What is Toasted Coconut?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Toasted coconut is coconut which has been briefly toasted at high heat to brown it and bring out a nutty flavor. It is used as a garnish on a variety of foods, and it can also be utilized in various desserts. Some stores sell prepared toasted coconut, and it can also be very easily made at home. One advantage to making toasted coconut at home is that it can be made fresh for each use, retaining its crispy flavor rather than softening in storage.

Coconut meat before toasting.
Coconut meat before toasting.

Shredded coconut, coconut flakes, and desiccated coconut can all be toasted. To toast coconut, the coconut meat is spread out on a large pan and either heated in a toaster oven or heated in the regular oven. It can also be heated on a stovetop at high heat, as long as the pan is periodically tossed or the contents are stirred to reduce the risk of burning the coconut. Some people prefer to use cast iron for toasting coconut, because it heats more slowly and evenly, eliminating hot spots which can cause burning.

Shredded coconut is made from the meat of a coconut.
Shredded coconut is made from the meat of a coconut.

One common use for toasted coconut is as a garnish on soups and curries. The garnish adds a crunchy texture and a nutty flavor which some people find quite enjoyable. Asian curries, especially coconut curries, pair very well with toasted coconut, and it also goes well with things like split pea soup, curried soups, and squash soups.

Toasted coconut may be made at home using a toaster oven.
Toasted coconut may be made at home using a toaster oven.

It can also be scattered on cakes and cupcakes for a twist on a more traditional coconut garnish, and included in baked goods. Candymakers also work with toasted coconut, rolling candies in it as well as coating it in chocolate for nutty-flavored coconut haystacks. This coconut product can also be baked into cookies, blended into icings and frostings, or eaten plain, although it can be a very high-fat snack, for people who are concerned about dietary calories.

One of the key aspects of toasted coconut is the crunchy texture, which is why many people prefer to make it fresh. If toasted coconut sits in storage, it can become softened and stale, which is undesirable. To refresh toasted coconut which has been sitting too long, the coconut can be quickly tossed in a heated pan on the stove to reheat it and cause it to crisp up again. Allowing toasted coconut to cool completely before storage is also a good idea, ensuring that steam will not be released in the storage container, causing the coconut to take on water.

Because it heats slowly and evenly, some people use cast iron pans to toast coconut.
Because it heats slowly and evenly, some people use cast iron pans to toast coconut.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


As delicious as toasted coconut is, it's very easy to overdo it and burn it while toasting. I've done it countless times, it's a really thin line between a nice toasty flavorful brown and burned coconut.

I've learned with experience that the best way to toast coconut is by using the oven. I spread the shredded coconut out all evenly on a pan and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. I do no take my eyes off of it until it's toasted and has become mostly a light brown.

Don't say, "oh I'll just go and do this real quick, the coconut will be fine until then." I've burned it so many times that way.


@cupcake15-- Have you tried adding toasted coconut in rice pudding and making macaroons with them? It's also really good on top of a banana split. If you like toasted coconut ice cream, I'm sure you'll like these too.

Toasted coconut macaroons are my favorite by far!


Toasted coconut is so delicious! I think I can eat anything with toasted coconut in it.

I don't like regular coconut as much because I get it prepackaged and shredded. It always has a very raw and incomplete flavor. It's amazing how roasting it in a stainless steel pan for a couple of minutes can transform it into something so delicious.

I love using it as decoration and topping for cakes, cupcakes and pastries. Coconut creme cupcakes topped with toasted coconut is just divine.


@SauteePan - I have always wanted to try some new coconut recipes. I found a great toasted coconut ice cream recipe that was not too difficult to make.

You need to bake the coconut for about six or seven minutes at 375 degrees and then you have to combine a mixture of two cups of heavy cream, a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and four eggs with the toasted coconut when it is done.

Then you have to boil it for a few minutes and then let it sit for about forty-five minutes. You then have to pour in another cup of heavy cream and apply heat and keep stirring all around the sides. When it thickens just place it in your freezer for a few hours. It is a lot easier to buy the coconut ice cream at the grocery store, but it is not nearly as much fun to do.

I like to do things like this with my kids on Friday nights. It is really a nice ritual.


I love coconut, and I never thought of browning some coconut and placing it in a soup. That really sounds delicious. I usually use toasted coconut on pies or ice cream, mainly desserts but never on soup.

I like adding texture to my food especially when I am eating a creamy soup. I always add crackers but I will try some toasted coconut too.

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