About a decade ago, Pam Georges submitted this amazing vegan coconut cream pie recipe for one of our recipe contests. We’ve enjoyed it, and so have many of you, but it has become lost in our archives recently. So today I’m updating the post and adding notes on our variations. It’s a perfectly sweet, coconut-forward pie, with infusions of real coconut throughout.
The Best Vegan Coconut Cream Pie for Coconut Purists
I have a coconut cream pie recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook that’s very similar to Pam’s. I’m going to share a few of my variations, along with some ingredient notes, just in case you want to try them:
- Coconut Milk Option: I like vegan coconut cream pie that sets up a little more, so I use 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk + enough coconut milk beverage to reach 3 cups. This makes a richer pie with a little more coconut depth in the flavor.
- Butter Alternative: To keep with the theme, I sometimes use coconut oil in place of the buttery spread. This also makes the pie more pure white in color.
- Coconut Garnish: I use the 1 cup coconut in the pie, but toast 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for the garnish. Here are 3 ways to toast coconut.
- Pie Crust: You can actually buy dairy-free graham cracker crusts in the baking aisle and dairy-free frozen pie crusts in most grocery stores. When I have time, I prefer homemade. I either use the Graham Cracker Crust or Easy Peasy Oil Crust (coconut oil option) recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, or this Buttery Pie Crust Recipe. If we need gluten-free, I typically use Wholly Wholesome Gluten-Free Pie Shells, which are sold frozen at natural food stores.
FAQs for this Vegan Coconut Cream Pie
As questions arise, I’ll include them along with the answers here!
What is Coconut Milk Beverage?
Milk beverages, also called milk alternatives, are drinkable, like milk, and sold in larger cartons or bottles. They typically have the word “beverage” or “drink” on the package. Coconut milk beverage should not be confused with coconut milk, which is high in fat and sold in cans. It’s used almost exclusively in recipes rather than as a stand alone beverage. That said, you can use lite canned coconut milk in place of the coconut milk beverage in this recipe. We have used this in cream fillings with good success.
Is there a Good Substitute for the Cornstarch?
As a general rule, you can substitute arrowroot starch for cornstarch in most recipes. I still prefer non-GMO cornstarch in this pie, but arrowroot should work in a pinch. Tapioca starch might work well, but you might need a little more. It isn’t quite as powerful at thickening. If you prefer to use flour for cream fillings, you can use 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in place of the cornstarch, but you will need to cook it for much longer to cook the flour taste out – usually 10 to 20 minutes.
Special Diet Notes: The Best Vegan Coconut Cream Pie
By ingredients, ths recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the butter alternative, liquid, and crust that suit your dietary needs.
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage (or 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage + 1 cup dairy-free coconut milk creamer for a richer consistency)
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free buttery spread
- 1 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut, plus additional for garnish
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 dairy-free pie crust (wheat-based or gluten-free), baked and cooled
- 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, unopened and stored in the refrigerator overnight
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, starch, and salt.
- Slowly whisk in the milk beverage, making certain that all the dry mixture is mixed into the milk.
- Stirring constantly over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a slow boil and boil for 5 minutes. Add the butter alternative, stirring to melt.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut and vanilla.
- Let the mixture cool completely.
- When cool, scrape the filling into the prepared pie shell and even it out.
- Put the pie in the refrigerator.
- Open the can of chilled coconut milk, and drain the "water" (it can be used as coconut water in smoothies).
- Place the very thick coconut milk / cream in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar and vanilla, and blend with a hand mixer until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. This may take 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Carefully smooth the whipped coconut cream over the pudding.
- Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top, if using
- Place the back in the refrigerator for a few hours (if you can wait that long) to set.