Coconut Milk Cookies are a crunchy treat inspired by Thai cookies called Tong Ek (Golden Cookies). Coconut milk plus shredded coconut add tropical flavor and cacao nibs add crunch. These cookies are a little bit exotic and a lot delicious.
Why you'll love this recipe
The inspiration for Coconut Milk Cookies came from a newspaper article from 1967 and a cookbook published in 1987. The recipe in both sources was identical, though the directions for making the dough were quite different.
Both recipes, published 20 years apart, noted that coconut milk was a “hard to find” and gave directions for making it at home. I was amazed.
First, I can’t remember when coconut milk wasn’t a standard supermarket item. Second, homemade coconut milk is easy to make? Who knew?
Because we are all up-to-date, modern world, never-have-enough-time people, these Coconut Milk Cookies are made with canned coconut milk.
It worked great and saved time. The coconut milk gives the cookies a delicate coconut taste and smell.
Coconut Milk Cookies are quick and easy to whip up (even if you make your own coconut milk)! No mixer is needed for this easy dough. Coconut lovers are sure to be delighted with each crunchy bite!
This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with a fork, until the dough is crumbly like coarse meal.
- Mix in the yolks, vanilla, and coconut milk. Fold in the nibs (or chocolate chips) and coconut until evenly distributed.
- Using a small (2 teaspoon)cookie scoop, place balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet 1”-2” apart.
- Top each coconut cookie dough ball with a pinch of shredded coconut and a few cocoa nibs (or mini chocolate chips). Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
- For ½ cup of homemade coconut milk, combine 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut with ½ cup of water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the coconut to seep for 30 minutes. Strain out the coconut and the remaining liquid is coconut milk!
- For homemade coconut cream, follow the same process as for coconut milk, using milk instead of water.
- Chocolate chips can be substituted for the cocoa nibs but with less crunch.
You will also love these coconut milk dessert recipes! Take a look at chewy Coconut Milk Blondies, this simple Coconut Milk Cake that's great for snacks, or this tender and moist Coconut Milk Pound Cake.
Soft, moist Coconut Macaroons are made without condensed milk.
For lots of crunch and roasted coconut flavor, try Roasted Coconut Crunch Cookies.
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Coconut Milk Cookies
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut milk or coconut cream** canned
- ¾ cup cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut shredded
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut shredded
- ¼ cup cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar.
- Cut in the butter with a fork, until the dough is crumbly like coarse meal.
- Mix in the yolks, vanilla, and coconut milk.
- Fold in the nibs (or chocolate chips) and coconut until evenly distributed.
- Using a small (2 teaspoon)cookie scoop, place balls of dough on the prepared cookie sheet 1”-2” apart.
- Top each coconut cookie dough ball with a pinch of shredded coconut and a few cocoa nibs (or mini chocolate chips).
- Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool five minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
- **To make homemade coconut milk: In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut with ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow the coconut to seep for 30 minutes. Strain out the shredded coconut through a sieve. To make coconut cream follow the same process using ½ cup of milk instead of water.
- Turn these into a chocolate chip cookie by using mini semisweet chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs.
- Sweetened shredded coconut can be used in place of the unsweetened for a slightly sweeter cookie.
- For more intense coconut flavor, add ½ teaspoon coconut extract.
- If you love these cookies, you'll want to try Coconut Blondies, Coconut Pound Cake, and Coconut Milk Snack Cake.
- For hot weather care packages, use only a sprinkle of coconut as the decoration on top of the cookies. Cacao nibs or chocolate chips might melt. However, the chocolate is fine inside the cookie.
- Wrap small bundles of 2- 3 cookies, bottoms together, in plastic wrap. Stack the bundles in a column in a freezer weight zip lock bag or airtight storage container.
First Published: December 12, 2012. Last Updated: December 31, 2022. Updated for better reader experience.
Amazing 🤩🤩🤩 my favourite biscuity cookies 🍪 😍 I love baking them
Hi, Katie. I'm delighted that you love these cookies! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a glowing review!
Thanks for helping me use the last bit of a can of coconut milk! My husband doesn't like the texture of shredded coconut so I left it out - however, these cookies need something so next time I'm going to add pecans or macadamia nuts and bigger chips. I may also cut down a bit on the brown sugar as they run a teensy bit sweet for me. But otherwise a nice recipe!
Hi, Julie. I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe and hope your adaptations will turn these into just what you are looking for! Enjoy!
Possibly one of the best cookies I've ever made!
Thank you, Cildia for your great comment and 5 star rating! I'm so glad you enjoyed these cookies!!
Hi Wendy! I had some leftover coconut milk from a curry and found this recipe. I've tried it twice but each time, the dough has been a little goopy and sticky. Not the standard cookie dough texture. The resulting cookie is more pancake-like, rather than a crisp or crunchy cookie. Is this the intended result? Or am I doing something wrong? Thank you sincerely!
Hi, Cameron! I am stumped as to why your cookie dough was goopy, which would certainly account for why the cookies came out flat. I know the recipe is ok because of the number of people who have successfully tried it, as well as my baking at home. So, I can only guess at what might be going on in your kitchen. You only used the egg yolks, not the whole egg? You used canned coconut milk, not coconut milk in a carton (which has added water)? Your butter was room temperature (about 30 minutes out of the fridge), melted? I hope one of those ideas may solve the mystery!
This a great cookie and I used a dark chocolate chip and it just enhanced the coconut. I'm definitely going to make again
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Rachel! I agree that a dark chocolate flavor, either from chips or cocoa nibs, really enhances the coconut. Thank you for leaving a 5 star rating!
You had me at coconut!! These cookies have my name written all over them. Love the idea of cocoa nibs. This would take the sweetness down a bit. Off to get some coconut milk.
These cookies were a pleasant surprise to me, Cindy. I was intrigued by the idea of coconut milk in cookies, but not convinced just by the name that these would be winners. I was amazed at the delicate flavor and lovely texture of these cookies. They are only lightly sweet. The addition of cocoa nibs does add a touch of chocolate without adding sweetness (as you mentioned). These cookies began my coconut milk baking extravaganza which ended up producing coconut milk pound cake, coconut milk snack cake and coconut milk blondies! 🙂
WENDY, what a gorgeous cookies ! Your directions make this seem like such an easy approach, too. I would love to make this soon!
The Monday Box
Thank you, Alyssa! These cookies were exotic to me at first, but I have since learned why so many people are looking for coconut milk recipes! These are so tender and delicious! 🙂
I have to be honest. I don't know what will happen once the timer goes off because I started out using a vegan recipe (accidentally) then once I had already mixed a few ingredients I felt that the recipe was missing something. I then stumbled upon your incredible recipe but didn't have 1/2 of the ingredients listed. LOL. So no eggs, cacao nibs, shredded coconut or vanilla. However, I am optimistic! I will report back soon!