These fluffy and moist Coconut Cupcakes have three layers of rich and creamy coconut: coconut milk, shredded coconut, and a luscious layer of coconut buttercream frosting. They can be made in about 30 minutes! Bake these cupcakes for any occasion, and they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

4 coconut cupcakes on a white platter on a pink surface

These extra soft and flavorful coconut cupcakes topped with coconut buttercream are a hit wherever they’re served. Imagine a super moist and fluffy cupcake enhanced with sweet and creamy bits of smooth coconut and decadent frosting in every bite.

As a trained chef, I love making these cupcakes during the colder months as the tropical coconut flavor is like taking a trip to the islands (sort of). These babies are also topped with a delicious coconut buttercream frosting.

While we’re on the topic of coconut treats, I also LOVE these chewy lemon coconut cookies and these crispy coconut cookies when I want to escape winter weather with a coconutty tropical treat.

One thing I love about these cupcakes is that you don’t need to go out and buy coconut extract for them, all the flavor comes from more natural ingredients like canned coconut milk and sweetened shredded coconut.

The frosting has an option for adding the extract but you 10000% dont have to!

If you like cupcakes with more punchy tropical flavors try these lemon cupcakes, or these strawberry lemon cupcakes!

WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • SO much natural coconut flavor! Coconut milk and shredded coconut add a rich, indulgent taste, so there’s no need for anything artificial.
  • They can be made in about 30 minutes if you also make the buttercream when the cupcakes are baking.
  • These cupcakes are incredibly soft, buttery, and delicious.
  • The coconut buttercream topping is creamy, dreamy, and impossible to resist!
  • These cupcakes are perfect for special occasions or whenever you’re craving a sweet treat!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

Ingredients for coconut cupcakes.
  • Flour – Cake flour is best for making light and airy cupcakes with a fine, tender crumb. All-purpose flour also works. Your cupcakes will just be slightly denser.
  • Baking powder & baking soda – This pair of leavening agents help the batter rise and encourages browning on the surface.
  • Kosher salt – Salt improves sweet flavors and helps strengthen the batter, so the cupcakes rise correctly.
  • Unsalted butter – Softened, room temperature butter adds moisture and richens the cupcake batter with an indulgent, buttery flavor.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar sweetens the batter.
  • Egg + 2 egg whites – Binds the dry and wet ingredients into a cohesive batter, so the cupcakes set properly during the baking and cooling process.
  • Vanilla extract – Elevates the sweet and creamy vanilla flavor. Use pure vanilla extract instead of imitation. I know its more expensive but it is well worth it!
  • Coconut milk – Thins the batter and improves the density, mouthfeel, and flavor. Full-fat coconut milk works best.
  • Sweetened shredded coconut – This wouldn’t be a coconut cupcake recipe without it! Be sure to use soft, fluffy, and fresh sweetened shredded coconut.

Coconut milk

This recipe uses coconut milk and not coconut cream. Make sure to buy the right one. I usually buy coconut milk at Trader Joes. It’s the one that has a yellow can.

Coconut milk can solidify so give a good shake to the can before opening it up and measuring it out.

HOW TO MAKE COCONUT CUPCAKES

Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350F, and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.  

Whisk dry ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together until combined.

Cream butter and sugar: In the bowl of a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the sugar, and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

Mix wet ingredients: Add the egg, egg whites, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.

Combine dry and wet batters: Mix 1/3rd of the dry mixture into the wet batter, followed by half of the coconut milk. Mix in another 1/3rd of the dry mixture and then the other half of the coconut milk. Add the last 1/3rd of the dry mixture, and mix until just combined.

Add coconut: Stir in the shredded coconut until combined (it’s important not to overmix!).

Pour batter and bake: Using a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cupcake batter into the lined muffin tin, filling each cup 3/4 full. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cupcakes are set (21-22 minutes).

Cool, frost, and serve: Let cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the lined cupcakes and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cool, frost the cupcakes with coconut buttercream, and enjoy!

TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS

  • To achieve light and airy coconut cupcakes, all of your ingredients must be room temperature, including the butter, egg and egg whites, and coconut milk.
  • For the most accurate measurements and guaranteed success, weigh the ingredients using a kitchen scale.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen scale, fluff up the flour, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. Never scoop with your measuring cup!
  • Don’t overmix the batter! Instead, mix until everything is combined, pour the batter into your lined muffin pan, and transfer it straight to the oven.
  • The color of the muffin tin makes a difference. A lighter-colored pan distributes heat more evenly than dark pans.
  • Do not overfill the muffin cups. A 3-tablespoon cookie scoop is the perfect portion of batter for each cupcake.
  • If you’re using canned coconut milk, it will probably be separated. So either vigorously shake the can before you open it or whisk it back together before using it in cupcakes.
A single coconut cupcake with frosting on a white plate.

STORAGE AND FREEZING

Storing: Once cooled and frosted, these cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the fridge for one week.

Freezing: It’s best to freeze these cupcakes before frosting them. To do so, wrap them individually in a secure layer of plastic wrap and freeze them all in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to two months.

Thawing: When ready to serve, thaw for a few hours at room temperature, then frost with freshly prepared coconut buttercream.

FAQ

Can I use coconut extract instead of vanilla?

If you omit the vanilla extract entirely, the cupcakes will lose a necessary flavor element. However, if you’d like to add even more coconut flavor, feel free to add 1 teaspoon of coconut extract to the batter.

How can you tell when coconut cupcakes are done?

To check for doneness, use the toothpick test (a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean). If you don’t have a toothpick, gently press your finger into the top of one of the cupcakes. It should have some give but bounce back into shape when you pull away.

How do I decorate these cupcakes?

To decorate your cupcakes with coconut buttercream, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the frosting and pipe it over the top of the cooled cupcakes. Alternatively, you can use a small spatula or butter frosting to spread the frosting. Garnish with more shredded coconut!

Can I make these into mini cupcakes?

You sure can! Use a mini muffin tin and fill up half way. Bake for 12 minutes. This recipe will make about 48 mini cupcakes.

A coconut cupcake cut in half on a white plate.

WAYS TO ENJOY

  • Toasted coconut topping: For an extra element of coconut flavor and crunch, sprinkle toasted coconut over the top of the frosting.
  • Garnish with pineapple: Gently press fresh-cut pineapple bits into the frosting for decoration and tropical flavor.
  • More frosting ideas: Instead of coconut buttercream, try frosting your coconut cupcakes with lemon buttercream, lemon cream cheese frosting, or raspberry buttercream.

More cupcake recipes

Coconut cupcakes on a white cake stand on a pink backdrop.
5 stars (2 ratings)

Fluffy and Moist Coconut Cupcakes (All Natural!)

These fluffy and moist Coconut Cupcakes have three layers of rich and creamy coconut: coconut milk, shredded coconut, and a luscious layer of coconut buttercream frosting. They can be made in about 30 minutes! Bake these cupcakes for any occasion, and they're sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup flour, (207g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, (113g) softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, (200g)
  • 1 egg, (50g)
  • 2 egg white, (70g)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut milk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut, 57g

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a medium size bowl combine the 1 ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Whisk until combined.
  • In the bowl of a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the ½ cup butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and add 1 cup sugar.
  • Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, 2 egg whites and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix for 1 minute on medium speed.
  • Add in 1/3rd of the dry ingredients, then half of the coconut milk and alternate, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Stir in the ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut.
  • Mix only until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Using a 3 tbsp cookie scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin liners ¾ of the way full. Bake for 21-22 minutes or until the cake is set.
  • Cool and frost with coconut buttercream.

Notes

Frost these cupcakes with coconut buttercream frosting. 
Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 246kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 133mg, Potassium: 70mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 256IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg
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