

  8. I’ve been making “to die for” coconut cream pies for years. To the bakers asking about using fresh coconut “milk”, or reduced-fat or skim milk – most puddings from scratch need all the fat you can handle to firm-set and solidify. Tapping a fresh nut means no fat, little flavor, and a very translucent gel (not a true pudding) and may not set firm without extra cornstarch, other wise you risk a thin-set or runny pie. A pudding’s richness comes from the milk fat and egg yolks. Also, once a pudding’s structure is disturbed it’ll never reform solid; this makes a great pudding-in-a-cup without the calories of a pie shell!

  9. I made your coconut cream pie recipe for the first time & it is amazing! The BEST I have ever had. The pie crust is delicious too! This will be my go-to from now on! I can’t buy a coconut cream pie in the grocery store that’s better than this!

  10. Hi!

    I LOVE THIS PIE RECEIPE! I am trying to make this for my parents when they come visit but I don’t want to be overwhelmed with my family so I want to make this ahead of time. How long can the pie filling be refrigerated? Or is it better to freeze after it has cooled and then thaw it out in the fridge the day before? Would you prepare the whip cream the day of still? What is the best thaw process?

    1. Hi Rylee! See recipe notes for our recommend make-ahead instructions – enjoy!

  11. I made this pie yesterday.I followed the directions to a t, but when I took it out of the fridge after 31/2 hours It didn’t set well it was still runny. What can I do to correct it.

    1. Hi Linda, did you make any ingredient 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. you have to make sure you boil the pudding for at least 30 seconds to 1 min failure to do so will not allow your filling to set. and full milk is enough to make it set

  12. Hi Sally I love your recipes, especially this 1. I am wondering just how long would it take to thaw after frozen?

    1. Hi Angelina, We usually thaw this pie in the refrigerator overnight.

  13. Did try to make this today for a friend, your recipe looked so good, My question is I used 2 T unsalted Land of Lakes butter, the butter never s seemed to work in to filing, it did melt but it appears to stay on top of filling, does that make sense?

    1. Hi Ann, Are you using a whisk? Just keep mixing it and it will come together!

  14. While easy enough to make, step by step; and good looking, I found this pie to be a disappointment in flavor. A full can of coconut milk certainly added no coconut oomph. I’m still looking for that recipe.

  15. I had all the correct ingredients and followed the instructions to the letter and my custard never thickened enough to set up. Very disappointing recipe. This is not my first baking or custard experience either.

    1. you have to boil filling for full 30 seconds to one min in order for it to set

  16. I made a graham cracker/macadamia nut crust just because I prefer that type with pudding-like pies, but this custard was divine! Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfect!

  17. Can I make a meringue to put on top, and will it be okay going in the oven to brown the top?

    1. Hi Teresa, Baking meringue on top of this pie isn’t ideal since the pie’s filling should not be baked. But you can top the coconut cream pie with Homemade Marshmallow Creme (Meringue Frosting). It does not have to bake and it’s delicious!

  18. I added “Whip it ” (a Dr Oekter product) to the topping because I needed it to stand up well for a day . 3 days later it’s still perfect! Such a yummy pie recipe!

  19. I’m not usually a pie person but my husband wanted coconut cream pie for his birthday tonight and this was truly amazing

  20. I was hoping to make these into mini pies for a party tomorrow by baking the crusts in a muffin pan; I thought I could cut the crusts with a 3 or 3.5 inch cookie cutter and press them into the muffin pans with mini squares of parchment and beans. All I need to know is what temperature I should bake them at, and an estimate for how long. Any input would be much appreciated!

    1. Hi Erin, You can certainly make mini pies with this recipe. We haven’t tested this size so I’m unsure of the exact bake time for your crust, but it will be less (same oven temperature). Enjoy!

  21. Tried this today for the first time and I’m in love. Easy to follow and tasted amazing! Very sweet

  22. If I make this ahead (everything except the whipped cream), will the crust go soggy??

    1. Hi Erica! You can make this pie ahead of time – see recipe notes for details 🙂

  23. Made it for the first time last night.
    This was so quick and easy to put together (the hardest part was waiting for everything to chill & set) and the resulting pie is perfection.
    Seriously it is absolutely delicious and I will definitely be making this pie again and again.
    Thank you for always making things so clear and easy to follow.

  24. I made this for a friend, but it was so good that I made a 2nd one for myself. It was so easy, and so good!

  25. Made this for my sister-in-law’s birthday, she said it was “heavenly, delicious, amazing” – now I’ll have to make one for myself! It did make a beautiful pie!

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