Topped with a toasted coconut buttercream frosting, these Coconut Cupcakes are infused with sweet coconut flavor in every bite.

Three coconut cupcakes piled high with frosting

Moist & Easy Coconut Cupcakes

These cupcakes were originally made as Easter Bunny cupcakes back in the spring. I quickly realized that they were so good, they should not be reserved for once a year! With a few changes, I was able to turn them into cupcakes worthy of being enjoyed year-round.

There is coconut in every bite of these cupcakes – from coconut milk and extract in the cupcakes themselves to the coconut buttercream frosting and lightly toasted coconut on top. Toasting the coconut takes only a few minutes and can easily be made while the cupcakes cool. Though you can make these without toasting the coconut flakes, or even adding them at all, I don’t recommend skipping it! The texture and flavor it adds really takes this cupcake to the next level.

These coconut cupcakes are incredibly moist and fluffy, as good cupcakes should be.

A coconut cupcake with frosting in a cupcake wrapper, with a bite missing.

What You’ll Need

Coconut is truly infused in every bite of these cupcakes! Since the cupcakes and frosting are prepared separately, I’ve divided the ingredients separately as well.

For the Cupcakes

  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Unsalted butter – The butter should be melted when you start making the cupcakes.
  • Egg – You’ll use one egg plus an additional egg white to keep it light and fluffy
  • Coconut extract – For less coconut flavor, you may substitute more vanilla extract instead.
  • Vanilla extract – Adds a subtle background flavor to complement the coconut.
  • Sour cream – Sour cream helps keep the muffins moist. You can also use Greek or plain yogurt.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder & baking soda
  • Salt – If you use salted butter, you can skip this.
  • Coconut milk – Look for canned coconut milk in the Asian food section. While coconut milk adds flavor, you can use whole dairy milk instead.

For the Coconut Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – For the frosting, you’ll want to start with cold butter.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Coconut extract – You can add extra if you want a stronger coconut flavor.
  • Heavy whipping cream – You can also use dairy milk or coconut milk.
  • Salt – Just a pinch
  • Toasted coconutToasting your own takes only a few minutes and the flavor makes all the difference to these cupcakes!
Toasted coconut flakes on a white plate

How to Make Coconut Cupcakes

These coconut cupcakes are as easy to make as your basic vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, but with so much flavor! You’ll only need a half-hour or so of hands-on time to make

  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F and line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine wet ingredients and sugar. Beat the sugar, vegetable oil, butter, eggs, sour cream and extracts until the batter is lighter in color.
  3. Add the dry ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients and half the milk at a time and mix until the flour incorporates.
  4. Fill & Bake. Use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter evenly and fill each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 14-15.
  5. Toast the coconut. Spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast until it reaches the desired color. Transfer to a bowl to stop the cooking process.
  6. Make the coconut frosting. Whip for butter until light in color and increased in volume. Mix in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the extracts and heavy cream. Increase speed and beat for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  7. Decorate. Fill a large piping bag with an open round tip with half of the frosting. Fill another bag with a 1M piping tip with the remaining frosting.
A cupcake with frosting being dipped into toasted coconut flakes

Tips for Success

Ready to indulge in these sweet coconut cupcakes? Keep these tips in mind before you bake them!

  • How to tell when a cupcake is done. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
  • Do not overmix the batter. While you want to ensure that all ingredients are well-combined, take care to not mix the batter too much before pouring it into the cupcake tray. Overmixed batter will lead to dense cupcakes.
  • Lighten the coconut flavor. If you prefer these cupcakes have a more subtle coconut flavor, you can replace the coconut extract with more vanilla extract.
  • Stir the coconut milk. It’s not unusual for the fat in coconut milk to be separated when you open the can. Give it a good stir to combine it before adding it to the other ingredients.

Serving Suggestions

While these coconut cupcakes are divine served as-is, this recipe is versatile and can be used in so many different ways.

You can use these as a base for Coconut Cream Cupcakes, for a dessert with ALL of the coconut flavor!

If you prefer cakes over cupcakes, you can easily turn these into a Coconut Custard Cake as well. You can also pair this with fresh fruit, try pairing the coconut cake with a blueberry filling

Several coconut cupcakes on a white plate

How to Store

You can make these coconut cupcakes and frosting up to two days in advance, as they will stay fresh for several days. Store them in an airtight container somewhere cool and dry, like a pantry. If it’s hot or humid in your home, you can also put them in the fridge.

Can I Freeze These?

Yes, you can freeze your coconut cupcakes. However, I do recommend freezing them unfrosted. Flash freeze them on a baking sheet then transfers to an airtight, freezer-safe container. They will last for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature on the counter before frosting.

A coconut cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut
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Several coconut cupcakes on a white plate

Coconut Cupcakes

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Topped with an coconut buttercream frosting and toasted coconut, these Coconut Cupcakes are infused with sweet coconut flavor in every bite.



  • ¾ cups (143g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) coconut extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  ¼ cup (59ml) sour cream
  •  1 ¼ cups (175g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (158ml) coconut milk, well stirred


  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 3 cups (390g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) coconut extract (additional to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk or coconut milk)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • ½ cup toasted coconut


For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, butter, eggs, sour cream and extracts. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Alternate adding half the dry ingredients and half the coconut milk at a time and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  4. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  5. Toast the coconut in the preheat oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the coconut evenly on the pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until desired color is reach. Transfer to a bowl or plate to stop the cooking process. Cool completely.


  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until the butter looks light in color and has increased in volume.
  2. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time and mix on low speed until incorporated into butter then continuing adding additional powdered sugar, alternating with the extracts and heavy cream.  After each additional cup of powdered sugar, beat for about 60 seconds on medium-high or until the powdered sugar is well combined.
  3. Beat the finished frosting on medium-high speed for another 2-4 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.


  1. Prepare a large piping bag with an open round tip (Ateco 808 or similar) or just cut off the end of the bag. Fill the piping bag with half the frosting.
  2. Prepare a large piping with a 1M piping tip. Fill with the remaining frosting.
  3. Pipe a circle around the outside edge of the cupcake, and then roll the cupcake in a plate of toasted coconut. Using the 1M tip, pipe the middle of the cupcake with frosting.


• The recipe is for 12 cupcakes, but you could easily double it for 24 cupcakes.

• Ingredient substations:

  • Sour cream can be substituted with plain or Greek yogurt
  • Coconut extract can be substituted with vanilla extract
  • Coconut milk can be substituted with whole milk


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 426
  • Sugar: 43.8g
  • Sodium: 179mg
  • Fat: 26.3mg
  • Carbohydrates: 55.5g
  • Fiber: .5g
  • Protein: 3.1g
  • Cholesterol: 61mg

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2 comments on “Coconut Cupcakes”

  1. Hello, thanks for these recipe. If I want to add homemade lightly toasted shredded coconut inside the cake batter, what quantity can it hold.
    Thank you.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      For 12 cupcakes I’d say 1/2 cup but maybe pulse it in the food processor a little bit to make the pieces smaller. Sounds like a great addition!