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The World's Best Coconut Cream Pie Recipe Ever

3 Incredibly Easy Secrets to a heavenly, perfect, not too sweet, not too stringy, hands down the most delicious coconut cream pie on earth.
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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 3 easy, yet incredible secrets to you.


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. 

World’s Best Coconut Cream Pie Secret #1

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.


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.


World’s Best Coconut Cream Pie Secret #2

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.


World’s Best Coconut Cream Pie Secret #3

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.


I was able to cut the chill time of the pie by an hour by cooling the custard in the snow! (Awesome Bonus Tip: 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.


Carina's World 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.)

Coconut Cream Pie 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.

Coconut Cream Pie Instructions

1. Whisk the yolks in a bowl, set aside. 

2. Stir cornstarch, sugar, salt together in a medium saucepan. 

3. Whisk in the milk carefully to avoid lumps. 

4. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat. 

5. Let it boil one minute, then add half the filling into the yolks, whisking to temper the yolks. 

6. Add the mixture back into the pan and cook over heat, boiling for another minute. 

7. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, butter, and coconut. 

8. Cool the filling slightly (about 30 minutes) and pour into a baked pie shell. 

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9. Cover custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until set.

To Toast Coconut for Coconut Cream Pie Topping: 

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. Important Tip: Don't walk away (I've burned many, many sheets of coconut walking away.) Cool before using as a topping.

Coconut Cream Pie Whipped Cream 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!

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


Coconut Cream Pie Recipe Video Instruction

Coconut Cream vs Coconut Milk: What's The difference?

When cooking with coconut ingredients, it’s vital to understand the difference between the various types of coconut components. Sweetened or unsweetened? Milk or cream? matters. And yes...if you don’t understand the difference and how those slight variations can and will affect your end results, you’ll be left an undesired mess. Below are the major differences between popular coconut baking ingredients.

Coconut Milk: 

Typically, most coconut milks are going to have a slightly thicker consistency compared to normal cow’s milk. The most popular brands will come in a can. In most recipes, if it asks for coconut milk, you’ll want to use the kind that come in a can. Coconut milk is made by blending the flesh of coconut with water (coconut water in most cases).

Coconut Cream: 

If looking for a creamier and thicker consistency, coconut cream is your better option. Coconut cream is NOT concentrated coconut milk. When making coconut milk, the cream will rise to the top of the mixture (especially when more coconut flesh is mixed with water). This is extracted and separated and is the foundation of coconut cream. As a substitute for coconut milk, simply dilute coconut cream with water (or coconut water) until desired consistency.

coconut cream for coconut cream pie

Coconut Water: 

This is the clear liquid (natural juice) found inside of a coconut. Coconut water has very little fat and is a popular alternative to using water. As a little bonus, coconut water is known to have antioxidant properties.

Cream Of Coconut: 

Warning: cream of coconut is NOT the same as coconut cream. They might look and sound similar, but one of the biggest difference is the added sugars to cream of coconut. Because of this reason, the two are NOT interchangeable.

coconut milk for coconut cream pie

How Do You Store Coconut Cream Pie?

Here are 3 crucial tips for properly storing coconut cream pie so you don’t have to worry if those precious leftovers are going to waste.

  1. Make sure the pie is completely cool before refrigeration. Heat + steam can assure you have a watered-down leftover coconut cream pie.
  2. Caution: Bacteria will start to grow if your coconut cream pie is stored at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. To be safe, you have around one hour until bacteria begins to grow.
  3. Most coconut cream pies will last 4 days in the fridge if you take the necessary steps mentioned above. But even more important is how to cover while in the refrigerator. Use aluminum foil or plastic wrap to cover. Here’s the key: cover loosely. 

Can You Freeze Coconut Cream Pie?

There are two answers to this question: 1) Yes, you can. 2) That doesn’t mean you should. A word of caution when it comes to freezing a coconut cream pie: it doesn’t even compare to a freshly made pie. If you are expecting to throw a cream pie into the freezer, thaw it out and have it contain the same consistency, texture, and flavor has a fresh pie, you will be greatly disappointed. We don’t recommend it (in fact, most professional bakers agree). With that said, in the event that you have to freeze your coconut cream pie, here are 5 steps to make sure you get the best results from a frozen coconut cream pie.

  1. Prepare the coconut cream filling as normal. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Transfer coconut cream filling into vacuum sealed bags.
  3. Seal and freeze pie filling ensuring that as much air as possible is vacuumed out of the bag. (will last up to 3 months).
  4. Prepare an unbaked pie crust as normal (do not bake)
  5. Wrap unbaked pie crust (will last up to 3 months) with aluminum to create a tight seal (crucial).

To use the frozen components of the coconut cream pie, make sure you thaw the filling in the fridge for at least 12 hours (do not thaw outside of the fridge). To use the unbaked frozen pie crust, thaw in the refrigerator for at least three hours and then bake normally according to recipe. Please prepare the whipped topping prior to serving. Do not attempt to freeze. 

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