Desiccated Coconut: What It Is + A Delicious Recipe To Try

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Desiccated coconut is a versatile ingredient that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is made by grating the flesh of mature coconuts and then drying it out in hot air. The result is a dry, finely grated coconut that can be used in a variety of dishes.

A large wooden spoon scooping up desiccated coconut.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.
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One of the great things about desiccated coconut is its versatility. It can be used to add sweetness and crunch to baked goods like coconut macaroons and granola, or to provide a nutty flavor to a classic coconut cake or ice cream. It can also be used in savory dishes, such as curries and stir-fries, to add a unique flavor and texture.

If you’re interested in trying out some recipes that use desiccated coconut, there is no shortage of options! One popular use is for making homemade coconut milk, which involves blending desiccated coconut with water and then straining out the solids.

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What is Desiccated Coconut?

Desiccated coconut is coconut meat that has been shredded or flaked and then dried to remove as much moisture as possible. The end result is a dry, powdery, and flaky substance that is commonly used in cooking and baking.

Desiccated coconut is available in a variety of styles, including finely grated, shredded, flaked, and processed into granules or chips. Most of the shredded coconut you’ll find is unsweetened, which helps to prolong its shelf life and preserve nutrients.

Desiccated coconut is usually easy to find in the baking section of the grocery store, as well as online retailers. You can also make it at home by following the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How is Desiccated Coconut Made?

Desiccated coconut is made by shredding the white meat of the coconut and then drying it to remove all the moisture content. The process of making desiccated coconut is straightforward and can be done at home with minimal equipment.

It is important to note that the drying process is crucial to making good-quality desiccated coconut. If the coconut is not dried properly, it can become moldy and spoil quickly. Additionally, desiccated coconut can be sweetened or unsweetened depending on the recipe it is being used in.

Desiccated coconut is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of delicious recipes.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Uses of Desiccated Coconut

In Baked Goods

Desiccated coconut is a versatile ingredient that can add sweetness, tropical flavor, and crunch to baked goods. It is a popular addition to coconut macaroons, granola, and classic coconut cakes. It can also be used in chocolate treats, cookies, and pies. The finely grated texture of desiccated coconut makes it easy to incorporate into baked goods, and it adds a nutty flavor that pairs well with cinnamon and cardamom.

In Curries and Other Dishes

Desiccated coconut is a common ingredient in many Indian and Southeast Asian curries. It can be used to thicken sauces and add flavor. It is often toasted before being added to curries to enhance its nutty flavor. Desiccated coconut can also be used in rice dishes, stir-fries, and soups.

As a Coating or Topping

Desiccated coconut can be used as a coating or topping for a variety of dishes. It is a popular addition to candy bars, truffles, and other chocolate treats. It can also be used to coat chicken or fish before frying or baking. Desiccated coconut can be sprinkled on top of ice cream, yogurt, or oatmeal for added texture and flavor

What Does Desiccated Coconut Taste Like?

Desiccated coconut has a gentle sweetness, with a slightly nutty and toasted flavor that is distinctive and flavorful. It has a rich, tropical flavor that is reminiscent of fresh coconut, but with a slightly drier and more concentrated taste.

The texture of desiccated coconut is also unique, with a fine, powdery consistency that is slightly crunchy and chewy.

When used in baking or cooking, desiccated coconut adds a delicious coconut flavor and aroma to dishes, making it a popular ingredient in many recipes. It is often used in cakes, cookies, granola, and other baked goods, as well as in curries, stews, and other savory dishes.

Overall, desiccated coconut has a delicious and versatile flavor that can enhance the taste of many different types of food.

Health Benefits of Desiccated Coconut

Desiccated coconut is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. But did you know that it also offers numerous health benefits?

One of the key benefits of desiccated coconut is its high fiber content. Fiber is essential for maintaining healthy digestion and can help to prevent constipation. It can also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In addition to dietary fiber, desiccated coconut contains iron, which is important for maintaining healthy blood cells and preventing anemia. It also contains manganese and copper, which are important for bone health and the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and cholesterol.

Desiccated coconut is also a good source of healthy fats. While many people think of fat as being unhealthy, the truth is that our bodies need fat to function properly. Desiccated coconut contains healthy saturated fats that can help to boost energy levels and support brain function.

Finally, desiccated coconut is rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage and contribute to the development of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Overall, desiccated coconut is a nutritious and delicious ingredient that can provide numerous health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Desiccated Coconut vs Shredded Coconut

Desiccated coconut and shredded coconut are both popular forms of grated coconut flesh that have been dried out. However, the main difference between the two lies in their moisture content.

Desiccated coconut has almost all of its moisture removed, resulting in a drier and finer texture, while shredded coconut retains some of its moisture and is usually in long, thin strips.

Because of this difference, desiccated coconut is commonly used in baking, while shredded coconut is often used for decoration. While both types of coconut can be used interchangeably in recipes, the difference in moisture content may affect the final outcome.

Desiccated Coconut vs Coconut Flour

Desiccated coconut and coconut flour are two different coconut products with distinct characteristics.

Desiccated coconut is made by grating the flesh of a coconut and then drying it out, while coconut flour is made by grinding the dried coconut meat into a fine powder. The main difference between the two is their texture and moisture content.

Desiccated coconut is coarser and contains more moisture than coconut flour, which is a fine, dry powder. Desiccated coconut is often used in baking and cooking, while coconut flour is commonly used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.

Both products are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, but coconut flour is more absorbent than desiccated coconut, which means that recipes that use coconut flour may require more liquid.

Overall, desiccated coconut and coconut flour are versatile and healthy alternatives to traditional baking ingredients.

Storing Desiccated Coconut

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the quality and freshness of desiccated coconut.

Since desiccated coconut has very little moisture, it is less prone to spoilage than fresh coconut. However, it is still important to store it correctly to prevent it from going rancid or developing off-flavors.

Desiccated coconut should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

It is best to use it within a few months of opening the package, as it can lose its flavor and aroma over time. To extend its shelf life, desiccated coconut can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, where it can last for up to a year.

When using desiccated coconut that has been stored in the fridge or freezer, allow it to come to room temperature before using it in a recipe.

Desiccated Coconut Recipe

Let's learn all about desiccated coconut! What it is, how to use it, its health benefits, how to make it and much more!
5 from 41 votes
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Course: Baking, Condiments, Sweets
Cuisine: American, Asian, Indian, South American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Kristen Wood


  • 1 fresh coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  • Crack open the coconut, pour out the coconut water (use it in a smoothie!) and remove the flesh (white part) from the coconut shell with a knife.
  • Using a sturdy vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, peel the brown skin from the coconut flesh.
  • Grate the coconut flesh using a fine grater, or chop the coconut meat into small pieces and pulse in a blender, spice grinder, or food processor until it has a fine crumb consistency.
  • Spread the grated coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the coconut is crisp and dry. Be sure to stir the coconut every few minutes to ensure even drying.
  • Remove the coconut from the oven and let cool.
  • Store the desiccated coconut in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one year.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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