Fresh Coconut Ice Cream

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Nothing can take you to the virtual tropics like the taste of freshly cracked coconut. I use it here to recreate a fresh coconut ice cream I had while vacationing in Fiji.

Brother and sister sitting next to an immature coconut tree.Anything made with fresh coconut holds a special place in my heart. Growing up in Florida I was surrounded by coconut palms around every corner. My brother even planted a few trees in our back yard that he started from coconuts.

Our Mom was not one to go through the trouble of cracking one open to use the delicious meat inside but my brother was. Even though I was a picky eater as a child (my dad would be shocked I’m a food writer), I tried coconut one time when my brother opened one and I’ve never looked back. One of the many great memories of my childhood. There were lots of great times as a kid, especially since I have a great brother!

3 scoops of coconut ice cream in a blue bowl.

So the first time I had coconut ice cream was on a dream trip to Fiji. It was at the Matamanoa Island Resort. Dessert one evening was coconut ice cream rolled in fresh coconut shavings.

I should explain that Matamanoa is an island off the main island of Viti Levu in the South Pacific. Everything needs to be imported to the island, except coconuts. There is an abundance of coconut palm trees on the island. Coconut ice cream seemed to be natural.

That ice cream was the nectar of the Gods. It is one of my favorite food memories, my husband’s too, and it was about 25 years ago. Funny how some memories stay with you.

My husband asked me to make that ice cream after the trip. It only took me a few years! When I told him I was making a fresh coconut ice cream at first he was excited. Then he asked me if I knew how to crack open a coconut because he had no idea.

I laughed, told him yes, and proceeded to show him how. In a nutshell, you take a Phillips head screwdriver and poke it through the eyes on the coconut.

The brown coconut, not the one in the green outer shell. Getting the green shell off is a whole other ball game. When you purchase a coconut at the market they usually are the brown, inner nut.

Once the eyes are pierced, drain the water inside into a cup and save for later. Then take a hammer and crack open the shell. Once open, you need to take a butter knife and wedge it between the meat and shell to pry it off. Then you must peel the remaining brown skin.

A lot of work, I know, but you are rewarded with a delicious treat. Plus, once you’ve done it you’ll be hooked and you’ll feel like you can do anything.

Try these other ice cream flavors:

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Nutty Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Mini Chocolate Chip Coffee Ice Cream

Made with fresh coconut, this coconut ice cream is full of flavor and sure to cool you off on a hot summer day. #icecream #frozentreat Click to Tweet

Fresh Coconut Ice Cream

Fresh coconut ice cream with freshly grated coconut.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Freezing Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Desserts and Sweets
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 quart


  • 2 cans 13.5 ounce of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of fresh grated coconut
  • Coconut or toasted coconut to garnish


  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the coconut milk, cream and sugar, heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool completely then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before churning.
  • Add the mixture to your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mix until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Add the freshly grated coconut once the mixture thickens and is ready to be transferred to a freezer container.
  • Freeze until ready to serve, at least 1 hour. Garnish with toasted coconut or coconut upon serving.
  • To toast coconut: In a small skillet over low heat melt a small amount of butter (about a teaspoon per cup of grated coconut). Once melted, add coconut and stir to coat. Allow to toast (be patient) stirring occasionally, being extremely careful not to burn the coconut. Once toasted, spread out on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container until ready to use.

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  1. I never liked coconut as a child, but have definitely come to love it in the last decade or so. I would love a scoop of this ice cream!

  2. I am obsessed with coconut flavors. How delicious does this look and so easy! I need to give it a try!!!

  3. It’s cool that you acquired a taste for coconut when you were young. We didn’t get to have them very often. I bet I’d like this ice cream. It actually opens up a few recipe possibilities too.

  4. Oooh that sounds so cool. Coconut flavored ice cream seems to have become my favorite lately. Especially the whole fruit bars. Seems even more truly whole to try making it on my own. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. We make a lot of homemade ice cream – but I usually make vanilla because that’s what our family loves. But we also love coconut and now you’ve got me wanting to try your recipe this weekend. I’ve written it down – gonna give it a shot 🙂 LOVE LOVE LOVE homemade ice cream – and at 70 yrs young – I’ve made truck loads of it.

  6. I love homemade ice cream! I grew up going to ice cream socials where we would get together with a group and make ice cream together, then eat it! This sounds so yummy, I love coconut!

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