Grandma’s Coconut Chews

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Chewy coconut filling layered onto a buttery shortbread crust; this recipe is so simple to make I have been making it since I was a child. 

This is my grandma’s recipe for Coconut Chews (one of only a few things that this grandmother made) and if you are a coconut lover, these can not be beat.

You're going to love these Coconut Chews!

I hadn’t made these bars in years and when I baked this gluten free version of the Coconut Chews and took them to some friends and family they were an enormous hit.

I have a well-known love of coconut and these bars are some of the best coconut treats I make.

It’s a funny thing the way blogging has changed the way I think about baking and cooking. When I’m focused and working on new recipes, I tend to forget about the older family favorites.

I fell in love with these bars all over again when I made them for our guests a few weeks ago.

The Coconut Chews were the most talked about dessert and definitely one that I’ll be making again, sooner than later.

Coconut Chews

Check out all of the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes on this website!

Kitchen Tip: I use this bowl, this spatula, and this pan to make this recipe.

Coconut Chews Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with butter or line with parchment.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, and flour for the crust in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.
  3. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes while finishing the rest of the recipe.
  4. Mix together the filling ingredients and pour over the crust. Bake 20 minutes more (25 minutes for the doubled recipe). Let cool completely before slicing.
Grandma's Coconut Chews are a family favorite!

Baking Tip: Doubling this recipe will perfectly fill a 9×13 pan. Add an additional 5-10 minutes baking time for the crust on a doubled recipe and an additional 5-10 minutes for the filling bake time.

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Grandma's Coconut Chews are a family favorite!

Grandma’s Coconut Chews

4.56 from 29 votes
Chewy coconut filling layered onto a buttery shortbread crust; this recipe is so simple to make I have been making it since I was a child. 
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 

Crust Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour *

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or brown rice flour for GF recipe)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with butter or line with parchment.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, and flour for the crust in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes while finishing the rest of the recipe.
  • Mix together the filling ingredients and pour over the crust. Bake 20 minutes more (25 minutes for a doubled recipe). Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

* Gluten Free Alternative: 2/3 cup brown rice flour + ⅓ cup potato starch can be substituted for the all-purpose flour in the crust recipe above.
Doubling this recipe will perfectly fill a 9×13 pan. Add an additional 5-10 minutes baking time for the crust a doubled recipe and an additional 5-10 minutes for the filling.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal · Carbohydrates: 27g · Protein: 3g · Fat: 13g · Saturated Fat: 10g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 48mg · Sodium: 84mg · Potassium: 78mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 18g · Vitamin A: 276IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 18mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally posted 7/6/12 – photos and recipe notes updated 4/15/21}

Grandma's Coconut Chews

Here are some more coconut desserts you might like:
Pineapple Coconut Bars by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Black Bottom Coconut Squares by The View from Great Island
Coconut Cream Lush by Melissa’s Southern Kitchen
Mini Coconut Pound Cakes by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Pineapple Coconut Cake by Baked By An Introvert
Lime Coconut Snowballs by Two Peas and Their Pod
Coconut Lovers Oatmeal Cookies by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Ultimate Coconut Cream Pie by Cook Crave Inspire

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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    • Ashley says

      I just made these! They are good. Mine aren’t super coconuty, I wonder if it’s because I used unsweetened. Either way they’re a good, super easy, sweet shortbread dessert! Btw – I cut the butter and sugar in half and used coconut oil and apple sauce and it totally works!

    • Mary Younkin says

      I can not even fathom what went wrong here, Carol. Did you substitute any ingredients? Were you using sweetened coconut? My best guess is that one of the ingredients was off or had gone bad.

  1. Bea says

    Hi Mary, I can’t wait to make these! I’m such a coconut fanatic so these are definitely going to be a favorite. Thanks so much!!!5 stars

  2. Nicole Q says

    I just baked a double batch of these today. My guys loved them! Thank you for including the modified baking times for doubling the recipe!5 stars

  3. Mary says

    I couldn’t wait until they were cooled down,to try. They are delicious 😋 I doubled the recipe also added chocolate chips to the top of one half.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Lauren – That is a good question. . . I have never tried that but they are a firm shortbread so I think they will hold up fine. My concern would be how long they might take to get there, they could be stale.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I don’t believe so, Michelle. There are not any leavening agents (baking powder, baking soda or yeast) so I don’t think any changes are necessary.

  4. Melanie Robinson says

    My mom used to make these coconut cookies and I’ve been searching for the recipe for years. Just made them and they are delicious! I added chopped pecans and sugared ginger chunks. Thanks so much for the recipe!5 stars

  5. Colleen says

    I put a thin layer of apricot jam over the baked crust, and then spread the coconut mixture over. Raspberry jam would be very pretty, too!5 stars

  6. Kathy says

    These are pretty good. I added some chopped walnuts to the shortbread crust and just a little chocolate chips to the filling. Yum 😋. I think I’ll add just a bit more coconut next time, as well.5 stars

  7. vale says

    The coconut flavour is not prominent, there is not chew its very dry. The crust taste very crumbly and like straight flower2 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Sorry to hear that this recipe wasn’t a win for you. It sounds like one of the ingredients may have been measured incorrectly, Vale. There should be a very coconut-ty flavor to these bars with so much coconut in them and they really shouldn’t have been dry at all.

  8. Felecia says

    Hello,

    I’ve only looked at a couple of recipes, and they both sound delicious. Do you use unsalted or salted butter?

    Thank you!!!

  9. Sam says

    Just baked as per directions. Shortbread was not firm. It didn’t seem cooked, even after the full overall baking time. Just reheated oven n trying to bake further. Baked 25 extra minutes tented with foil. Shortbread was only a bit firmer…still mostly chewy. Photo a bit misleading…these bars are very, very thin, less than 1/2” thin. Taste is great, though, but don’t look like much. I definitely used an 8×8 pan. Embarrassed to share with neighbors. My guess is initial crust baking time needs much longer than recipe calls for or needs to cook initial crust longer than a ‘few minutes’ before filling.2 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      That’s strange they turned out so thin, Sam. They are a thin and chewy bar, but closer to 3/4-inch in thickness. I’ve been making this recipe since I was a little girl and I can’t imagine what went wrong here. I’m glad they still tasted good though! I’m going to make them again this weekend (I haven’t made them in a couple of years) and double-check that a measurement or time hasn’t been messed up here in the recipe card.