Coconut Cream Pie Recipe (2024)

By Kim Severson

Coconut Cream Pie Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour, plus chilling time
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Coconut cream pie can assume all kinds of variations, with coconut extracts or coconut cream added to enhance the flavor. My mother’s version, which I grew up eating, is a more subtle, custardy version, with a balance of coconut and vanilla. It uses an old-fashioned technique called scalding, popular in the days before milk was pasteurized. Here it is used to change the texture of the milk and enhance its flavor. You can use the same sweetened, untoasted coconut to top the pie that you use in the filling, but the unsweetened, toasted coconut lends some nutty depth.

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Yield:8 servings

  • 1Prepared 9-inch pie shell
  • For the Filling

    • 2cups milk
    • 3egg yolks
    • ½cup/100 grams sugar
    • ½teaspoon salt
    • tablespoons/20 grams cornstarch
    • 1tablespoon butter, melted
    • ½teaspoon vanilla
    • 1cup/98 grams sweetened, flaked coconut

    For the Meringue

    • ½cup/49 grams unsweetened coconut
    • 3egg whites
    • ¼teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 6tablespoons/75 grams sugar

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

378 calories; 20 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 45 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 26 grams sugars; 6 grams protein; 313 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Coconut Cream Pie Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Partially blind-bake the pie shell: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out chilled pie dough and place in a 9-inch pie pan. (Glass is best.) Trim and flute or crimp the edges, pierce the bottom crust with a fork 6 or 8 times, then cover with a large square of parchment or foil. It should hang over the edges. Carefully pour 2 or 3 cups of dried beans or pie weights onto the foil or parchment, and spread evenly so they reach up the sides of the pie. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. If crust edges are browning too quickly, make a little collar from foil and cover for remaining baking time.

  2. Make the filling: Scald milk by placing it in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until it just begins to foam and bubble around the edges. Set aside to let cool slightly. In the top of a double boiler, or in another saucepan that will fit over a pot of boiling water, beat together egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Stir in melted butter, then add the milk.

  3. Step


    Place the saucepan over the boiling water and whisk until the mixture thickens. This will take 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and sweetened coconut until well distributed. Pour into the pie shell.

  4. Step


    Make the meringue: Toast the unsweetened coconut lightly in a small sauté pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Set aside. In a stand mixer or with a bowl and whisk, mix egg whites and cream of tartar until the mixture is foamy. If using a stand mixer, keep speed on medium. Then, turn mixer to high and gradually pour in sugar, a tablespoon at a time. If whisking, make sure sugar is dissolved before each new addition of sugar. Keep beating until the meringue is glossy and forms soft peaks. Be careful not to whip into stiff peaks.

  5. Step


    Pour the meringue over the pie filling. Using a spatula (an offset version works well), scoot the meringue to the edge of the crust so it forms a seal. Swirl the spatula through the rest of the meringue, distributing it evenly and dipping the edge of the spatula across the top of the meringue to make little peaks. Sprinkle evenly with the unsweetened coconut.

  6. Step


    Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.



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Cooking Notes


My partner is from Louisiana, and his mother made a life-defining coconut cream pie--although with whipped cream, rather than meringue as the final layer.
In her honor, and based on Kim's southern bona fides, he decided to give this a whirl, and it is superb! Really delicious. Practically had folks licking their plates.

We made one more variation, though, and that was to use a Nilla wafer crumb crust rather than dough, following Maida Heatter's fail-safe directions. A complete sugar high!

John Duncan

Nice soft, creamy dessert after the Haitian Pork Griot. The filling may seem thin after cooking for 5 minutes over the double boiler, but it thickens in baking and cooling off before serving.


I agree with previous comments. Turn down the heat for the final bake or, at least, keep a very close eye on it. Your meringue will be totally burnt if you cook it at 425 for 15-20 minutes!


Wow... this was a favorite at last nights dinner party; I wish I had made two


But for those of us who are lactose intolerant, the meringue topping is a blessing!


I used unsweetened coconut in the custard without adding any sugar and thought it was still plenty sweet. I was concerned that the lack of moisture in the unsweetened coconut might cause a problem, but everything was fine.


Fully pre-baked the crust and cooled it.Used 1 C coconut milk (not light) and 1 C whole milk. Mixed all filling ingredients except butter and vanilla in a saucepan and cooked directly over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes after it came to a boil (big bubbles in already thick custard). Stirred in butter (not pre-melted) and vanilla. Put the saucepan in an ice bath, and stirred until cool.Filled crust, topped with plastic. Topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut at last minute.


It is more successful--less chance of burning--if coconut is toasted in the oven. But you must stir it often, and use a low temperature, 300-325 degrees.

L. Nolte

We made it with a graham cracker crust instead. Also, opted for unsweetened coconut flakes only and whipped cream instead of meringue. And it was fantastic!


I tried this and my filling did not thicken! I had it on the double boiler for well over 5 mins and so I went ahead and baked it but I had a bad feeling given how thin it was. It never solidified in the oven or in the fridge so I had to throw it all out! Any tips for round 2?

Amanda G

3-5 minutes feels pretty laughable to thicken this over a double boiler instead of direct heat. I tried as written and it took over 20. I think you need more eggs/corn starch for it to move that quickly, or you need to directly boil it.

Jennifer Rowe

I've tried making this twice, and the coconut has burned both times.


The recipe doesn’t call for enough egg yolks and corn starch. Per dorie greenspans recipe you need 6 yolks to this amount of liquid plus 1/3 cup of cornstarch-not just a few tablespoons. The directions are not great as you need to bring this to a boil for a few minutes in order for it to thicken as well.


We put this together exactly as per the recipe but it would not firm up much over the double boiler. After baking, resting in the refrigerator overnight was helpful but the pie was still a bit runny the next day. The flavor was wonderful but the texture not so much. This recipe is a keeper but next time we might use evaporated milk instead of regular milk. Hopefully this will help fix the problem.


It could take 2 hours.

Faye R.

Careful not to over toast the coconut topping. My pie suffered from a dark tan. I blamed the lack of an ozone layer.

Will in Brooklyn

Great recipe! Delicious as is, but if you want to boost the coconut flavor: - cut sugar by half and add 3 tbsp cream of coconut (not to be confused with coconut cream)- add 1/4 tsp coconut extract- mix 3/4 cup toasted sweetened coconut into filling- cut salt by half- for whipped cream, add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp of coconut extract. Two other non-coconut-related changes:- use 3 tbsp cornstarch instead of 2.5.- stabilize whipped cream using plain gelatin


Try 'nilla wafer crust


No need to toast the unsweetened coconut in a pan beforehand- the oven will do that for you in the 15-20 min it takes to bake!


Instructions are unclear. No way should this be cooked at 425 for that long. Had a lot of trouble getting custard to correct thickness. Will not be making again.


ditto. perfectly summed up

L. Nolte

We made it with a graham cracker crust instead. Also, opted for unsweetened coconut flakes only and whipped cream instead of meringue. And it was fantastic!


Coconut cream pie is my favorite kind of pie, so I was excited to make this recipe. The filling is delicious, but I did cook it in the double boiler for a minute or two longer than five. However, when I weighed out my unsweetened coconut for the topping, 49 grams was well over a cup, so I measured instead. I still had so much that you can't see the meringue, and the coconut started to burn after 13 minutes in the oven.


Although the introduction says this pie can assume all kinds of variations, I think to be called "Coconut Cream Pie", it need to have whipped cream on the top of it-----or at least some cream in the filling. A pie with a meringue topping is not a Coconut Cream Pie.


Wanted sugar free, so used monk fruit blend instead of sugar and used toasted coconut. All else the same. Delicious.

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Coconut Cream Pie Recipe (2024)


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