21 Coconut Recipes That Are Completely Irresistible

Dive into the humble coconut’s versatility with recipes ranging from sweet indulgences to savory masterpieces.

June 15, 2023
By: Taylor Murray

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Our Best Ideas for Coconut

Coconut can be a polarizing flavor for some, especially those used to overly sweet imitation coconut flavor. But the magic of coconut is in its versatility, and plenty of both sweet and savory recipes highlight this magical fruit. Whether you crack a coconut open yourself or simply grab a bag of unsweeted flakes, you'll find that it's an easy ingredient to incorporate into many different dishes. Thick coconut milk can add a rich taste and texture to curries and smoothies, while coconut water is an excellent source of hydration (some call it nature’s sports drink). Crispy toasted coconut adds a nutty flavor to easy desserts and healthy weeknight dinners alike. From sweets like coconut macaroons to nourishing main courses, these delightful concoctions will have you craving more. Just take this decadent Mexican flan, for example. It's a show-stopping take on a classic preparation, with coconut milk and toasted, shredded coconut for maxium flavor.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Flan

Coconut Rice

Every cook needs a simple coconut rice recipe in their back pocket for creating tasty bowls. Pair this with roasted pork, grilled fish, or veggie stir fry to make a complete meal.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Rice

German Chocolate Cake With Coconut-Pecan Cajeta Frosting

German chocolate cake can be traced back to American baker Samuel German, who invented the recipe to sell baking chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate Company. Bobby Flay elevates the classic by incorporating homemade cajeta, or goat’s milk caramel, into the frosting (we promise, it’s worth the effort).

Get the Recipe: German Chocolate Cake With Coconut-Pecan Cajeta Frosting

Lentil Stew with Coconut and Madras Curry

A vegetarian lentil stew can be satisfying and fulfilling, especially when combined with robust Madras curry powder. Serve this dish with grilled naan bread dusted with a pinch of za’atar.

Get the Recipe: Lentil Stew with Coconut and Madras Curry

Coconut-Apricot Macaroons

Classic coconut macaroons are a favorite gluten-free treat. This recipe adds chopped dried apricots and lemon zest for an unexpectedly pleasing twist on the original.

Get the Recipe: Coconut-Apricot Macaroons

Turmeric Coconut Milk

Creamy, warm turmeric milk is a comforting drink that’s filled with anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes called golden milk or haldi doodh, this Ayurvedic recipe is the perfect thing on a cold day.

Get the Recipe: Turmeric Coconut Milk

Iced Italian Cream Cake

Experience the magic of coconut’s delicious flavor as it elevates dishes to new heights of culinary splendor, like in this iced Italian cream cake recipe. This traditional Southern-style dessert combines toasted pecans, shredded coconut and tangy buttermilk for a cake that’s full of flavor and gloriously crispy texture. A rich cream cheese frosting finishes it off, along with an extra sprinkling of toasted chopped pecans for good measure.

Get the Recipe: Iced Italian Cream Cake

Coconut Fish Sticks

Looking for a recipe that both kids and adults will enjoy? Everyone will love this coconut fish stick meal ready in just 35 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Fish Sticks

Toasted Coconut and Orange Icebox Cookies

These crisp icebox cookies are laced with fresh orange zest and toasted coconut for a fun twist on standard vanilla sugar cookies. Dipping them in dark chocolate elevates them from basic to elegant.

Get the Recipe: Toasted Coconut and Orange Icebox Cookies

Shrimp Coconut Curry

Coconut milk curries are a staple in many cuisines across South and Southeast Asia. This recipe is worth sourcing the right ingredients, which can be found at any Indian spice store.

Get the Recipe: Shrimp Coconut Curry

Coconut Pops

Cold, sweet, creamy and tart: These simple coconut pops take just 10 minutes to prep. A hint of lime juice and some full-fat coconut milk hit all the right points for a perfect summer dessert.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Pops

Coconut Chicken Soup

An aromatic Thai-inspired soup combines the rich taste of coconut milk with fragrant flavors of lime leaf, ginger and lemongrass. This recipe includes a flavorful homemade chicken stock how-to, or you can save a step and use a store-bought version.

Get the Recipe: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Chocolate-Coconut-Peanut Butter Layered Bites

There’s nothing better than the flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, except maybe adding a layer of sweet coconut. These fudge-like squares hold well in the refrigerator if you want the perfect cold dessert on a hot day.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate-Coconut-Peanut Butter Layered Bites

Meal Prep Chocolate and Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Who doesn’t want a healthy breakfast that tastes like dessert? This make-ahead chocolate and coconut baked oatmeal is full of healthful ingredients like chia seeds and toasted walnuts with just a touch of sweetness from maple syrup.

Get the Recipe: Meal Prep Chocolate and Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Coconut Cake

One of the best ways to eat coconut is in a classic, fluffy coconut cake. This recipe from Ina Garten hits all the right notes, including the tangy cream cheese frosting that keeps the dessert from being overly sweet.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Cake

Coconut Pancakes

Wake yourself up in the morning with a tropical, dairy-free delight. A topping of coconut milk yogurt and toasted coconut flakes add an extra boost of coconut flavor while keeping things light.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Pancakes

Coconut Smoothies

Transport yourself to a tropical beach without ever leaving your kitchen with this simple coconut smoothie recipe. The combination of coconut milk and pineapple is like a virgin piña colada, and the added Greek yogurt ensures you have enough protein to stay full for hours.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Smoothies

Coconut Tapioca

Sweet coconut milk and ripe mango are a match made in heaven. Chewy tapioca pearls add a nice texture reminiscent of Thai mango sticky rice.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Tapioca

Coconut Shrimp with Cilantro Rice

Crispy coconut shrimp is a well-loved classic across the country. This simple recipe uses a hot oven to recreate the flavor without a fryer, or you could always toss it in the air fryer for the ultimate crunchy texture.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Shrimp with Cilantro Rice

Macadamia Coconut Cookie Bars

Jazz up a packaged sugar cookie mix with some macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips and shredded coconut for an easy dessert full of tropical flavors. These bars bake in a dish, so all you have to do is cut and serve. No time-consuming dough ball rolling here!

Get the Recipe: Macadamia Coconut Cookie Bars

Pineapple-Coconut Smoothie

Coconut water is loaded with key vitamins and minerals, like potassium, sodium and magnesium, which makes it great for hydration. Blend it in a smoothie with chopped pineapple, fresh lime juice and a pinch of honey for the perfect fruity beverage.

Get the Recipe: Pineapple-Coconut Smoothie