This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our privacy policy.

A shortbread crust is topped with a simple coconut cream filling, whipped topping, and toasted coconut in these simple and delicious coconut cream bars.

Plated coconut cream bar with cups of coffee in the background. A bite has been taken from the corner of the bar.

Do you ever find random things in your pantry and it sparks some creativity in the kitchen? 

Maybe it’s because this is my job, but it happens all the time for me. Recently, I was reorganizing my pantry and found three boxes of coconut cream pudding mix.

I don’t remember what I originally bought the mixes for or why I needed three of them, but looking at them made me crave some kind of coconut cream pie bars.

I started playing around and, voila! These coconut cream bars were born.

Slices of coconut cream bars on a white parchment-lined platter.
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and get it sent to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

What are Coconut Cream Bars?

I’m here to tell you: If you love coconut cream pie, you’re going to flip over these coconut cream bars. They’re just an easier version of pie!

To make these bars, I took a cue from my apple pie bars and my pecan bars and started off with a shortbread crust base.

Once you’re done baking the crust, you can turn the oven off because all of the baking is done! You’ll whisk together a no-bake coconut filling and top the whole thing with Cool Whip and toasted coconut.

Cut them into bars and enjoy the flavors of coconut cream pie with less of the work!

Overhead view of coconut cream bar ingredients arranged on a gray countertop.

How to Make Coconut Cream Bars

Since you have to bake the crust for these bars, this isn’t technically a no-bake recipe. It’s more of a low-bake recipe.

Ingredients you’ll need

The ingredients for these coconut cream bars are pretty basic. In fact, these bars came about because I had a couple of extra boxes of coconut cream pudding mix in my pantry! 

Pulsed base for shortbread crust in the bowl of a food processor.

You’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Salt
  • Instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • Coconut milk
  • Whole milk
  • Toasted coconut
  • Thawed Cool Whip
Baked shortbread crust for coconut cream bars in a lined metal baking pan.

For the filling, I chose to use a mixture of coconut milk and whole milk along with the pudding. I like the fresh coconut flavor that the coconut milk adds to the pudding mix. When combined with the toasted coconut, there’s no mistaking that these are coconut bars!

If you have never tried toasting coconut before, it’s really easy to do. I have a whole post that teaches you how to toast coconut using 3 simple methods.

I like to top these with whipped topping because it’s so easy and holds up well in the fridge. You can use whipped cream frosting if you prefer.

Coconut filling spread over shortbread crust in a metal pan.

Making this recipe

Before you start making the crust for these bars, line your pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang over the sides so you can lift the bars out of the pan later.

Mix the crust together with your food processor. Blend together the flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Cool Whip being added to the top of coconut cream bars in a metal pan.

This won’t look anything like a dough, but that’s ok! Press the crumbs firmly into the pan – using the bottom of a measuring cup can help with this.

Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let the crust cool before adding the filling.

Overhead view of sliced coconut cream bars set on a piece of parchment paper.

To make the filling, whisk together the pudding mix and milks. Whisk for 2 minutes, then fold in half of the toasted coconut.

Spread the pudding mixture over the cooled crust and refrigerate the bars for at least 2-3 hours.

Before serving, top the bars with the whipped topping and the rest of the toasted coconut.

Coconut cream bar on a white plate. More bars are visible in the background.

More Coconut Desserts

If you’re like me and adore coconut, make sure to check out these coconut desserts as well:

Glazed lime coconut cake on a white cake plate, garnished with lime zest and toasted coconut

Lime Coconut Cake

If you love the flavor combination of lime and coconut, this cake is for you! Lime Coconut Cake is a tropical take on the classic whipping cream cake. Topped with lime glaze and toasted coconut, this cake will transport you to the beach with one bite!
View Recipe
Slice of coconut poke cake next to a fork on a white plate, with a cup of coffee in the background

Coconut Poke Cake

Yellow cake, coconut cream pudding, Cool Whip, and toasted coconut make for a sweet and delicious Coconut Poke Cake! This easy cake will be your new favorite if you’re a fan of coconut.
View Recipe
Coconut and almond macaroons arranged on a white plate

Coconut Macaroons

These Coconut Macaroons are sweet, chewy, and packed with coconut and almonds. Package them up for someone you love or add them to your holiday cookie platter!
View Recipe

Tropical Coconut Layer Cake

A coconut layer cake with LOTS of coconut flavors! A Soft and tender cake infused with coconut cream, coconut extract, and coconut flakes is then wrapped in silky coconut swiss meringue buttercream.
View Recipe
Coconut cream bar on a white plate. A bite has been taken from the corner of the bar.
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and get it sent to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Coconut Cream Bars

By: Jamie
4.50 from 16 ratings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Top a shortbread crust with coconut filling, Cool Whip, and toasted coconut to make these easy and crowd-pleasing coconut cream bars.


For the Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter cubed
  • cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 2 3.4-ounce boxes Instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • 1 can coconut milk 14 ounces
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut toasted, divided use

For the topping:

  • 2 8-ounce containers frozen whipped topping thawed


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Spray a 13×9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang over the sides. This will help you lift the bars out of the pan later.
  • In a food processor, blend together flour, butter, powdered sugar, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse sand. This will not look like dough – that’s ok! Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix, coconut milk, and whole milk to combine. Whisk for two minutes. Fold in half of the toasted coconut.
  • Spread the coconut pudding mixture over the cooled crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Spread the thawed whipped topping over the top of the filling. Before serving, top with the remaining toasted coconut. 
  • Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into slices and serve. 



Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For a thinner layer of whipped topping, just 1 (8-ounce) container instead of 2.
For cleaner slices, place the bars into the freezer for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing.
Learn how to toast coconut using 3 simple methods.


Serving: 1bar, Calories: 356kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 153mg, Potassium: 208mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 421IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.50 from 16 votes (16 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Diane says:

    What if you don’t have a food processor? How do I mix the dough ingredients?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Diane – You could use a dough blender/cutter like you would for pie crust. Just keep in mind that it’ll take a bit more time and some elbow grease. Hope this helps! Happy baking –

  2. ali says:

    hi, not really familiar w/ coconut milk. is it fat free, full fat or???

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi there – Regular canned coconut milk is “full fat” – the Thai Kitchen brand says it has 12g fat per serving (1/3 cup), versus about 8g fat in a 1-cup serving of whole milk. But remember, it’s a very different type of fat because it’s plant-based. Some brands make “lite” canned coconut milk which has about 5g fat per serving. I have not tried this recipe with the lite coconut milk, so I can’t attest to the results, but would love to hear how it turns out if you try it. Happy baking!