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

4.7 from 23 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. 
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Prep Time: 5 mins
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 + 1/3 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
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{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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  1. Kayla says

    I had a major sweet tooth but didn’t want to do too much work to have something homemade. This fit the bill perfectly! It’s delicious and I’m having a hard time not eating the whole pan! Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

  2. Holly K says

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
    This was a huge hit both times I made it. I read all the comments and thought I would share some things that people may be having issues with. I doubled the batch and used a 9×13 pan instead of (2) 9×9 pans. My shortbread crust was thicker, so I increased the baking time from 10 minutes to 18. I really just watched for the edges of the pan to turn a golden brown. Also, others were having trouble with a greasy cookie crust. This might happen if you use melted butter as opposed to room temperature or softened butter. Personally I don’t have the patience to wait for butter to get to room temp, so I use the microwave to soften it. I do ten seconds on power 2 and flip the butter (paper wrapper still on) a quarter turn each time. Usually takes 30-40 seconds total. These are so yummy and super easy to make. Thanks for sharing your family recipe with us!5 stars

  3. Andi Larkin says

    I made the doubled batch and the shortbread was so thick. And the coconut filling barely covered. So I made it again and doubled and a half the filling and the regular for the shortbread. So much better!!

  4. Emma says

    Is the sugar in this recipe supposed to be powdered or regular? I made it as written, with regular sugar, and found as others did that the base layer was very goopy. I baked it an extra 20 minutes to get it even close to firming up, but it still didn’t come out like most shortbread bases in other recipes I’ve used. The main difference, looking at them, is this recipe has about twice as much sugar in it for the proportion of butter/flour, and many of those recipes specify powdered sugar. Shortbread should usually be a 1:2:3 ratio of sugar:butter:flour.

    I will likely try them again with that ratio of ingredients, because the coconut filling part was really yummy!

    • Mely says

      This is an old Betty Crocker recipe. Use powdered sugar and at least double the topping. It’s AMAZINF.4 stars

  5. Kya says

    I’m with you about forgetting old favorite recipes. When I was in college, my roommates and I made this almost every week. We got it from the Betty Crocker cookbook. The recipe was called “pecan bars,” but included an option to replace the pecans with shredded coconuts. I don’t think I’ve ever made this for my kids, who are now both grown and flown. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.5 stars

  6. Fay says

    Are they suppose to be runny and jiggling when the 20 minutes is up? Do they set up? I’m a baker and I dont know what kind of mess this is going to be??

  7. Claire B Penn says

    Mary,
    You are a modern day Julia Child (only BETTER!)
    I love your recipes, I look forward to them and I’ve bought one of your recipe books and intend to buy more.
    You are an amazing cook and I do appreciate you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes!
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Claire5 stars

  8. ELISABETH HEINRICH says

    I’ve made these coconut chews a number of times, always the gluten free version and they are great. My family loves them!4 stars