Pineapple Coconut Bars are an easy tropical inspired treat made with juicy crushed pineapple, coconut, and a brown sugar shortbread crust ~ perfect for breakfast, dessert, or all day snacking. I recommend the all day snacking 🙂
Pineapple Coconut Bars are a little bit Southern, a little bit vintage…
Something you might find leafing through the pages of a spiral bound church cookbook. My version is both sweet and tart, with a nice chewy texture thanks to a good amount of brown sugar in the dough. The brown sugar also gives these squares a background hint of butterscotch, yum.
gather your ingredients
I formulated the recipe to use the whole 20 ounce can of pineapple and a 7 ounce bag of coconut, so there won’t be any annoying leftovers. (You’re welcome.)
- canned crushed pineapple ~ unsweetened only, so the fruit filling makes a nice tart contrast to the sweet shredded coconut and brown sugar shortbread crust.
- coconut ~ sweetened shredded. Look for a moist product for best results.
- brown sugar
- baking powder
- vanilla and almond extracts
how long will they last?
These pineapple coconut bars will stay nice and fresh for several days on the counter if you the fam doesn’t polish them off in one sitting. They make good work, school, or travel snacks because the bars aren’t overly gooey, you can eat them with your hands without making a mess and having to use your pants as a napkin. I hate that.
more tropical inspired recipes
- Pulled Pork with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce
- Broccoli Salad with Pineapple, Bacon, and Spiced Pecans
- Salmon with Pineapple Jalapeño Salsa
- Tropical Hot Dog Bar
- Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing
Pineapple Coconut Bars
- 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice, not heavy syrup
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 7 ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut, divided
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Lightly spray a 9×13 pan and line with parchment paper (optional) so you can lift the squares out for easy cutting later.
- Drain the canned pineapple in a mesh sieve over a bowl, and collect the liquid. Don’t squeeze the fruit, just let it drain naturally. Remove the liquid to a small saucepan, whisk in the cornstarch, and heat over medium high heat until it comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Add the thickened juice back into the pineapple and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with electric beaters until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the egg and then the extracts.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder and with the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture, one cup at a time, and then add 2 cups of the shredded coconut. Finish the mixing by hand, a silicone ‘spoonula’ works great for this..
- Remove 2/3 cup of the dough and set aside for the topping. Then press the rest into the bottom of your baking pan. I like to crumble it all over the bottom first to distribute it, and then gently press with my fingers. Make sure to get the whole bottom surface covered. If the dough is sticky, flour your fingers as needed.
- Spread the pineapple over the bottom crust, and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Take the remaining dough and crumble it over the whole surface. I like to press it down VERY lightly with my hands.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until starting to turn golden. Let the squares cool on a rack before cutting.
- Shortbread-y crumb bars are my jam and if you look you’ll find lots of them in my dessert recipe index. The great thing about bars like this is that you can use fresh fruit, frozen fruit, preserves, or curd, and each one is a little different from the next. I vary them with different types of flour and add-ins like nuts, coconut, oats, etc.
Questions and Reviews
These are amazing! I did end up baking them twenty minutes longer than suggested in my thick, enamelled baker to make sure they were firm. Using brown sugar makes the crust so chewy. I may add macadamias next time for more crunch. Yum!
These sound so tasty, the flavors of a pina coloda. I will definitely try these.
Happy New Year!
My go to broc cheese soup recipe. BETTER than Panera’s.
I made these today for a meeting, they were very tasty and they all got eaten up! But I must have done something wrong; the consistency wasn’t right. Very ‘wet’ and very difficult to cut. Maybe I didn’t allow the cornstarch and pineapple liquid get thick enough? Otherwise, a winner and delicious. Messy. Yummy however.
I like to weigh with a digital scale, items like the two cups of ‘packed’ brown sugar. In my first try, I ended up with 385 grams. Next time I’ll trim that down, I’d like it a bit less sweet. Probably try 350 grams and see how that goes. Then, when I have the perfect weight, it’s far easier for me to consistently nail a recipe. For me, the flour came out as 2 cups all purpose flour equally 322 grams. I think I can stick with that. I used King Arthur FWIW.
Thanks for the feedback Andrew ~ it’s possible that your pineapple wasn’t drained quite long enough. The pineapple juice and cornstarch mixture should definitely come to a boil to achieve its maximum thickness…hope this helps for next time. Love your gram conversions, that helps a lot of folks, I’m sure.
I adore this flavor combo Sue! I bet they taste wonderful and must be super easy to eat. Outstanding idea!
I love it too, it’s unexpected but makes such perfect sense!
Sue – these have EVERYTHING I love – pineapple, coconut, sweet/tart and especially using whole containers of stuff – I really hate the plethora of mostly-empty containers in my pantry! But back to pineapple – my favorite fruit- it’s nice to have a sweet that has lots of it! These are lovely! Thanks for the recipe!
Enjoy Laura 🙂