28 Coconut Dessert Recipes That'll Transport You Right to the Tropics

Coconut Cream Cake
Photo: Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Craving a bit of sunshine? Dreaming about being somewhere on a beach? Transport your taste buds to the tropics with a little help from these coconut recipes.

We love baking with coconut for its versatility and subtle, yet distinct flavor. Coconut pairs well with a variety of fruits, from strawberry to pineapple, and complements the richness of ingredients like chocolate and pecans. It brings lightness to decadent classics like German Chocolate Cake, creaminess to Custard Pies, and crunchy texture to classic Layer Cakes. You can also use coconut to bring a bit of sweetness to savory recipes, like Coconut Fried Shrimp, or even to mellow out the spice when you go a little overboard with the hot sauce. From coconut flakes and milk to oil, there are so many creative ways to use the different parts of this fruit.

This weekend, treat yourself to a piña colada and bake some of our favorite coconut desserts. These recipes will make you feel like you're on an endless vacation.

01 of 28

Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies

Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies

These adorable miniature pies are perfect for any tea party or afternoon garden soiree.

02 of 28

Coconut Dream Bar

Coconut Dream Bar
Micah Leal

Recipe: Coconut Dream Bar

It isn't called a "dream bar" for nothing. With a browned butter-pecan shortbread crust, these bars are anything but ordinary.

03 of 28

Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin-Spice Bundt with Brown Sugar Icing and Candied Pecans
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut and pecans are a match made in heaven. Drizzle these cupcakes with caramel for a supremely elegant finish.

04 of 28

Easy Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Easy Coconut Macaroons

With a crisp, toasty exterior and fluffy center, these bite-sized desserts are the perfect addition to any dessert spread.

05 of 28

Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake

Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake

Visually, this cake is a show-stopper. With layers of crisp chocolate-swirled meringue and coconut cream, its delicate flavors match its bold flavors.

06 of 28

Millionaire Pie

Millionaire Pie
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Millionaire Pie

This no-bake pie's combination of pineapple, cherry, coconut, and pecans will certainly have you feeling like a millionaire. Its baby-pink color is guaranteed to make you swoon.

07 of 28

The Lane Cake

The Lane Cake
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Lane Cake

This recipe may be over 100 years old, but it's stood the test of time. With a coconut-pecan-peach filling and peach schnapps meringue frosting, it will wow any crowd.

08 of 28

Pineapple-Coconut Cake

Pineapple Coconut Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pineapple-Coconut Cake

This elegant layer cake with fluffy coconut sponge, pineapple filling, and rich cream cheese frosting bursts with tropical flavors.

09 of 28

Mama Mae's Ambrosia Salad

Mama Mae's Ambrosia
Southern Living

Recipe: Mama Mae's Ambrosia Salad Recipe

This take on Ambrosia Salad doesn't call for any marshmallow or whipped cream, instead letting the flavors of all the fresh fruit and sweet coconut shine through. Plus, it's accidentally vegan.

10 of 28

Tropical Carrot Cake

Tropical Carrot Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Tropical Carrot Cake

Warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger combine with pineapple and coconut in this Hummingbird-carrot cake fusion.

11 of 28

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie
John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

Recipe: Coconut Cream Pie

When it comes to pie recipes, this classic coconut pie recipe takes the blue ribbon. A refrigerated pie crust makes it easy, and the whipped cream and toasted coconut make it stunning.

12 of 28

Coconut Cookies

Coconut Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Coconut Cookies

With both unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut extract, these cookies are loaded up with your favorite summer flavor.

13 of 28

Lemon-Coconut Chess Bars

Lemon-Coconut Chess Bars
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Lemon-Coconut Chess Bars

We love dessert bars for their ease and portability, and these Lemon-Coconut Chess Bars combine all of our favorite flavors into one small package.

14 of 28

Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting

Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

Recipe: Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting

These playful cupcakes will transport you right to the tropics. For a whimsical touch, garnish with crushed graham cracker "sand" and miniature cocktail umbrellas.

15 of 28

Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Pound Cake
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Coconut Pound Cake

We love a classic Bundt, and this coconut version brings a light, fresh flavor to the traditional pound cake.

16 of 28

Seven-Layer Cookies

Seven-Layer Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Seven-Layer Cookies

This reader-submitted recipe was the first-ever bar cookie featured in Southern Living, so it has many years of history behind it.

17 of 28

Strawberry-Coconut Paletas

Tart Mango Paletas
Wynn Myers; Prop Styling: Lauren Smith Ford

Recipe: Strawberry-Coconut Paletas

These fresh and fruity Mexican ice pops are the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day.

18 of 28

Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake

Condensed milk makes this sheet cake super moist, and coconut makes it super flavorful.

19 of 28

Coconut Snowballs

Coconut Snowballs
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut Snowballs

This quick and easy recipe results in decadently fluffy cookies that are perfect for the holiday season.

20 of 28

Coconut-Banana Pudding

Coconut-Banana Pudding
Hector M. Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut-Banana Pudding

The addition of coconut adds toasty texture to the much-loved Southern classic, banana pudding. Plus, this no-bake dessert will be ready in a snap.

21 of 28

Ambrosia Pudding Pie

Ambrosia Pudding Pie
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Ambrosia Pudding Pie

All those nostalgic flavors of Ambrosia Salad, distilled into a pie with lemon curd and coconut custard.

22 of 28

Japanese Fruitcake with Lemon-Coconut Frosting

Japanese Fruitcake Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Japanese Fruitcake with Lemon-Coconut Frosting

More resembling a seasonal spice cake than a traditional dense fruitcake, this recipe is fit for any holiday spread.

23 of 28

Coconut Cake with Rum Filling and Coconut Ermine Frosting

Coconut Cake with Rum Filling and Coconut Ermine Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Coconut Cake with Rum Filling and Coconut Ermine Frosting

Crumbled coconut resembles snow on this wonderfully festive, warm rum-filled holiday cake.

24 of 28

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

Oats, coconut, and pecans bring a twist to Laura Bush's famed stuffed chocolate chip cookies. Her recipe for these Cowboy Cookies was crowned victorious at the First Lady Bake-Off in 2000, and it's stood the test of time.

25 of 28

Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream

Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream

Sheet cakes are a perfect way to feed a crowd, and this Coconut-Carrot Sheet Cake will delight at any party.

26 of 28

Mama's German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

German Chocolate Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Mama's German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

German Chocolate Cake is just perfectly indulgent. Top with lots of Coconut-Pecan Frosting to mingle with all those rich chocolate flavors.

27 of 28

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie
Micah Leal

Recipe: Coconut Custard Pie

A cross between buttermilk pie and coconut cream pie, this fusion dessert will bring you right back to your childhood.

28 of 28

Coconut Cream Cake

Coconut Cream Cake
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Coconut Cream Cake

This stunning layered cake will be the best birthday treat for any coconut-lover in your life.

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