If you've been searching for a tropical dessert to welcome summer in style, you simply must try my new recipe for Vegan Coconut Cream Pie! 🥥✨
This heavenly dessert is deliciously light and creamy, bursting with toasted coconutty goodness, and just so happens to be plant-based AND gluten-free. Plus, with just 12 simple ingredients and only need 30 minutes of active prep time, it's a breeze to whip up.
Table of contents
- Why You Will Love This Coconut Cream Pie Recipe
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How To Make Vegan Coconut Cream Pie
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adaptations
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- More Vegan No-Bake Recipes
Why You Will Love This Coconut Cream Pie Recipe
I don’t know about you, but I’m a real sucker for tropical fruits. From my 2-ingredient mango lime sorbet to my piña colada sticky buns and yuzu cheesecakes, if there’s a way to incorporate mango, pineapple, or coconut, you better believe I’m gonna make it, especially once warmer weather rolls around!
So, with the unofficial start to summer kicking off next weekend, I couldn’t wait to reveal this brand-spankin’-new vegan coconut cream pie recipe. Aside from being a cloud of coconutty deliciousness, this delectable recipe is also:
- Made with just 12 simple ingredients - Spoiler Alert: They’re all easy to find, easy to pronounce, and at least half are probably already in your possession.
- Allergen-friendly - This dairy-free coconut cream pie is also egg-free, gluten-free, and completely plant-based, so pretty much everyone can get in on the fun.
- Quick & easy - You only need 30 minutes of active prep time to make it — the fridge does all the rest!
- No-bake - When the temperatures rise, I can’t bear to turn on my oven. Luckily, this creamy, dreamy coconut pudding pie is a no-bake recipe.
- Perfect for making ahead of time - The pie crust can be made and frozen up to a month ahead of time. You can also assemble the entire pie up to 4 days ahead, so it’s ideal for all of you who have your meal-prep game on point.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you only need a shockingly short ingredient list to make this vegan coconut pie. Here’s what to grab:
- Vegan graham cracker crumbs - Here’s a great list of potential brands to choose from. If you’re gluten-free, just make sure to reach for a GF option here.
- Unsweetened desiccated coconut - Also known as shredded coconut or coconut flakes, this dried, flaky-textured coconut meat adds tons of tropical flavor to anything it touches. Reaching for unsweetened means you have greater control over the final product.
- Granulated sugar - Plain white sugar has a neutral flavor, so all the graham and coconut goodness can truly shine. Feel free to swap in coconut sugar for a less sweet crust. Other options include brown sugar (light or dark), grated jaggery, or piloncillo.
- Fine salt - If you’re using an alternative variety, use a conversion chart for proper measurement.
- Vegan butter - For all that buttery flavor without any of the dairy!
- Coconut oil - I prefer using unrefined coconut oil to get an extra coconutty flavor, but refined will work, too!
To make the vegan coconut pudding filling, you’ll also need:
- Coconut milk - For the richest, most tropically flavored coconut cream filling, you need plenty of coconut milk. For the best texture, use canned, full-fat coconut milk.
- Non-dairy milk - Any variety of plain or vanilla-flavored milk will do. I generally have a carton of unsweetened plain almond milk in my fridge, but soy, almond, oat, or refrigerated coconut milk will also work beautifully!
- Vanilla extract - For adding deliciously warm, complex vanilla flavor. You can also use equal amounts of vanilla paste or vanilla powder or half as much ground vanilla bean.
- Cornstarch - For thickening the vegan coconut custard to perfection. If corn is a no-no, simply swap in an equal amount of potato starch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot powder.
And for the ethereally light and fluffy whipped topping, you’ll also need:
- Vegan whipping cream - Chilled unsweetened coconut cream would be my first choice for adding extra coconut flavor, but feel free to use any available plant-based whipping cream substitute you prefer.
- Powdered sugar - Also known as icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar, this is an essential ingredient to creating velvety smooth, stable whipped vegan cream. If you’re out, you can make your own using granulated sugar, cornstarch, or potato starch, and a food processor.
- Toasted coconut flakes - Toasting coconut flakes brings out their natural oils and creates a rich, nutty flavor profile for a slightly caramelized note to the vegan cream pie. Toasted coconut flakes also offer a lovely bit of crunch, plus add some visual interest to the top of your pie. Feel free to do this in a dry pan on the stovetop over medium heat, or use an oven or toaster oven set to 350°F (175°C) for 5-8 minutes.
How To Make Vegan Coconut Cream Pie
Making a delectable coconut cream pie vegan is super easy. Here’s how it’s done:
Make Coconut Graham Cracker Crust
Step 1: Mix the dry crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and coconut oil, and stir until uniform.
Step 2: Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and put it in the freezer to set.
Make-Ahead Tip: The crust can easily be made up to a month ahead of time. Just be sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and store it in the coldest place in the freezer.
Make Vegan Coconut Custard
Step 1: Whisk together the dry pudding ingredients in a medium pot. Add the non-dairy milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there aren't any clumps of dry ingredients.
Step 2: Add wet ingredients. Whisk in the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and heat it on the stove at medium heat while whisking constantly. Allow it to reach a full boil, then continue to cook and whisk for another 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat.
Step 3: Add the desiccated coconut and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Step 4: Pour the cooled coconut pudding into the chilled crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming.
Step 5: Refrigerate for at least 3 hours until chilled.
Make-Ahead Tip: In total, the vegan coconut pudding should last for about 4-5 days in the fridge without any detectable change in consistency. Feel free to leave it separate from the crust until just before serving — this will help ensure a crispy crust.
Garnish With Whipped Cream & Toasted Coconut
Step 1: Whip the chilled whipping cream and powdered sugar for about 4-5 minutes, or until it reaches a medium peak.
Step 2: Top the chilled pie with the whipped cream, and sprinkle on some toasted coconut flakes. Chill the pie in the fridge for another 2 hours, or serve it immediately.
Make-Ahead Tip: Toasted coconut can be made up to a month in advance. Store it in a clean, dry, airtight container (preferably with a packet of silica to keep it fresh) in a cool, dark spot like the pantry.
Optional Variations & Dietary Adaptations
- Gluten-free coconut cream pie. Simply choose GF vegan graham crackers to make this a celiac-friendly dessert.
- Cut down on prep. Feel free to use a pre-made store-bought vegan pie crust, or swap in your favorite defrosted vegan whipped topping (e.g. TruWhip) for the whipped cream.
- Swap out graham crackers for a different vegan cookie or biscuit option. Gingersnaps would be great to add a touch of warmth while chocolate wafers could be used for more of a Mounds candy-inspired flavor.
- Garnish your pie with shaved dairy-free chocolate curls for a dramatic flair. If you love the idea of chocolate and coconut together, you’re also welcome to add a layer of vegan chocolate ganache under the coconut pudding.
- Go nuts by adding finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts to the crust or as a garnish. If you go this route, a little vegan caramel drizzle doesn’t hurt, either. 😉
This refreshing, coconut-centric dessert is ideal for summer get-togethers. Serve it at backyard barbecues, picnics, or pool parties, where the light and creamy texture will provide a cooling respite from the hot summer sun.
My 3-layer vegan cream pie is also fancy enough to serve for special occasions. Bust it out for your next dinner party, birthday party, or anytime you have something to celebrate.
As far as what to serve it with, this vegan coconut custard pie is lovely as a standalone dessert. It also pairs beautifully with any assortment of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, or passion fruit! 🍍
Recipe Success Tips
- Make sure to cook the coconut filling until it’s nice and thick. When it’s done, it should coat the back of a spoon.
- Don’t rush the chilling steps. If you add the filling to the crust when it’s too warm, it’ll make it a bit soggy. If you add the whipped topping before the pudding has chilled, it’ll melt and sink.
- Wipe off your chef’s knife between each cut for the neatest presentation.
- Leftovers can be kept covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- This pie cannot be stored in the freezer — the filling separates and becomes spongy and soggy. Not what we’re after!
- The pie crust can be made and stored in the freezer up to a month ahead of time if it's covered tightly.
Unfortunately, no, not all coconut cream is vegan. While coconut cream by itself is naturally vegan, it's essential to check the product label to ensure it doesn't include animal-derived ingredients like stabilizers, emulsifiers, or dairy-derived additives. To be certain, look for coconut cream that is explicitly labeled as "vegan" or "suitable for vegans."
Oops, sounds like one of a few things could have happened:
1. You might not have cooked the filling long enough. Make sure to cook the pudding until it’s nice and thick, and any bubbles from boiling create a sputtering sound.
2. You forgot to add the cornstarch thickener, or you didn’t add the proper amount.
3. Rushing the cooling/chilling stage can also result in a filling that isn’t properly set, which can come across as thin or watery.
4. If you freeze the pudding or whipped cream topping, they’ll separate and turn watery.
Absolutely! If you do, just note that your pudding will be much denser, richer, and higher in fat. Also, note that while you can use coconut cream for coconut milk, you shouldn’t attempt to do the reverse — if a recipe calls for coconut cream, it’s likely that the fat content is needed for the appropriate consistency of whatever you’re making. For example, you can’t use coconut milk to make the whipped topping.
Can’t find plain coconut cream, but still want to make your coconut cream pie dairy-free? Not to fret! These days, there are several brands that make vegan whipping cream, which can be made from cashews, soy, almond, or coconut. Alternatively, feel free to purchase a vegan frozen whipped topping, then defrost it before swooshing it over your pie.
Alright, friends! Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you love this tropically-inspired Vegan Coconut Cream Pie recipe as much as we do! If you try it out, let me know how it goes by leaving me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating and/or commenting below. You can also show off your indulgent coconutty creations by tagging me (@aimadeitforyou) in your social posts! I just love seeing what you make and cheering you on!
More Vegan No-Bake Recipes
Vegan Coconut Cream Pie (Gluten-Free)
- 1½ cup vegan whipping cream refrigerated overnight
- ¼ to ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup toasted coconut flakes
- In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, desiccated coconut, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and coconut oil, and stir to combine.
- Press the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate and put it in the freezer to set.
- In a pot, whisk together the cornstarch, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the non-dairy milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there aren't any clumps of dry ingredients.
- Whisk in the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and heat it on the stove at medium heat while whisking constantly. Once it reaches a boil, about 5 minutes in, continue to cook while whisking for another 5 minutes, until thickened.
- Take the pot off the heat and add the desiccated coconut and stir.
- Let the mixture cool slightly and pour it into the chilled crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap so that the wrap is touching the entired surface of the filling to prevent a sking from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours until chilled.
- Add the chilled whipping cream and powdered sugar into a large bowl and whip it with a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whip attachment. Whip for about 4-5 minutes, or until it reaches a medium peak.
- Top the chilled pie with the whipped cream, and sprinkle on some toasted coconut flakes. Chill the pie in the fridge for another 2 hours, or served immediately.