No-Bake Coconut Delight

published May 21, 2024
summer
Coconut Delight Recipe

Packed with four dreamy layers of coconut cream, fluffy whipped cream, and toasted coconut, this no-bake dessert will make everyone forget all about pie.

Serves12

Prep20 minutes

Cook5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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angled shot of a slice of coconut delight, on a small flat white plate, with another slice in the background.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Coconut lovers, this one’s for you! If your heart skips beat for all things coconut, especially old-fashioned coconut cream pie, you’ve got to try this triple-layer no-bake dessert immediately. 

Coconut delight packs in three generous layers (four, if you count the blanket of toasted coconut garnish). The highlight of this dessert: the dreamy center where no-bake cheesecake meets coconut cream pie, which is sandwiched between fluffy whipped cream and a buttery graham cracker crust. It’s light and creamy, with just the right amount of sweetness and coconut. Plus, you won’t need to turn the oven on, and it’s even better when you make it in advance.

Why You’ll Love It

  • The flavor of this no-bake dessert is unreal. It’s so good, you’ll keep going back for another slice. True to its name, coconut is the star, and gets complemented with a soft vanilla flavor and hints of cheesecake.
  • Coconut delight couldn’t be easier to make. It takes all of 20 minutes, and doesn’t require turning on the oven or cooking anything on the stovetop. 

Key Ingredients in Coconut Delight

  • Graham crackers. Use regular graham crackers or graham cracker crumbs as the main ingredient for the base of the dessert.
  • Unsalted butter. A full stick of melted butter is the glue that holds the graham cracker crumbs together to form a sturdy base.
  • Cream cheese. This gives the coconut cream layer a soft, yet firm texture and allows the dessert to hold its shape. Allow plenty of time for it to soften, which makes for much easier mixing.
  • Instant vanilla pudding. Combined with heavy cream, cream cheese, powdered sugar, coconut extract, and coconut flakes, this gives the main layer of the dessert a lush texture and sweet flavor, reminiscent of coconut cream pie. 
  • Coconut extract. This really amps up the coconut flavor in the dessert. Large grocers may carry coconut extract; otherwise, it’s widely available online.
  • Heavy cream. Lightly sweetened whipped cream not only makes for a dreamy top layer, but it also adds richness to the main pudding layer.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

How to Make Coconut Delight

  1. Make the base. After mixing the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, sugar, and salt, press the mixture into a parchment-lined baking dish. To ensure the base is super sturdy, use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crumbs firmly and evenly into the baking dish.
  2. Make the coconut cream layer. Beat the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add heavy cream, instant vanilla pudding, unsweetened shredded coconut, and coconut extract, and beat again until combined. Dollop over the graham cracker base and spread in an even layer.
  3. Prepare the whipped cream. You’ll want to use cold heavy cream here. Beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Dollop over the coconut layer and spread evenly. 
  4. Chill the delight. Cover and refrigerate the delight for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight) to allow the dessert ample time to firm up. Giving the dessert plenty of time to chill makes for easier, smoother slicing.
  5. Garnish and serve. Garnish with toasted shredded coconut, then slice the delight, and serve. Stacked layers are part of the appeal of this layered dessert. Make sure every slice is picture perfect by wiping the knife clean between cuts.

Coconut Delight Recipe

Packed with four dreamy layers of coconut cream, fluffy whipped cream, and toasted coconut, this no-bake dessert will make everyone forget all about pie.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Serves 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 12

    whole graham cracker sheets (about 6 1/2 ounces), or 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 3 cups

    cold heavy cream, divided

  • 1 (3.4-ounce) boxes

    instant vanilla pudding pie and filling mix

  • 1/2 cup

    unsweetened shredded coconut, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    coconut extract

Instructions

  1. Place 8 ounces cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened, about 45 minutes. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan (about 2 inches high) with 2 sheets of parchment paper, positioning them perpendicular to each other, so that the parchment hangs about 2 inches over all 4 sides of the pan to form a sling.

  2. Heat 1 stick unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in 20-second bursts until mostly melted, 40 to 60 seconds total (it will melt completely as it sits). (Alternatively, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.) Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Break 12 whole graham cracker sheets into rough pieces and place in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Process until the crackers are the texture of sand, about 15 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until combined, 6 to 8 (1-second) pulses. (If using graham cracker crumbs, just stir 1 1/2 cups crumbs, the sugar, salt, and melted butter together in a medium bowl.)

  4. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers to press the crumbs into an even layer, making sure to reach the edges and fill the corners. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

  5. Add 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt to the cream cheese. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the cold heavy cream, 1 (3.4-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding pie and filling mix, 1/4 cup of the unsweetened shredded coconut, and 1 tablespoon coconut extract. Beat on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute.

  6. Dollop the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  7. Place the remaining 1 cup cold heavy cream and remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a second large bowl. (If using a stand mixer, wash and dry the bowl and use it to whip the cream.) Beat with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes.

  8. Dollop the whipped cream over the cream cheese mixture and spread into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Meanwhile, toast the remaining 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature until ready to serve.

  9. When ready to serve, sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top. Grasping the excess parchment, lift the slab out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces, wiping the knife between each cut for cleaner cuts.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.