Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

A rich classic homemade frosting with a nutty spin is this wonderful and creamy Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.

Toasted coconut on a dark brown wooden spoon resting on a white paper towel.

Cream Cheese Frosting with Coconut Recipe

Natural flavors mix together to make a bakery quality frosting that will top your cakes in a memorable way.

We adore how amazing this coconut frosting tastes on our Coconut Cake. Coconut lovers always want more than one piece!

We’re a big fan of making cakes from a box mix like our Chocolate Box Cake and Pistachio Cake. When you find the right base adding a homemade frosting like this one, it takes your dessert table from good to excellent.

Side view of a cake with a thick layer of homemade coconut cream cheese frosting and another layer of toasted coconut on top in a white baking dish.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Browning the coconut in butter adds a special richness and flavor to the frosting.
  • While browning coconut sounds intimidating it only takes a little patience and common cooks can easily do it!
  • This homemade frosting makes cakes taste so much more special.
  • Making your own bakery quality frosting is a great way to save money and stay on a budget.

Ingredients Needed

  • Cream Cheese – Using Philadelphia Brand is the ultimate option since this is the featured flavor, but the store brand is a great budget option.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar – Also known as powdered sugar this is the ingredient that helps sweeten up the frosting.
  • Butter – Adds more dairy richness and another depth of flavor.
  • Coconut – Sweetened or unsweetened doesn’t really matter. When making this frosting to put on a homemade cake I like to get a bigger bag because it is typically smaller than buying a couple smaller bags.
  • Milk – The moisture to help mix up the confectioners sugar into the frosting a bit easier.
  • Vanilla Extract – Enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients.
Ingredients to make coconut cream cheese frosting are flaked coconut, cream cheese, butter, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla on a wooden counter top.

How To Brown Coconut In A Skillet

Add half of the butter or 2 tablespoons to a skillet set to medium high heat.

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Bright white flakes of coconut poured into a skillet with melted butter.

Once the butter is nearly melted add the raw coconut

Stir until each flake is coated with butter.

Mix butter and coconut well and continue to do so for a while. During the process some parts will be heavy with butter and some that haven’t been coated yet will be lighter.

Wooden spoon stirring coconut flakes to coat all of them in melted butter in a non-stick skillet.

Continue to stir often for 3 to 5 minutes.

While the coconut is warming prepare a layer of a couple paper towels in a rectangle.

Once the coconut begins to brown turn down to low heat and don’t leave the stove.

A variety of shades of browned coconut being stirred often to continue toasting and prevent burning.

Once the browning process is underway it will move quickly and you want to be ready to remove the coconut from the skillet immediately once it has reached your preferred level of toasted.

Continue to stir often with a wooden spoon.

Spoon stirring flakes of coconut into butter in a black non-stick skillet continuously to prevent burning.

Be sure to rotate the coconut flakes touching the warm, buttery skillet and those on top often.

Once most of the flakes have a brown side or section I like to remove from the heat.

A few pieces may be totally brown and a little crunchy and this is another hint that the coconut is done toasting.

Wooden spoon stirring nearly browned coconut in a skillet.

At this point pour the coconut onto the paper towel and spread it all out.

Freshly toasted coconut poured onto a paper towel to cool.

Allow the toasted coconut to cool before adding to dairy products. You don’t want to cook the dairy products.

How To Make Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Using an electric mixer add softened cream cheese and remaining butter to the mixing bowl and beat until smooth.

Beaten cream cheese and powdered sugar in a silver mixing bowl.

Using a sifter or a fork fluff or sift the powdered sugar before adding to the frosting.

Fork in a canister of powdered sugar to fluff and sift it before making frosting.

Measure the sifted confectioners sugar and add to the mixing bowl.

Confectioners sugar poured on top of cream cheese and butter beat together.

Then add confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla and blend well until smooth.

Cream cheese, vanilla, confectioners sugar, butter and milk beat together in a beautiful whipped pattern in a sliver electric mixing bowl.

Pour most of the cooled, toasted coconut into the frosting.

Reserve enough to sprinkle on top for a gourmet look.

Browned coconut poured into a mixing bowl of cream cheese frosting.

Gently mix the coconut into the cream cheese mixture.

If using the electric mixer keep on the lowest setting. Folding in by hand can also help prevent the flakes of coconut from breaking.

Rich cream cheese frosting in a silver mixing bowl with freshly toasted coconut stirred in.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if making ahead or spread on a cooled cake.

Frosting Tips & Tricks

  • Softened frosting will be easier to spread on a cooled cake than chilled frosting.
  • Store frosted cake in the refrigerator since cream cheese is perishable and the base of this recipe.
  • Browning the coconut before mixing in is a very important step in this recipe.

More Wonderful Dessert Recipes

Old Fashioned Cream Pie has a beautiful filling with a brown top and is irresistable.

My friend Carlee has the best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake mixes a thin peanut buttery layer of cake with a wonder warm frosting that flows over top when poured.

This old fashioned Amish Grape Salad easily makes a big batch and works well as a side dish or dessert.

Close up toasted coconut on top of a thick and creamy layer of coconut cream cheese frosting on a walnut coconut cake from a box mix.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings 16 servings
Author: Jennifer
A rich classic homemade frosting with a nutty spin is this wonderful and creamy Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons Butter softened
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Using a thick skillet set to low heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Add coconut and brown. Stir until coated with butter.
  • Continue stirring constantly for about 7 to 10 minutes until the coconut is evenly toasted.
  • Spread on a double layer of paper towels to cool.
  • Cream remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, confectioners sugar, cream cheese, milk and vanilla. Blend well.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of browned coconut and mix gently.
  • Spread frosting on the cake and sprinkle reserved brown coconut over the top of the cake.


Calories: 213kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 70mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 279IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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