DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Coconut Cream Pie

Prep: 30 min | Cook: 30 min | Total: 8 hrs | Servings:8


Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
In the late 90's, I worked at "Dahlia Lounge" in Seattle. There were 3 things that flew out of the kitchen almost faster than we could make them: potstickers, crab cakes and ... coconut cream pie.

The "plating" in the final picture was almost a spoof of the same coconut cream pie that would get served out of that fine dining establishment in the late 90's. I suspect if I were to return today, I'd still be able to order this gem of coco-nutty goodness.

I have to say that I'm really proud of this sugar free/gluten free recipe. Most coconut cream pies are filled with custard, but a custard which is "held firm" with either flour or corn starch. I also had the daunting task of creating an "alterna-shell", without flour. I was incredibly nervous that it wouldn't work, or that the custard filling wouldn't hold. I was concerned that the crust would just disintegrate. Oh, how I worried!

My concerns were all completely unfounded.

The end result of this challenge? This sweet fluffy gem was pure coconut cream pie!

Sludge Note: When making this, the custard took on a very slightly "slimy" viscosity, due to the xanthan gum. I was incredibly nervous that this pie would turn out like a big bowl of ecto-plasm. By the time this thing chilled out, firmed up and got all swirled in with the texture of the coconut and shells ... the slime could not be detected! I really hesitated to mention this. I did so because I wanted to point out that the custard filling may take on a bit of a "slime in a can" kind of look. Fret not!

. .
Coconut CrustCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
3/4 cup (84g)  almond flour (Buy Now) 480421818909
3/4 cup (66g)  unsweetened coconut, shredded (Buy Now) 360366181206
1/4 cup (56g)  fresh whole butter, melted4004400000
1 dash (1g)  salt0000000
Coconut Custard FillingCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1 13.5-ounce can (381.38g)  coconut milk (Buy Now) 750.94818.4410.130010.13
1/2 cup (119g)  cream, heavy whipping410.5442.53.5003.5
1/4 cup (60g)  'Swerve' or other sugar replacement (Buy Now) 000600600
3/4 tsp (2.4g)  xanthan gum (Buy Now) 7.5001.51.500
1 dash (1g)  salt0000000
8 large (136g)  egg yolks430.9535.8121.835.04005.04
1 tbsp (12g)  coconut extract (optional)0000000
1 cup (88g)  unsweetened coconut, shredded (Buy Now) 480488241608
ToppingsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
4 cups (532g)  sugar free whipped cream (recipe)1665.08017610190415
1/2 cup (36g)  unsweetened coconut, flaked (Buy Now) 2002048800
Totals (of 8 Servings):5184.97526.81g78.77g167.17g46.5g64g56.67g
Per Serving:648.1265.85g9.85g20.9g5.81g8g7.08g *


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix the flour, coconut and salt with the melted butter.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Really press it in there and push it up the sides of the pan. It should be a nice compact crust, covering the entire base and sides of the pan.
  4. Bake for about 12 minutes (or until nice and toasty brown). Set a timer. This one goes from white to burnt quickly, once it starts to brown.
  5. When it's toasted, remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool.
  6. Set up a wide mouthed pot with boiling water (or the base for a double boiler). I don't have a double boiler, so I'm going to place a bowl over the water. This will serve as the base for a double boiler.
  7. In a separate saucepan, bring your coconut milk and cream up to the lowest possible simmer (has a tendency to want to boil over and some coconut milks are fragile and want to separate ... you really just want this to be hot).
  8. Combine your sweetener and salt with your xanthan gum. Mix them together, so that the xanthan is evenly distributed throughout the sugar equivalent (helps to prevent clumping ... if you're using a liquid sweetener, combine your xanthan with the 1 cup of shredded coconut and add it with the sweetener in a few steps, rather than at the end).
  9. Place your egg yolks and optional coconut extract into a non-reactive metal bowl with a diameter just a bit wider than the mouth of the pot of boiling water (or just use the top of the double boiler).
  10. Whisk your egg yolks, until they have a lemony color.
  11. Add a little bit of the hot liquid into the egg yolks, while whisking. This will "temper" the eggs. Keep whisking, while adding more of the hot liquid, adding a little more and a little faster, each moment. You want to add and whisk, to incorporate the hot liquid, without creating scrambled eggs.
  12. Once all the liquid has been incorporated, add your sweetener/xanthan mix, and whisk it in.
  13. Place your bowl over the mouth of the boiling water and continue to whisk. Make sure you whisk well and around the edges of the bowl, or else you'll develop cooked/scrambled eggs around the edge of the bowl. If the bowl gets too hot, remove it from the heat for a moment, and keep whisking. You can alternate the location of the bowl, slowly raising the heat of the egg mixture to about 165 F. While always whisking, you can add to the top of the pot, and remove, add back and remove.
  14. Once the mixture reaches about 165 F, has no frothy bubbles and is noticeably thick, you can add the cup of shredded coconut. Mix this evenly into the custard.
  15. Remove from the heat and pour the custard into the pie crust.
  16. Refrigerate the pie crust for about 8 hours, or until firm.
  17. Once the pie is firm, top it with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
  18. Slice and serve!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


This recipe is AWESOME! The first time I made it, I skipped the crust and just ate as a pudding, for breakfast. It wasn't sweet enough for me using 1/4 c Swerve. The second time I doubled the sweetener and made the crust. OMG! I do love Swerve. I tried it about 5 years ago and didn't really get into it. Now that I'm Keto, I'm all over it--granulated and powdered. Thank you for this great recipe. I look forward to trying more.

 Sallie Laurel  10/15/2017


---Reply posted by DJ on 10/15/2017
Whoo hoo! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! I typically just use the powdered Swerve, as I see no meaningful benefits to the granular stuff. It's just harder to dissolve, but ... both are excellent! I did a guest post on a brown butter pie. Google it! It's on Holistically Engineered. Give that one a shot, next! ;-)

Can't wait to try. I have everything on hand except xanthan gum. I do have guar gum. Would it work?

Love your posts. 


 Becki  4/6/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 4/6/2015
Hi Becki ... I'll be perfectly honest. I'm not sure! Guar and xanthan are both theoretically largely interchangeable, when it comes to their thickening prowess. However, in this instance, they're mixed, so there's a level of synergy that's also taking place, which would be clearly lost without each of them. It isn't clear to me what the difference is ... and perhaps I should run a test someday ... My suspicion is that if you replace the xanthan with more guar, you "should" be fine. However, I know that gelatin will also work and you won't run the risk of that slimy texture you can pick up from the two gums. If you use 1 3/4 tsp of powdered unflavored gelatin and bloom it before using it ... this will definitely work. I wish I had a more crystal clear answer for you! Sorry!

Coconut Custard Pie!! Excellent! Delicious!

Just made this, and the custard is perfect. I had a coconut flour pie crust ( already made up in the freezer, so used that. But it's the custard that counts. I'm crazy for coconut, so will be making this again. Next time will use your crust recipe.

Question: Would a couple tablespoons of butter enrich the flavor? I seem to recall my mother did this with custard pies, and her coconut cream was my favorite.

 unknown  1/25/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 1/25/2015
Hi there! Glad you enjoyed it! Interesting question about the butter ... I'm going to say ... sure! Just make sure you've got a few cold cubes of butter. Then whisk the cubes into the hot custard base, at the end. The base needs to be warm and you need to keep whisking until the butter is fully melted and blended in, or else you run the risk of breaking the whole thing into a big greasy mess of coconut flavored scrambled eggs, floating in fat. It's more than possible and an interesting addition ... just be sure to do it carefully. I think I like it, though! :)

Cocoanut cream pie is my favorite also. I am wondering though if you can do a meringue instead of the whipped cream?

 Lynn  1/3/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 1/5/2015
Hi Lynn, I'm honestly not sure! I assume so and know of no major specific barriers to doing so, but confess to having never actually DONE so. I assume you could find a meringue recipe and simply swap out the sweetener and it is likely to work. That said ... I DO feel as if I've read that certain types of meringues don't work well without actual sugar. For a softer meringue, like to top a pie, I think it would work. For the firmer, dried meringue "cookie" style meringues, I think you'd need to really work at it. I want to say that Lauren over at the Healthy Indulgences blog has at least one good meringue recipe. Maybe try over there. I wish I had something more concrete for you!

Hi Anne, I do remember that when I made this, I deliberately made it a bit less sweet. At the time, I was feeling like sweet tastes were too sweet and was working to cut back the sweet cloying taste in a lot of things. So, it is true that it's not very sweet. I will also say that while Swerve is supposed to be a 1 to 1 replacement for sugar, I REPEATEDLY hear that it's a bit sweeter ... like 120%. 1/2 cup of many other alternatives may not be such a bad idea. Thanks for the input!

 DJ  11/30/2014


I made this last night as written except with coconut sugar as my sugar "equivalent". The pie turned out great- beautiful toasted crust and it firmed up to the perfect custardy consistency and had very good coconut flavor. But Swerve must not actually be a sugar equivalent--coconut sugar is and 1/4 C. Was nowhere near enough sweetener, even for a non-sweet tooth palette. I think 1/2C. Would be about right for anyone wanting to make this with coconut sugar. Looking forward to trying it again sometime.

 Anne  11/26/2014


---Reply posted by DJ on 2/18/2015
Hi Katy, there are a few, actually. Coconut sugar typically isn't as refined, so it's got a lot more of the minerals and vitamins in it. These have been stripped out of standard white refined sugar. However, the big difference is the presence of inulin, which is a sweet tasting fiber. This slows the absorption of the sugar into the blood stream, creating a more stable blood sugar. Don't quote me on this, but ... I am close. Off the top of my head, I believe on the glycemix index rating scale of 1 to 100 (100 being glucose, or the highest to convert to blood sugar, instantaneously), refined sugar is about 65, whereas coconut sugar is something like 30 to 35. It's better for the body. (There are other sweeteners I believe are even better, but you asked specifically about sugar and coconut sugar). In any event, I hope this helps! :)
---Reply posted by Katy on 2/18/2015
other than the organic nature of coconut sugar, what are the advantages of using coconut sugar over plains white sugar?

Kris, thank you for that info! Next time someone asks about gelatin, I’ll be able to suggest your amounts. I’m thrilled that it worked for you!

 DJ  9/9/2014


Hi DJ, I finally made the pie and used 1 and 3/4 teaspoon of Great Lakes powdered unflavored gelatin and it came out great...not jello like at all, very custard like texture. One of the many great things about this pie is only needing 1/4 cup of Swerve! Thank you, DJ, for this blog. You are awesome!

 Kris  9/8/2014


Hi Angie, I'm not quite sure what to suggest. This is a cocoNUT cream pie. To substitute the coconut dramatically changes the pie. It's like asking for something like creamed spinach, but ... to substitute the spinach. Honestly, I'd just suggest looking for a completely different recipe, rather than trying to make this one fit your needs. I tend to think this is a better and safer approach for most. Regarding the sugar substitute issue ... have you tried ALL of them? There are hundreds, if not thousands of options. Typically, I suggest Swerve sweetener, as it doesn't impact blood sugars and really mostly just passes through your urine, unchanged. It typically has little to no issues on people who are sensitive to sweeteners. That said ... I do still hear of people that do have issues with it. It's just very rare. Beyond that, there's stevia, which is in very small amounts and generally quite natural, depending on the product. Beyond that ... if only sugar will do, then you may want to avoid all sweets, altogether. I'm happy to discuss more about individual sweeteners with you, but I'd need to know which you've tried, how much and how often. I hope this little ramble helps!<br /><br /> Uknown, yep! Erythritol is about 70% as sweet. Swerve seems like it's about 110% as sweet and Truvia is something like 2 1/2 times as sweet as sugar (so be careful with it!). Otherwise ... I'm glad you enjoyed it!<br /><br /> Michelle, interesting! I really need to get one of those blenders. I'm old school, I suppose ... I'm long division, rather than a calculator. This makes me handy when I've got no fancy equipment, but ... it also makes me a bit stodgy, at times! ;) I'm glad it turned out. You're a brave soul. Did you save me a slice? ;)

 DJ  9/3/2014


I just put this together for my husband's birthday. I think he will be a very happy man! I greatly dislike sweets made with coconut, but even I thought the custard was fabulous. I used 1 tsp. of konjac powder instead of the xanthan gum. Istead of the double boiler and a whisk, I used my Blendtec blender. First I got the eggs to the lemony stage by just blending at level 6 for a few times, then I tempered using the pulse button. After the liquid was incorporated, I just hit the soup/ sauce button and let it go. I knew it would make the custard hot but not boiling. It worked perfectly. The custard was nice and thick when the cycle ended. I'm so glad I was really pressed for time and was looking for short cuts. This will now be my method for making all custards. Crème brulee anyone?

 Michele O.  9/3/2014


Beautiful pie! It took some time but worth the effort. I used only Erythritol, so it was not as sweet as it should mistake. Will use Swerve or a A truvia type blend next time. Thanks for a great recipe! Oh, I also used 1/2 t xantham gum and the texture was perfect!

 unknown  9/2/2014


hi there. I would love to try this. However, I cannot use any nut product or sugar substitute. I have a life threatening nut allergy and sugar substitutes trigger horrible migraines. Any suggestions.

 angie  9/1/2014


AWESOME, DANA!! YAY! I'm also glad to see that 1/2 tsp works on the xanthan. I wanted to cut down on it, but that stuff is fussy .. and was worried people would err on the wrong side. I'm glad a bit less still results in success. Thank you for reporting back!

 DJ  8/5/2014


Holy cow! What an unbelievably great recipe! I have a culinary education myself, with emphasis on pastry and bakery, and I must say you hit this one out of the park! I didn't experience the "sludge" thing with the xanthan gum, but I did cut it back to a 1/2 teaspoon. My friend, you are a genius! Thanks so much for this... My keto/low carb journey will be even easier if I can have dessert!

 Dana  8/3/2014


Yep! 7 carbs for a substantial slice of pie is far from horrible. Yes, the nutrition thing was very important to me. As far as I know, I'm the first to break it out in this manner. Since doing so, I know of at least one other blog that has begun doing it. Hopefully, I'll get a bit of a trend going. It's quite a bit of extra work, but I think it's very important. It also really shines a light on transparency issues. I think it's important that we all know what's really in our foods ... and in what amounts. I would LOVE it if this caught on and more and more did it. In my opinion, the extra effort is very much worth it. I'm glad you agree! :)

 DJ  8/1/2014


Oh my goodness! This recipe looks delicious and I was so impressed by the small amount of carbs in this! You are the first person I have seen to label everything out and actually have the carbs that matter listed! I have delt with being a borderline diabetic for years and have researched so much about how to read into nutrition and you have without a doubt nailed it. I love being able to change up a recipe and being able to quickly get the nutrition information. Thanks for All the hard work! Your awesome!

 Jennifier  8/1/2014


Nicole: Yes … coconut lite should work. Kris: Yes, that should work, but you’ll need to bloom it in liquid before adding it to the warm egg mixture. Typically, one packet of gelatin (about 2 1/3 tsp) will gelatinize 2 cups of liquid … into something mostly solid and jiggly. This recipe has about 2 cups worth of liquid, but … it’s also got the egg yolks, which will supply some thickening power. My thought would be to go with about 3/4 of a packet of gelatin. I fairly strongly suspect that it’ll be too much and that your pie will have that “Jell-O” feel to it, but … I also think it’ll still be quite delicious. My point is … this is a good guess at an entry point. If 3/4 of a packet solidifies quite firm, then … you know that 1/2 a packet will likely work and yield a softer texture. I do suspect that the sweet spot lies somewhere around 2/3rds of a packet, but … suggest about 3/4’s of a packet … just to err on the safe side.

 DJ  7/14/2014


Hey DJ, Can you substitute powdered gelatin for the xanthan gum? If so, any chance you wanna take a guess on how much to use?

 Kris  7/8/2014


i only have lite coconut milk. would that be ok?

 Nicole  7/8/2014


Hi Julie, I don't! I really should, though. That would be a fun one. I do have a <a href="">lemon bar recipe</a>, though. Also, you can find a nice <a href="" target="_blank">lemon meringue custard at Your Lighter Side</a>. I hope one of these helps, until I get around to making one!

 DJ  4/20/2014


Hi! Am definitely going to try this recipe for my dad! His favorite pie though is lemon meringue. Do you have a sugar-free,grain-free recipe? Sure hope so! Julie Jardon

 Julie Jardon  4/18/2014


Hi Kim, Swerve contains 5 carbs per tsp. My recipe contains 1/4 cup. There are 12 teaspoons in 1/4 cup. So, if a teaspoon has 5 carbs, then a 1/4 cup will have 60. Make sense? Then … taken a step further, the final column deducts sugar-alcohols from the total, for the final “net” carb column, which subtracts fiber and sugar alcohols. Because Swerve has no impact on blood sugars, it’s got no “impact” or “net” carbs, even though it does contain 60 carbohydrates. <a href="">Read this explanation of my math</a> to understand the deeper significance of all this.

 DJ  4/17/2014


I don't understand your carb counts on Swerve. Swerve website says there is 5 carbs per teaspoon. You use 1/4 cup.

 kim  4/16/2014


Hi Annie, it's actually closer to 7 net carbs per serving. Still not "zero", but far from 20. <a href="">Give this a read</a> to understand how the math behind my recipes works and why I do it this way. I think you'll be happy you did! :)

 DJ  3/26/2014


WOW! Almost 20 grams of carbs per serving. Not something I'd eat even after 4 years. Looks really, really good...CCP is my favorite.

 Annie  3/26/2014


Debbie, I tend to use unsalted butter for everything. You can always add salt, but ... you can't take it out!

 DJ  3/5/2014


Hi TJayne. Typically, cream whips to about 3 times its volume. So, for 4 cups, you'd want about 1 1/3 cups of cream. I hope this helps!

 DJ  3/5/2014


This sounds delicious and I will definitely try it. I have a question regarding the topping. It calls for 4 cups of the sugar free whipped cream. How much whipping cream will be needed for your whipped cream recipe? Thanks.

 TJayne  3/3/2014


Did you use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe?

 Debbie  3/3/2014


Hi Sherry. I'm pretty informal about how I cook for myself. I know enough to trust that what I do will work, but you might not like it. What I do is stir fry various things like mushrooms, zucchini, sausage, bacon, capers, artichoke hearts, asparagus, etc. I then add this to a silicon cake pan and usually top with some grated cheese. Then, I whisk some heavy cream into the egg whites with a touch of salt and pour over the top of the goodies. Then, I bake it for about 25 minutes. Voila! It's a frittata, of sorts. 99% of the time, this is where my whites go. I hope this helps! :)

 DJ  1/27/2014


Hi DJ...want to make this for the weekend...wanted to know what your favorite way to use those 8 egg whites is? I always save the other part of the egg, intending to use it for something and invariably end up throwing it out... Thanks!

 Sherri  1/27/2014


Thanks DJ. No offense here. I rarely eat sweets (been low carb/ mostly GF) for 4+ years. I had been using a product called Whey Low for sweetening baked goods for the once or twice a year treats, but that product is sugar. I will try the grinder. Thanks

 unknown  1/4/2014


Hi Unknown. Erythritol has a tendency to crystallize in high concentrations. There are two things you can do to help minimize the chances of this happening. 1. Make sure it’s very fine, to begin with. Grind it in coffee grinder, or buy it in powdered form. 2. Use less! One thing to focus on is slowly weaning yourself off the powerful punch of the sweet sensation. If you abstain from all sweets for 30 days, your palate will change and you’ll suddenly realize how sweet something like “broccoli” is. You’ll naturally use less sweetener, which will decrease the crystallization you may experience. This will still translate to sweet in your mind, mind you. I’m not saying to stop with the sweets, but I am saying that if you’re using so much as to have it crystallize regularly … I feel ok saying you don’t need to use as much. Another “tip” is to use a sweet bulking agent or another super strong sweetener, so that there’s less erythritol, but the sweetening has been stretched by the addition of things like stevia or inulin. I hope this helps! I hope it doesn’t sound like a lecture. That’s not how I meant it, but tone and inflection can often be hard to “read”. Good luck! :)

 DJ  1/3/2014


Hey DJ, I know most low carbers love Swerve pr erythritol + stevia. I find the results to always be "grainy/crystalline". Any suggestions?

 unknown  1/1/2014


Has anyone done this with the gelatin? I get sick from xantham gum after eating it a few times so I would like to try the gelatin, I usually leave it completely out of recipes but it seems smething is needed in this one.. any feedback would be appreciated.. thank you

 regina  11/11/2013


Finally made this!! It's really good!! So happy it turned out. I went ahead and used the xanthan gum along with the Just Like Sugar and a little Swerve. It set up within an hour. Great recipe....I will definitely make it again.

 Sharon Looper  5/12/2013


Hi Anastasia. If you read my previous comment, I go into that. It will definitely work, but it will be a slightly different texture. Not necessarily a bad thing, either! Just ... different. I was going for a very specific texture when I came up with this. If you do make this, please let me know how much gelatin you used. It may be a while before I whip this up again. Thank you!

 DJ  4/25/2013


What would happen if I use some grass fed gelatin instead of xanathan gum? I'm guessing I would need to try it to see what would happen!

 anastasia at eco-babyz  4/25/2013


Hi There! Unfortunately, the xanthan is necessary in this one. An alternative thickener could be gelatin (1 packet would be more than enough ... I'd wager that 1/2 packet would be about perfect ... bloom gelatin in about 1/2 cup of the chilled liquid for 5 minutes, then whisk into the hot custard mixture). This will give it a slightly gelatinous texture, as opposed to the more creamy texture of the xanthan. Yes, there are baked custards without thickeners, but they tend to have a very strong "egg" flavor, and in this case, we're going for a coconut flavor. The custard is essentially dilluted with coconut milk and needs thickening with another thickener. I am thinking about re-engineering this one to find the sweet spot with gelatin, though ... for now it's just an educated guess. Finally, adding coconut flour to the crust ... I don't really know that it needs it! Feel free to tinker with it, but the crust was solid. I didn't eat it and feel that it lacked "Oomph", but you may. In terms of crusts that stay together, cut well and taste good, this worked, as is. That said, playing with food and modifying thins is what I do. Who am I to stop you. Play away! :)

 DJ  4/23/2013


2 questions: is the xanthan gum REALLY necessary? I imagine there are cooked custards without thickeners our there... And how about coconut flour in the crust? I know it's tricky - needs more moisture, etc. - but I think that would make an extra bit of oomph for does sound wonderful!

 unknown  4/23/2013