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 are easy-peasy tender white cupcakes topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ it’s no wonder they were super popular at her famous Barefoot Contessa shop!

Girl holding a coconut cupcake.

crowd pleasing coconut cupcakes

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?

Coconut cupcakes on a glass tray.

grocery list for coconut cupcakes

  • 8 ounces cream cheese ~ you want the brick style cheese, not whipped. I recommend the full fat version.
  • 7 ounce bag of sweetened shredded coconut ~ you want moist sweetened coconut, I use Bakers Angel Flake.
  • buttermilk ~ if you don’t keep buttermilk in your fridge, you should! It makes such a difference in baking.

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.

baking with coconut ~ choose the right kind!

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. There are lots of different types of coconut (desiccated, shaved, flaked and shredded) and you want to be sure to buy the right type. I use Bakers Angel Flake. It’s sweetened flaked coconut that is quite moist.

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.

cupcakes with coconut frosting on a wooden board.

dress up your cupcakes

In honor of spring I baked the cupcakes up in some cute floral wrappers I found on Amazon. 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

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

Coconut cupcakes in pretty wrappers

We found that the cupcakes fit perfectly into a coffee carrier ~ the perfect way to tote them to the office, or to a neighbor!

Coconut frosted cupcakes with floral napkins

more coconut, please!

Ina Garten's coconut cupcakes on a tray
3.67 from 135 votes

Ina Garten’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
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 10 cupcakes
Calories 684kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, 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
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened coconut

cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat 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.

Cook’s notes

  • These are hefty cupcakes. If you are baking for kids you can make them smaller.
*Recipe lightly adapted from Ina Garten ~ it’s in her Barefood Contessa Cookbook. I’ve halved Ina’s recipe, because I didn’t want 20 cupcakes around to tempt me.


Calories: 684kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 277mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 1105IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg
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.

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    Leave a Reply

    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 🙂

  • 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

    5 stars
    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

      Yes, because of the cream cheese in the frosting, they’ll need to be refrigerated after 2 hours at room temperature.

  • 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!

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