Coconut Cookies

I like coconut. And I have had an unsatisfied sweet tooth for it. I have taken care of it with this cookie recipe. I didn’t know of any coconut cookie that I wanted to model so I started from scratch and used the basic structure of my Snickerdoodle recipe. Then I added and subtracted and tweaked until I landed here. I really like this cookie. My husband and daughter love this cookie. My dog adores this cookie, and consumed about 5 out of the 9 cookies in my most recent batch. But that isn’t very high praise because she eats some very, very questionable things, too. But many discerning humans have given this iteration a thumbs up. So if you like buttery, chewy cookies, and you love coconut, you really should give this a try.

This dough performs best chilled. Once you have made the dough, pop it in your fridge for 30 minutes. Chilling also makes the dough far easier to form into balls. And, while you are still going to have a good cookie even if you don’t roll the dough in additional coconut before baking, it is a huge boost to the flavor and texture of the cookie.

This is a big batch of cookies. My last batch yielded 42 cookies. So I baked 9 of them, and froze the dough balls for the remaining. I packaged them in parchment in two pods of 12 and one more of 9. This is a clever way to keep yourself from eating 20 in one day “by accident.” Plus, you have a batch of hot cookies, 30 minutes and zero effort away, for however long your will power lasts.

I used coconut milk for a little extra flavor. You will find it in the Asian foods section of the grocery store. Do not buy the light variety, and make sure to stir the milk well before you use it as there may be semi solid (buttery) clumps in the milk. The clumps are great to use, no worries. Also, you will need a whole 14 ounce bag of coconut. What you don’t use in the body of the cookie you will need for rolling the cookies. If you are an aggressive roller, you may even need a little bit more.

Coconut Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 42 cookies
Heavenly Coconut Cookies.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons coconut milk (not light)
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly stirred
  • 2 cups (approximately 8 oz. if you use a scale) flaked sweetened coconut
  • additional flaked sweetened coconut (for rolling)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Allow the butter to soften. If you are in a hurry, cut the butter into small pieces. The increase in exposed surface area will allow it to soften more quickly.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, and the coconut milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix them together on low for a minute and then increase the speed of the mixer to medium for another three minutes until the butter and sugar mixture is light and fluffy. In a small bowl, lightly stir the eggs. This allows the eggs to go in more of a stream than in big blobs. Add the eggs slowly, allowing them to incorporate as you go. Stop the mixer and thoroughly scrape the bowl of the mixer. Add the vanilla and beat, again on medium, to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Stir it with a whisk to ensure that the salt and baking soda are well incorporated. Add the flour to the batter in three additions, allowing the flour to incorporate after each addition, but remembering to not over-mix. Add the coconut and mix to just combine. I chopped up the coconut to finer bits before adding it because I like it that way. It is not critical, but consider it. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the coconut one or two times to make sure it is well distributed. Place the mixing bowl with the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour the remaining coconut onto a large plate. Using a spoon or a scooper, make balls of about 1½” diameter. Roll each ball in the coconut and pat the coconut into the ball a little to ensure that it adheres to the dough. Place the dough on a silicone baking sheet set on a cookie sheet. Repeat the process.
  5. Bake each sheet of cookies for approximately 17 minutes or until they are just golden. The coconut is not good burnt, so check often for the last few moments. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to sit for two minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool. I must admit that 17 minutes seems like a long baking time. Only you know your oven. Keep an eye on these beauties.

Now I have left you with almost a whole can of coconut milk. May I recommend that you peruse the list of recipes that call for coconut milk on Heidi Swanson’s exceptional blog, 101 Cookbooks. Try something exotic that you never would have thought of, and let me know how it works. She always does wonderful and interesting dishes.


  1. says

    Those look amazing. I love coconut cookies too! My fav are at an Asian place we go to and they are a coconut sandwich cookie with coconut cream in the middle. Great recipe!

  2. lauri says

    Is it possible to omit the coconut milk? It isn’t something I buy or use even if I do love coconut.

  3. Kelly says

    Lauri, yes you can. I have made them several times without it and they are great. It was just one more way to pack a little more coconut flavor into them. I wish I could find my notes to make sure I didn’t tweak anything else when I added the milk, but I don’t think I did. I think they will be just fine if you omit the coconut milk. I hope you like them. I’m nuts about them.

  4. Sandy says

    I made these cookies every year I try at least one new cookie to add to our christmas cookie list that we make and give away every year…… THIS COOKIE IS THE BEST COOKIE I HAVE EVER MADE!!!!! my kids one who does not even like coconut love them I have to make another double batch tonight just so I will have some to give away

    Thank you so much for posting this I will keep this recipe forever you rock!!!!

    Oh I did not have and could not find coconut milk but I did have a can of coconut sparkeling water so I pored the can of water in a dish about half a can and added about 3 tablespoons of cream of coconut mixed it up and used that worked for me

  5. Kelly says

    That is the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day. Thank you! Also, thanks for telling us about the substitution…always good to have options.

  6. Kelly says

    That was incredibly imprecise of me…apologies…a stick is 1/2 cup, so the recipe needs 1 cup. Thanks for pointing that out.

  7. Tamra says

    YUMMM! going to bake these right now! I make coconut fish and the family loves it! ..I use “sway” fish ( whitefish) soak it for a bit in coconut milk..then take the fish out add a couple eggs to it…whip it up dip fish in flour ..then egg and milk wash..then in panco and coconut and fry it up..mmmm good I use whats on hand for dipping sause apricot jelly with a litle chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce

  8. Lindsey says

    I have made these twice now in a couple weeks. I am obsessed!! Last time I made them I froze a couple of batches like you suggested. It was so great to be able to pull them out of the freezer whenever the kids (or I!) wanted some.
    Thanks Kelly

  9. Robert says

    For the leftover coconut milk I have a terribly addicting solution. Make Coconut Syrup.
    1 Can (14.5 oz) Coconut Milk
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup coconut.
    Combine in a saucepan on medium heat. Once it comes to a boil turn to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. I gave out 16 bottles of it for Christmas. As I wrote on the label. “Built for pancakes, suitable for Ice Cream”

    As you are using 5 TBL of the CC milk for the cookies just cut down on the sugar a little. This is really tasty.

  10. Kelly says

    Lindsey, I’m so glad you like them. I always take it as high praise when the kids love them. That is awesome.

  11. Kelly says

    Robert…this is inspired. It is brilliant. Thank you so much for mentioning it. I will definitely do this next time.

  12. Cassie says

    I was thrilled to find a recipe for coconut cookies that is not a macaroon. I bake a lot of cookies for work events and I have been trying to add some variety to the mix. I knew adding a coconut cookie would be a great addition. I was skeptical at first regarding the coconut milk especially after reading the comments that it can be omitted. I wanted to make the original recipe without making any changes the first time around but I did add some coconut extract after tasting the dough and thinking it could use a little extra punch of flavor. I chilled the cookie dough then rolled the dough into balls and then rolled the balls in the coconut. I baked them for 17 minutes. My cookies were really flat – maybe my dough did not chill long enough or maybe I should have chilled the dough again after I rolled them in the coconut. My biggest concern was the taste. I tasted one while it was still warm and it had a very funky taste – like it was a coconut milk cookie. I left the first tray of cookies to cool and a few hours later I tasted them to see what I might have done wrong but interestingly enough the flavor had changed quite a bit once they were cooled. I’ve rolled the rest of the dough into balls and I’m leaving it chill overnight to see if this will prevent them from spreading so bad. My batch made 36 and I used a medium sized cookie scoop.

  13. Susan says

    I’ve been baking cookies all my life – and these are some of the best ever. I just discovered your blog looking for a use for the sweetened coconut flakes I accidentally bought – meant to buy unsweetened! These are the bomb! Froze some as advised for my oldest, who is coming home from college in two weeks. Followed your direction to the letter, including chopping coconut up a bit in food processor for a few seconds. Panicked when I realized I didn’t have a silicone baking mat, then checked web side of my silicone pastry rolling mat and it said safe to 500 degrees oven temperature. Eureka! My oven is “hot”, so first batch out of oven in 15 minutes, second at 16. Thank you so much – this recipe obviously a labor of love, and it shows.

  14. Susan says

    Kelly, my oldest is home from college, 1000, miles away – I baked the “frozen” batch today and they came out perfectly, just like you promised! I froze them with a little sealed baggie of extra coconut flakes, was able to re-coconut where appropriate! Thanks again so much for this bit of butter, sugar, and magic.

  15. Romina says

    Hey! Kelly! From Argentina. Excellent! I have a question for you. After make a little balls and roll in a xtra cocoflakes. Have i put in the sheet and make like a package? Split o side by side? Thanks!

  16. Kelly says

    Hi Romina, thank you for the question. I hope I understand what you are asking. But, once you have rolled the dough in the extra coconut flakes, you can basically arrange them however you like and in whatever number you like to freeze. The flakes sort of help them keep from sticking together too much. I did them side by side in rows so that I didn’t have to put anything under them. In a dozen like that, they made a tidy package that i could put in the freezer without clearing a whole shelf or putting cardboard underneath. There is no magic with the freezing. However it works for you is fine. Or, bake them ALL and watch them disappear.


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