Coconut Custard Pie

This Coconut Pie recipe will be one of the easiest yet tastiest desserts you ever make – with only 5 minutes of prep! 

Coconut Custard Pie is a time-tested vintage recipe that is truly one of the easiest, tastiest desserts ever.  It requires just a few simple ingredients to make, 5 minutes to prep (if using store-bought crust) and comes together with just one bowl and one whisk.  Best of all, this astonishingly easy Coconut Pie is 100% swoon worthy with its silky, chewy, coconut studded custard base and crunchy self-made coconut crust cocooned in a buttery, flaky pie crust. For those chocolate fans out there, I’ve added optional mini chocolate chips that create a dreamy layer of rich and creamy chocolate, much like a chocolate dipped macaroon. Top the Coconut Custard Pie recipe with raspberries and no one will ever believe how easy this stunner was to make!   

If you love love pie as much as us, don’t miss some of our favorites like Strawberry Pie, Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter PiesButterfinger Pie, Mini Caramel Apple Pies, Pecan Pie, Pear Pie, Mud Pie, Million Dollar Cookie Pie and S’mores Pie.

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how to make coconut pie video

Coconut custard pie with slices missing to show the custard filling

why you’ll love this coconut pie RECIPE

I was introduced to Coconut Custard Pie by my mother-in-law.  Truth, be told, I’m not a huge coconut fan, so I was shocked that I fell head over heels for this pie.  Both my husband and I were in awe.  He even said, “This is the best pie I’ve ever tasted.” 

So, when I say this is the easiest Coconut Pie recipe ever, don’t let that fool you – it’s also one of the tastiest pie recipes ever. I made this recipe for my little brother’s birthday and the next day my sister asked for the recipe and made it that very same day. Needless to say, everyone is a fan.

Here’s more reasons to love this recipe:

  • Quick:  5-minute prep!
  • Easy:  You only need one bowl and one whisk. Whisk all the ingredients together, pour into the pie shell and bake.
  • Pantry friendly:  You probably have everything you need on hand right now!
  • Boldly delicious:  This pie is silky, sweet, rich, and buttery on the inside with a delicate chew of coconut and crisp and golden with a crunchy crust of coconut that naturally rises to the top toast on the outside. Drool.
  • Chocolate: A layer of mini chocolate chips melts as the pie bakes for a molten layer of chocolate, reminiscent of a chocolate dipped macaroon. 
  • Use a store-bought or homemade pie crust:  My vote is homemade for buttery, flaky splendor, but both will work.
  • No pre-baking needed:  Brushing the crust with a simple egg wash before adding the filling simplifies the process and helps promote a perfectly golden crust.

WHAT IS coconut custard PIE?

Coconut Custard Pie is a vintage pie recipe that has stood the test of time.  Its rich and creamy custard base is made with eggs, flaked coconut, sugar, butter and vanilla that bake inside a pie shell. Some call it the Impossible Pie because the coconut flakes rise to the surface as the pie bakes, creating a tantalizing crunchy top crust.

Where is Coconut Pie from?

While its exact origin is unknown, it was originally published in the cookbook, The Epicurean, written in 1893. The Epicurean is a great classic on the art of cooking compiled by master chef, Charles Ranhofer, who worked for decades at America’s most celebrated restaurant of the Gilded Age.  Since that time, Coconut Pie has seen little changes except for some ratio of ingredients.   

What is the difference between coconut cream pie and coconut custard pie?

Coconut Custard Pie is not to be confused with Coconut Cream Pie.  The biggest difference between these two coconut favorites is Coconut Custard Pie has a baked filling, and Cream Pie does not. Coconut Custard Pie is made with an egg, butter and sugar custard that sets up and thickens as it bakes in the oven, creating a crunchy toasted coconut crust.  Coconut Cream Pie is more of a pudding that is cooked on the stove and then chilled until set.  It’s then topped with a layer of whipped cream, whereas Coconut Custard Pie is left plain to let the crunchy coconut crust shine.

top view of coconut custard pie showing the crunchy toasted coconut

What pie CRUST should I use?

You can keep the prep down to 5 minutes with a store-bought crust or time permitting, nothing beats homemade.

  • Homemade pie crust.:  I highly recommend my favorite homemade pie crust that I use it in all of my pie recipes.  It’s truly a no fail recipe made with both butter and shortening to create the best flavor and texture: mega buttery, mega tender, mega flaky deliciousness.    The ingredients list is minimal – just flour, sugar, salt, shortening, butter, and ice water. The crust can also be made ahead of time and stashed in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Store-bought pie crust:  I recommend a standard frozen pie crust, not deep dish. Follow the instructions on the packaging in regards to thawing and still brush with an egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk) before adding the filling.  

Ingredients for Coconut Pie

This Coconut Pie recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients so you can whip it up at a moment’s notice!  You will need: 

  • Sweetened flaked coconut:  You can use either sweetened or unsweetened coconut for this recipe. If using unsweetened, you will need to add additional ¾ cup sugar (total of 1 ½ cups). I prefer sweetened coconut because it is softer and moister, resulting in filling with a more delicate chew of coconut. That being said, unsweetened will yield a slightly crunchier crust.
  • Eggs:  Are the star of any custard!  As the proteins cook, they help the custard set correctly.
  • Sugar:  Granulated sugar please for the best flavor and texture.
  • Butter:  Use unsalted butter otherwise reduce the salt in the recipe.
  • Vanilla extract:  The magic ingredient in every dessert recipe! Use the best quality for the best flavor.
  • Vinegar or lemon juice:  The original 1893 recipe called for lemon zest, but I find lemon juice or white wine vinegar work just as well and are more convenient. The acid helps cut through the sweetness and adds lightness to the custard.
  • Mini chocolate chips:  Chocolate is optional and the pie is truly delicious with or without it – but more stars with it. 

Possible Recipe Variations:

  • Unsweetened coconut:  Use 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut and increase the sugar to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.
  • Other chips:  Try butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.   Full size chocolate chips will not melt completely so blitz them in your food processor before using.
  • Make it lemony:  Use 3 tablespoons lemon juice in place of vinegar and add two 2 tablespoons lemon zest. 
  • Optional garnishing variation: Dust pie with a little cinnamon or powdered sugar.
Coconut pie recipe with a pie crust, toasted coconut top, custard filling garnished by strawberries

how to slice pie perfectly

Do you want to know the secret to cleanly slicing pie?  To not leaving crumbled crust in the pie plate? 

The secret to perfect, clean sliced pie is to use a quiche pan with a removable bottom!

The removable bottom is a game changer. You bake the pie per usual, let it cool, then place it on an inverted bowl and the sides drop away from the pan.  This feature is amazing because it:

  • allows you to easily transfer the entire pie to a plate or cake stand for beautiful presentation.
  • allows you to slice the pie cleanly without ruining two slices before you can finally get a whole piece out
  • allows you to remove the slices from the pan without losing any crust
showing how to make coconut pie recipe by removing pie from removable bottom pan

what about a pie pan?

This Coconut Custard Pie recipe is written so it works perfectly with either a 9-inch quiche pan or a standard 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. If you only have a deep-dish pie pan, just know the filling will not come up very high. 

how to make Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie is one of the easiest pies to make at home. Making your own pie crust adds a few steps but it’s so worth it.  Then just whisk together the custard filling, pour into a pie shell, and bake. Here’s how (full recipe in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Step 1:  Make the pie crust if using.  Use my favorite homemade pie crust. I suggest making the crust the night before so it’s all ready to roll out and fill the next morning.  The crust post is full of tips and tricks for fool proof pie crust even if you’ve never made it before – so don’t be intimidated but do give yourself plenty of time for chilling the crust after forming and brushing with the egg wash.
  • Step 2:  Make the custard. Whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, melted butter, vinegar/lemon juice, vanilla and salt, followed by the coconut. 
a collage showing how to make coconut pie recipe by 1) whisking eggs in a bowl, 2) adding butter, eggs and sugar, 3) adding coconut, 4) storing it all together
  • Step 3: Add chocolate. Add the chocolate chips to the bottom of the crust. Pour the custard over the chocolate.
a collage showing how to make coconut pie recipe by adding chocolate chips and then custard into the pie
  • Step 3:  Bake.  Place the pie on a preheated rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Step 4:  Cool.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing in order to set, about 3 hours. 
a few slices missing from coconut pie showing the custard filling

WHEN IS COCONUT CUSTARD PIE DONE?

Coconut Custard Pie is best when the filling is perfectly creamy and not dry, set and not runny. Baking time for Coconut Custard Pie can vary based on color and material of the pie pan, but it should take between 45 and 60 minutes.  When the pie is done, the top should be golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean or with a few coconut crumbs (don’t dip into the chocolate). 

The most accurate way to tell if coconut pie is done, however, is to use an instant read thermometer and insert it into the center of the pie without touching the bottom.  The internal temperature of custard pie should be about 165-170 degrees.  Sweet custards typically thicken between 160°F and 180°F, but keep in mind the temperature will rise after the pie is taken out of the oven.  You don’t want to bake it past 180 degrees or the egg proteins lose their shape and can no longer hold liquid, so a baked custard presents the seemingly oxymoron of both curdled and runny.

Expert tips for making this recipe:

This Coconut Custard Pie is unbelievably simple to make.  Here are just a few tips to ensure success every time:

  • Don’t add more coconut than the recipe calls for.  I know it’s tempting for coconut lovers to want to add additional coconut, but I have experimented and more coconut doesn’t mean a better pie.  Instead, it throws off the custard ratio and makes for a less creamy pie.
  • Don’t use regular chocolate chips.  Make sure to use mini chocolate chips because regular chocolate chips don’t melt completely so you’ll end up with hard chunks of chocolate.   
  • Use real butter.  You must use real butter for the best tasting Coconut Pie.  Margarine won’t have the same flavor or effect.
  • Don’t skip the egg wash. The egg wash helps create a beautiful golden crust, but more importantly, helps prevent a soggy crust.
  • Don’t skip chilling the pie crust. Pie dough does the best if chilled at all stages:  after making, after pressing into the pie shell, after the egg wash and after adding the filling.  This allows the fat to firm up, otherwise the water in the butter is released and interacts with the gluten in the four, resulting in a soggy crust.
  • Bake the pie on the lowest rack.  This helps to evenly brown the bottom crust to become golden and crisp because it’s closer to the heat source, while also keeping the top crust farther away from the main heating elements, which helps it to brown more gradually and evenly throughout baking.   
  • Preheat the baking sheet.  I recommend baking the Coconut Pie on a rimmed baking sheet to make easy to transfer from the oven and to catch any leakage if using a quiche pan.   You will want to preheat the baking sheet in the oven so it’s super-hot when you place the pie on it to help crisp up the crust, much like a pizza stone with homemade pizza crust.
  • Protect the edges of the pie.  Watch the crust and cover with foil or a pie crust shield  to prevent it from over-browning.  If you don’t use an egg wash on your crust, then you’ll definitely need to cover the edges, if you do use an egg wash, you likely won’t need to.
  • Let the pie cool before serving.  In order for the filling to set, the pie must cool completely before serving, otherwise it can be runny.
taking out a piece of coconut pie with a spatula

HOW TO SERVE coconut custard pie

This Coconut Custard Pie is fabulous plain or we love it with raspberries – coconut, chocolate, raspberries – oh my!  You can also top it with:

DOES COCONUT CUSTARD PIE NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?

After the Coconut Pie has cooled, it should only be left at room temperature for up to 2 hours because the pie contains eggs that can grow bacteria in temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.   

How long can coconut custard pie or any custard pie be kept in the fridge?

Let the pie cool to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Serve chilled or at room temperature – personal preference!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS:

You can either make the pie completely ahead of time or pre-make portions of the pie.  Here’s how:

  • Make pie dough:  Prep the dough and store in the refrigerator for 5 days or freeze for up to three months then thaw overnight before using.
  • Make pie crust:  Go one step further and mold it in the pie pan, brush with egg wash, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  You can freeze the pie dough or the formed pie crust, covered tightly for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Finished Pie: The pie can be baked, cooled, covered and stored one day in the refrigerator before serving.

CAN YOU FREEZE coconut PIE?

Coconut Custard Pie does not freeze well because the ingredients tend to separate. As the pie thaws, it becomes watery, and the liquid soaks into the bottom of the pie and makes it soggy. 

up close of a slice of coconut custard pie recipe showing the creamy custard layer and the coconut top crust

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a few slices missing from coconut pie showing the custard filling

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie is a time-tested vintage recipe that is truly one of the easiest, tastiest desserts ever.  It requires just a few simple ingredients to make, 5 minutes to prep (if using store-bought crust) and comes together with just one bowl and one whisk.  Best of all, this astonishingly easy Coconut Pie is 100% swoon worthy with its silky, chewy, coconut studded custard base and crunchy self-made coconut crust cocooned in a buttery,  For those chocolate fans out there, I’ve added optional mini chocolate chips that create a dreamy layer of rich and creamy chocolate, much like a chocolate dipped macaroon. Top the Coconut Custard Pie recipe with raspberries and no one will ever believe how easy this stunner was to make!   
Servings: 8 -10 servings
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr

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Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup SWEETENED flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 9-inch pie crust, store bought or homemade

For serving (Optional)

  • berries (HIGHLY recommend raspberries)
  • ice cream
  • whipped cream

Instructions

Homemade Pie Crust (Optional)

  • Prepare homemade pie crust according to directions, if using. I find it helpful to make the crust the night before. I love my quiche pan with a removable bottom for easy slicing. If you use this pan, form the crust all the way to the top and it will slide down to meet the pie as it bakes.

Coconut Pie

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack to preheat with the oven.
  • Whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, melted butter, vinegar, vanilla and salt, followed by the coconut; set aside.
  • Add the chocolate chips to the bottom of the unbaked pie shell in an even layer (if using). Pour the custard over the chocolate. Transfer the pie to the preheated baking sheet.
  • Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean without inserting into chocolate (it will still jiggle slightly). (Note: If you use a dark quiche pan like I did, then bake closer to 45 minutes). Watch the crust and cover with foil or a crust shield as needed to prevent over-browning. If you don’t use an egg wash on your crust, then you’ll definitely need to cover the edges, if you do use an egg wash, you likely won’t need to.
  • Transfer baked pie to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing in order to set, about 3 hours. Serve plain or with berries, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Video

Notes

Possible Variations

  • Unsweetened coconut: Use 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut and increase the sugar to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.
  • Other chips:  Try butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.   Full size chocolate chips will not melt completely so blitz them in your food processor before using.
  • Make it lemony: Use 3 tablespoons lemon juice in place of vinegar and add two 2 tablespoons lemon zest. 

Storage

Let the pie cool to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Serve chilled or at room temperature – personal preference!  Note:  Coconut Custard Pie does not freeze well because the ingredients tend to separate and the crust becomes soggy. 

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