The Absolute Best Coconut Cream Pie

Saturday, November 17, 200730comments

The Absolute Best Coconut Cream Pie
The Absolute Best Coconut Cream Pie

Although I love coconut cream pie, I never order it in restaurants because of decades of being served gelatinous slop that bore little resemblance to the real thing. I have been making this pie since I was 12 years old and have yet to sample better. 

For the pie crust:

Sufficient for two 10 inch pie shells.
  • 1 cup very cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water (Only enough to make a dough form.)

Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible. Pour cold water over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible. Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can freeze the second round for another time.
You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 -20 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.
Roll the dough into a 12 inch round and place in the bottom of a 10 inch pie plate. Trim and flute the edges as desired. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the pastry shell, rest in the refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes before baking at 400 degrees F for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before adding the filling.

For the coconut cream filling

Scald in the microwave or on the stove top:
  • 3 cups whole milk

Microwave works best as there is no chance of burning the milk.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened fine coconut

Over medium low flame slowly add 1 cup of the scalded milk, whisking constantly. As you notice the filling beginning to thicken, add another cup of the scalded milk continuing to stir constantly until it begins to thicken again. Add the final cup of scalded milk, stirring constantly. Continue to cook over medium low heat until mixture begins to slightly thicken. At this point remove from heat and pour about a half cup of this mixture onto
  • 3 slightly beaten extra large egg yolks

whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture immediately back into the pot, continuing to constantly stir. Cook for an additional two or three until the filling reaches pudding consistency and remove from the flame. The mixture should just be beginning to boil at this point.

Stir in:
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract

Cool almost to room temperature before pouring into the baked pie shell. Chill for about 3 hours.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar

Combine and beat to soft peaks and spread on top of the cooled coconut cream filling. Garnish with toasted coconut and serve.

The Absolute Best Coconut Cream Pie
The Absolute Best Coconut Cream Pie
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+ comments + 30 comments

November 17, 2007 at 11:38 AM

I was wondering if the coconut that goes in the filling was toasted first? Well actually Fraz wanted to know. He wasn't to give it a try.

November 17, 2007 at 12:01 PM

Nope. the coconut in the filling is not toasted, only what you use to garnish the pie. You must remember this pie, sis!

December 29, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Yum, my favorite, I am trying this! Nettie

December 29, 2011 at 9:07 AM

I make a very similar recipe but I use coconut milk. It really 'ups' the coconut flavor!!

January 11, 2012 at 6:15 AM

I'm planning on making this pie today, but I have a question - is the filling for two pie shells or one? Because the pastry amount is for two.

January 11, 2012 at 8:07 AM

I always freeze the second dough round for later. The filling makes enough for one large 10 inch pie. Enjoy!

January 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Thanks, Barry. I freezed the second round. The pie is in the fridge and I hate this part when you have to wait :) I tried a little bit of the filling and it's so yummy.

January 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM

I have to report :) The pie is really delicious, but I obviously didn't let it thicken enough so it's a bit runny. But, as I said, it's really really yummy. I will make small tarts next time with the same filling. Thanks for this recipe!

February 22, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Ooooooo I made it and I loved it! (but I made a graham crumb crust cause that's my fav!) It was mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm good! lol

February 25, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Just finished making this, and it's a absolute hit with my family!!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!

February 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM

I love coconut cream pie. Anything with coconut for that matter. This looks fantastic! I like danelectro's idea to make small tarts, that may keep me from eating an entire pie!

February 25, 2012 at 9:16 PM

So, this filling is just basically a vanilla custard with shredded coconut. A true coconut pie should have some coconut milk and/or coconut extract in it. I plan to try out this recipe with those changes. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

February 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I served this to my family tonight and everyone gave me a thumbs up. It was terrific!

March 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM

The flavour was yummy but the filling was runny. Anyone know why? It set in the fridge all day covered with saran wrap.

April 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Sounds like you didn't cook the filling enough. I've never had this fail in over 30 years.

April 20, 2012 at 5:20 AM

As you know, I made this heavenly pie in January and am planning on making it again this weekend for my husband's birthday. I still have the second dough round in the freezer so my question is: can I use it after 3 and a half months in the freezer? I didn't roll it out, it's in a ball shape.

April 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

As long as it was well wrapped and has no evidence of freezer burn, I'd use it.

April 21, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Thanks, but I've already made new dough, it's better to be safe than sorry:) Now the waiting (hate this part)...

November 21, 2012 at 8:55 PM

The only unsweetened coconut I could find was Birds Eye brand Fresh frozen coconut. Will this work? Or do you used the dehydrated unsweetened coconut for your recipe?

November 22, 2012 at 8:32 AM

What is "icing sugar" powder sugar?

November 22, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Yes icing sugar, confectioners sugar and powdered sugar are all one in the same.

March 28, 2013 at 2:15 AM

I'm soo sorry but how do you toast the coconut?

This is my Grandmother's favourite type of pie so I would love to make it for her every now and then,

Thank you.

March 30, 2013 at 4:33 PM

I HATE coconut cream pie, and I just made and loved this pie. Gelatin is always the prevailing ingredient in all the other coconut cream pies I've had, so this tasty creamy pie was a very welcome change.

March 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

I could not agree more! Gelatine or corn starch thickened filling are not even in the same universe as this creamy luscious pie. I've been making it for over 30 years and have never had the need to try another recipe. Probably never will.

May 21, 2013 at 12:05 AM

This pie was amazing... I used sweetened coconut on accident and one teaspoon of vanilla + one teaspoon of coconut instead of two teaspoons of vanilla extract but other than that I stuck to the recipe. It took a very long time to cook the filling to a thick consistency but it was totally worth it. Everyone had nothing but good things to say and I felt very proud of myself.

June 17, 2013 at 3:05 PM


I made this pie yesterday for my dad for Father's Day. It's his favourite and he was so happy with it!

I was so pleased when the finished product looked identical to your photos!

Thank you for the great recipe, we will definitely be using it in the again!


December 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Have you ever used coconut extract? Also, I had a wonderful coconut cream pie that used coconut in the crust as well-it really bumped up the texture and taste!

April 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM

I made this yesterday and my friends loved it! I'm not a lover but their expressions were very reassuring that it was an excellent pie! Thanks Barry! I'm trying the lemon one this week. :)

April 18, 2014 at 2:41 PM

So excited to make this for our family Easter! Question - I only have sweetened coconut and all the stores are closed. Should I adjust the amount of sugar in the filling? Will definitely report back after it's made :)

April 18, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Ive never made it with sweetened coconut but if forced to I would probably cut back on the sugar in the custard for sure. Maybe even by half.

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