Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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The World’s Best Coconut Cream Pie Recipe Ever

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The World’s Best Coconut Cream Pie Recipe Ever

This is the world’s best coconut cream pie recipe ever. I’ve perfected this recipe over the past decade until it’s become my most-requested pie. It’s unreal. And I’m spilling the secrets to you.

Seriously the world's best coconut cream pie recipe ever from @todaysmama and @jetsetcarina

I love coconut cream pie, but I get frustrated with the overly-sweet, stringy, and fake tasting pies that people kept trying to pass off. Some horrible people even put almond extract in their coconut pies–and you need to stop that, it’s over the line. Shut that down.

I decided to make my own recipe with tons of real coconut flavor, without all the pitfalls, and that starts with coconut milk instead of dairy milk.

Seriously the world's best coconut cream pie recipe ever on TodaysMama.com

The coconut milk adds a subtle, true coconut flavor that helps you avoid the fake coconut taste that ruins too many pies. (Make sure it’s coconut milk and not cream of coconut.) The milk and coconut solids usually separate while in the can, so you’ll need to whisk it together before adding it to the recipe. Some people might use all coconut milk, but I find that some dairy milk adds a balance of taste and flavor.

difference between sweetened and shredded coconut for coconut cream pie

My second secret? Using finely shredded unsweetened coconut instead of the regular sugared, flaked kind. I find mine at natural food stores or at grocers with great bulk sections, like Winco. It’s unsweetened and more finely cut, avoiding a hallmark of inferior coconut pies: stringy coconut. You can use regular flaked coconut, but try putting it through the food processor to break it up, and then reduce the amount of sugar in the pie.

ingredients for coconut cream pie

Cooling the custard properly before pouring it in the blind-baked crust will help it retain a crisp shell. Don’t chill it all the way to set, you want it barely warm, yet still pourable, when you put it in the crust. Did I use the snow on my back porch to help cool the custard? You bet I did.

Coconut Cream Pie Filling Cooling in Snow

I was able to cut the chill time of the pie by an hour by cooling the custard in the snow! (Then again, I had to stir it the whole time so it wouldn’t get a skin, so I probably didn’t save much.) You can just cover it with plastic wrap and let it cool down for 30 minutes or so.

Sometimes, I will even put a tablespoon or two of the unsweetened coconut into the pie crust; it’s your pie, you do what you want.

world's best coconut cream pie recipe ever

Carina’s Best Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

Coconut Custard Filling:
4 egg yolks
1/3 c. plus 2 tsp cornstarch
3 cups of whole milk (1 can of coconut milk + enough milk to equal 3 cups)
3/4 c sugar, plus 1 TBL
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBL butter
1 c shredded coconut*

1 baked pie shell, 9 or 10″ (I use the Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Pie Crust recipe, the one with vodka.)

Topping:
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1.5 cups whipping cream
1/3 c sugar
3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin (opt)

*I prefer unsweetened, finely ground coconut, but if all you have is sweetened flaked, cut the sugar to a 1/2 cup. I like to process the coconut in a food processor so that it’s fine instead of stringy.

Whisk the yolks in a bowl, set aside. Stir cornstarch, sugar, salt together in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk carefully to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat. Let it boil one minute, then add half the filling into the yolks, whisking to temper the yolks. Add the mixture back into the pan and cook over heat, boiling for another minute. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, butter, and coconut. Cool the filling slightly (about 30 minutes) and pour into a baked pie shell. Cover custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until set.

To toast coconut: spread sweetened, flaked coconut over a cookie sheet and put into a 400 degree oven. Stir occasionally and shake around until coconut is golden brown. Don’t walk away (I’ve burned many, many sheets of coconut walking away.) Cool before using as a topping.

Beat the cream and sugar together until whipped to soft peaks, spread over the pie. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

–If you want to keep the pie for a couple days, it’s best to stabilize your whipping cream before you beat it. Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold cream. Allow it to bloom (just hang out for about 5 minutes) and then nuke the mixture for about 20 seconds (watch it closely!) to melt the gelatin and cream together. Stir with a fork until combined, warming it as needed until melted. Add the mixture in a slow stream into the rest of the whipping cream, and finish beating the cream to soft peaks.

Look! I saved the last bite for you!

last bite of coconut cream pie

World’s best coconut cream pie recipe ever? I think so.

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Mini Key Lime Pies with Gingersnap Crusts

Apple Cider Donuts

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Comments (40)

  1. Marilyn Schmidt 12/21/2014 at 1:08 pm

    I came for the coconut milk pie but signed up because of Carina’s statement “This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction.” You are a funny lady PLUS know your way around the kitchen so this is a win win for me.

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  4. Larissa 12/02/2014 at 4:00 pm

    Made two for thanksgiving events this year and neither set up properly at all. More like a soft pudding, good taste though. Do I need to boil at higher temperatures or boil longer? Ide love to try again and hope for a better result!

  5. Kathy 11/24/2014 at 7:01 pm

    Has anyone tried making this with just coconut milk?

  6. margaret 11/03/2014 at 10:45 am

    Forgot to comment on the cream part of the pie. Mine set up perfectly, not runny at all. Was very happy with this part because I didn’t want it to be too soft and fall apart when I cut it…..it didn’t do that!

  7. margaret 11/03/2014 at 10:43 am

    Made this for the first time for a dinner party and it was a big hit. The only comment I can make is that the whipping cream didn’t hold as stiff as I would have liked, so even for the same day serving I would add the gelatin next time. Truly delicious!!

  8. susan 10/21/2014 at 4:56 am

    Great recipe! Loved it , made two pies for a 90th birthday. Every one love them.

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  10. Kristi 10/09/2014 at 10:22 am

    Mine was runny! Taste awesome but runny. Not a total mess runny, but loser than it should be. Any ideas as to why? I’m at a loss…. Never cut into it till it sat overnight. Thanks!

  11. Chassidy 09/27/2014 at 5:05 pm

    I tried this today.. And it was an epic fail:(. It was runny?? What did I do wrong? Also.. Which whipping cream do you use??

  12. Judy Samples 09/25/2014 at 6:12 pm

    I am going to share this because of the ingredients. Some of us are allergic to sulfites so I always try to find frozen coconut (Birdseye) for recipes where it will work and if it doesn’t work I don’t use the recipe. It is horrible to take one bite of anything and find that instantly you can’t breath through your nose. Usually it is in dried fruits to preserve color, instant mashed potatoes and too many things to mention. If you eat anything and immediately get a stuffed up nose read the ingredients and beware!

  13. Annietourigny 09/25/2014 at 7:51 am

    Mercie pour recette coco ut

  14. Sandra 09/22/2014 at 12:21 pm

    Looks great! Coconut Cream Pie was my dad’s favorite pie!

  15. Mike 09/17/2014 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for an awesome recipe Carina…I’m going to make this for my nieces birthday! I’ll let you know how I make out!

    Mke

  16. Donna Withenshaw 08/30/2014 at 6:05 pm

    I love the coconut cream pie. An absolutely wonderful dessert. My question is can it be frozen & for bow long? Another favourite is lemon meringue pies. I’m not get at doing meringue without it shrinking an deflating. Any suggestions to keep the volume & does it freeze? When I bake I like to make extras for ‘unexpected company’. Thanks so much, Donna

  17. nita 08/30/2014 at 2:21 am

    After pouring filling in crust and covering custard with plastic wrap. can ileave it in fridge overnite and and topping next day?

  18. Heather 08/11/2014 at 6:28 am

    Hi Carina – Thank you, thank you for this excellent recipe!! My husbands family adore Coconut Cream Pie – made it for our annual BBQ this weekend and they all LOVED it!! I’m stilling getting e-mails today raving over that pie. Your tips were most helpful and really made the difference!
    Heather

  19. nancy 07/30/2014 at 11:35 am

    I love love coconut pie. So you can bet I will be making this pie this weekend.

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  21. Melva 02/26/2014 at 5:42 pm

    Is that a total of 6 cans of milk (coconut,dairy) and is the butter supposed to be melted?

    • Carina 09/18/2014 at 12:21 am

      It’s a total of 3 cups of milk. Get a 4 cup measuring bowl, pour in the coconut milk, then add more milk until you have a total of 3 cups.

  22. lisa 02/25/2014 at 6:14 pm

    Your comments about almond flavoring cracked me up!! I will be making this for church.I LUV coconut and attempted a coconut custard pie a few months ago…It was a flop. The cheap sweet coconut I purchased had hard candy – like lumps of sugar (from being on the shelf too long?) and could break your teeth!! It also came out quite flat and about 1/2 inch thick! UGH. So I will give this a try and cross my fingers!

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  24. Jennifer 11/30/2013 at 3:52 pm

    Made the pie for a dinner party. It came out beautifully and is delicious!!

  25. Angela 11/15/2013 at 10:14 am

    Wow! This truly is a wonderful tasting filling. I’m not sure how much is going to be left to put in the pie!

  26. Stacey 09/13/2013 at 2:03 pm

    I made this today and wanted a bit more coconut flavour so I added 2 tbsp of solid coconut oil into the custard while it was still hot. Worked perfectly!! Thanks for sharing

  27. Alissa 06/30/2013 at 1:00 am

    Tried the recipe tonight and it’s delicious! Thanks for sharing trade secrets. I folded in the shredded coconut after the butter and vanilla. What’s your technique?

  28. Lisa 06/18/2013 at 10:32 am

    OMG it does look amazing, and I think I can do this! I am not a good baker and I find I have to watch recipes to bake as my convection seems to over do my baking. I will go and buy that coconut milk, but since we are a dairy free family I’m wondering if I should use just coconut milk in a carton, besides the Thai coconut milk you listed in a can. I might make a gingersnap crust. Thanks…

    • Carina 06/18/2013 at 11:31 am

      Hey Lisa, I wouldn’t use the coconut milk in the carton because it’s watered down stuff, plus additives, from the one in the can.

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  30. Anna 03/08/2013 at 9:14 pm

    Looks awesome! As of late I have been making my coconut cream pie in a grahm cracker crust….and it’s a delicious alternative. :)

  31. Bethany 02/25/2013 at 9:34 pm

    Mmm, I’ll have to try this soon. I usually pass by the coconut pie because it is invariably stringy. Great “duh” workaround!

  32. Jasmine 02/25/2013 at 3:30 pm

    I can’t wait to try this Carina! One question for you. I can’t have dairy. Think this would turn out okay with a milk substitute like rice milk or soy milk??

  33. Tani sherwood 02/25/2013 at 12:26 pm

    My grandmother made such a good coconut pie and I have been craving it lately. I am so glad you posted this. I only like a handful of pies and this will hopefully feel that empty spot… the one in my heart.

  34. Toniasarah 02/25/2013 at 12:01 pm

    I had a bad pie crust experience over thanksgiving and I’m afraid to go back. I used butter rather than lard which the recipe said would make it even more flavorful and just as flakey. But basically, after I put the dough in the pie dish and placed it into the hot oven the butter in the crust immediately softened and the dough slide into the bottom of the pie dish leaving nothing but a lumpy pile of my hopes and dreams.
    Suggestions?

    • Carina 02/25/2013 at 12:10 pm

      Yes! First, don’t be scared of lard, it’s wonderful. The best pie crusts use a mix of butter for flavor and flakiness, and lard or shortening for tenderness. The number one secret of pie crust is to keep it cold, cold, cold. The ingredients must be cold. The liquid you add must be ice cold. The dough must be chilled after making. I will often make the pie crust the day before and let it hang in the fridge, or freeze it well-wrapped for several months. Once you line the pie plate with the dough, freeze it for at least 30 minutes, longer is even better. Then pop directly into the bottom rack of the oven set at 425.

      I highly recommend using the cook’s illustrated vodka pie recipe. The vodka burns out, but makes the dough easy to work with and super forgiving since the alcohol doesn’t activate the glutens in the flour. You can find it by Googling it.

  35. Blue 02/25/2013 at 11:01 am

    Oh. My!

    I would eat food with coconut every day of my life if I had my way. Curries, pies, beverages, etc. I just love them all. And so I have Pinned this to my pinterest wall and you can bet I will be making it soon. If I hadn’t already baked cake today, I’d make it right now. Thanks! ♥

  36. Amy 02/25/2013 at 10:42 am

    so lovely and scrumptious! of course, you had me at coconut. If it were up to me, all of heaven will be made of coconut

    • Miggy 02/25/2013 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you. I owe you. BIG TIME.

      (I have everything I need to make this delicacy right now except the cream….which is weird because I almost always have cream on hand. crap.).