How To Toast Coconut

Toasted coconut is delicious on cakes, pies, parfaits, and more.

how to toast coconut southern living

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
2 cups

Toasted coconut is commonly used on glamorous cakes like our Classic Coconut Cake or the showstopping Pineapple-Coconut Cake. It's also a fun addition to parfait bars at baby showers or bridal luncheons, or served atop ice cream with a tropical flair, like this Pineapple Ice Cream.

Here, learn how to toast coconut on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave. Plus, find out how long you can keep toasted coconut fresh.

Why Toast Coconut?

Toasted coconut adds a depth of flavor and great texture to a variety of dishes. It’s a beautiful garnish for layer cakes, pies, and puddings, or you can mix toasted coconut into cookie dough or even cake or brownie batter. Not to mention, it’s the ideal topping for a smoothie bowl or yogurt parfait.

How To Toast Coconut

How do you maximize the sweet, buttery flavor and richness of coconut in just a few steps at home? Shredded coconut can be toasted just minutes ahead of using it in a recipe, or you can prep a big batch to keep on hand. Plus, your kitchen will smell incredible in the process.

There are a few ways you can toast coconut. Pick the one that best suits you and what you're making:

In the oven

This method is great for toasting coconut in big batches, and you'll end up with even browning. Preheat the oven to 325°F, line an edged baking sheet with parchment paper, and sprinkle a layer of shredded coconut on the paper. Allow the coconut to toast in the oven for eight to 10 minutes, stirring every three to four minutes, until it's golden.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the toasted coconut to cool completely before use.

toasting coconut on sheet pan in the oven southern living

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

On the stove

This method requires a near constant attention. Pour one to two cups of shredded coconut into a medium skillet. Turn the stove on low to medium heat and stir often. It will take five to seven minutes for the coconut to turn light brown.

toasting coconut in pan on stovetop southern living

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

In the microwave

This method will result in more uneven browning, and the coconut won’t be quite as crisp, but it certainly works when you need toasted coconut in a pinch.

Spread an even layer of shredded coconut in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave the coconut in 30-second intervals, stirring each time. The coconut will begin to brown after four to five minutes. Less time will be required for smaller amounts.

toasting coconut in a dish in the microwave for southern living

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

What To Do With Toasted Coconut

Toasted coconut is great to add to ice cream, cakes, or salads, but we also call for toasted coconut in these recipes:

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the best method for toasting coconut?

The ideal method for toasting coconut is all based on personal preference. Toasting coconut on the stovetop and microwave both require a bit more attention, but these methods yield faster results. Toasting big batches of coconut is easier in the oven.

No matter the method, it’s important to keep a consistent eye on the coconut—toasting times will vary based on the amount and type of coconut used.

How long does toasted coconut last?

Once your toasted coconut has fully cooled, transfer it to an airtight plastic container or jar. Toasted coconut can be stored in the pantry for one to two weeks or in the fridge for up to one month. Toasted coconut can also be stored in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for two to three months.

toasted coconut in a zip-top bag

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox


  • 2 cups shredded coconut (or coconut flakes)


  • Oven Method:

    Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut in an even layer in the parchment paper-lined sheet. Toast 8 to 10 minutes, stirring 2 to 3 times, or until the coconut is golden brown.

    Remove from oven, and let coconut cool completely.

    toasting coconut on sheet pan southern living
  • Stovetop Method:

    Sprinkle coconut in a large skillet. Turn oven to medium-low heat, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until coconut is golden brown.

    When desired color, pour coconut onto a plate or dish to cool completely.

    toasting coconut in pan on stovetop southern living

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  • Microwave Method:

    Add coconut to a microwave-safe dish. Cook on high in 30-second intervals. Stir after each interval. Cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Let coconut cool completely before using.

    Toasting coconut in microwave southern living

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Can you toast sweetened coconut?

You can use this method to toast sweetened coconut, too. But sweetened, flaked coconut may take longer to cook than unsweetened. Be sure to stir often to preventing burning or sticking.

Related Articles