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.

This post has been updated with new content and photos. The original post was first published May 6, 2015.

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.

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.

Helpful Tools

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Coconut Buttercream Frosting Recipe Image

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.
4.84 from 37 votes
Print Save Recipe Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 3 cups
Calories: 177
Author: Jen Sobjack


  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons canned coconut milk, or 2-3 tablespoons of coconut cream*


  • Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk 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.

Make ahead tip

  • 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.
  • 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.


*You can use coconut cream with this recipe also. I've tested it and it yields so much more coconut flavor. You will need less coconut cream so be sure to add just one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches the desired taste and texture.

1. 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!!

2. 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.

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.

Updated 6/4/2018 with new ingredient ratios and instructions so everyone can have success with the recipe.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 11mg | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 6.1% | Vitamin C: 0.1% | Calcium: 0.3% | Iron: 0.4%

Nutritional values here on my recipes should be used as a general guide only. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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  • 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?


  • 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 .

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • Larissa

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

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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?