Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ easy-peasy tender moist coco-nutty cupcakes topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ these are perfect for spring flings!

Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes ~ these easy-peasy tender white cupcakes are topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ it’s no wonder they were super popular at her famous Barefoot Contessa shop, and they’re perfect for all kinds of spring flings!

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ these easy-peasy tender coconutty cupcakes are topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ they're perfect for spring flings!

When I crave comfort food, but I’m not sure what I want, I turn to Ina. I can pull out one of her cookbooks at random, sit down in a quite spot, and know she’ll sort it all out for me after just a few page turns.

These classic cupcakes were crowd pleasers year after year in Ina’s Barefoot Contessa shop on Long Island, and I’m so not surprised. They’re easy to make and really there’s not a single bad thing I can say about them. The batter is easy to throw together and the cupcakes bake up with perfect little domes. The frosting is to die for, it has the tang of cream cheese without being overpowering. And who can resist big fluffy mounds of coconut?

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ these easy-peasy tender coconutty cupcakes are topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ these cupcakes are foolproof!

In honor of spring I baked the cupcakes up in some cute Liberty print cupcake wrappers I found on Amazon. I went crazy and got the plates and napkins, too, and they even had more stuff, like little flags and favor bags, etc. I’ve loved Liberty prints for as long as I can remember (I bet you didn’t know I used to be in fashion design!) so I couldn’t resist. I’ve added the links just before the recipe, below.

TIP: I keep all my decorative cupcake liners stacked in mason jars, it’s an old Pinterest hack that really works great to keep them organized and crush proof

Pretty Liberty print cupcake wrappers for Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes

Grocery list for Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes ~

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 7 ounce bag of sweetened shredded coconut
  • buttermilk

Pantry staples ~

  • butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • flour
  • vanilla and almond extract
  • baking powder and soda
  • salt
  • confectioner’s sugar

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes made in pretty Liberty print cupcake wrappers.

The cake is tender and moist, and has half the bag of coconut folded into it. The frosting is topped with the other half, so there’s plenty of coconut presence.

TIP:  If you’d like to top your cupcakes with toasted coconut, spread it on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after every minute, until it turns golden brown.

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ these easy-peasy tender coconutty cupcakes are topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ they're perfect for spring flings!

Liberty print paper accessories ~ in today’s post I used the small plates, the small napkins, and the muffin tin liners, and you can click on the images below for more info. For a peek at the complete line, click HERE.

FOOD STYLIST’S TIP:  after baking and frosting, slip a second fresh muffin liner onto your cupcakes for a prettier look.

*Recipe lightly adapted from Ina Garten ~ it’s in her BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK. I’ve halved Ina’s recipe, because I didn’t want 20 cupcakes around to tempt me.

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ these are the iconic cupcakes from Barefoot Contessa ~ how can you resist?

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ these fluffy cupcakes are packed with coconut, and perfect for any celebration!

3.52 from 121 votes

Ina Gartenโ€™s Coconut Cupcakes

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ these easy-peasy tender cupcakes are topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 10 cupcakes
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/2 sticks, or 12 tablespoons, unsalted butter at room temperature or 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk shaken
  • 3 1/2 ounces or half of a 7 ounce bag, sweetened coconut

cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 pound confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (the other half of the 7 ounce bag)


  • Set the oven to 325F
  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. I do this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each one. Beat in the extracts.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the mixing bowl, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined, and scrape down the bowl. Fold in the coconut. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl to get everything incorporated.
  • Fill 10 cupcake liners. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden browned and done through. You can test with a toothpick if you like. The tops should spring back when lightly touched. Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove them to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting cream together the soft cream cheese and butter. Add the extract and the sifted sugar and beat until fluffy. Frost the cupcakes generously and top with coconut.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Notes for Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes:

  • Do make sure your butter, eggs, and cream cheese are at room temperature.
  • We found that 5 cupcakes fit perfectly snugly into a Starbuck’s coffee carrier ~ so you have no excuse not to share with the neighbors or your office mates!



Thanks for pinning these coconut cupcakes!

Coconut cupcakes pin.

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Joan Maccracken
    August 12, 2020 at 7:03 am

    5 stars
    These are hands down the best cupcakes I have ever made, the only people who don’t like them are not fans of coconut. They dress up any occasion, I just have to make sure it’s a special event or I will eat them all.

    • Reply
      August 12, 2020 at 8:33 am

      Thanks so much Joan ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    April 2, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Can you cut this recipe in 1/2.. ?

    • Reply
      April 2, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Sure, I don’t see why not.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Can these be made with only the whites of egg? I like a pure white cupcake.

    • Reply
      January 27, 2020 at 7:52 pm

      I think that should work fine Michelle.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2020 at 7:37 am

    I had too much batter for 10, so I made 12. Even then, they came out like muffins, not cupcake, overhanging on the sides. Will divide amongst 14 next time. Haven’t tasted them yet….

    • Reply
      January 10, 2020 at 7:59 am

      They are quite big, for sure!

  • Reply
    Alexandra Tamayo
    April 19, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Hi!!! I made the cupcakes and they turned out perfectly thank you. I do have a question though, once frosted do I need to refrigerate them if consuming in two days?

    • Reply
      April 20, 2019 at 7:43 am

      I don’t think so, I think they’re fine for a couple of days at room temp. Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Reply
    Jeana Slade
    December 8, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I noticed that you have cut the original recipe in half. Do your equations create the same scrumptious cup cakes as the original?

    • Reply
      December 8, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Yes, I think you can see from the photos they’re nice and plump!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Yours look beautiful! Love the photos. Unfortunately, mine turned out heavy, dense, and greasy. Not sure what I did wrong, but I’m sure it was operator error…. I only bake about twice a year. These are going to be for my mom’s birthday. Last year I made a coconut layer cake for her that was tender and light. Hope she still loves me!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Oh that’s a shame DW, and I know how frustrating that can be. Ina’s recipes are very well tested, so I would encourage you to try again if you have time!!

  • Reply
    March 29, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    These would be so cute with green dyed coconut and chocolate eggs on top! Can’t wait to make them.

    • Reply
      March 29, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      They would be!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Can you substitute coconut cream for the buttermilk?

    • Reply
      March 14, 2018 at 10:42 am

      I think so, but I might use coconut milk instead, for a more similar consistency.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 3:50 am

    Love this – I usually make the full Ina recipe and its delicious but this is perfect for just a few. I ended up with 12 though! Thanks!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

      Glad you liked them Corey, thanks!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I have not made these cupcakes of Ina’s but after seeing your gorgeous shots of them I need to try them ASAP! I love your idea of keeping liners in a jar. Brilliant hack. Pretty liners too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Robyn Gleason
    May 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Wow, these look so inviting I just want to bury my face in them, Sue! I love a good cupcake and can never have enough coconut. So pretty too!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    May 10, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Bring on the coconut, these cupcakes look like a dream! (and the Liberty prints are too cute!)

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    May 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    So true Sue who can resist a delicious coconut with mounds of coconut in top? We’re drooling over your beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing Ina’s recipe! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day this Sunday!

  • Reply
    Theresa O'Heron
    May 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Another Ina lover! She’s the best! Have all her cookbooks, and have used many recipes. Most are bookmarked. But I love your recipes too and soooo enjoy your emails! People like you inspire me!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks so much Theresa ~ I think I have all Ina’s books, too, and I keep them all together on a shelf right above where I sit at my desk, they’ve got the place of honor I guess. And I especially appreciate you saying you’re into the emails, because I’m always worried they might bug people ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Your post today, made me especially happy. So beautifully photographed, but I love cupcakes, icing and coconut….wonderful, and thank you!!!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      That’s a lovely comment, thanks so much for taking the time to leave it Marilyn, you made me happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I think I made these many years have inspired me to make these photos AND the tip about storing the pretty liners..adorb.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

    … and I love that you did the math for us so we can have the down-sized recipe! Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Even downsized Ina never fails! And there was no way I was going to have 20 of these things in my kitchen ~ too dangerous.

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    May 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

    These are a coconut lover’s dream. Perfect as a dessert….but I would love one with my afternoon latte!! Great for brunch too.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Who are we kidding, Gloria ~ they make the best little breakfast treat, too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    May 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Love, love, LOVE coconut! After lemon, my favorite flavor for sweets (chocolate is a distant third — go figure!). Anyway, these look wonderful — thanks.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Then I might just have to blow your mind and make a lemon coconut dessert one of these days John!

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    May 10, 2017 at 8:28 am

    I’ve never had a recipe from Ina that wasn’t delicious and these cupcakes, I’m sure will be no exception!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I didn’t know you could buy Liberty print napkins….. now I know what to get my mom for Mother’s Day! And BTW I’m obsessed with anything Ina. these cupcakes look so good!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 8:09 am

      I bet your mom will love the Liberty stuff Rebecca ~ and Ina…there are no words…:)

  • Reply
    Marianne | Basil & Bubbly
    May 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Ina is just the QUEEN of fabulous confections, isn’t she? I love love love coconut, but I’ve never had her Coconut Cupcakes. I can’t wait to give this a try! ( … and to do some serious organization of my cupcake papers! )

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Haha ~ and yes, she really is, I think her baking recipes are some of her best, they truly never fail.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Those cupcake papers are so pretty and I love the mason jar tip! I’m headed down to the pantry to grab one! These cupcakes look fantastic!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 10, 2017 at 5:12 am

    I’ve made these cupcakes and know they are wonderful but you’ve made them look absolutely gorgeous! Love those cupcake wrappers and your pretty presentation!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:28 am

      I’ve always ogled them but never made them until now, I think they’re divine ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 10, 2017 at 4:54 am

    So lovely and I’m with you! Ina never let’s me down ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Mother’s Day, Sue!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:41 am

      I <3 Ina

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    May 10, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Sue, these look so dreamy and beautiful and I have no doubt that they are divine too. Have never seen sweetened coconut over here…can I replace it with regular dried one?

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:27 am

      It’s so interesting how certain products (ahem, canned pumpkin) don’t seem to make it across the pond. I can’t imagine baking without sweetened coconut. The issue is that it is very moist, as opposed to regular dried coconut. If you can find something that has a little moisture to it, or even maybe shred a fresh coconut?

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    May 10, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Sue! I will have to give these a try very soon. So perfect for all graduation parties, baby or wedding showers or just because! They are beautiful!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:40 am

      Thanks Tricia, I think they’re great for entertaining because they’re so easy to put together and they have great appeal. Minis would be great for a baby shower!

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