Coconut powder, also known as desiccated coconut, is made from dried, ground coconut meat.
This versatile ingredient adds delicious coconut flavor and aroma to both sweet and savory dishes.
Using coconut powder is an easy way to incorporate the many health benefits of coconuts into your cooking.
What Is Coconut Powder
Coconut powder is made from fresh coconut meat that has been grated and dried to remove moisture. The dried coconut flakes are then ground into a fine powder.
Unlike dried shredded coconut which retains some texture, coconut powder has a smooth, flour-like consistency. It can be used to add rich coconut flavor and aroma to dishes without adding texture.
Coconut powder is sometimes referred to as desiccated coconut powder. Desiccated simply means “dried out”. So desiccated coconut powder = dried coconut powder.
Benefits of using coconut powder include:
- Adds coconut flavor without texture
- Blends easily into foods
- Long shelf life - keeps for months
- Pure coconut flavor without additives
Key Takeaway: Coconut powder is dried, ground coconut meat in powdered form. It adds coconut flavor without adding texture.
Coconut Powder Nutrition
Coconut powder nutrition is very impressive! This powder packs many of the same nutrients and health benefits as fresh coconut.
Coconut powder is high in:
- Healthy fats – Over 60% of the fat in coconut powder is from medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) like lauric acid. These fats provide energy and may aid weight loss.
- Fiber - Excellent source of dietary fiber which promotes digestion and heart health.
- Protein – A good source of plant-based protein.
- Antioxidants – Contains antioxidants like vitamin E which fight cellular damage.
- Iron – Provides iron which prevents anemia and boosts energy levels.
- Phytonutrients - Rich in plant compounds that reduce inflammation.
So don't let the “powder” fool you...coconut powder offers a concentrated source of many important vitamins, minerals and health promoting compounds!
Buying and Storing Coconut Powder
When purchasing coconut powder, look for pure, unsweetened coconut powder without any additives. Good quality coconut powder contains only one ingredient: coconut!
Store coconut powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight. Kept properly, coconut powder will stay fresh for months.
Once opened, to maximize freshness, store coconut powder in the refrigerator or freezer. It keeps well frozen for up to one year.
Look for these qualities when buying coconut powder:
- 100% pure coconut
- No preservatives or additives
- USDA Organic recommended
Cooking With Coconut Powder
The uses for coconut powder when cooking are nearly endless! Both sweet and savory foods and beverages can benefit from coconut powder’s flavor and nutrition.
Here are some of the most popular ways to use this handy kitchen staple:
Coconut powder is commonly used in baking recipes like cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads.
It adds moisture, richness and coconut flavor to baked goods. Coconut powder works well in combination with all-purpose flour or gluten free flours made from almonds, coconut and cassava.
Some examples of baked goods recipes to make with coconut powder include:
- Coconut macaroons
- Coconut custard pie
- Coconut cake
- Coconut banana muffins
- Coconut date energy bites
Since coconut powder has a sweet flavor, you can typically reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe when baking with it.
Curries, Stews and Gravies
In place of coconut milk, sprinkle coconut powder into the pot when making your favorite curry, stew or gravy.
The powder quickly dissolves when simmering in hot liquid. It creates a rich, creamy coconut-infused sauce just like canned coconut milk but with much less hassle!
Coconut powder is delicious in dishes like:
- Coconut curry chicken
- Thai red curry with vegetables
- Lentil coconut dal
- Coconut peanut stew
Use about 1-3 tablespoons of coconut powder per 1 cup of liquid when making coconut gravies. Add more if you prefer an ultra-rich sauce.
Smoothies and Beverages
Coconut powder makes dairy-free smoothies, milkshakes and hot chocolate deliciously rich and creamy.
Simply blend the powder with your other ingredients until smooth. It mixes easily into both hot and cold liquids.
Some beverage ideas with coconut powder:
- Coconut milkshakes
- Piña colada smoothies
- Coconut chai lattes
- Vegan coconut eggnog
- Coconut lemonade
When blending into cold drinks, use a ratio of 1-2 teaspoons of coconut powder per 1 cup of liquid. For hot drinks, start with 1 tablespoon of powder per 1 cup liquid. Adjust to taste preference.
Start your morning off tropical style by adding coconut powder to breakfast foods!
Breakfast recipe ideas with coconut powder:
- Coconut yogurt parfaits
- Tropical fruit and coconut chia pudding
- Coconut cream oatmeal
- Coconut waffles with caramelized bananas
- Overnight coconut oats
Use about 1-2 teaspoons of coconut powder per serving. Sprinkle more on top for garnish too.
Snacks and Toppings
Thanks to its light, fluffy texture and sweet coconut flavor, coconut powder also shines when used as a topping or mix-in for snacks.
Some creative ways to eat coconut powder include:
- Coating for baked fruit crisps
- Surprise filling for cake pops
- Mix-in for homemade granola bars
- Topping for nice cream (dairy free ice cream)
- Garnish for fruit salads
- Protein ball coating
- Mix-in for trail mixes
Get creative with coconut powder toppings! Its uses are nearly endless thanks to its versatility.
Coconut Powder Substitutes
Don't have any coconut powder when a recipe calls for it? No worries, here are some handy ingredient swaps:
- Shredded Coconut - Use an equal amount of unsweetened dried shredded coconut. May alter texture slightly.
- Coconut Milk - Substitute 1/4 cup coconut milk for 1 tablespoon coconut powder.
- Coconut Oil - Replace 1 tablespoon coconut powder with 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil to add flavor.
- Coconut Extract - Add a small amount (1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon) for coconut flavor. Won’t mimic texture.
- Coconut Aminos - Provides coconut flavor for sauces without thickening ability.
- Almond or Cashew Butter - Great for adding creaminess and richness.
So while coconut powder has unique properties, in a pinch you have alternatives for mimicking texture or flavor in recipes.
How do you use coconut powder to make coconut milk?
To make coconut milk, whisk 1-3 tablespoons of coconut powder into 1 cup hot water until dissolved. Add less powder for thinner milk, more for thicker. Refrigerate leftovers.
What can I use if I don't have coconut powder?
You can substitute unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut extract or coconut aminos to mimic some properties of coconut powder.
Is coconut powder good in coffee?
Yes! Coconut powder mixes easily into hot coffee. It adds natural creaminess and sweetness for a tasty dairy-free option. Use 1-2 teaspoons per cup of coffee.
Can you bake with coconut powder?
Absolutely! Coconut powder works great in baked goods like cakes, cookies, muffins and more. It adds moisture, coconut flavor and even allows you to use less sugar.
Is coconut powder gluten-free?
Yes, coconut powder is naturally gluten-free. Look for brands that are certified gluten-free if it is a dietary concern. Use coconut powder to make delicious gluten-free baked goods.
Coconut powder is a handy kitchen ingredient that adds nutritional value, delicious flavor and versatility to recipes.
With so many uses across both sweet and savory applications, coconut powder earns its place as a nutritious and flavorful staple ingredient.