Coconut Buttercream Frosting

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There’s nothing better than this recipe for homemade Coconut Buttercream Frosting. It’s a made from scratch, simple recipe that is perfect slathered on cakes, cupcakes, or right from the spoon.

Above view of luscious whipped coconut buttercream frosting in a green bowl with a red rim.



I have for you the best Coconut Buttercream Frosting recipe! It’s creamy and silky. It’s stiff and pipe-able. It’s darn right delicious.

It’s made with powdered sugar, butter, and coconut milk. The end result has a thick, silky texture with a light coconut taste, making it great for any tropical dessert.

Do you see how fluffy it looks? All those air pockets? This was achieved by beating with my electric mixer for an extra five minutes. It whips up into a thick and fluffy consistency.

I’ve made cookie butter frosting, salted caramel frosting, and 7-minute frosting. Each one was great but they come nowhere near as delectable as today’s frosting.

Close up view of coconut buttercream made with coconut milk swirled on top of a pineapple cupcake.

This version of easy coconut frosting uses coconut milk instead of coconut extract. The result is a lusciously silky texture that glides across the tongue.

I seriously love how smooth it is. If you need more coconut flavor, add half a teaspoon of coconut extract.

Pro tip – Make sure the butter isn’t super soft! This will result in a loose, runny consistency in the frosting. Set the butter on the counter 25-30 minutes prior to use.

Test the butter by bending it. If it bends without breaking, it’s ready to use.

Thick coconut frosting swirled on top of pineapple cupcakes.

This is now my new favorite frosting. I want to put it on top of everything. I’m certain you are going to feel the same way too! Try it on pineapple cupcakespineapple coconut cake, or this pineapple poke cake!

What tropical dessert would you pair this frosting with? I’d love to hear your ideas. Or, if you’ve already made it and really enjoyed, I’d like to hear that too!


Do I have to use canned coconut milk?

You must use canned coconut milk. Refrigerated coconut milk is a beverage and is watered down. You can typically find canned coconut milk on the Asian food aisle of the grocery store.

What kind of coconut milk do you recommend?

Regular/full-fat canned coconut milk is best for this recipe.

Can u use coconut cream?

You certainly can! This will give you a richer coconut flavor.

Does the frosting need to be refrigerated or can it be stored at room temp for a couple of hours?

It would be safe for a couple of hours at room temp but definitely no longer than that. If you plan to use it the next day, refrigerate it and then let it sit for 30 mins to soften before use. You may have to re-whip it if you refrigerate it.

Can I add shredded coconut to the frosting?

You certainly can! Keep in mind the frosting may be difficult to pipe through small piping tips due to the coconut flakes.

Can I use coconut sugar?

I don’t recommend this. Coconut sugar is very coarse and will not work like confectioner’s sugar. Confectioner’s sugar is ground to a powder consistency and mixed with cornstarch. This is what thickens the frosting.

Can I use salted butter?

There’s absolutely no way to tell how much salt is in the butter. You run the risk of having super salty frosting. For best results, use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt if needed.

Can I color this frosting?

Yes! Use a high-quality gel food coloring such as AmeriColor.


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Thick, luscious whipped coconut buttercream frosting. Perfect on top of cakes, cupcakes, or alone on a spoon! This is one frosting you are going to love.
4.84 from 18 votes

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

There’s nothing better than this recipe for homemade Coconut Buttercream Frosting. It’s a made from scratch, simple recipe that is perfect slathered on cakes, cupcakes, or right from the spoon.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yields 32 servings
Calories 90 kcal
Author Jen Sobjack


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 2-4 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Combine the butter and coconut milk in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat until combined and creamy.

  2. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar, beat on medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened. Gradually add in the remaining sugar, one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on how soft the butter is. 

  3. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Make ahead tip

  1. Frosting will keep for up to 4 days stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Let stand at room temperature to soften before use.

  2. Or it can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to use, place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Let stand at room temperature to soften before use.

Recipe Notes

1. Soften the butter by allowing it to sit at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes prior to making the frosting. DO NOT soften the butter by heating it in the microwave!!

2. It is important to shake the can of coconut milk vigorously before opening it. The fats and liquids separate in the can after sitting. You want a combination of both for the frosting, so mix it very well.

3. If the coconut flavor isn't as strong as you'd like, try adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coconut extract.

4. You can also add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for more flavor.

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Thick, luscious whipped coconut buttercream frosting. Perfect on top of cakes, cupcakes, or alone on a spoon! This is one frosting you are going to love. #coconut #buttercream #frosting


  • Mir

    This looks seriously creamy, Jen. Just the way frosting should be! And it goes with so much…or just by itself, with a spoon. I could get into that! 🙂

  • Blair @ The Seasoned Mom

    If I could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life, I’m pretty sure that it would be coconut cake. I love the stuff!!! This frosting would be “the icing on the cake.” Literally. 🙂

    Looks delicious, Jen!

  • Vanessa

    I have one question I didn’t read the recipe the right way does the coconut milk have to be from a can or any coconut milk

    • Jen

      I only tested the recipe with coconut milk from a can. I don’t see why any coconut milk wouldn’t work though. Just make sure it is well mixed before adding it to the frosting and add only one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You could need more or less than what the recipe calls for.

  • Dani

    I made this yesterday with the pineapple cupcakes- all I can say is outstanding! Absolutely amazing! The icing was light, fluffy and irresistible! I can’t wait to eat more!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    To all followers, please rate this recipe. It is worthy of 5 stars!

    • Jen

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the frosting with the cupcakes. Have a wonderful Labor Day!

      • Dani

        Ditto Jen. I hope your followers come back and share how the icing blessed them! Many reported that they would try it! Great day all 🙂

  • Sara

    Hi Jen! This coconut buttercream frosting looks amazing. 🙂 I was just wondering if this frosting needs to be refrigerated or can it be stored at room temp for a couple of hours? Thank you very much


    • Jen Sobjack

      It would be safe for a couple of hours at room temp but definitely no longer than that. If you plan to use it the next day, refrigerate it and then let it sit for 30 mins to soften before use. You may have to re-whip it if you refrigerate it.

  • Samantha Kohalisky

    I made this frosting the other day along with your Pineapple Cupcake recipe, but I tweaked both just a little, and wanted to share!

    For the frosting, instead of using coconut milk, I used Coco Lopez (cream of coconut).
    For the Pineapple cupcakes, I used your original recipe, but spooned a small amount of the batter into the cupcake tin, then put a small amount of Cherry Pie Filling in the middle, topped with another spoonful of cupcake batter.
    The sweet cupcake combined with the tarty cherry filling was delightful!
    Will forever use these recipes.

    • Jen Sobjack

      Thanks for sharing your adaptations! The cherry pie filling in the center of the cupcakes sounds like a delicious idea! I’ll have to try the frosting with coconut cream the next time I make it!

    • Jen Sobjack

      I haven’t used it on a cake yet, only cupcakes. However, it held up nicely when piped in tall swirls so I imagine it would hold up on a cake. It is “buttercream frosting” which is common for frosting cakes.

  • Brad

    Made this substituting the coconut milk with instant coconut milk powder and regular milk. Awesome topping for my moist coconut cake, paired with passionfruit/pineapple curd as the sandwiching layer.

  • Rebekah

    This look SOOO yummy! Question: Have you tried making frosting using coconut sugar? We have to eliminate sugar from our diet, but coconut sugar IS allowed. I’m trying to find a good recipe for cake icing for my son’s upcoming birthday party! This looks so yummy, I just wondered if you’ve experimented with it yet since I think coconut sugar might be a relatively “new thing” (at least for us it is). Thanks in advance!

    • Jen

      I’ve used coconut sugar in baking by have never tried it for frosting. The only way I can see it working is if it is ground super fine like powdered sugar. But I’ve not tested that for myself so I can’t guarantee the success. I wish I could be more helpful.

  • Leslie

    What happens if I use salted butter? That’s the only one we have around. Also, it says the recipe yields two. What does that mean? Is it more than enough to put on 20 cupcakes? If that’s the case, can I just cut the recipe in half?

    Thank you!

    • Jen

      Your frosting could end up being salty if you use salted butter. Here’s a great video on the difference between unsalted and salted butter.
      The recipe makes 2 cups, which is enough for 12 cupcakes.

    • Jodi Taylor

      I made it tonight with salted butter and my husband says it gave the icing another dimension of flavor.. I also added 1 tsp coconut extract along with 1/2 tsp almond emulsion and it was heavenly!!!

  • Nanci

    Just double checking before I make this recipe to go with a Coconut cake with Rum Syrup and Pineapple filling: You said you whipped this icing for an extra 5 minutes… is that the 5 minutes in the actual recipe or did you whip it for 10 minutes total please? I have made my daughter coconut cake for her birthday ever since she was 5. This year, for her 25th we are upping the game to a new more “grown up” version of the cake and I am looking to replace the old buttercream frosting and thinking this one looks divine but I want to get it absolutely perfect! Thank you so much for posting your recipe and thanks for the help in advance!

    • Jen

      Once you add the coconut milk just mix until the frosting comes together and is thick and fluffy. It could take 5 minutes or less.

      • Debbie

        I followed recipe but my frosting kept sliding off the cake. The video shows you putting a ring of frosting on top of cake layers but recipe didn’t specify this.

        • Jen Sobjack

          It sounds like your frosting was too warm. It is buttercream which is butter based and butter will melt when it’s too warm causing it to slide off the cake. I know the frosting works great on cakes and cupcakes because I’ve used it for both. So have others! For best results, store frosted cakes in the refrigerator until 30 prior to use.

  • Frances

    Hi! looks absolutely delicious!!!
    Im not sure if this is a silly question, but do you think it’s possible to NOT add any sugar?

  • Sabrina

    I’m making an “Almond Joy” cake, would I need to double this recipe to cover it? I’m doing two 8-inch rounds, and want the frosting between layers and covering the outside. Thank you!!

  • Emily

    I’m using this frosting as rosettes on a birthday cake serving 20. Does it hold up well if frost the cake the day before, refrigerate it one day before serving? How soon before the party would you recommend taking it out of the fridge? Any recommendation on the type of coconut milk? Some have guar gum and sometimes it is recommended not to use those. Thanks!

    • Jen

      It should hold up just fine. I piped it onto cupcakes and it held for a couple days in the refrigerator. I would let it sit out for about 30 minutes before serving. And, any coconut milk will work as long as it’s unsweetened and in a can. The one I used has guar gum in it and there were no issues.

  • Jen

    YUM! Is it possible to make the frosting ahead of time, store in refrigerator and then pipe onto cupcakes the next day?

    • Jen

      Yes, that should be fine. Just pull it out of the fridge to soften before piping. You may need to run the mixer through it for a few seconds once it has softened.

  • Nicole

    Okay…. There have been three adventures on my mind weighing heavy lately, and the first is unattainable at the moment- buying an RV and hijacking my family from society to explore the entire country… The second is spending time with a SLOTH, in which we will be doing before school lets back in :-), and the third, THIS! I’ve been salivating over creating a pineapple cake with a heavenly frosting, and you, my dear, have made it possible. So, my entire family thanks you in advance! GOD BLESS 🙂

    • Jen

      I’ve never tried it but I’ve seen recipes that call for all coconut oil, so I imagine it would work. If you choose to do it, remember that coconut oil will melt quicker than butter. Make sure anything you put the frosting on is cool and keep frosted items in the refrigerator until a few minutes before serving.

  • Bree

    Hi there, do you think this would color well? My daughter wants a coconut cake for her birthday, but i need to dye the frosting.

  • Mona

    Can this whipped topping be stabilized with gelatin in the same way that whipped cream is stabilized for use as a frosting and filling?

  • Misty

    I am thinking of using this on my son’s birthday cake next week. Do you think that fondant cut outs would stick to it?

    • Jen

      That’s a tricky question, Misty. I’ve never worked with fondant so I can’t say for sure. I did do a little research and found that you can lightly press fondant shapes into the buttercream after they’ve been brushed with water. Do this as soon as you ice the cake then pop it into the refrigerator to make sure it sets and stays in place.

    • Jen

      I don’t recommend using light coconut milk because it is super light in coconut flavor. The coconut milk is what flavors the buttercream. If you absolutely must use light coconut milk, you may want to consider adding coconut extract as well.

  • Larissa

    Does the brand of coconut milk matter? I’m making this for my sister’s birthday and would hate to mess it up!

  • Andrea

    I’ve made this coconut buttercream twice now and it is PERFECTION. Not too sweet, and just the right amount of REAL coconut flavor. Not artificial tasting. I’ve put it on a couple of cakes, and today I’m going to put a little dollup on top of key lime pie bars!

  • Kaelin

    Hi, I was just wondering how much frosting this recipe makes. Would it be way too much to fill just 12 cupcakes? Should I half the recipe?

    • Jen

      Certainly. Just keep in mind omitting the vanilla will affect the flavor and decreasing the powdered sugar will affect the consistency of the frosting.

  • Michell

    OMG!!!! I just made this and put it in yellow cake cupcakes. Aldo’s added sliced strawberries to the top. Sooooo gooooood!!! Thank you for this recipes.

  • Alecia

    We made this icing last year to top a coconut cake with raspberry filling. Oh my gosh….so good. I’ve been waiting a year to serve it again for Christmas!! So yummy!

  • Maria

    I made this and while I was creaming the butter and coconut milk, I started to see water in the bowl? I kept mixing and it went away, but took about 7 minutes. After it seemed like it came together it basically stayed runny. I didn’t want to add more sugar as it was getting sweet. It was good, we enjoyed it. Any suggestions on why it could be runny and wet? Oh! Yes, I did make sure the coconut milk was completely mixed. Thanks for your time, I’d love to make this again, but I’d like a better turn out if you have a suggestion.

    • Jen Sobjack

      Try using a different brand of butter. Different butters have varying liquid content. Also, make sure the butter isn’t runny. It should sit at room temperature for just around 30 minutes. Any longer and it will become too soft. You can also try refrigerating the runny frosting. As the butter hardens it will thicken up.

  • Rachel

    I made this icing yesterday to put on a coconut cake. It turned out perfectly. It is a very nice icing with a nice coconut butter cream flavor .

  • brianni

    I may have over whipped the frosting :/ it was fluffy and now its a little more watery then I would’ve liked…. did i do something wrong? how can i fix it?


  • Dee

    Can I make this frosting ahead of time, store in the refrigerator, and use to frost 1-2 days later? Just wondering how it holds up in the refrigerator. Thanks!!

    • Jen Sobjack

      I’ve never made it and then refrigerated it but I have topped cakes and cupcakes that were later stored in the refrigerator. The frosting held up nicely for a couple days so I imagine the result would be the same.

  • Lola

    Recipe says 2-4 cup confectioners sugar. So does it mean that I can add 2-4cups of sugar depending on the sweetness I want? Does using 2cups sugar rather than 4cups make it more runny?

  • Michael

    I had a box of plain sugar cookies that I needed to jazz up for a faculty meeting. I made the frosting and used it as a filling between two cookies. The coconut sandwich cookies were a hit. One of my colleagues even suggested dipping half of each sandwich cookie into melted dark chocolate. I might try that next.

  • Foodtastic

    Your recipe inspired me (as my coconut banana bread bakes) I am in a crunch so used what I had on hand: butter, coconut oil, creamed coconut, cream, and icing sugar. It whipped up SO fluffy that I couldn’t help dipping a spoon in. AMAZINGLY YUMMY!!! I then added shredded coconut for a bit of texture. Is it wrong that the banana bread is still ten minutes from being done and I’ve eaten at least 4 big spoonfuls of icing?? Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Goodness

    Good day, Please i’d love to ask if i can make my own coconut milk as i can’t easily get it around in my part of the country.

  • Jessica

    I just came across this recipe and would like to make it for my son’s birthday cake. The only thing is he is dairy free so I was thinking of using a vegan butter in place of the normal butter. Do you think this would work? I am eagerly awaiting your reply. Thank you 😉

  • Sadie

    So here’s my two cents: this icing is sweet, cloyingly over-sweet in my opinion. It whipped up great and has nice volume… but the texture to me is off. It’s almost slightly gritty because there’s Soo Much confectioners sugar in it and it is the only ingredient that is stabilizing the buttercream. I’m actually going to try using a small amount of coconut cream in a classic French buttercream icing which is cooked in order to get a coconut flavor without the overuse of confectioners sugar.

  • Joyce

    This sounds amazing. Can’t wait to make it with my grandson. He is a beginner baker and loves to fuss with baked items. We go through a lot of flour at our house!

  • Carley

    Hello, looks good! I am planning on making a cake for my grandfathers birthday, he loves coconut anything! I am making a 3 layerd 9inch cake and I am wondering if I will have enough buttercream to crumb coat and then smooth out as this resipe calls for? Otherwise I maybe should double it. Thanks!

  • Suzanne

    This was delicious! Had made a pineapple cake and this frosting on top just made the cake! I did add some dedicated coconut to it and some crushed pineapple as well. Came out amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

  • JW

    Hi! I make a buttercream frosting using 1/2 butter & 1/2 high ratio shortening. Do you think this would work ok with your recipe instead of just using all butter? Thanks for any tips you can offer. Plan to frost coconut cupcakes with this frosting (& add some shredded coconut that has been shredded a little extra in food processor) & top with a stemmed maraschino cherry (drained).

    • Jen Sobjack

      I’ve never used a combination of butter and shortening for buttercream so unfortunately, I have no idea how it would turn out. I imagine it would be fine but I can’t say for sure.

      • JW

        Ok. Thanks. The HIGH RATIO Shortening is different from Crisco, as High Ratio Shortening is a quality product that when used in icing, makes the icing easier to work with. The shortening is sturdier than standard shortenings and keeps the icing from not breaking down as quickly. Plus, you do NOT have the “after taste” like you do with Crisco type products. It’s fabulous! Once you try it, you’ll always want to use it &, like I said before, I use 1/2 real butter & 1/2 High Ratio Shortening. Thanks again for great recipes!

  • Melanie

    This looks absolutely scrumptious. I think it might also be good with virgin coconut oil subbed for some of the butter–yet another layer of coconut goodness.

    Question: I want to use this to frost a coconut layer cake. Can you tell me how much this will frost? I don’t think it will be enough, however, doubling it would probably be too much. Thanks!

  • Steviee

    My frosting came out overly sweet, I only used 2 cups of sugar and its reallllyyyyy sweet. Like hurting your teeth sweet ☹ im not sure what I did wrong

    • Jen Sobjack

      Unfortunately, that’s a common complaint with American buttercream. I’ve learned the longer you whip the frosting the less sweet it will be. Or you can try an Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream instead.

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