Coconut Cream Pie

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This post is sponsored by the California Walnut Board, but all opinions are my own.

No baking required to make this incredible and rich coconut cream pie with a walnut graham cracker crust, fresh homemade whipped cream, and toasted coconut to top it off.

Overhead image of the coconut cream pie ready to be served

I’m obsessed with all things coconut as evidenced by the archive of coconut recipes on the site. And when a creamy custard coconut filling is paired with a walnutty-graham cracker crust, topped with sweetened whipped cream, and finished off with a generous dose of toasted coconut…well, there aren’t too many things better than that!

And especially when you don’t have to turn on the oven to have any of it! That’s right, this coconut cream pie requires zero baking 🙂

So let’s get talking about the ins and outs of this pie, starting with the incredible walnut graham cracker pie crust.

Process shot-- image of the walnut crust being made in the blender for this easy coconut cream pie

Walnut graham cracker crust

The walnut graham cracker crust is the perfect base for this coconut cream pie. It starts with graham crackers and walnuts that we pulse to crumb consistency. Next we add in some brown sugar and butter. I love using dark brown sugar as it pairs really nicely with the walnut and graham cracker flavors.

Mix it all together and press it into your pie tin and you’re ready for the filling!

Adding walnuts to the crust enhances both the flavor and the texture of the crust while also offering good fats (13g/oz polyunsaturated and 2.5g/oz monounsaturated fat including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3), protein (4 g/oz), and fiber (2 g/oz). Walnuts are nutritious and have a variety of potential health benefits. So beyond their delicious flavor, the walnuts are also adding a nutritious component to the pie. (1)

Process shot-- image of the finished graham cracker crust

Coconut cream pie filling

The filling is a custard/pudding consistency. It’s thick, rich, and luxuriously coconut flavored. Below I’ll share a quick breakdown of the ingredients that come together to make it.

  • We use egg yolks and cornstarch for thickness and we’ll temper the eggs, just like in this creme brulee recipe.
  • Next, full fat coconut milk which gives this pie that classic coconut flavor. See more on this ingredient below!
  • Along with the coconut milk is also heavy whipping cream which also contributes to the rich and thick consistency and flavor
  • Next some vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and coconut extract further boost and enhance the flavor. I love using vanilla bean paste because of the slightly stronger flavor and the gorgeous specks of vanilla beans throughout the pie.
  • Last, but not least, a little bit of butter helps the mouthfeel and creaminess while also keeping the ingredients from separating.

Most coconut cream pies also have coconut folded into the filling, but my family prefers toasted coconut on top instead! If you like coconut in the filling, feel free to fold some in gently.

Process images of the coconut cream pie being made; showing stovetop curd being poured into graham cracker crust and smoothed over

How to make coconut cream pie

Above I’ve broken up the steps for making this pie in picture form, and below is a description of what’s happening in each photo.

  • Image 1-2: coconut milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt getting mixed together
  • 3-4: egg yolks and cornstarch being mixed together until smooth
  • 5: add in butter and extracts, stir until smooth
  • 6: finished chilled crust
  • 7-8: pour filling into crust and smooth it out

Is cream of coconut and coconut cream the same thing?

No, and they aren’t interchangeable in this recipe! To give you a quick background….

  • Coconut milk has the liquid consistency of cow’s milk. It’s made by simmering 1 part shredded coconut to 1 part water.
  • Cream of coconut is a sweetened version of coconut cream. It’s generally used in drinks or desserts. 
  • Coconut cream has a much thicker and richer consistency than coconut milk. Coconut cream is made from simmering 4 parts shredded coconut to 1 part water.

You definitely will want to use canned full fat coconut milk. If you get lite or low fat coconut milk, this pie won’t set up properly. This pie also won’t set up with the refrigerated coconut milk, make sure to get canned coconut milk. Canned coconut milk is generally in the Asian section of the grocery store.

Coconut cream pie topping

After the filling is set, it’s time to make the whipped cream and toasted coconut. I shared a tutorial on how to make whipped cream here. 

If you’ve never toasted coconut, it’s very easy to do! The toasted coconut not only tastes better, it also makes for a gorgeous presentation. Here’s a step by step process on how to toast coconut.

Process shot-- image of the coconut being toasted for this best coconut cream pie recipe

Quick tips

  • Make this pie the night before: not only does it set up better, it also tastes better! The ingredients have a chance to meld and intensify and the pie further solidifies.
  • As the pie filling is setting up in the fridge, add plastic wrap right to the surface of the filling. We do this whenever making a custard or curd (like this lemon curd) to keep the layers from separating or to keep a film from developing.
  • Add coconut extract gradually. Not all coconut extracts are made the same, so start with a little and add slowly remembering it does intensify after sitting.

Does coconut cream pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes! This pie needs to be refrigerated to properly set up. Additionally, any leftovers should be promptly returned to the fridge. Make sure to cover the pie tightly to keep it as fresh as possible.

Image of the coconut creme pie slice on a plate ready to be served

More delicious desserts:

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Coconut Cream Pie

5 from 5 votes
No baking required to make this incredible and rich coconut cream pie with a walnut graham cracker crust, fresh homemade whipped cream, and toasted coconut to top it off.
Print Recipe

Coconut Cream Pie

5 from 5 votes
No baking required to make this incredible and rich coconut cream pie with a walnut graham cracker crust, fresh homemade whipped cream, and toasted coconut to top it off.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword coconut cream pie
Prep Time 25 minutes
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings 10 slices
Calories 494kcal

Ingredients

Crust

  • 11 whole (171g) graham cracker sheets
  • 1/2 cup (51g) walnuts
  • 5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (56g) dark brown sugar, packed (light works ok)
  • Tiny pinch fine sea salt

Filling

  • 4 large egg yolks, discard the whites or save for a different recipe
  • 4 and 1/2 tablespoons (36g) cornstarch
  • 1 can 13.66 ounces (403g) full fat coconut milk (canned; in Asian section of grocery store)
  • 1 cup (219g) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (146g) white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 to 1 full teaspoon coconut extract (to taste; intensity will vary depending on the brand you use!)

Topping

  • 1 cup (219g) heavy whipping cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar (add to desired sweetness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  • CRUST: Gently grease a deep 9-inch pie pan. Add graham crackers and walnuts to a (powerful) blender and pulse until coarsely ground. Do not over-blend, just until everything is crumb consistency. Add in melted butter (slightly cooled), brown sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined and the crumbs are completely moistened. Use hands if needed. Press into the bottom and sides of prepared pie pan. Press the crust in firmly to compress. Place in the fridge to chill while preparing the filling. (Note 1)
  • FILLING: Give the can of coconut milk a good shake and then pour into a medium-sized pot. Add the heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Stir until smooth over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a very gentle boil. Switch to a whisk and whisk near constantly for 2 minutes watching carefully the mixture doesn't boil over. If the mixture rises, barely reduce the heat. Reduce the temperature to medium low heat. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together with a fork until completely smooth. Pour a tiny bit of the mixture from the stovetop into the yolks while whisking the eggs constantly. Add a bit more to add about 1/3 cup total. Continually whisk the eggs so they don't scramble. Now the eggs are tempered! Pour them in a slow and steady stream into the coconut milk mixture whisking constantly.
  • FILLING CONTINUED: The mixture will begin to bubble and thicken. Stir constantly and watch carefully for bubbles that come to the surface and burst. Whisk near constantly cooking over medium heat for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add in the butter. Stir until smooth. Add in the vanilla and coconut extract (add to taste, adding slowly).
  • FINISHING PIE: Pour warm filling into chilled pie crust. Cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until chilled and thickened. Add whipped cream (see next step) to the center of the pie and topped with toasted coconut (see next step).
  • WHIPPED CREAM AND TOASTING COCONUT: Pour heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar (add to sweetness preference; we like 4 tablespoons), and vanilla into the cold bowl (attached to a stand mixer) and whisk on low speed to combine. Gradually increase to high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Watch carefully to avoid over-beating. Near the end of the minute, taste and adjust sugar to taste (adding more if needed). Keep cream as cold as possible at all times. To toast coconut: add the 1 cup unsweetened coconut to a large skillet. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until the flakes are mostly golden brown. This takes 3-6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate immediately. Let cool completely before adding to the pie.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: You can completely prepare the crust 24 hours in advance of filling and cover with plastic wrap to make your pie making even easier!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 494kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Nutrition facts in coconut cream pie

Recipe adapted from Add a Pinch.

1 Walnuts offer a variety of antioxidants (3.721 mmol/oz), including polyphenols (69.3 ± 16.5 μmol catechin equivalents/g) and gamma tocopherol (5.91 mg/ounce). The data for antioxidant capacity of foods generated by test-tube methods cannot be extrapolated to human effects.  Clinical trials to test benefits of dietary antioxidants have produced mixed results.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This turned out SO good!! I love the walnuts in the crust too. It added more flavor and texture. We’re making this again! Delicious!!

    1. Yay!! I’m soo happy you enjoyed this! The walnuts do add such a great flavor! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  2. Hi! I’m thinking of making this for Thanksgiving! If I’m making it before, should I keep the whipped topping separate until just before serving? Or can I completely assemble the pie the day before?

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