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Dairy Free Coconut Custard

This dairy free coconut custard is a creamy, dreamy dessert that coconut lovers will go nuts for. It’s full of sweet coconut flavor and this custard can be eaten by itself or be used in place of regular pastry cream.

Dairy Free Coconut Custard - eat it alone or as a replacement for regular pastry cream. From What The Fork Food Blog |

Dairy Free Coconut Custard

If you’re a regular reader around here (thank you if you are!), then you know that coconut is my jam. I love it so much, I’d pretty much say that it’s a coconut obsession. Today’s coconut post? Dairy free coconut custard.

You guys, this coconut custard is amazing with a capital A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. There’s enough coconut flavor to taste the coconut without being overwhelming for those who don’t love coconut as much as I do. I also added a bit of unsweetened coconut into the custard itself, which is optional, and I topped mine with some extra toasted coconut.

Told you it’s a coconut obsession.

Dairy Free Coconut Custard from What The Fork Food Blog |

This dairy free coconut custard is actually a precursor to a recipe I’ll be sharing with you next month – a coconut cake. It’s a cake I’m making for my birthday. Yes, I make my own birthday cake.

I actually just made it a week ago for my brother-in-law’s birthday. I was tasked with making the cake and he didn’t request a specific flavor, just “one that everyone can eat”. Which meant it had to be gluten free for Adam, lactose/dairy free for Kelsey and my mother-in-law, PLUS nut free AND chocolate free for my mother-in-law.

I thought about making my pineapple upside-down cake or my Funfetti cake but I kind of wanted to do something different. Since my grandfather-in-law and I both love coconut and it met all of the above criteria, that’s what I went with. I had my fingers crossed that Erik liked coconut too!

Dairy Free Coconut Custard from What The Fork Food Blog |

Spoiler – he did. And the cake was a HIT. So much so that I decided I wanted it for myself too.

Any-who, this coconut custard is a used twice in the cake which is why I wanted to post it now. It’s a really versatile recipe because you can eat the custard by itself like a pudding or you can use it in recipes as a sub for pastry cream. It’s so good you’ll want to start eating it with everything. Enjoy!

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Dairy Free Coconut Custard from What The Fork Food Blog |

Dairy Free Coconut Custard

4.65 from 188 ratings
This dairy free coconut custard is a creamy, dreamy dessert that coconut lovers will go nuts for. It’s full of sweet coconut flavor and this custard can be eaten by itself or be used in place of regular pastry cream.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Print Rate Pin


  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C tapioca flour or cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • toasted coconut for topping optional


  • Add the milk to a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.
  • While the milk is heating, add the egg yolks, sugar, and tapioca flour to a medium-sized glass bowl. Whisk together to combine (mixture will be clumpy) and set aside.
  • Whisk the milk occasionally until it starts to steam - do not boil. Remove the milk from the heat and while whisking, pour a little milk (about 1/2 cup) into the egg mixture - do not stop whisking.
  • Continue to simultaneously whisk and slowly pour the remaining milk into the egg mixture. When all the milk has been poured into the bowl, give the mixture a good stir and then pour it back into the saucepan.
  • Heat the milk mixture over medium heat, whisking almost constantly, until it starts to get thick like pudding and bubble. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • *Place a strainer over a clean bowl and pour the custard into the strainer. Stir and push the custard through the strainer, leaving any clumps behind.
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and cool to room temperature. When cool, refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


*Straining is optional but will remove any impurities/clumps in the custard.
When placing the plastic wrap on the custard, make sure it is actually touching the custard (like you're putting a band-aid on it). That will prevent a thick skin layer from forming on top of the custard.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 243mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 26mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg


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Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren't always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.

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Dairy Free Coconut Custard from What The Fork Food Blog |

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Recipe Rating

  1. Sleepy Baker says:

    Hello Shay! This recipe looks like exactly what I need. Would you happen to have any suggestions for using this coconut custard in a steamed bun? If I want it to be stiffer so it doesn’t ooze out of the steamed buns I want to make would I just need to cook it for longer and evaporate more water off? Thanks for sharing your recipes! I really appreciate it

  2. Courtney says:

    4 stars
    This looks amazing- thanks for sharing this recipe!
    Could I substitute coconut sugar (I’m thinking yes), probably couldn’t substitute maple syrup? If yes, any suggestion on how much and if the tapioca or milk quantities would need to be adjusted?

    • Thanks Courtney! I haven’t tested this recipe with coconut sugar so I can’t tell you for sure. I do know that using coconut sugar will make this fairly dark. If you were thinking of maple syrup, I would suggest trying maple sugar. While it will still be a little darker, it will dissolve nicely into the custard.

  3. Dan says:

    Very delicious with a great consistency, but needs a dash of salt!
    This recipe is a great base for all sorts of different custard flavors. I love to infuse tea into the milk before making this.

  4. Ana Burkhead says:

    Does it have to be coconut milk in a can. I have coconut milk in carton. Would it do?

  5. suz says:

    Hi, This looks good! I have not tasted it yet :-). Can you have the custard warm after cooking? What is the purpose of putting in the fridge for two hours?

    • Shay says:

      You can if that’s how you prefer it! In the states, we eat it chilled. It will be a bit thicker after chilling but that’s the only difference.

  6. Alice says:

    So so good!! I used maple syrup instead of granulated sugar and it was perfect. No straining needed. I had some warm I liked it so much. Thanks again <3

  7. Alice says:

    Oh I get it now!! Excuse my poor reading! Thank you for sharing. I miss dairy so much and coconut is the best!

  8. Lisa says:

    Can blended fruit be added? It still needs to be thick as a filling for cake. Thanks!

    • Shay says:

      I haven’t tried it but I’d be worried that blended fruit would add too much moisture to the custard and cause it to separate or get watery. I would try folding in diced fruit over adding fruit purées.

  9. Angie says:

    Can’t wait to try this lovely looking Coconut Pudding !!! But one question… shouldn’t the Coconut Milk be 13.5 oz and not 113.5 oz ???? Thanks, Angie 😁 forgive me if I’m wrong 🤗

  10. Desma says:

    Thank you! This is beautiful, made with a can of coconut cream and coconut sugar. The result a delicious, thick caramel coloured vanilla custard enjoyed by kids and adults.

  11. Andrea says:

    Amazing recipe. Will add less sugar next time as too sweet. Did not need to strain, smooth all the way.

  12. brienne says:

    5 stars
    I am making this for my daughter’s birthday cake for this evening. Can you really substitute a 1/4 cup of tapioca flour for a 1/4 cup of cornstarch? It sounds like a lot of cornstarch???

    • Sharon says:

      You can sub tapioca flour. I’ve found this recipe sets best with that amount because I also use it as a cake filling. Feel free to halve it if you want a much thinner consistency.

  13. Gemma says:

    5 stars
    Hey this recipe looks amazing! My son is dairy free and I am making his first birthday cake so this should do well. Can I ask how long does the cooked custard keep in the fridge? Thanks x

  14. 5 stars
    A coconut lovers dream! This looks to die for!

  15. Lisa Walker says:

    5 stars
    This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing it!

  16. Jill says:

    5 stars
    Do you pour the entire contents of the can in? So the coconut cream AND the coconut water?

  17. Carolina in Mexico says:

    5 stars
    OMG, I just made this and sampled some warm, just out of the pot. It’s orgasmically delicious! Rich, sweet, and a lovely just-right consistency! Who knew coconut milk could be used this way? The recipe is so easy and makes up very quickly, too. I didn’t even need to strain it at the end. The rest of the batch is going to a dear friend who is undergoing chemo and is lactose-intolerant. Thank you for this lovely recipe!

  18. Stephanie says:

    Do you mean 13.5 Oz or 113.5 of coconut mike? I’m guessing it’s 13.5.

  19. Louise says:

    Hi, I’m going to try this recipe today as mum has made a lovely apple crumble. I’d like to know how long it would keep in the fridge and if it can be frozen?

  20. Katie says:

    Ok so I’ve tried making this twice and keep running into a consistency of a goo like substance… I feel like I’m just not doing something right. Any tips?

  21. Taimy says:

    Is there anything I can use instead of the eggs so I can make it vegan?

    • Sharon says:

      You can make it like a quick pudding and leave out the eggs and thicken with just the tapioca or cornstarch. Mix the starch with cold coconut milk to make the slurry and whisk that into the hot coconut milk. It just won’t be as creamy/silky but will still taste good.

  22. Nickole says:

    I just made this and it is already fantastic. (Its cooling now but i licked the whisk) really really good.

  23. Happygal says:

    Hi! Can you substitute tapioca with arrowroot and the granulated sugar with coconut sugar?


    • Sharon says:

      Arrowroot should work but you may not need as much. I’ve only made it with tapioca or cornstarch though. I would not suggest using coconut sugar, it will make the custard very dark. You maybe could try maple sugar though.

  24. Lizzie says:

    Made this last week for my father because he loves anything coconut. It was very delicious!

  25. I came across this recipe while looking for paleo recipes and reread the recipe 4 times before I could see why it wasn’t labelled paleo. Darn that granulated sugar! It’s just SO necessary (and good!) in some recipes.

    Anyway. This looks delicious! 😀

  26. I can totally see myself making this custard for some dessert trifles!

  27. When I had my first son I couldn’t eat any dairy and coconut desserts were my savior. I LOVE this!

  28. Julia says:

    Anyone who does not have a coconut obsession is missing out! Custard is fantastic stuff, and with coconut milk, even better!

  29. Coconut is one of my favorites…this looks so creamy and delish!

  30. Kimberly says:

    I love custard and this coconut version sounds terrific!

  31. Custard is such a great dessert – so creamy!! This coconut version sounds delicious!

  32. This looks so delicious and great for a light dessert!

  33. what a delicious dairy free alternative to pudding! looking forward to seeing that cake too

  34. Hey Sharon, this custard looks awesome. I just had a GF coconut cake at my son’s grad party last weekend. While it was delicious, it did NOT have your coconut cream between the layers. I know that custard would send it over the top.