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.

Coconut buttercream frosting swirled on top of a vanilla cupcake.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting with Coconut Milk

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.

Coconut buttercream frosting on a spoon held over a bowl of frosting.

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.

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. It’s just as silky as my cream cheese frosting!

If you need more coconut flavor, add half a teaspoon of coconut extract.

I’ve updated the recipe with instructions on how to use coconut cream instead of milk for even more flavor.

A stick of butter with a finger print in the top to show how soft it is.

Pro tip – Make sure the butter is super soft! Set the butter on the counter 1-2 hours prior to use.

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!

Whipped coconut buttercream frosting in a stainless steel bowl.

Common questions about coconut buttercream

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 in 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 you 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.

More frosting recipes you’ll love

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Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Coconut buttercream frosting swirled on top of a vanilla cupcake.
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.
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serving Size 24


  • 1 ½ cups (339 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups (600 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons canned unsweetened coconut milk, or coconut cream


  • Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • 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, mixing well after each addition. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • And the salt and the coconut milk, one tablespoon at a time, beating on medium speed until fully incorporated. You may need more or less of the coconut milk depending on how strong you’d like the flavor.
  • Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.



  • You can use coconut cream with this recipe also. I’ve tested it and it yields so much more coconut flavor. You may need less coconut cream so be sure to add just one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches the desired taste and texture.
  • Soften the butter by allowing it to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours prior to making the frosting. DO NOT soften the butter by heating it in the microwave!!
  • It is important to shake the can of coconut milk/cream 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.
  • If the coconut flavor isn’t as strong as you’d like, try adding ½ to 1 teaspoon coconut extract.
  • You can also add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for more flavor.
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.
Makes about 3 cups.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


  1. 5 stars
    Wow, I will never do a buttercream with just Confectioner’s sugar and butter again. Even cutting back the sugar, it was WAAAAY too sweet. I used cream of coconut to up the coconut flavor and it still wasn’t enough. I ended up adding a half teaspoon of coconut extract to finally get the desired coconut flavor. I disliked this recipe so much, I actually added my contact info to this post – and I never do that for any recipes. I don’t know why it got such a high rating, except that maybe Americans (and I am one) are too sugar-obsessed.
    Anyway, I’m glad I tried it. It was a learning experience. I will have to use meringue buttercreams or the cooked one.

  2. Im going to tray this with coconut oil in place of butter. The frostings I have made with it before have had amazing texture and I’m assuming would be healthier and more coconuty! I will let you know 😉

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Unfortunately, coconut oil will not work with this recipe.

  3. Thank you for this recipe! I just made a half recipe to frost a small batch of gf coconut cupcakes and absolutely loved the icing. It was both light and creamy. I added 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract for my taste buds and couldn’t have been happier. For future bakers making cupcakes, the half recipe made a lot of icing. I frosted 9 cupcakes generously and probably had enough icing left over for another 9 or so. The extra is going into my freezer for the next time I am craving coconut cupcakes! Thanks again for this amazing recipe.

  4. Do I need to refrigerate the cupcakes with frosting?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Yes, I would keep the frosted cupcakes refrigerated.

  5. I can only find lite coconut milk. It is the same brand (Thai) but says lite on the can. Is it okay to use this?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I don’t recommend lite coconut milk. It should be regular unsweetened coconut milk or coconut cream.

    2. Can this frosting be colored?

      1. Jen Sobjack says:

        I don’t see why not!

  6. Will this be enough to frost a three tiered cake??

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      You will need 1.5 times the frosting to make enough for three layers.

  7. Wondering about substituting coconut oil? Can you recommend a substitute? I’m allergic to dairy

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I don’t recommend using coconut oil in place of butter. It’s too liquidy. I’ve not made dairy-free frostings so I can’t recommend a substitute.

      1. Sarah McAlpin says:

        You can substitute Crisco!!

      2. Jen Sobjack says:

        I don’t like to offer substitutes if I’ve never personally used them with my recipes. I can’t guarantee how it will turn out.

      3. I live in florida and use unrefined cold pressed coconut oil and it is not liquidy, in fact you need to soften a bit because at room temperature it solidifies too hard, it’s why it makes wonderful frostings. I’ve been frosting vegan and raw vegan cakes with coconut oil base for over 10 yrs. I have even substituted it in most of my non-vegan recipes thought not all due to some people sensitive to the flavor.

  8. If you are a fan of sweet this is it. I prefer a creme cheese frosting generally because I don’t want out too sweet. I only added 2 cups and it was sweet enough but not as firm as I’d like so I added a bit more. While good, it’s just too sweet for me. Any suggestions to firm it up without the additional sugar?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Unfortunately, American buttercream is a mix of butter and powdered sugar. A lot of people find it too sweet but that’s just how American buttercream is. There really isn’t a way to firm it without the use of sugar.

      1. Try used a few tablespoons of shortening with the butter. This gives it a firmer texture and allows you to use less sugar

  9. Holy smokes!! I just made this recipe and it is wonderful! I chose to use coconut cream for a more intense coconut flavor (just be sure to empty the contents of the can into a bowl and mix it till smooth). I also finished it off by adding 1/4 tsp of coconut extract and am in love with the flavor. So silky and smooth. This is going to be so beautiful to use for my daughter’s wedding. Planning to make a few different cake options for guests and this will make a tempting coconut cake. I’ve made many, many cakes and this is a winner for the recipe book. Can’t go wrong with this recipe.

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