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.
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.
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!
- Pie Crust – Pie crust shell must be fully blind baked. Don’t worry, I teach you how.
- Creamy Coconut Filling – We’ll make this on the stove.
- Whipped Cream – Have you made my homemade whipped cream before? It’s very simple. You can add toasted coconut on top, too.
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.
- 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.
- Roll it out, then fit into your 9-inch pie dish. Crimp or flute the edges.
- Chill the shaped pie crust for at least 30 minutes. This prevents shrinking. Remember that pie dough must be cold.
- 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!)
- Bake until the edges are lightly brown, about 15 minutes.
- Remove pie weights, then prick the bottom with a fork. This lets air escape the bottom.
- Return to oven until the entire pie shell is golden brown.
- 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.
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:
- Egg Yolks & Cornstarch: Egg yolks and cornstarch thicken the pie filling. Combine the two first, then temper into the cooking mixture.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sugar: Use 2/3 cup to sweeten the filling. The sweetened coconut also helps!
- Salt: A bit of salt adds flavor.
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut: Sweetened shredded coconut is soft, moist, and sweet, so you won’t find dry crunchy chunks inside the creamy filling.
- Butter: Add 2 Tablespoons of softened butter for a soft, buttery consistency.
- Vanilla Extract & Coconut Extract: Both add phenomenal flavor.
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.
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.
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 the meringue topping from my s’mores brownie cupcakes. You can toast it with a kitchen torch if desired. It tastes like marshmallows!
Coconut Cream Pie Success Tips
- Follow the recipe closely including using canned coconut milk, half-and-half, and tempering the egg yolks.
- Chill the pie crust inside the pie dish before blind baking. Pie dough must be cold.
- 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
Homemade Coconut Cream Pie
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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*
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Comments & Reviews
I tweaked a few things in that I one and a halfed the recipe because I like a good ratio of filling to whip cream and added some lime zest to the filling and also I have a couple of friends who are gluten-free and I I did ramekins with the filling and a dollop of whipped cream on top for them…. Huge hit all around!
Hi Sally! I was wondering if these could be made into small individual pies (in a cupcake pan)?
Hi Sarah, You can certainly make mini pies with this recipe. We haven’t tested this size so we’re unsure of the exact bake time for your crust, but it will be less (same oven temperature). Enjoy!
Thanks for this. I made it for today and it was perfect. Had to take a smidge just to make sure. 🙂
I Love you. Tutorial .
I made coconut cream pie for my husbands BD and I read the tips and followed the recipe word for word .But l obviously did something wrong. The coconut custard did not set up after 6 hours in the fridge,.
It tasted good But the custard did not Quiet set up like it was supposed to. Do you have any pointers for me , because I want to try it again
Hi Tahoe! Did you make any substitutes? Make sure to use full fat coconut milk from a can – it’s very thick. Using any other kind of coconut milk would cause the filling to not set.
Would it taste okay using a meringue instead of whipped cream? I want to make this for my husband for Father’s Day.
Hi Lule! 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!
Made this for Father’s Day…a week early on accident. We all loved it. Because I don’t live stringy coconut in pie, I did pulse it in the blender a little before adding to the filling. I usually make an all shortening crust, but I used your part butter-part shortening crust linked and it was great. No shrinkage on the crust and following the directions on the crust post I cooked it to perfection.
I made this today and it was perfect. I have never made a custard before and the directions were so easy to follow. My whole family loved it and I can’t wait to make it again.
Hi Sally, I made this recipe 2 times. It was a hit with my family and friends. But my filling came out a little runny both times. It did not hold together as yours looked on your video. I feel I followed the recipe exactly, so I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. should I substitute the half and half for heavy cream? I want to make this pie again for my next gathering but I don’t want it to be runny. Help!
Hi Eva, substituting heavy cream for the half-and-half will absolutely help. Shouldn’t have any issue firming up after that. Also, are you using canned coconut milk (often used for cooking) and not the beverage? Make sure it’s the canned variety.
I love coconut but not the texture of shredded coconut. Can you leave out the shredded coconut from the filling and substitute a different topping without much issue? I was going to use toasted sliced almonds for the topping to give a bit of texture missing from the shreds.
Hi Shelbi, the texture of the of pie will be off without any coconut in the filling — but how about giving it a rough chop to make smaller pieces? Toasted almonds would be delicious on the top!
Hi Sally, I made your Coconut cream pie yesterday, it was as wonderful as it looks on the website. I turned it into a coconut banana cream pie, it is divine! Thank you for the recipe and for the tips ❤️
Hi Sally. I’m about to make this pie and I’m wondering how to store it (assuming there is any left) with the whipped cream on top. Is there a way to keep it from weeping or should I just put the whipped cream on individual slices as I am serving. Thanks.
Hi Edie, you can cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Storing the whipped cream separate would definitely help!
Exceptional pie! My entire family devoured this pie proclaiming it a top favorite of all time. I used unsweetened coconut (Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flakes) and it was perfect; lightly sweet without that cloying sugary taste of store bought pies. This was simple to make although tempering the eggs is a must for those considering the recipe. This will be one of my go-to recipes which will excite my family. Thanks, Sally!
Can I substitute coconut cream for coconut milk?
Hi Jack, You could use the coconut cream to replace BOTH the coconut milk and the half and half but we haven’t tested it. Let us know what you try!
A great recipe! I made this for Mother’s Day and it was a hit!
I made this and it turned out amazing!! I am celiac and dairy free and can definitely say this is now one of my favourite things to make plus it was super easy! For the half and half I used the Silk coconut and oat half and half and swapped out the 4 egg yolks for 2 + 1 whole egg.
Thank you for sharing this recipe 🙂
This is absolutely the best pie I have ever eaten. I made it exactly as written. My guests were extremely pleased with the deliciousness. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I am making two more for a special event. Just LOVE the pie!
Quick question: Can you substitute whipping cream in the filling if you don’t have half and half?
Hi Madeleine, we do not recommend it. The pie filling will be too thick and heavy. For best results, we recommending sticking with half-and-half.
I made this pie exactly as directed and it came out perfect. It’s an easy recipe too. I did Sally’s flakey crust and I think k that’s the best crust recipe I’ve ever made. It didn’t get soggy but stayed crisp and tender. The filling is sublime, pure coconut flavor. The coconut milk and cornstarch are brilliant additions I’d not seen before. I’m so glad the crust recipe makes enough for two pies because I intend to make another coconut cream pie soon. Thank you!
Delicious! Made this for Easter and everyone LOVED it! Not at all overly sweet, a wonderful balance.
Made for Easter. This is so worth your time- texture of filling feels light (I know heavy cream, yolks…) but it is not gooey or heavy feeling at all. And the whipped cream topping is perfect. Better have people to share – because you’ll need a pillar of willpower not to just keep slicing another piece for yourself.
Absolutely delicious. I left out the coconut extract and enjoyed the subtle coconut flavor. A big hit for Easter!
just wondering, you always stress the temperature of the ingredients…. should the eggs and half and half be room temp or cold? …. or does it matter in this recipe?
Hi Diane! It doesn’t matter in this instance since you’re cooking the ingredients on the stove.
Is it possible to freeze ONLY the filling? I have half of the filling left because my crust shrunk and I don’t have another pie crust on hand. So I wanted to try to freeze just the filling and be able to use it at another time.
P.S. – I come to your site first whenever I am looking for a baking recipe. I’ve never made anything I didn’t love! THANK YOU!!
Can’t see why it would be an issue to freeze the filling!
Hi Sally- I was only able to find unsweetened shredded coconut. Should I add additional sugar or try to find the sweetened coconut?
Hi R, The pie is sweet enough already that unsweetened coconut won’t make much of a difference. Use the same amount without any other changes to the recipe. Enjoy!
Just wondering if this can be made with a different bottom so they become squares I can’t seem to make a good pie crust.
Hi Sandra, we haven’t tested this pie as bars but would love to hear what you try!
Hi Sally! I have a request for a sugar-free coconut cream pie. Any idea how to make your recipe sugar free?
Hi Carol! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!
Can I use regular milk instead of half & half?
I do almost exclusively sugar-free baking, as my spouse is diabetic. I’m going to be trying this recipe TODAY, using a sugar substitute ( I always use monkfruit extract.) I will post another reply with details of technique and success or failure!
SUCCESS!! Made a sugar-free version of this for a birthday yesterday and it was pretty darned scrumptious. Altered slightly a couple things for our household’s dietary restrictions, but the recipe is rock-solid so it can tolerate slight variations. Here’s what changed:
1. Subbed Monkfruit Extract (the golden type) for the sugar, 1:1 ratio, could have used even a bit less for my taste.
2. Used unsweetened shredded coconut, as I have to avoid the sulfites in the regular type.
3. Couldn’t get away with so much fat from regular coconut milk, but the “lite” kind seemed like far too little. So I put a can of each in a saucepan, warmed it till melted, whisked them together and split it in half again. Used the amount called for in the recipe and froze the rest for the next time.
4. Made the whipped cream (yum!) with almost no sweetener at all, but that’s just our preference.
None of these changes messed up the texture, which is perfect, or the flavor, which is amazing. this will be a go-to recipe from here on out. thanks to Sally’s!
I am always excited to hear abour successful sugar-free tweaks of Sally’s recipes!
Monkfruit… that’s what the Chinese call Luo Han Guo, isn’t it? I’m from Indonesia and here monkfruit extract is sold as cube-shaped herbal cough medicine to steep in hot water. Wouldn’t monkfruit darken the color of your pie significantly?
I have never heard of “lite” coconut milk, and I’m from a country whose cuisine uses a lot of coconut milk. Here we call it “thick coconut milk” or “thin coconut milk,” the latter which just contains more water and none of the industrial thickeners/stabilisers.
I am interested that you said this had no effect on the texture. I followed this recipe to the letter and used full fat everything, and my pie turned into a disastrous slurry. After a day of failing to set, I had to scoop the custard out of of my pie shell, re-cook it over a bain marie and dump a ton of cornstarch and agar (vegan gelatin) on it. I wonder if being in a tropical climate makes custard runnier the way it makes bread dough mushier. I feel like I always have to use more flour than suggested in an American recipe.
I think unsweetened whipped cream is a great idea! This pie is already plenty sweet, even if it’s less sweet than Sally’s cakes. I sweetened my whipped cream and as soon as I tasted it I was like, dang I should have skipped that extra tablespoon of sugar!
Can the egg/cornstarch mixture be added to the milk mixture and be heated all at the same time until thicken?
Hi Arnita, it’s important to follow the recipe as written in order to temper the eggs. This slowly raises the egg yolk’s temperature. The purpose of tempering is to prevent scrambling them.
I’ve made this pie several times it is great by far the best recipe ive tried hardest part is to not eat it myself I made this coconut cream and Sally’s blueberry pie for my grand daughters softball benefit it was a hit thank you sally
You could put it in a double boiler and whisk extremely thoroughly and VIGOROUSLY the entire cooking time, but the method used by the recipe is much less of a hassle and takes far less time.
I personally like to temper eggs by adding a few ladle fulls of the hot liquid into the egg mix very slowly while whisking like mad, but that’s a matter of preference and makes no difference to the end result.
Made this pie for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow because coconut pie is her favorite. Everything turned out perfect and the filling is amazing even if it was warm. P
Another perfect recipe! You are always my go- to when I want a dessert recipe. This was my first coconut cream pie, and it was heavenly!
Wow, I’ve made a few good coconut cream pies but this one is above them all! I used the crust recipe too, loved the buttery and flaky taste to it. I used to be a caregiver for an elderly man who loved my coconut cream pies. I wish he was still here to try this one!
Hi Sally. I used the same piping tip as you for the whipped cream, but mine came out as blobs instead of star shapped like yours. What did I do wrong?
Hi Brittany, were you able to watch the video on the recipe page to see how we pipe the whipped cream? Make sure the consistency of your whipped cream is correct. When you lift the mixer out of the bowl, a slightly sturdy peak should form. It won’t be liquid-y! Hope that helps!
This was perfect! This will be my go to recipe from now on! Everyone raved about the taste
Made this yesterday. It is REALLY GOOD. It is definitely the best I have ever tried. I would even add a smidge more coconut extract next time!
Also want to shout out to Sally for her method of blind baking crusts with the extra dough strips to prevent the sides from collapsing! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Baking recipes are normally very exact. Sally’s recipes are just that, exact. This recipe included in that category.
It’s a great pie. Try it, you will not be disappointed if you follow it exactly. Be sure to use FULL fat best quality coconut milk and coconut extract- not cheap. “Cheap is expensive”.