How-To & Diy

Whip Up Your Own Coconut Butter

March  1, 2013

Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today, Ashley from Edible Perspective shows us how to turn shredded coconut into a luscious butter perfect for topping savory and sweet dishes alike, and shares a recipe for Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter Cups. You'll want to get your food processor out immediately.


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While I’ve always been fond of all things coconut, it wasn’t until I discovered coconut butter that I became flat-out obsessed. Who knew coconut could turn into something so magical and luxurious? I surely didn’t. 

Coconut oil is becoming more and more mainstream these days, and while I am a fan of cooking and baking with it, I don’t enjoy it much as a topping. But coconut butter? It’s pretty much the best topping to ever exist.

While coconut oil is clear when melted, coconut butter comes from the meat of the coconut, which gives it a thicker texture, extra fiber and nutrients, and a stronger coconut flavor. Coconut butter solidifies around 70 degrees, and it is best used as a topping on anything from savory to sweet dishes. It can also go from melted to solid and back again without adverse effects -- and you don't even need to store it in the fridge!

butter1 butter2

To make coconut butter, all you need is a large food processor and unsweetened shredded coconut. Place 3 cups in a large food processor, then turn on and process until it's buttery smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. It's as simple as that!

Here are a few helpful tips to remember when making coconut butter:

• Always use unsweetened shredded coconut -- never the sweetened or low fat kind. Make sure your coconut is fresh by starting with an unopened bag.

• Be sure to use a big enough food processor -- a mini food processor will not work here.

• If your coconut butter hardens, you can gently melt it in a pan over low heat, or microwave in 10 second increments.


Coconut Butter

Makes 1 cup 

3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


So now that you’ve made coconut butter, what do you do with it?

• Drizzle it over oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon and toasted nuts.

• Use it to top a baked sweet potato.

• Pour melted coconut butter over ice cream and watch it turn into a magic shell.

• Serve it as a topping on muffins, quick breads, waffles, or pancakes.

• Use it in place of nut butter.

• Make coconut butter bark filled with nuts and dried fruit.


Another quick treat you can make with coconut butter is coconut butter cups! These are just like the peanut butter cups you know and love, but made with coconut butter instead, and infused with vanilla beans. Since coconut butter hardens so easily when chilled, it creates the perfect shell for a smooth chocolate peanut butter filling. These are easy to make, and fun to wrap up as a gift -- or just keep them all to yourself.

cups1 cups2

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter Cups with Chocolate Peanut Butter 

Makes 20 mini cups

1 cup coconut butter, melted or freshly processed 
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 tablespoons extra virgin unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon pure cane sugar (optional)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup, warmed
1 pinch fine grain sea salt

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Michael Ramos
    Michael Ramos
  • thom Flaherty
    thom Flaherty
  • greenglass
  • Veronica Rosin
    Veronica Rosin
  • Vitaj
Hello! My name is Ashley, and I'm the photographer + writer behind the blog, Edible Perspective. LOVE // the husband // family // cooking for others // farmers markets // the first winter snow // cycling // snowshoeing // snowboarding // bluegrass // architecture // our pups // farm fresh eggs // mountains // boxed wine // breakfast // biking to breweries // clean sheets // traveling


Michael R. March 25, 2015
Can a Magic Bullet be used to make this?
Ashley M. March 25, 2015
I haven't tried it but it's possible. I would start with 1/2 - 3/4 cup. It's much easier to process than nuts into nut butter, so it may work! I can't be certain, though. Just be careful the machine doesn't overheat.
thom F. October 12, 2014
so I have a question from the land of Hollywood Florida can you use fresh coconut
greenglass April 4, 2013
Veronica, I would look for recipes that are written specifically for coconut butter, as it's drier and needs more moisture than butter. I was surprised that it didn't work with Rice Krispie Treats. Coconut oil, though, will easily substitute for butter in baking. As for frosting, I've never tried it, but if you search for 'coconut butter frosting' online you find a few recipes that combine coconut butter with coconut oil, coconut milk, or honey.
Veronica R. April 3, 2013
Can I substitute coconut butter furor real butter in my cakes? It would make it healthier and even my buttercream.
Veronica R. April 3, 2013
Can I subsitute coconut butter for real butter in my cakes?
greenglass March 22, 2013
I've been making coconut butter for a few months now, and it's heavenly. I've discovered a few tips:
- try adding a pinch of salt and a little vanilla extract. We make our own vanilla by steeping vanilla beans in vodka. The alcohol seems to keep the coconut butter a little softer and more scoop-able at room temperature. (I think this is the same principle used in adding alcohol to homemade ice cream?)
- I've used shredded, flaked, and chipped coconut, and they've all worked fine. I think the strength of the food processor has been the most important factor for me.
- the cheapest coconut by far is found in the Indian food section of an international grocery store. It's sometimes called 'coconut powder', and it tastes great. Buying Manna cost me $10/jar. Organic coconut cost $7/homemade jar. Non-organic coconut cost $6/homemade jar. Indian coconut powder cost $2.50/homemade jar.
- I often make dairy-free rice krispie treats, and thought coconut butter would be a good substitute for the 3 tbsp of butter. It's not. You should use coconut oil instead.
I've found that my skin is much softer and less dry in the winter when I eat more saturated fat, so I eat a few tablespoons of coconut butter every day as a kind of internal medicine for my skin.
Vitaj March 8, 2013
I HOPE I've exhausted my options for doing this recipe WRONG! The first time, it all worked out easily, with some old shredded coconut in my fridge. The second time I used flaked. Didn't work. THIS time I used shredded (unsweetened, raw, etc), but maybe didn't use ENOUGH? Just used a cup in my kitchen-sized Cuis, and it's taking forever, requiring endless scrape-downs, and burning up my machine! Arrgghh!!
Dezzy July 8, 2013
Did you use coconut that was defatted? That makes a difference. If it doesn't have the fat it wont turn into butter. Also if you don't have the fatty coconut you can try adding a little coconut oil and it should come together :)
AriH March 6, 2013
Okay, so this is a clear case of "where has this stuff been all my life?!". Just whizzed some up today, super easy as described. My mind is buzzing with possibilities of using this in recipes especially as a substitute for peanut butter, which I love by itself and in savory dishes, but for some reason cannot abide in combination with sweet ingredients like jelly, chocolate etc. Thanks!!
Ashley M. March 6, 2013
Haha, I totally understand. Glad you enjoyed!
Diana P. March 4, 2013
Had a desperate pang for dessert and thankfully came across this method. I just made coconut butter bark with dried sour cherries, chopped bittersweet chocolate and roasted cashews. It's barely sweet, but sweet enough to count as dessert. Yum! Thanks for the great idea!
Ashley M. March 5, 2013
You're welcome! Glad you loved the bark! Perfect hint of sweetness for me as well. :)
sophiea March 4, 2013
This looks so good! It could be a great cupcake topping for my lactose-intolerant friends. Can you whip it?
Ashley M. March 4, 2013
It cannot be whipped, but would act more like a glaze.
Bethany G. March 4, 2013
I made coconut butter with my mini-processor and it worked just fine - I simply made a few smaller batches. A bit tedious, but it works if that's all you happen to have.
TeaForTwo March 4, 2013
How much fat is in Coconut butter?
TeaForTwo March 4, 2013
How fattening is coconut butter?
Sonja W. March 4, 2013
Is there a way to incorporate a bit of sweetness to the finished coconut butter? I made my first batch yesterday and am working on figuring out what to do with it, but my natural instinct is to want it just a little bit sweet...
Ashley M. March 5, 2013
Yes! I recommend adding pure cane sugar after the coconut butter has fully processed and is creamy and smooth. Add 1-2 tablespoons depending on how sweet you like things and let it spin for another minute or so until it's dissolved. I've also used honey after fully processing the butter. I add 1 tablespoon warmed honey to the mixture and keep it spinning for another 5+ minutes. It takes awhile for it to fully incorporate and smooth out, so sugar may be your best bet.
chris707 March 3, 2013
You should get an award for your pictures. A-M-A-Z-I-I-N-G
Ashley M. March 5, 2013
Much appreciated!
Kathy S. March 3, 2013
Where does one buy Manna? I have never seen or heard of it? What language is that?
ustabahippie March 4, 2013
I found Coconut Manna in Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, CA. It's a grocery store, but not a chain. It was in the baking aisle, or maybe with the nut butters, don't remember. Don't know what language either! Good luck.
Cindy V. March 31, 2013
I bought coconut manna from Nutiva at I find their shipping rates reasonable.
ustabahippie March 3, 2013
I love coconut butter, or Manna, as it's called when I buy it at the store. I use it in oooking rice and beans. SO delicious! Now I can't wait to try making my own. Don't know if it's worth it, as the Manna is pretty inexpensive.
CFrance March 3, 2013
Oh my! I recognize that Cuisiart... it's exactly like mine! I got mine as a Christmas present 1n 1978. My excuse was to make our second son's baby food. Hes now 34, and the cuis is still going strong. None of the newer ones have that handle or the blade with the short white knob. And you can't get parts for them aymore. cuisinart instead wants to give you credit toward a new cuis. But I don't WANTa new cuis. I'm so proud that mine has lasted this long (what other appliance does that?) Mine has so many good memories, and every year I get to think of its birthday and our5 son's.
Kathy S. March 3, 2013
Well, finally you mentioned dried! I was wondering if I had to buy a whole coconut and crack it open to get fresh. Difficult! And was trying to picture if I had ever seen packaged, fresh coconut. No. Well, that does leave dried. It is just hard to picture that dried will re-hydrate by spinning with no liquid added.
Ashley M. March 3, 2013
Hi Kathy! It doesn't re-hydrate but releases oil as it spins and heats up.
erinely March 3, 2013
I have a ton of unsweetened coconut, you can buy it by the bucket loads (lol) from tropical traditions. I have a 2 lb pail of the coconut chips... I hope that will also work to do this.
erinely March 3, 2013
I just noticed at Tropical Traditions that the Organic Dried Coconut is 30% off until Sunday March 10th and you can use this code: 43113 for free shipping... what a deal... If you do buy a pail, I suggest you get the tool they have for opening it.... it's kind of hard to open it. I did not get the tool and I have a hard time keeping the lid closed tight because it's hard to open it...
Ashley M. March 3, 2013
I have heard the chips + flakes don't work (turn into powder) but have never tried myself!
erinely March 3, 2013
oh darn.... the coconut chips won't work maybe? they are just larger pieces of coconut... it seems they would break down into smaller pieces... maybe I should just try a few to see what happens... or I can order the shredded coconut from Tropical traditions on their sale :)
frog March 3, 2013
The free shipping only applies to frozen products.
sophiea March 4, 2013
Erinely, could you please let us know what happens with the chips? Thanks!
erinely March 4, 2013
I'll let you know @sophiea when I try it.... maybe this weekend I'll give it a try.
AndiQ March 6, 2013
OH wow! Thank you so much for posting that link! That's awesome! I was wondering where I could find good quality dried coconut. I love it when I can buy online because I live in the country. And on sale too! :)