7 Delicious Substitutes to Replace Shredded Coconut in Your Recipes

7 best shredded coconut substitutes

Shredded coconut is a versatile ingredient that adds a sweet, nutty flavor and a bit of crunch to a variety of dishes, from baked goods to savory recipes. However, there may be times when you run out of shredded coconut or prefer an alternative due to personal preference or dietary restrictions. Fortunately, there are several excellent substitutes you can use to replace shredded coconut in your recipes. In this article, we’ll explore the seven best shredded coconut substitutes and how they can enhance your dishes.

1. Coconut Flakes

Coconut flakes are the closest thing to shredded coconut in terms of taste and texture. They are slightly larger, but have the same sweet, nutty flavor and satisfying crunch. If coconut flakes are too large for your recipe, you can easily shred them in a blender or finely chop them with a knife. Whether you’re making baked goods or savory dishes, coconut flakes are an excellent choice for maintaining the coconut flavor and texture.

2. Coconut Extract

If you’re looking for the coconut flavor and texture is less important, coconut extract is a fantastic substitute. Coconut extract has a concentrated flavor, so just a few drops will infuse your food with a sweet and nutty coconut flavor. It is important to note that coconut extract does not provide the same texture as shredded coconut. If your recipe requires both flavor and texture, you may need to add an additional ingredient to achieve the desired consistency.

3. Chopped/Grated Macadamia Nuts

For those looking for a non-coconut alternative with similar flavor and texture, chopped or grated macadamia nuts are an excellent choice. Macadamia nuts have a light, sweet and nutty flavor similar to shredded coconut. They work beautifully in baked goods and add a delightful buttery note to your recipes. Macadamia nuts are easy to chop or grate, and you can use them as a one-to-one substitute for shredded coconut. Just keep in mind that they are slightly sweeter than coconut, so you may need to adjust the sugar content of your dish.

4. Grated White Chocolate

If you use shredded coconut primarily as a decorative element in your baked goods or desserts, grated white chocolate can be a fantastic substitute. When grated, white chocolate resembles shredded coconut, making it an appealing topping for cupcakes, cakes and other sweet treats. While sweeter and creamier than coconut, white chocolate pairs well with ingredients such as nuts and fruit that are commonly used in shredded coconut recipes. You can buy pre-grated white chocolate or grate white chocolate slabs at home for a special finishing touch.

5. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a readily available substitute for shredded coconut, especially if you’re trying to capture the coconut flavor rather than the texture. It has a smooth, creamy consistency and adds a sweet and coconut flavor to your dishes. Coconut milk works well in both sweet and savory recipes, whether you’re making a coconut cake or a coconut curry. Keep in mind, however, that coconut milk adds liquid to your recipe, so you may need to adjust other liquid ingredients accordingly.

6. Grated Brazil nuts

If you’re open to exploring nutty replacements for shredded coconut, grated Brazil nuts can be a fantastic option. While they may not have the tropical flavor of coconut, Brazil nuts offer a slightly sweet and earthy flavor that complements a variety of dishes. Grated Brazil nuts have a texture similar to shredded coconut, which makes them great for both sweet and savory recipes. However, it’s worth noting that Brazil nuts are not as sweet as shredded coconut, so you may need to add some extra sweetness, such as sugar or honey, to your dish. Also, they don’t absorb as much liquid as shredded coconut, so you’ll need to adjust the liquid content accordingly.

7. Powdered Milk

If you’re looking for a substitute primarily for decorative purposes, powdered milk may be an option. While it doesn’t have the same flavor as shredded coconut, it can mimic the appearance of finely shredded coconut, especially when used to create a snowy effect on baked goods. Powdered milk shares some of the sweetness of shredded coconut, so it works well in a variety of recipes. For added texture, you can add chopped nuts to your dish when using milk powder as a substitute.
These seven substitutes offer versatility and allow you to customize your recipes based on your preferences and ingredient availability. Whether you choose coconut flakes for an authentic coconut experience, coconut extract for concentrated flavor, or grated nuts for a delicious crunch, these alternatives are excellent ways to replace shredded coconut in your favorite dishes.
Remember to experiment and adjust the amounts and other ingredients as needed to achieve the desired flavor and texture. With these substitutes, you can continue to enjoy the flavors and textures that shredded coconut brings to your recipes, even when it’s not readily available.
So the next time you find yourself without shredded coconut, or just want to try something different, reach for one of these fantastic substitutes. Whether you’re baking a cake, making a curry, or finishing off a dessert, these alternatives will help you create delicious dishes that are sure to satisfy your coconut cravings.


Can I use coconut flour instead of desiccated coconut?

Although coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat, it has a very different texture and flavour to shredded coconut. It is highly absorbent and can alter the moisture content of your recipe. It is therefore not recommended as a direct replacement for coconut flakes.

Are there any substitutes for shredded coconut that are suitable for a nut-free diet?

Yes, if you have a nut allergy or are on a nut-free diet, coconut flakes and coconut extract are still viable options as a replacement for shredded coconut. However, it is important to check the labels of pre-packed products for possible cross-contamination with nuts.

Can I use desiccated coconut instead of desiccated coconut?

Desiccated coconut is similar to shredded coconut as both are made from dried coconut meat. In most recipes, you can use desiccated coconut as a substitute for desiccated coconut with no significant difference in taste or texture.

How do I store shredded coconut substitutes?

The storage requirements for the substitutes depend on the specific ingredient. Coconut flakes and desiccated coconut should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Coconut extract should be stored according to the instructions on the packaging. Grated white chocolate should be stored as normal chocolate. Nut alternatives should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to maintain freshness.

Can I use desiccated coconut instead of shredded coconut?

Yes, sweetened coconut flakes can be used as a substitute for desiccated coconut. However, be aware that they may add extra sweetness to your recipe. Adjust the amount of sugar or other sweeteners accordingly to maintain the desired flavour balance.

Are there any substitutes for desiccated coconut that provide a similar texture and taste in vegan recipes?

Yes, several of the substitutes mentioned in this article, such as coconut flakes, coconut extract and coconut milk, are suitable for vegan recipes. In addition, grated macadamia nuts and grated Brazil nuts can be used as vegan-friendly alternatives to shredded coconut, as they have a similar texture and flavour.