Tropical Coconut-Citrus Pie

Coconut and citrus are the perfect pair.

Tropical Coconut-Citrus Pie
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Giulietta Pinna; Food Styling: Ali Ramee
Active Time:
30 mins
Freeze Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
25 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Chill Time:
8 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
11 hrs 25 mins

When ambrosia is mentioned, many imagine a serving dish filled to the brim with a fluffy, fruit-studded concoction. Recipes for the original version of the classic Southern dish—layers of fresh citrus, sugar, and coconut—began appearing in cookbooks back in the late 19th century. This holiday season, our Test Kitchen is bringing you fresh twists on ambrosia that deserve a spot on your sideboard—like this Tropical Coconut-Citrus Pie.

Opt for a holiday in the tropics this year with our ambrosia-inspired Coconut-Citrus Pie. Early ambrosia recipes called for cracking, peeling, and grating the meat of a whole coconut. We're simplifying the process for you in this recipe. Crisp coconut cookies make a special crust for this creamy riff on Key lime pie. The crust will feel soft after it has been parbaked, but it will firm up when cool. Egg yolks, lime zest and juice, and sweetened condensed milk make a sweet, tangy filling for this citrus pie, while cream cheese and marshmallow crème whip together up for a rich, fluffy, and utterly unique topping. Garnish this pie with citrus segments and pretty triangles of pineapple.


  • 2 cups finely ground crisp coconut cookies (from about 14 cookies, such as Voortman Bakery)

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest (from 2 limes)

  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

  • cup bottled Key lime juice 

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

  • 1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow creme

  • Garnishes: Thinly sliced pineapple wedges and citrus slices


  1. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Pulse cookies, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a food processor until well combined, about 5 pulses. Add butter; pulse until evenly incorporated, about 10 pulses. Pour mixture into prepared pie plate; press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze pie shell, uncovered, until hardened, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pie shell until lightly browned, 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. Do not turn oven off.

  3. Beat egg yolks, lime zest, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add condensed milk; beat until thick, 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add lime juice, beating until just combined. Pour into cooled pie shell. Bake at 350°F until just set (center will be slightly jiggly), 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely, about 1 hour. Chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

  4. Beat cream cheese and marshmallow creme with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Spread mixture over top of pie. Chill until topping firms up slightly, at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Garnish with pineapple and citrus. Serve immediately.

Related Articles