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

Ingredients

  • 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*

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*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.

Nutrition

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.

Tried this recipe? Share it on Instagram!Mention @introvertbaker or tag #bakedbyanintrovert!

 

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203 Comments

  • Vianca

    I’m going to try this out next time! I was thinking of putting these on top of my chocolate lemon cupcakes — hopefully it’ll be bomb.

  • Jerri

    I loved this recipe, I used coconut cream instead of milk and it was delicious. I did change it to use coconut butter instead of regular butter, this change will require refrigeration, due to the melting point of the coconut butter, but it was delicious

  • Desiree

    I used only coconut cream instead of coconut milk and I don’t feel it even tasted like coconut to be honest.
    I was making a bounty cake so I decided to add double the coconut cream and then added decicated and shredded coconut which counteracted the wateryness and it was perfect

    • Isabelle

      I’m fructose intolerant, which makes it so I cannot eat anything with sucrose in it. There’s a brand called “Swerve” which makes a powder sugar substitute. I’ve only used the cane sugar substitute but I plan on trying that for the frosting!

  • Karen

    Hi Jen, I’m interested with your pineappke cupcakes recipe. But I want to confirm with you the coconut buttercream frosting the 1 and 1/2 cup of butter come with 5 cups of sugar or 5 tbsp of sugar. Will 5 cup of sugar too sweet for the frosting. Thks.

    • Jen Sobjack

      Yes, that is correct. The trick to making sure American buttercream isn’t overly sweet is to whip it well once everything is combined. This helps to dissolve the sugar and add air which will make frosting taste less sweet.

  • Kerry

    Can you cover the coconut butter cream in sugar paste if you use the coconut milk or am I better to use the coconut extract? Want to ask before I try. Thanks x

  • Trudy

    I tried this recipe with my pineapple cupcakes. It tastes great. Sprinkled some sweetened shredded coconut on top of iced cupcakes. Perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  • Alice

    I followed the recipe but used only 4 cups of sugar and the buttercream came out almost disgustingly sweet and gritty. I can’t even imagine what would happen at 5 cups… I don’t know if Americans like it so sweet or what. I’m from Europe and most of my guests did not want to finish the buttercream (decoration) layer because it was too sweet to them aswell. The consistency of cream was good for piping the rosettes on cake though. Can anyone recommend me decorating cream with way less sugar? Thanks!

    • Jen Sobjack

      I hear that a lot with American buttercream. I find the longer you whip it at the end the less sweet it becomes because you’re adding more air and dissolving the sugar. The final product shouldn’t feel gritty at all unless you’re using something other than icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar.

  • Jeannette

    I am hooked on coconut anything, so this will be added to my list. I just have one question: In regard to the canned coconut milk, after refrigerating it, there’s a thick substance on top and a watery substance on the bottom; which one do you recommend I use?
    Thank you.

    • Jen Sobjack

      For this recipe, the canned coconut milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated. You want a combination of both the liquid and the solid so shake the can vigorously before opening it. This is stated in the notes of the recipe.

  • Richard Kent

    Jen, Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will try it for my birthday cake and maybe make some tweaks. I can see how substituting granular or coconut sugar will change the consistency. Have you tried palm sugar? If not I will share my experiment. Also, the brand of coconut milk does matter. I have used the Thai Kitchen brand and it whips up beautifully while the local organic brand doesn’t. I’ve also read that it is better to whip the cream separately and fold it in later. What is your opinion? Thank you again, Richard

    • Jen Sobjack

      Hi Richard! This is a buttercream frosting and must use confectioners’ sugar. No other sugar will work. The brand of coconut milk/cream actually doesn’t matter so much with this recipe since it is only being used to flavor and to thin out the creamed butter and confectioners’ sugar. It’s just like making a regular buttercream frosting but you’re using coconut milk or cream instead of heaving cream. As far as folding whipped cream in last when making buttercream frosting, I’ve never heard of this before. I’m afraid the frosting will turn into a curdled mess with this method.

  • Nikki

    I made this today for my twins birthday tomorrow! The frosting came out amazing! I used the coconut cream! I used the pure coconut cream. So good! Thank you!

  • Madisen

    I made this with coconut cream, & added extra for flavor. This frosting is perfect! I put it on a Passionfruit Cupcake with a mango spice garnish. Will use again!