How to Make Sweetened Coconut From Dehydrated Coconut

A number of world cuisines, including Jamaican, Filipino, Indonesian and Indian, incorporate coconut into savory dishes as well as sweet desserts. In Thailand, which has the lowest cancer rate of all 50 countries surveyed by the National Cancer Institute, some form of coconut appears in almost every dish. More commonly known as dried or desiccated, dehydrated coconut is unsweetened and typically available in shredded or flaked form. Use it in savory and sweet recipes. Sweetened, dried coconut is a standard baking ingredient in the United States. Commercially produced sweetened coconut often contains propylene glycol -- a chemical used in antifreeze -- as an odorless, colorless preservative.

A small bowl of coconut shavings.
Credit: etienne voss/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Blend dried coconut and powdered sugar with a whisk in a medium-sized bowl until the mixture is uniform.

Step 2

Combine the canola oil and water in a small bowl, stirring until the ingredients are well blended.

Step 3

Pour the liquid ingredients over the sugared coconut. Stir them to thoroughly coat the coconut.

Step 4

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until the coconut absorbs all the liquid. Stir the mixture once or twice to turn it over.

Step 5

Use the moistened, sweetened coconut immediately for best results. Alternatively, place it in a plastic freezer bag for short-term storage in the refrigerator or long-term storage in the freezer. While sealing the bag, press out as much air as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil

  • 2 tsp. water


The vegetable oil moistens the coconut and helps the powdered sugar adhere better. If desired, increase the amount of water in the recipe to 4 tsp. and eliminate the oil. Likewise, substitute the canola oil for safflower or sunflower oil. Don’t use olive oil, however, as its saltier flavor will mask or diminish the sugar’s sweetness.

The recipe calls for a small amount of coconut because it’s best to use homemade, sweetened coconut as you make it. You can easily double or triple the quantities of each ingredient to make larger batches. Sweetened, shredded coconut will stay fresh for about a month in an airtight container stored in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator.

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