In only five minutes, you can bring out the nutty flavor of your coconut and give it beautiful golden brown color! Once you learn how to toast coconut, you'll see that it's the easiest thing ever and it's useful in so many recipes!
Why you’ll love Toasted Coconut
Toasted Coconut is one of those ingredients you can add to a recipe to add color, flavor, and/or texture. While coconut is definitely one of those ingredients that most people either love or hate, if you love it, then you're going to especially love it toasted.
Toasting coconut brings out a nuttiness and depth of flavor that you don't usually have with shredded coconut. It also can add color as a garnish and extra texture because it's almost crispy when toasted. It's perfect for desserts including cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, and more!
It's difficult to tell from this photo (above), but I added toasted shaved coconut to this decadent groom's cake and it was fabulous. The flavors were Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake frosted with Ganache. Then I added a Ganache Drip & Drizzle, Fresh Raspberries and (slightly) Toasted Flaked Coconut as garnish.
This part is easy... for toasting coconut, you only need sweetened shredded coconut. Well actually, you can use shredded, shaved, or flaked coconut. Any of them will work perfectly for this recipe. You can also use unsweetened or sweetened coconut (although sweetened is by far the most common).
I'm sharing a recipe for toasting coconut in the oven and with this method, you can do large batches. If you don't need it all, it can be frozen.
This is another really short list. Here's what you'll need:
- Baking Sheet - the size of the baking sheet will depend on how much coconut you plan to toast, but in general, an average baking sheet will do. Or even a pizza pan. You can see my favorite cookie sheets here ... any of them will work!
- Spatula (or Turner, as sometimes called) - any spatula or even a large spoon would work for stirring and turning the coconut. Nothing special is required!
- (Optional) Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment Paper - neither of these is necessary but if you like to protect your pans and have easy cleanup, you might use one or the other. Just note that this will affect your cook time.
How to Make Toasted Coconut
You can toast coconut on the stove top in a skillet, in the microwave, or in the oven. I have found that the most foolproof technique is in the oven so that's what I'll be sharing today with some tips on the other methods in the FAQ below. This is also the best method when you need a large batch of toasted coconut. We'll be making 4 cups! So let me show you how it's done.
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Measure out the coconut then spread it into an even layer on a clean, dry baking sheet.
3. Bake for 4 minutes before using a spatula to stir and turn the coconut.
4. Every minute or so after that, stir the coconut until it has reached a nice golden color. The total time could vary anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
5. Immediately remove the coconut off the baking sheet and into a plastic bowl to cool.
6. Use as needed to garnish your desserts!
- It’s crucial that you watch the coconut closely once it reaches the 5-minute cooking mark. Especially on the edges, it will cook fast and burn just as fast. I left it for a minute too long and it had to be thrown in the trash. Learn from my mistake and babysit your coconut.
- You can use any type of coconut you like including shaved, flaked or shredded coconut. While this recipe calls for sweetened coconut, the recipe works well with unsweetened coconut as well.
- The perfect toasted coconut, in my opinion, has a tricolor. This means that your coconut will have three varying shades. I find this looks gorgeous on desserts, like Coconut Cream Pie, or anything else I’m using it on.
- It’s okay if your coconut isn’t perfectly flat or in a single layer. This will give you more of that color I mentioned in the previous tip. Some of the coconut will overlap and bunch up a bit. That’s ok, just keep adjusting it and it will cook.
- If you only want your toasted coconut to be one color, or the color to be as uniform as possible, make the layers thinner and watch it very closely starting at the one-minute mark while cooking. Take it out as soon as you see the desired shade of brown.
FAQ about Toasting Coconut
It really depends on the recipe. If your recipe calls for toasted coconut, then yes. If not, I don't recommend it. Toasting the coconut dries it out some, so if you bake it more after it's toasted, it can be really dry.
When toasting coconut on the stovetop, it's much easier to burn. To do this, first add the coconut to a large skillet and spread it out evenly. Turn the cooktop on medium-low heat and stir the coconut often until lightly brown. As with the oven method, this can take about 5-10 minutes. As soon as you reach the desired color, remove the skillet from the heat and spread it on a cookie sheet or place it in a bowl to cool. The stove-top method can be done with smaller batches of coconut.
This is a great method when you need a very small batch of toasted coconut. Spread ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut evenly on a microwave-safe plate. Then microwave the coconut in 15-second increments, stirring after each. Repeat this as needed until you reach the desired color and crispiness.
Toasted coconut can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, including a jar or bowl for up to a week. If you want to keep it longer (up to a month), store it in the refrigerator.
If you want to make big batches so you don't have to toast it often, toasted coconut can be stored in the freezer in a zip-top bag or airtight freezer container for up to 6 months.