What Is Coconut Powder?

Lainie Petersen

The term "coconut powder" is used to describe several coconut-based food products: dehydrated coconut milk, coconut flour or finely shredded coconut meat. These products are used in different ways in various recipes. Individuals who are interested in purchasing coconut powder should read product descriptions and nutrition labels so that they understand exactly what it is they are buying.

Desiccated coconut, which can be used to make coconut powder.
Desiccated coconut, which can be used to make coconut powder.

Recipes in many types of cuisine call for coconut milk as an ingredient. In addition, some people enjoy beverages made from coconut milk and might drink it in place of dairy milk. Although it is possible to make coconut milk at home, this is a time-consuming process. Instead, many people choose to purchase coconut milk in cans or in powder form. The advantage of using dried coconut milk over canned milk is that a cook can spoon out exactly as much coconut powder as is needed for a particular recipe without wasting leftover canned milk. Coconut milk powder might be blended with additives to ensure that it maintains its powdery texture.

Coconut powder.
Coconut powder.

Some companies sell finely shredded coconut and label it as coconut powder. The texture of this coconut is not always powdery, however. Shredded coconut is used in a variety of recipes, including baked goods such as breads, cakes and cookies. Recipes for various types of chocolate candy might also make use of shredded coconut powder. Finally, shredded coconut is often called for as a breading for fish, seafood and chicken.

Coconut flour is a popular type of non-gluten flour.
Coconut flour is a popular type of non-gluten flour.

Coconut flour is another type of coconut powder that provides an alternative to grain-based flowers. This flour is made by removing most of the liquids and fats from coconut meat and then milling it finely. The result is an off-white powder that looks like wheat flour but typically smells like coconuts.

Coconut powder may be mixed with additives to maintain a powder-like texture.
Coconut powder may be mixed with additives to maintain a powder-like texture.

This type of flour can be used in many recipes that call for standard flour, but when using coconut flour, cooks must take care to use a significant amount of fat and liquid with this high-fiber product. The advantages of using coconut flour over other flour types are numerous. Individuals who have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can consume products made with coconut flour, because coconuts do not contain gluten. In addition, coconut flour is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which can make it a good choice for individuals who are on low-carbohydrate diets or who otherwise need to restrict their carbohydrate consumption.

Many cuisines use coconut milk as an ingredient.
Many cuisines use coconut milk as an ingredient.

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Discussion Comments


I read about the difference in Paleo Desserts by Jane Bartelemy (sp?), and I think it is the last thing you remarked on (flour defatted), yes. She says to use the powder, not the flour, as I recall - but check that for yourself! That info can probably be found online somewhere, or in her book.


I have a packet of coconut powder that my roommate left me. It's not really a powder, it's more like very fine coconut flakes.

What can I do with this? I'm sure it would be a good topping for dessert. Does anyone have any ideas?


@anon295001-- I'm not sure because that entirely depends on the product. The product label should clarify this. By the way, coconut milk is also made from coconut flesh, so technically, all coconut powders are made from coconut flesh.

For example, I'm using a coconut milk/cream powder that's made from coconut milk and milk protein. It's basically dehydrated coconut milk. I mix this powder with a little bit of water into a cream consistency. I use it to make Indian food.


Is there a difference between coconut powder and coconut flour? For instance, is the powder made from dried coconut milk, and the coconut flour from the flesh/meat? And would the powder not be 'defatted,' whereas the coconut flour is defatted?

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