Coconut Cupcakes

These Coconut Cupcakes are light, moist, and full of rich coconut flavor. Topped with tangy cream cheese frosting and more coconut, they’re an elegant but easy dessert that’s fit for any crowd!

We love baking from scratch, and our chocolate cupcakes are a reader favorite! Try our red velvet cupcakes for a classic recipe.

Coconut cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting.

Why You’ll Love Coconut Cupcakes

My party philosophy has always been that everyone loves cupcakes. The addition of sweet coconut makes these fluffy and flavorful gems a true crowd-pleaser.

Based off our incredibly popular coconut cake, these portable treats have so much to love!

  • This easy recipe is an excellent tutorial on how to make bakery-caliber cupcakes at home with minimal effort. 
  • They’re incredibly moist and fluffy, thanks to buttermilk and ultra-fine cake flour. 
  • Tangy cream cheese frosting satisfies your sweet tooth without being overwhelmingly sweet.
  • Sweet almond extract adds a surprising depth of flavor to the coconut. 
  • They’re ideal for a group, so bake them for family gatherings, potlucks, and barbecues. They can also be a great wedding dessert. 

We love coconut flavored treats, from impossible coconut pie and coconut brownies to our delicious coconut cream pie! There’s something for everyone.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make coconut cupcakes.
  • Shredded Sweetened Coconut – Adds tropical coconut flavor, sweetness, and texture. 
  • Cake Flour – This super-fine flour creates light and delicate cupcakes. Use our guide on how to measure flour (with tips on how to make your own cake flour).
  • Buttermilk – Adds a rich, tangy flavor and also helps make a fluffier cupcake. You can make our buttermilk substitute if you don’t have any on hand.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter in this recipe. If you only have the salted kind, reduce the amount of salt by half. Use our guide on how to soften butter quickly.
  • Egg Whites – Helps bind the ingredients together and provides structure for the cupcakes as they bake. Save the egg yolks to make a batch of lemon curd (which would make a delicious filling to these cupcakes)!
  • Granulated Sugar – Aside from sweetening the cupcakes, sugar also helps them stay moist and fresh longer. 
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds sweet vanilla flavor. Our homemade vanilla extract would work great for this.
  • Almond Extract – Adds a nutty, fragrant flavor to the batter. You could use coconut extract instead for a more intense coconut flavor. 
  • Baking Powder – Ensures the cake rises to the fullest. 
  • Kosher Salt – Balances the sweetness and enhances the coconut flavor.
  • Cream Cheese – Softened cream cheese adds richness and an irresistible tangy flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar – Sweetens and thickens the coconut frosting. 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – Thins out the frosting without watering it down. 
  • Shredded Sweetened Coconut – For topping the finished cupcakes. We make toasted coconut for a little texture!

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make coconut cupcakes.
  1. Make the cupcake batter. For the most tender crumb, follow the directions carefully in the recipe card below.
  2. Fill cupcake tin. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake tins, filling each cup ½ full.
  3. Bake cupcakes. Bake for 17-20 minutes in a 350°F oven. Remove and cool completely before frosting.
  4. Make the frosting. You can also use our vanilla sour cream frosting if preferred.
Cream cheese frosting being piped onto cupcakes.

Tips and Tricks

  • Set yourself up for success. Line your cupcake tin with liners before beginning the recipe to make things go more smoothly.
  • Room temperature ingredients are key. Be sure to use room-temperature butter and egg whites. This makes the cupcake batter easier to mix and provides the lightest texture possible. 
  • Don’t overfill the cupcake tins. Only fill the cupcake tins about half full. They can sink in the middle while baking if they’re filled too high. 
  • Wait to frost until they’re cool. Cool your cupcakes completely on a wire rack before frosting them. This prevents the frosting from melting and sliding off the cupcakes.
Toasted coconut topped cupcakes.

Serving Suggestions

I LOVE serving toasted coconut on these cupcakes. And it’s easy to learn how to toast coconut if you haven’t tried it before. 

These cupcakes also make an excellent after-dinner dessert with a cup of decaf and my Almond Joy Coffee Creamer. Or have a coffee with Caramel Macchiato Coffee Creamer for an extra caffeine boost from a touch of espresso built right into the creamer.

For a backyard barbecue combo that will knock everyone’s socks off, serve these cupcakes with my Piña Colada Smoothies. Tiny umbrellas are optional, but recommended!

Coconut cupcake with a bite taken out.

Recipe FAQs

How do I know when the cupcakes are done baking?

When the cupcakes are done, the tops should spring back lightly after you press on them. You can also test them with a toothpick to ensure no wet batter remains inside. 

Can I store these cupcakes at room temperature? 

Store coconut cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

What’s the best way to freeze coconut cupcakes? 

Freeze these cupcakes with or without frosting. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then freeze them in an airtight freezer-proof container for up to 3 months. To freeze frosted cupcakes, freeze them uncovered for a couple of hours before wrapping and storing them. 

Can I add more coconut flavor to the frosting? 

If you or your guests want a more intense coconut flavor, add a ¼ teaspoon at a time of coconut extract to the frosting until you have it where you want it. 

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Coconut Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
By: Aimee
These Coconut Cupcakes are light, moist, and full of rich coconut flavor. Topped with tangy cream cheese frosting and more coconut, they’re an elegant but easy dessert that’s fit for any crowd!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 30 cupcakes


For the Cupcake

  • 5 large egg whites room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 3 Tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

For the Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 8 ounce cream cheese softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
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For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F oven. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites with 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and extracts for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  • Beat in egg white mixture until fully incorporated. Add in remaining milk and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes. Fold in coconut.
  • Spoon batter into cupcake tin, about 1/2 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack before adding frosting.

For the Frosting

  • Beat softened butter and cream cheese for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  • Add in powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. Beat an additional 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Forst cupcakes as desired and top with coconut.


  • We love toasted coconut on the cupcakes. Learn How To Toast Coconut.
  • Overfilling the cupcake wells will cause them to sink in the middle.
  • When done, the cupcake tops should spring back after you press lightly on them.
  • Be sure to use room-temperature butter and egg whites so your cupcakes are easy to mix and have the lightest texture possible. 
  • Store cupcakes at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Cupcakes can be frozen with or without frosting. Wrap each one individually with plastic wrap before freezing. To protect iced cupcakes, freeze them uncovered for a couple of hours before wrapping. Then, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.


Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 300kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 209mg, Potassium: 68mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 377IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Cupcake
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on August 29, 2023

Comments & Reviews

  1. Hello. You say to fill the cupcake liners 1/2 full. I usually fill 2/3 full and I usually use a large cookie scoop. I have small medium and large scoops. Which one gives me 1/2 full and will the cupcake rise to the top of the liner filling it 1/2 full batter. You say filling too much will cause the cupcake to sink in the middle. What is too much? Making for my sister’s 60th birthday. Want perfect cupcakes!!

    1. Half full gives you cupcakes that rise just to the top of the liner. If you want to fill them more, and they sink a little, they still taste amazing, just add a big swirl of icing on top.

  2. 5 stars
    Toasted the coconut, used coconut extract instead of almond (because my almond extract was YEARS old and the coconut was brand new). Was amazing! Make exactly 12 jumbo cupcakes.

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