Old Fashioned Coconut Pie Recipe

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A classic old-fashioned coconut pie recipe that’s creamy and absolutely delicious! Made with a shortbread cookie crust and topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut. This coconut cream pie is chilled in the fridge until thick and creamy!

Coconut pie close up with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

When I made this old-fashioned coconut pie recipe, my kids went crazy for it and they’re not even coconut lovers! It’s just so incredibly good and the filling is a thick and creamy custard that the whole family loves. Cream pies are just so good! I love that this is a pretty easy coconut pie recipe to make. It requires a little cooking over the stove, but overall it’s simple to make.

There’s coconut throughout the pie and it’s topped with homemade whipped cream and toasted coconut shreds. We paired it with our shortbread cookie crust which literally makes it the best coconut pie ever!!

butter, sugar, flour, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, egg yolk in small bowls.

How to Make Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Filling Ingredients

This pie filling has only 7 ingredients and the shortbread cookie crust has only 5 ingredients.

Sugar – A key ingredient in this recipe because it helps to sweeten the coconut cream filling and also gives the pie its signature sweetness.

Cornstarch – Another key ingredient because it helps to thicken the coconut cream filling, making it nice and creamy

Half-and-Half – You can also use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream too. This cream will help to make the coconut cream filling rich and creamy.

egg yolks help to thicken the filling and also add a bit of richness.

Vanilla Extract – adds flavor to the pie.

Unsalted Butter – gives the pie a nice, buttery flavor.

Coconut Flakes – This is a type of shredded coconut and what gives the pie its yummy coconut flavor. Make sure to use sweet coconut flakes.

Coconut cream pie in a pot with plastic wrap to keep it from hardening.


How do you make a coconut cream pie from scratch?

  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
  • Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually add the egg yolks to the sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes while whisking constantly. You don’t want to stop whisking as the mixture can burn very easily. Don’t walk away from the mixture at this point. This is an important step as it will determine if the pie will set or not.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in butter, coconut shreds, and vanilla to the hot milk mixture.
  • Place plastic wrap directly over the filling (so it’s touching the mixture) and let the custard sit for about 30 minutes. The plastic will prevent the top layer from hardening.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared and baked shortbread cookie pie crust and cover.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or more!) before serving so it can be set.
  • Top with homemade whipped cream and toasted coconut!
Shortbread cookie crust before it's baked.

Click here for the shortbread cookie crust recipe and how to make it! It’s absolutely delicious and my favorite crust for a coconut cream pie.

The shortbread crust is baked for 20 minutes (or until golden brown) before the filling is added. Since this filling will be set in the refrigerator and does not need to be baked. Once the mixture is ready and the crust is cooled, pour the filling into the shortbread crust.

Quick tip – Make sure the pie filling is completely set before serving. Otherwise, it will be a melty mess! It needs at least an hour or even more in the refrigerator before being topped with whipped cream and served.

We have a few homemade pie crusts you can make this pie in. Try our graham cracker crust or homemade flaky pie crust too!

old-fashioned coconut pie being poured into a shortbread cookie crust.

How to Make The Best Whipped Cream

The cream topping is a must on a coconut cream pie! It’s very easy to make as well using only 3 ingredients. Beat 2 cups of whipping cream at high speed.

  1. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar to the whipping cream while beating on high.
  2. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract and beat until soft peaks form.
  3. Spread evenly over the already set coconut cream pie!

How to Toast Coconut

Toasted coconut brings out the nutty flavor in coconut and makes it crispy. Place coconut shreds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Heat the oven to 325 degrees and bake the coconut shreds for about three minutes. Stir the coconut and bake for another 2 minutes until golden brown. Your house will smell so good when it’s done!

Make sure you watch it closely because it will toast quickly!

Coconut cream pie with a shortbread cookie crust


How to Store Coconut Cream Pie

Refrigerate – This pie can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze – This pie can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

Wrap the whole pie tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap in aluminum foil. Label and date the pie, then place it in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw the pie overnight in the fridge, then let it come to room temperature on the counter for about an hour before serving. old fashioned coconut pie recipe

Coconut Cream Pie Variations

You can try using canned coconut cream in replace of half-and-half.

Cut the vanilla extract in half and use coconut extract in addition.

Use a traditional pie crust or even a graham cracker crust.

Use a store-bought pie shell to make this recipe even easier.

Top this pie with

Leave the coconut shreds out of the filling and use coconut extract instead. This is a good extract.

Decorate it with edible flowers or piped whipped cream.

The best part about this pie is that it’s the perfect make-ahead recipe! Make it the day before and it’s still just as good and fresh!

pie with whipped cream over the top

Frequently Asked Questions

Does coconut cream pie need to be refrigerated?

Coconut cream pie does need to be refrigerated. It can be served to be served cold or brought to a cool room temperature but needs to be sealed tightly and stored in the refrigerator.

How do you thicken coconut cream pie filling?

Cornstarch is the main thinking ingredient in coconut cream pie. Not only does it thicken the pie it also adds a creamy texture. 

Can you freeze coconut cream?

It can be stored in the freezer for a few months. Make sure it is properly sealed and let it thaw in the refrigerator. 

Coconut cream pie with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

What is the difference between coconut cream pie and coconut custard pie?

Coconut cream pie is made with a custard filling that contains egg yolks, while coconut custard pie does not contain any eggs. Coconut cream pie is also typically made with a higher ratio of milk to coconut than a coconut custard pie.

Why does my coconut pie get watery?

There are a few reasons why your coconut pie might get watery. One reason could be that you didn’t cook the filling long enough. The filling needs to reach a boiling point so that the cornstarch can do its job and thicken the filling.

Another reason could be that you added too much liquid to the filling. Be sure to measure the ingredients carefully so that you don’t accidentally add too much milk or cream. old fashioned coconut pie recipe

Finally, make sure that you allow the pie to cool completely before serving. If you slice into it while it’s still warm, the filling can become watery.

Close up photo of whipped cream, toasted coconut on a coconut cream pie.

When to Serve Old-Fashioned Coconut Pie

This pie is great to serve during the spring and summer. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some yummy whipped cream for the ultimate dessert. Here are some of our favorite occasions to serve this pie:

Brunch

Birthday Party it’s also perfect for a last-minute birthday party!

Garden Party 

Easter Brunch

A slice of old fashioned coconut pie removed from a pie dish

More Favorite Pie Recipes

If you like pie as much as we do, then check out these delicious pie recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie  

Coconut Macadamia Key Lime Pie 

Classic Cherry Pie 

Egg Custard Pie 

Pecan Pie Recipe

Sweet Potato Pie

Canned Peach Pie

cream pie with whipped cream

If you make this best coconut cream pie recipe let us know by leaving a comment and review below! We love seeing what you all create from Sugar and Charm!

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Coconut Cream Pie

A creamy and thick custard pie in a shortbread cookie pie crust, topped with homemade whipped cream and toasted coconut. Everyone will love this pie!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 Slices
Calories: 258kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Old-Fashioned Coconut Pie Filling

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter , salted would work fine too
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes , or shreds
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, add a dash coconut extract too if you have it

Instructions

  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
  • Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually add to the sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Boil the mixture 4-5 minutes while whisking constantly. Don't stop whisking as the mixture can burn very easily. Don't walk away from the mixture at this point.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in butter, coconut shreds, and vanilla.
  • Place plastic wrap directly over the filling (so it’s touching the mixturand let the custard sit for about 30 minutes. The plastic will prevent the top layer from hardening.
    coconut cream pie filling
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared and baked shortbread cookie pie crust and cover.
    pouring coconut cream pie filling into a pie crust
  • Keep it in the refrigerator for an hour (or more!) before serving so it can set.
    coconut cream pie in a crust
  • Top with homemade whipped cream and toasted coconut!

Notes

Make sure the pie mixture has a thicker texture before removing it from the heat.
Let the pie set for at least 2 hours, probably more, in the refrigerator. Overnight is usually best.
Serve this in any pre-baked pie crust you like!

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 468IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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