20 Dreamy Coconut Desserts That'll Transport You on Vacation

Cakes, Cookies, and Bars

Italian Wedding Cake

Kristina Vanni 

Coconut desserts taste like the tropics and the versatile fruit lends a lovely and unique texture to cookies, cakes, bars, and candy. Whether you're a Mounds person or an Almond Joy fan, you'll love these homemade treats that also use flaked coconut as a starring ingredient.

When purchasing coconut flakes, make sure you get the variety that the recipes call for. It comes both sweetened and unsweetened and the difference can make or break your recipe.

  • 01 of 20

    Coconut Cheesecake

    Coconut Cheesecake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    With a shredded coconut-speckled graham cracker crust and a luscious cream cheese filling with cream of coconut, this cheesecake sings with flavor. Canned cream of coconut gives the cake a wonderfully rich flavor that works just perfectly in cheesecake.

  • 02 of 20

    Sour Cream Coconut Cake

    coconut poke cake

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    With both a fluffy whipped topping and coconut frosting—plus a creamy coconut filling—this tasty Southern cake comes chock full of the tropical flavor with a tender texture from the addition of sour cream. It also starts with a cake mix for quick and easy preparation.

  • 03 of 20

    Chocolate Coconut Cake

    coconut chocolate cake

    The Spruce / Marian Blazes

    This delicious Brazilian chocolate cake tastes just like a prestigio, a popular candy bar in Brazil. It's very similar to a Mounds bar. In the cake version, a silky marshmallow and coconut filling nestles between rich chocolate cake layers, all covered in a creamy chocolate ganache and dusted with chocolate sprinkles.

  • 04 of 20

    Magic Cookie Bars

    magic cookie bars

     Claire Cohen

    Chocolate, flaked coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and pecans, all come together with sweetened condensed milk for some of the best bar cookies out there. You can also make these with different types of chips, assorted nuts, or omit the nuts altogether if you prefer. Add candy pieces or sprinkles for a more colorful, festive preparation.

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  • 05 of 20

    Coconut Cookies

    Coconut Cookies

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni 

    For a light, crispy treat, these coconut cookies will hit the spot. They use a similar technique to meringue in order to keep the cookies light. Plus, they get their signature texture from quick-cooking rolled oats and of course, plenty of flaky coconut.

  • 06 of 20

    Pineapple Coconut Chess Pie

    Pineapple Coconut Chess Pie-

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Try pineapple coconut chess pie for a tropical twist on the classic creamy pie. A frozen pie crust works just fine for this recipe, and par-baking it first ensures it doesn't get soggy on the bottom. You may have some extra filling if you use a nine-inch pie crust, which can bake up in a buttered ramekin as a side custard.

  • 07 of 20

    Pineapple Delight Bars

    Pineapple Delight Bars

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Let your taste buds escape to the islands with these shortbread bars that have a cream cheese filling studded with shredded coconut, pecans, and crushed pineapple. The coconut will get toasty and brown as they bake for a lightly caramelized flavor.

  • 08 of 20

    Italian Wedding Cake

    Italian Wedding Cake

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni 

    Italian cream cake is really a classic Southern dessert suitable for any special occasion. Rich, moist buttermilk layers stay light thanks to added egg whites and shredded coconut makes an appearance in both the cake and the buttercream frosting. It tastes even better the next day, so it is an excellent make-ahead dessert.

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  • 09 of 20

    Date Skillet Cookies

    Date Skillet Cookies

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    These unique rolled cookies get their name because the mixture starts in a skillet on the stove. Chop the dates in a food processor before using instead of buying pre-chopped dates; those won't have quite enough moisture for this recipe. Crisped rice, flaked coconut, and dates give them their signature texture. Feel free to omit the nuts if you or your recipients have nut allergies.

  • 10 of 20

    Dairy-Free Coconut Macaroon Cookies

    3-ingredients - easy coconut macaroons

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Just because you're avoiding dairy doesn't mean you have to skip dessert. These rich coconut macaroon cookies use no-dairy products and take less than 20 minutes to prepare, for a quick and easy recipe. Refrigerating them after baking helps the flavors meld and keeps the texture firm for serving.

  • 11 of 20

    White Chocolate Coconut Truffles

    Coconut Truffles

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Blend mellow white chocolate and sweet coconut for a delicately delicious truffle that tastes great dipped in melted white, dark, or milk chocolate. Dust a little flaked coconut over the top before the covering fully solidifies for a prettier presentation.

  • 12 of 20

    Lime Coconut Bars

    Lime Coconut Bars

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    For a different twist on lemon bars, try these assertively zippy lime coconut bars. A coconut-studded shortbread crust combined with a creamy lime filling has a lovely contrast and a delicious tropical taste. Use fresh lime juice for best results.

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  • 13 of 20

    Million Dollar Cream Pie

    million dollar pie

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    This awesome pie has that name for a reason: The blend of shredded coconut, crushed pineapple, chopped nuts, and sweetened condensed milk has earned a cult following. It also lends itself to variation and experimentation, so start with the basic recipe and mix it up to your stomach's content. This recipe makes two pies with one can of condensed milk, but you can cut it in half for one.

  • 14 of 20

    Nanaimo bars

    Nanaimo bars

    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Popular in Canada, Nanaimo bars make a lovely no-bake recipe for any bake sale or special event. They use flaked coconut, vanilla pudding, graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and chocolate to form pretty and delicious layers that work together perfectly. This recipe also includes baking instructions for a firmer texture, if you prefer.

  • 15 of 20

    Coconut Custard Cream Trifle

    Coconut Custard Cream Trifle

    The Spruce / Barbara Rolek

    Whether you need a fancy dessert for a holiday, a party, or just want to treat your family, try this tropical coconut custard trifle. Vanilla sponge cake, coconut cream, and whipped cream with toasted coconut make a delicious and beautiful dessert when layered in a clear trifle bowl. If you don't have one, a regular glass bowl will do.

  • 16 of 20

    Pina Colada Cake with Coconut Whipped Topping

    Pina Colada Cake

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This tropical cake uses a yellow cake mix to start, then a mixture of coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk gets poured over the top. Spread crushed pineapple over the top of that, then frost with whipped topping mixed with shredded coconut and sprinkle with pecans. It'll taste like an island party on a plate.

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  • 17 of 20

    Coconut Rice Pudding

    Coconut Spice Rice Pudding

    The Spruce / Robin Grose

    If you like creamy, comforting rice pudding, you'll love this spiced coconut version. Made with cinnamon and cloves, sweet shredded coconut, and both evaporated and condensed milk, this homey and economical dessert can feed a crowd. This recipe makes 24 servings, but you can scale it up and down as needed.

  • 18 of 20

    Coconut Pudding

    Coconut pudding with cinnamon sticks

    The Spruce

    For a jiggly, wiggly coconut pudding, try trembleque de coco. It uses only four ingredients and a simple preparation for a special dessert that tastes much more complex than it is. It needs just an hour in the fridge to set up, so give yourself a little time for it to solidify.

  • 19 of 20

    Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies

    Chewy Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    For a unique bar cookie, give these coconut chocolate chunk blondies a shot. Use high-quality chocolate chunks for best results, since they use relatively few ingredients. These work great for a potluck or special event, since they travel well and taste just a little more exciting than your standard blondies.

  • 20 of 20

    Two-Ingredient Haystacks

    Coconut Haystacks
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    You read that right: These tasty candies use just two ingredients. Coconut and chocolate come together for delicious bites that work great as gifts or a quick snack. Try mixing it up by using white or dark chocolate or drizzling caramel over the top for a fun adaptation.