These coconut cream pie bars sit upon a buttery shortbread crust, has a thick coconut pudding filling, and is topped off with fresh whipped cream.
This recipe was originally published in August of 2020, but was updated on March 19, 2022 with newer content and fresh pictures.
These easy coconut bars start off with my favorite shortbread crust. So many pies go well with shortbread, including coconut! The filling is a homemade coconut pudding that has sweetened coconut flakes mixed straght into it.
If you love old-fashioned coconut cream pie, then you're going to love these pie bars, especially since they're topped with toasted coconut too!
Why You'll Love These Pie Bars
- It has an easy pie crust: shortbread.
- The filling is a creamy coconut pudding.
- Both coconut milk and shredded coconut flakes contribute to the coconut flavor.
- They're topped with homemade whipped cream.
- They're perfect to feed plenty of people!
Pie bars are very similar to classic 9-inch pies, except they're transformed into square bars that are baked in a baking pan. I think they're much easier to make, especially when you use shortbread or a graham cracker crust instead of pie dough.
This pie recipe would go great at any family gathering, holiday, or just because you want some pie!
Expert Baking Tips
- Baking Pan: Line your 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, then non-stick spray.
- Coconut Pudding: It's very important that you are occasionally whisking your pudding as it's cooking on the stovetop. This keeps the egg yolks from curdling and the pudding from burning. Once the pudding starts to boil, remove it from the heat.
- Pie Crust: Make sure the crust has cooled before placing the hot pudding mixture on top.
- Chill Time: Allow the bars to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before topping with the whipped cream and serving.
- Toasted Coconut: I like to top the whipped cream layer with toasted coconut. To do this, place a ½ cup of shredded coconut on a baking sheet and bake it in a 325 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.
- Perfect Bars: Use a non-serrated knife to slice the chilled bars, wiping it clean with a paper towel after each cut. I've also used a pastry scraper.
Here are some notes on the ingredients we'll be using. For the full ingredients list, look at the recipe card below.
- Powdered Sugar: Used in the crust to add sweetness and a fluffy texture.
- Milk: I used 2% milk. You could also use whole milk.
- Coconut Milk: Just one 13.5-ounce can of coconut is needed.
- Corn Starch: This helps to thicken up the pudding as it's cooking.
- Egg Yolks: This recipe calls for 4 egg yolks. In puddings, it also helps to thicken it.
- Shredded Coconut: I used sweetened coconut flakes but you could also use the unsweetened flakes.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Used to make homemade whipped cream.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this coconut cream pie.
Step 1: Shortbread crust. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Press it into the prepared baking pan and bake for 17-20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Step 2: Coconut pudding. In a medium-sized saucepan whisk together the milk, coconut milk, sugar, corn starch, salt, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until it starts to boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the butter, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined and the butter has completely melted.
Step 3: Assemble. Pour the pudding mixture over the cooled shortbread crust, cover with plastic wrap, and place it into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Step 4: Whipped cream. Once the coconut pudding is chilled and set, make your whipped cream. Beat together the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed for 2-3 minutes until medium-stiff peaks form.
Step 5: Serve. Top the coconut pudding filling with the whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes, and then slice them into bars using a non-serrated knife or a pastry scrapper.
Keep any leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't want to make homemade whipped cream then you can certainly use cool whipped instead.
Definitely! This pie would also go well with a graham cracker crust.
Yes, you can. Simply make the shortbread crust and coconut pudding mixture the day before, then top with the whipped cream the next day.
It brings me so much joy to see you make my recipes. 🙂
More Pie Recipes
Coconut Cream Pie Bars
- 9x13 inch baking pan
- Mixing Bowl
- Sauce Pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Coconut Pudding Filling
- 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13-inch baking pan parchment paper, then non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt with a wooden spoon. Press it into the prepared baking pan and bake for 17-20 minutes or until the edges start to turn light brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Coconut Pudding Filling
- In a medium-sized saucepan whisk together the milk, coconut milk, sugar, corn starch, salt, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until it starts to boil (about 10-15 minutes). Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the butter, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined and the butter has completely melted.
- Pour the hot pudding mixture over the cooled shortbread crust and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the pudding to chill and set up.
- Once the coconut pudding has completely chilled and set, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until medium-stiff peaks form (whipped cream should stick to whisk without falling off). Be careful not to over mix, as the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
- Top the coconut pudding filling with the whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes (see note below), and slice them into bars. Keep any leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.