20 Luscious Coconut Cream Recipes

Chicken and Shrimp Laksa
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling byClaire Spollen

Coconut cream is a many-splendored thing; it has lots of sweet and savory applications, and multiple meanings, too. In its purest form, it's a richer version of coconut milk, just like its dairy counterparts. As an ingredient, it's available either in a can or carton and shouldn't contain much more than coconut and water. Coconut cream may also be harvested from coconut milk — it's the thicker, fattier portion that rises to the top when the container is left to settle. Cream of coconut is a whole other story: Sweet and syrupy, it's used primarily to make mixed drinks, as in the fruit-forward Miami Vice. Still with us? Lastly, coconut cream can be a finished component within a recipe, like the custard in Passion Fruit and Coconut Cream Parfaits. A final note: For our purposes here, we are never referencing coconut coffee creamer. Phew! Now that we've got all that straight, keep scrolling to discover our best recipes with coconut cream.

01 of 20

Pineapple-Coconut Soft Serve

Pineapple Coconut Soft Serve Recipe
Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

With just five ingredients, this fluffy, effortless dessert comes together in minutes with a flavor reminiscent of a tiki cocktail. For an adult version, swap 1/4 cup of the coconut cream for the same amount of your favorite rum.

02 of 20

Gang Gai Khao Mun (Thai Chicken Curry)

Gang Gai Khao Mun (Thai Chicken Curry)
Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Sweet, sticky coconut rice colored and flavored with green herbs pairs with this creamy Thai chicken curry from chef Nok Suntaranon. The foundation of the dish is a vibrant from-scratch curry paste — the same one used at Kalaya in Philadelphia (one of F&W's Best New Restaurants in 2020). Making your own curry paste requires a little sourcing, but the resulting flavor is well worth the effort.

03 of 20

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie


Every part of this fluffy pie from pastry chef Kierin Baldwin has coconut: the crust, the fillling, and the topping.

04 of 20

Coconut Mojito

coconut mojitos with rum bottles
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Homemade coconut-mint syrup lends cool, quenching freshness to this lime-kissed, delightfully effervescent mojito. Blanching and shocking the mint leaves before infusing them into the syrup preserves their bright color. Use leftover syrup for a whole batch of cocktails and mocktails, stir some into freshly squeezed lemonade, or drizzle over sliced fresh fruit for a refreshing summer treat.

05 of 20

Passion Fruit and Coconut Cream Parfaits

Passion Fruit and Coconut Parfaits
© Ngoc Minh Ngo

Pastry chef Koa Duncan's fantastic passion fruit and coconut parfait is layered with crunchy bits of cashew praline, making for an exquisite combination of tropical textures and flavors.

06 of 20

Miami Vice

Miami Vice
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Frozen canned pineapple and bitters-infused strawberries take this daiquiri-piña colada mash-up to the next level.

07 of 20

Uncle Boon's Thai Roast Chicken

Uncle Boon's Thai Roast Chicken
© Con Poulos

At Uncle Boon’s in Manhattan, chef Matt Danzer cooked chickens in a giant rotisserie oven, but the birds are equally delicious roasted on a rack in a home oven. Here’s what makes them so good: They’re brined, then rubbed with a combination of coconut cream and makrut lime before roasting, yielding golden, crackly skin.

08 of 20

Raw Berry Tart with Coconut Cream

Raw Berry Tart with Coconut Cream
Joanna Van Mulder

Chef Angèle Ferreux-Maeght’s nutty tart, made with almond flour and hazelnuts, is the perfect dessert for a late-summer dinner party because there’s no oven required. Sweet, gooey dates hold the crust together, and the entire dish can be prepared a day in advance and pulled out of the fridge right before you eat.

09 of 20

Acorn Squash with Coconut Custard

Acorn Squash with Coconut Custard
Eva Kolenko

Every year at Thanksgiving, Top Chef winner Kristen Kish’s mother would serve roasted acorn squash. When Kish took over cooking the holiday meal, she upgraded the classic side with a decadent coconut cream that offsets the squash's earthy sweetness. The custard will set as it cools and slices beautifully at room temperature.

10 of 20

Coconut Milk Cake with Pistachios, Whipped Coconut Cream, and Strawberry Glaze

Coconut Milk Cake with Pistachios, Whipped Coconut Cream and Strawberry Glaze
Abby Hocking

Chef Angela Garbacz's coconut cake has crunchy edges, a gooey, thick crumb, and just happens to be vegan. This showstopper is topped with pillowy whipped coconut cream and a gorgeous bright pink berry glaze. The recipe is endlessly adaptable: You can use the same base recipe to make round or square cakes, loaf cakes, and cupcakes, and top it with whichever fruit and nuts you like best.

11 of 20

Coconut Mochi Ice Cream Sandwiches

Coconut Mochi Ice Cream Sandwiches
© John Kernick

Pastry chef Jen Yee makes these fun and pretty sandwiches with a simple Japanese dough that combines sweet glutinous rice flour, sugar, water, and coconut milk.

12 of 20

Piña Colada Pie

Piña Colada Pie
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

In this swoon-worthy dessert, the classic tropical flavors of a piña colada cocktail are transformed into a pie featuring layers of silky coconut custard and a caramelized pineapple jam made by simmering fresh pineapple with brown sugar. Spread across a buttery shortbread crust, the jam is ultimately layered with a double-coconut custard and piled high with cloud-like coconut cream whipped topping.

13 of 20

Grilled Chicken with Coconut Rice and Chile-Lime Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Coconut Rice and Chile Lime Sauce
Greg DuPree

At Cantinho do Aziz, a family-owned Mozambican restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal, chef Jeny Sulemange prepares a grilled coconut chicken that's crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, which she serves with a truly irresistible coconut rice. When making this crispy grilled chicken at home, it's all about the marinade. To make it, use full-fat coconut milk; you'll skim the cream to make the marinade and use the remaining milk to infuse the rice with rich coconut flavor.

14 of 20

Coco Loco

Coco Loco
© David Malosh

Indianapolis bartender Ryan Puckett combines his penchant for tiki cocktails with a childhood favorite, orange soda floats; the result is this tropical orange cream soda. "I'd make orange soda floats with my grandma, so that flavor pairing is something I've always loved," he says.

15 of 20

Coconut-Creamed Swiss Chard

Coconut-Creamed Swiss Chard Recipe
Victor Protasio

Unsweetened coconut milk and refined coconut oil combine to add a creamy richness to this vegan Swiss chard side dish from chef Rocco DiSpirito. Reducing the coconut milk deepens its flavor and lends a velvety texture that truly mimics cream.

16 of 20

Chicken and Shrimp Laksa

Chicken and Shrimp Laksa
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling byClaire Spollen

Top Chef winner Buddha Lo shares this family recipe, a refreshing and brothy noodle dish popular throughout Southeast Asia. Lo's homemade laksa paste — made with fresh lemongrass, pungent shrimp paste, and nutty peanuts — forms the base of this fragrant noodle dish, while coconut cream adds a velvety mouthfeel to the aromatic broth. Top it with poached shrimp and chicken, fresh herbs, and fried shallots, then slurp with joy.

17 of 20

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger
© Con Poulos

These delicious pureed sweet potatoes are elevated with luxurious coconut cream and zesty fresh ginger. 

18 of 20


Pouring homemade coquito over ice
Photo by Jacob Fox / Food Styling by Lauren McAnelly / Prop Styling by Jessica Thomas and Susan Mitchell

Coquito, or "little coconut," is a traditional creamy rum punch served in Puerto Rico for Christmas and throughout the winter holidays. Some versions include eggs, but this recipe takes its richness and viscosity instead from coconut cream and three types of milk. Warming spices and white rum add aroma and flavor.

19 of 20

Chin Chin

Chin Chin
Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

"The streets of Lagos Island are crowded with street vendors, including the chin chin stalls, generally run by women, which are nearly impossible to resist," says 2019 F&W Best New Chef Kwame Onwuachi, who shared this snack recipe. "Chin chin are nutmeg-riddled fried puffs of dough, the Nigerian contribution to filling mankind's desire for crunchy, sweet snacks.

20 of 20

Super-Rich Hot Chocolate with Coconut Cream

Supperrich Hot Chocolate with Coconut Cream
© Maura McEvoy

Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson created this velvety hot chocolate topped with coconut cream for his partner Bobby Stuckey's wife, Danette, who has a sweet tooth. "At Frasca, we make a lot of desserts with chocolate or coconut, so we just kept going and came up with this drink," says Lachlan.

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