How to Toast Coconut

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Learn how to toast coconut in the oven or in a skillet. This simple tutorial works for both sweetened and unsweetened coconut and adds a golden hue and irresistible crunch.

A bowl of toasted coconut.

Toasted coconut is one of my favorite dessert toppings. Whether you sprinkle over fudge on an ice cream sundae or roll your caramel apples in it, it’s upgrades any sweet to sweetest.

Like roasting pecans, almonds, walnuts, or any other nuts, coconut can usually be improved through toasting no matter what the recipe calls for. It’s easy to do in the oven or in a skillet, and it makes everything just a little better.

Recipe ingredients

Piles of shredded coconut, coconut chips, and a whole coconut.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Coconut: Flaked coconut has been grated into small strips and then dried, although it’s not bone-dry and retains some softness due to moisture. Toasting the coconut removes the moisture which adds a lovely golden hue and a nutty crunch. Shredded coconut is dryer and sometimes called desiccated coconut.

Step-by-step instructions

Stove-top method:

  1. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add coconut in an even layer.
A skillet of raw coconut.
  1. Toast coconut until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes.
A skillet of toasted coconut.

Oven method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.
A tray of raw coconut.
  1. Bake until lightly golden and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 5 to 10 minutes.
A tray of toasted coconut.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 cup of toasted coconut, but you’ll end up with as much toasted coconut as the amount of raw that you started with.
  • Storage: Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  • Freezer: Store cooled, toasted coconut in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before using.
A bowl of toasted coconut.

Recipe FAQs

Is it better to toast coconut in the oven or in a skillet?

Both methods are valid although one may suit your particular recipe better. Oven-toasting allows you to toast more coconut at once with less stirring. You also infuse your house with a lovely coconut smell. Skillet-toasting can be faster because you can directly control the heat, but you have to stir it often to prevent scorching if you do so. You also don’t have to wait for your oven to preheat.

How do you make shredded coconut?

To make shredded coconut, grate or shred the meat of a coconut with a box grater or food processor. Then, dry out in an oven on the lowest temperature (aim for 140 degrees) for an hour or more, until dry.

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A bowl of toasted coconut.

How to Toast Coconut

Learn how to toast coconut in the oven or in a skillet. This simple tutorial works for both sweetened and unsweetened coconut and adds a golden hue and irresistible crunch.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 11 votes
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 4 servings (¼ cup each)
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 140

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Flaked, shredded or shaved coconut sweetened or unsweetened (see note 1)

Instructions 

Stove-top method:

  • In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add coconut in an even layer. Toast coconut until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Oven method:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Notes

  1. Coconut: Flaked coconut has been grated into small strips and then dried, although it’s not bone-dry and retains some softness due to moisture. Toasting the coconut removes the moisture which adds a lovely golden hue and a nutty crunch. Shredded coconut is dryer and sometimes called desiccated coconut.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes 1 cup of toasted coconut, but you’ll end up with as much toasted coconut as the amount of raw that you started with.
  3. Storage: Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  4. Freezer: Store cooled, toasted coconut in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before using.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 115mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

    1. Hi Mona, the oven should be set to 375. That should allow the coconut to toast in about 5-10 minutes. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  1. I made the mistake of walking away from my oven!! Got a bit too browned, if I had stuck with the time on the recipe it would have been perfect. Used parchment paper to make for easy cleanup. Thanks!!5 stars

  2. This popped up in my Pinterest feed! Havent toasted coconut in ages. It was the perfect addition to my breakfast yogurt bar with fresh pineapple and chopped nuts for a tropical version!5 stars

    1. Hi Sasha, I’m not sure! The fresh frozen coconut I’ve seen (like from Trader Joe’s) is in chunks, fairly large pieces. Is that what you mean? Or is it something else I’m not thinking of? Let me know so I can test it and figure it out! Thanks.

  3. Really liked the skillet version! Feels like this would be a great topping for a dessert…next mission find a dessert!5 stars

    1. Peyton. I use it to top my Coconut Creme Pie. I too the pie with cool whip & then top that with the toasted coconut. So yummy!5 stars