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How to Toast Coconut 3 Different Ways

By Fitoru | 01 December 2019
toasted coconut in a wooden bowl

Coconuts are incredibly versatile, tasty, and full of nutrients. You can enjoy coconut water, milk, cream, and oil in your kitchen and beyond. But what if you want some toasted coconut flakes for your breakfast oats, a savory dinner recipe, or a topping for your dessert? To find out how to toast coconut in three different ways, read on.

Coconut Nutrition and Uses

One of those unique foods that defy categorization, coconuts are a fruit, a nut, and a seed all in one. From their edible meat to non-dairy milk alternatives to skin treatment, coconuts provide us with so many beneficial products. 

Coconuts pretty much cover the nutrition spectrum, with healthy fat, protein, fiber, and minerals like copper, selenium, and manganese. Coconut recipes can be used to make lactose-free ice cream, keto-approved fat bombs, and coconut cream pie. And what’s the perfect topping to all? A sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes for a distinct nutty flavor!

How to Toast Coconut 3 Different Ways

How to Toast Coconut 3 Different Ways

There are a few ways to turn raw coconut flakes into golden brown and toasty toppings. You can bake them in the oven on a large baking sheet much the same way you’d bake nuts like pecans for desserts. You could use the stovetop to get it done, or you could even use your microwave. Here are the details on all three methods.

1. Oven-Baked

  1. To toast coconut in the oven, take your shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes and spread them in a thin layer over parchment paper on a sheet pan. 
  2. Set your oven to preheat to 325 °F (163 °C). 
  3. When the oven’s hot enough, pop in your baking pan and stay nearby to keep a close eye on your coconut flakes so they don’t brown past your preference. 
  4. The total time should take no longer than 15 minutes. Easy and simple! 

The oven method of toasting is ideal for large amounts of coconut flakes, 2 cups or more. Toasting brings out extra dimensions of flavor, and once perfectly baked, you can add your toasty roasties to granola mixes, chocolate chip cookies, muffins or cupcakes, or even enjoy them as a snack all on their own (big enough flakes can give you coconut chips once they’re out of the oven). If you have too much to use all at once, store the extras in an airtight container at room temperature—they’ll be good for several weeks.

Pro tip: though coconut flakes are perfectly sweet enough on their own, you can sweeten them even further with a healthy non-sugar sweetener like stevia or caramelize them with a honey or maple syrup glaze, whatever pairs best with your recipe.

2. Pan-Fried

If you’re only trying to toast a small helping of coconut flakes, you can absolutely do so in a pan using the stovetop method. 

Scatter the flakes in a single layer in a dry, large skillet.

Cook over medium-low heat using a spatula to move the flakes around occasionally (so they’ll brown on both sides) until they’re the exact golden brown you’re looking for. 

After that, those yummy flakes can be easily included in your favorite recipes—sweet treats for breakfast and dessert or savory dishes like coconut shrimp with a crispy coating for dinner. 

3. Microwaved

The microwave method of toasting coconut flakes takes even less time than the stovetop—just 30 seconds for chewy toasted flakes, which is practically instant. 

  1. All you need to do is spread coconut flakes over a microwave-safe plate and you’re in business.
  2. Heat them up at 30-second intervals until you have exactly the amount of toasting you want.

We wouldn’t be surprised if this was your favorite way to toast coconut since it’s fast, easy, and involves the least amount of prep and cleanup. 

Let’s Toast

Hopefully these baking tips make it easier for you to get the exact kind of toasted coconut flakes you want, whether sweetened or not, dark brown or light. Baked goods made with coconut milk or coconut oil can have an extra flavor dimension with toasted flakes sprinkled on top, and savory dishes like coconut chicken curry, coconut-crusted onion rings, or coconut sesame rice can all be improved by the unique flavors and health benefits only coconut can provide.

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