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Coconut Cream Lush

This Coconut Cream Lush is a spin off of a fabulous dessert that’s been rotating through Southern kitchens in a variety of flavors for decades. This version begins with a pecan shortbread crust, next a whipped cream cheese layer, then a thick layer of coconut cream custard. The top is frosted with billows of whipped cream and it’s finished with a sprinkle of toasted coconut and chopped pecans making it a dessert dream come true for coconut fans.

Coconut Cream Lush

Easy Coconut Cream Lush Recipe

While layered desserts aren’t a new phenomenon, the ones I have here on my website have been personalized in my kitchen to suit our taste. They’re a tried and true family favorite dessert and one we never get tired of enjoying. The first flavor I can ever remember eating was made by my bestie’s Mom for us when we had sleepovers and it was made with a chocolate fudge layer. How to make layered Coconut Cream Lush dessert recipe:

  • Crust – All-purpose flour, salt, cold salted or unsalted butter and chopped pecans.
  • Cream Cheese Layer – Two 8 ounce blocks of plain cream cheese, powdered sugar, whipped cream and vanilla.
  • Coconut Pudding Layer – Sweetened flaked coconut, half and half and instant coconut pudding mix.
  • Topping – Whipped cream.
  • Garnish – Toasted coconut and chopped pecans.
Coconut Cream Lush

How to Make the Best Coconut Cream Lush Recipe

The best part about these types of layered desserts, apart from the opportunity to be super creative with variations, is they provide the perfect sweet ending to most any gathering be it laid-back or casually elegant in theme. It doesn’t matter what the occasion, celebration or featured flavor, there’s never a spoonful leftover.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Coconut Cream Lush: Instant coconut cream pudding mix, half and half, shredded flaked coconut, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, all purpose flour, butter, chopped pecans, whipped cream and salt.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A 13 x 9 inch baking dish, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a rubber spatula, a hand mixer or a stand mixer, a sheet pan to toast the pecans and shredded coconut and a nut chopper or food processor.
  • If you’re unable to find instant coconut cream pudding mix you can adapt using instant vanilla pudding mix and coconut extract for added flavor. Start with one teaspoon, taste and adjust from there.
  • You can use Neufchatel cream cheese in the same amount as the full fat cream cheese called for in the recipe.
  • You can make this lush one day in advance then cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.
  • Store leftover Coconut Cream Lush chilled in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • More Coconut Cream Desserts to make: Coconut Cream Cake made in a sheet pan. Coconut Cream Pie with a fabulous homemade coconut cream filling. No Bake Coconut Cream Pie Parfait from The Midnight Baker
Coconut Cream Lush

More Lush Dessert Recipes to Make

You may also like to try these Lush flavor variations:

Coconut Cream Lush

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Helpful Kitchen Items:

Coconut Cream Lush

Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Chill Time4 hours
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut-cream-lush
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed [1 stick]
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans divided
  • 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 3.4 oz boxes instant coconut cream pudding
  • 3 cup whole milk or half & half


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray the bottom only of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl sift together the salt and flour. Cut the cold butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal. Mix in 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
  • Press firmly onto the bottom of the dish. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool completely.
  • Spread the remaining chopped pecans and coconut on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the coconut is golden. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl using a hand mixer cream together the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla, Whip until smooth and creamy, then by hand fold in 1/2 of one (8 oz) whipped topping. Spread evenly on the cooled crust
  • In the same bowl, Whip together both boxes of pudding mix and milk. Whip until thickened but still pourable. Spread over the cream cheese.
  • Frost the top with the remaining whipped topping and sprinkle with toasted pecans and coconut,.
  • Chill for 4 hours or overnight before cutting. Store chilled.


When toasting the pecan pieces and coconut for the garnish put on separate sheet pans as the coconut may take slightly longer than 8 minutes to begin to caramelize and turn brown.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 398mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 331IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!




  2. wish you could be more specific with the amounts when making your own coconut cream as i cant find it anywhere so would really like to know approx amounts tanks

    1. I’m sorry, this recipe doesn’t include an additional recipe for making homemade coconut cream so, I can’t accommodate your request. Look in the drink mixers section, if can often be found there or the Asian foods section.

  3. can i use cook and serve coconut cream pudding mix instead of instant pudding. i dont have any right now except the cook and serve type.

    1. That’s unfortunate. It’s usually available at Walmart, Target and local grocery stores. You could substitute with vanilla, add a touch of coconut extract and sweetened flaked coconut to adapt.

  4. Oh my! This is so delicious! I made the crust gluten free using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. The last time I made this I couldn’t find instant coconut cream pudding so I used vanilla pudding and added a cup of shredded sweet coconut. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with gluten free, it will help others. I’m delighted you loved this, it’s a personal favorite, thanks!

  5. Could you mix the pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture then top with the remaining cool whip? Thanks , not a fan of all the separate layers but like it otherwise.

  6. 5 stars
    Hello Melissa, I just found your sight. I am new at this and don’t know how to save your recipe for coconut lush cake. Darn it sure looks great. Going to try it soon as i can pickup all the stuff for it. Again Thank You for the great recipes. You sound like such a great cook/baker. I love to back more then cook. Have a wonderful day

    1. Hi Roberta, welcome! You can email it to yourself using the icon at the top of each post with the share buttons, you can choose to print by using the icon in the recipe template or, you can create your own recipe box file using the blue box that displays on the left of each page.

  7. HI! I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Where does the 2 8oz containers of cool whip come in? I understand folding half of one into the cream cheese and topping the finished dessert with the other half. Am I not reading the recipe correctly?

    1. The recipe doesn’t say to spread with the other half but, to frost with the remaining whipped topping. So, that’s the remaining 1/2 plus the other container.

  8. Hi I have been searching for a coconut and pineapple cake recipe for 40 years now; I tasted one at a wedding back then and I never forgot that taste it was the best cake I have ever tasted since. I hope you can help me PLEASE.

  9. This sounds wonderful! I never thought of coconut. You are right about “not a spoonful left over.” Instead of calling it “Lush” we call it “Lucky if There is Any Left.”

    Your variations include some I am anxious to try. We like it with home made butterscotch pudding, it takes that to whole new level! We also like to use pistachio pudding, it is delicious and very pretty. We make around St. Patrick’s Day.

    Another trick we use is to use two smaller pans for the crust and make two different flavors of pudding. Most often I make one pan with chocolate pudding and one with lemon filling. All the other ingredients are just shared between the two pans. This makes the lemon lovers happy. Chocolate makes the lemon avoiders happy.

    I enjoyed your post. Thank you.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve made this recipe with cherry pie filling and also blueberry pie filling, among different pudding flavors, too. It’s a great win, no matter what flavor!

  10. This sounds wonderful. We don’t have some of these ingredients in Australia, can you tell me what frozen whipped topping and instant coconut cream pudding is?

    1. Instant coconut cream pudding is just what it sounds like. Add milk and it whips into a custard. You can substitute fresh whipped cream for the whipped topping. Thanks for visiting!

      1. I have done this with lemon instant pudding (call it lemon lush and it’s my husband’s favorite) I am anxious to try it with coconut cream and toasting the coconut for the top. This might have to be made for Thanksgiving for those who don’t care for pumpkin pie. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  11. This looks wonderful. The only thing I don’t like is the cream cheese. I guess it could be made without it but I don’t know how it would turn out. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Stan, in the case of this dessert I don’t. Perhaps a coconut cream pie would be more to your liking and I have several in my archives. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. This cake looks so delicious! Do you think gluten free flour can be substituted for the all-purpose flour in the recipe?

    1. I’ve never used gluten free flour for this dessert but, if you’ve had success with it in the past as a substitute for all-purpose flour it should work.

  13. Be still my heart! I have been thinking of a similar recipe I have and haven’t tried…I love the pecan crust in this one. And the double cream cheese amount in the middle layer!!! SO happy you shared this with us at Weekend Potluck. Keep ’em coming…PLEASE. Have a wonderful Easter week.

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