Pineapple Coconut Bars

Pineapple coconut squares with forks

Pineapple Coconut Bars are an easy tropical inspired treat made with juicy crushed pineapple, coconut, and a brown sugar shortbread crust ~ perfect for breakfast, bunch, or all day snacking.  I recommend the all day snacking :)

Pineapple Coconut Bars just coming out of the oven

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 ladies 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.

A stack of pineapple coconut bars

I use the requisite crushed pineapple, unsweetened only, so the fruit filling makes a nice tart contrast to the sweet shredded coconut and brown sugar shortbread crust.  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.

overhead photo of pineapple coconut squares on parchment paper

These pineapple coconut bars will stay nice and fresh for a few days on the counter if you don’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.

closeup of a pineapple cococnut square

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Pineapple Coconut Bars

Yield: serves 12-24 depending on cut size

Pineapple Coconut Bars

Ingredients

  • 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice (not heavy syrup)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 packed cups 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan and line with parchment paper (optional) so you can lift the squares out for easy cutting later.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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..
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until starting to turn golden. Let the squares cool on a rack before cutting.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/pineapple-coconut-bars/

Make it your own ~

  • 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.
  • There are lots of other recipes that feature the pineapple coconut-combo for you to try.  Start the day with my Pineapple Coconut Bread, for instance, or these Hawaiian Muffins.  Then there’s Pineapple Coconut Lush, a potluck classic, and this unique Pineapple Coconut Pudding, a Puerto Rican recipe.  When it’s too hot to cook, try these Pineapple Coconut Water Popsicles!

 

Don’t forget to pin these pineapple coconut bars!

Pineapple Coconut Bars are a an easy tropical inspired treat made with juicy crushed pineapple, coconut, and a brown sugar shortbread crust ~ perfect for breakfast, bunch, or all day snacking. #pineapplebars #pineapplecoconut #blondies #squares #dessert #pineappledessert #potluckdessert #brunch

 

22 Comments

  • Reply
    Andrew Rodney
    May 8, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Tricia
    April 21, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    I adore this flavor combo Sue! I bet they taste wonderful and must be super easy to eat. Outstanding idea!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 26, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      I love it too, it’s unexpected but makes such perfect sense!

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 21, 2018 at 9:46 am

    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!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 26, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Enjoy Laura :)

  • Reply
    Wallflower Weekly Finds, 163 - Cooking with a Wallflower
    April 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

    […] These pineapple coconut bars look sooo good and perfect for summ […]

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 20, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Tropical flavors have been on my mind and these gorgeous bars are everything!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 26, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      You’re right, ’tis the season for tropical treats!

  • Reply
    Mary
    April 20, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Oh my gosh these sounds so good. I am going to make these and I think maybe adding chopped pecans in the crust.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Pecans sound great, then it will have a hummingbird cake kind of vibe!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    April 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

    These sound totally up my alley Sue! All my favorite tropical flavors! Perfect for summer parties too! I’ll definitely be trying these!

  • Reply
    holly
    April 20, 2018 at 11:19 am

    These look fabulous! i shared with friends and daughter in law. I plan to mke them this weekend.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Hope everybody likes them :)

  • Reply
    Rebecca {foodie with family}
    April 20, 2018 at 8:52 am

    I love the combination of pineapple and coconut in these bars. They look perfect with that streusel-y top, too!!

  • Reply
    Bernard Ber
    April 20, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Those sound yummy. Pineapple and coconut are great together, but I hadn’t thought to put them into “bar” form. Thanks for that interesting idea.

  • Reply
    Amy Abbott
    April 20, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Since I have found your blog, I am hooked. These look yummy. Will try them this weekend & substitute white four with white rice flour for my gluten free guest. Will let you know how they turn out.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2018 at 8:17 am

      Thanks Amy, I’m glad you found me :) Please do let us know how the gf version goes.

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    April 20, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Love the beautiful tropical flavours…have never seen sweetened coconut here…but unsweetened would work too, I guess?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2018 at 8:16 am

      Interesting, I’m always amazed at what is and isn’t available in different parts of the world. I’m sure you could use plain coconut but maybe in that case you would probably sweeten the pineapple filling.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 20, 2018 at 5:45 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a pineapple bar, so I’m super anxious to try these! Love the tropical flavours :)

  • Reply
    Monica
    April 20, 2018 at 4:23 am

    These are so pretty to look at and sound absolutely divine. So nice to learn about wonderful Southern desserts like this that you don’t see often. Love the whole tropical vibe here.

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