Tembleque de Coco: Coconut Pudding

Cups of coconut pudding topped with toasted coconut

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Cool and Chill: 75 mins
Total: 102 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
616 Calories
49g Fat
48g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 616
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 43g 217%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 171mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 509mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Spanish, tembleque means wiggly or shaky. This beloved Caribbean coconut pudding is aptly named. Creamy, jiggly, and delicious, it's especially popular in Puerto Rico but has several variations in other countries. The one thing that doesn't change is the jiggly appearance, which also makes it fun to eat. Most flans like this one are traditional Christmas desserts, homemade and served during the novenas—the nine nights before Christmas Eve when family and friends come together to celebrate and eat.

Perfect for any special occasion, this simple and easy-to-make dessert calls for four ingredients and at least one hour in the fridge. If you're in a rush to make a tasty dessert, this trembling flan is the one to go for.

"Pudding is my absolute favorite dessert, and it doesn't get the shine it deserves. This recipe is a great one to add to my recipe box. It's dairy-free, fast, and perfect. I added a bit of coconut extract to boost the coconut flavor." —Renae Wilson

Tembleque de Coco Tester Photo
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups full-fat coconut milk, from about 2 (14-ounce) cans

  • Coconut flakes, toasted, for garnish

  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make coconut pudding

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a saucepan, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt.

    A pot with cornstarch, salt, and sugar mixed together

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Whisk in the coconut milk and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is thoroughly cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes. 

    A pot of coconut milk and starch mixture being whisked

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the pudding into individual dessert cups or ramekins.

    A pot of coconut pudding being ladled into glasses

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Allow the pudding to cool off a bit before placing it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

    Glasses of coconut pudding

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Garnish with ground cinnamon and/or toasted coconut flakes before serving. 

    Cups of coconut pudding topped with toasted coconut and cinnamon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck


  • For a firmer tembleque: Let the pudding sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours so it sets completely, or even overnight if you want to unmold it for a more elegant presentation.
  • For a smoother texture: Strain the pudding before chilling to ensure it comes out perfectly silky with no clumps.
  • For a finger-food dessert: Chill the tembleque in a baking dish overnight, cut into squares, and place each in a small paper candy cup.
  • For the right coconut milk: Buy canned, full-fat coconut milk, available in most supermarkets. It can be purchased either sweetened or unsweetened and for this recipe, you can use either depending on your taste. Shake well before opening because it separates easily.
  • For perfect toasted coconut flakes: Spread coconut flakes as evenly as possible on a baking sheet so they form a single layer. Toast at 400 F for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring them once or twice. Keep a close eye because coconut has high-fat content so it can go from golden brown to black and burnt in the blink of an eye. Remove the flakes from the sheet as soon as they're toasted to avoid overcooking.

Recipe Variations

  • Use one part creamed coconut to five parts milk for a lighter version.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or cook one opened vanilla bean with your coconut milk and cornstarch. Remove before chilling.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract if you love coconut flavor.
  • Toppings: Add chocolate chips or sprinkles, sliced almonds, crunchy granola, fruit compote, fresh berries, cubed mango, or caramel sauce to play with different flavors. In some countries, they add prune sauce on top and chopped prunes or raisins before chilling the tembleque to give it a chewier texture.
  • This can also be served warm.