Monday, July 11, 2016

Grandma's Coconut Chews

Grandma's Coconut Chews - traditional and gluten free recipes at

Chewy coconut filling layered onto a buttery shortbread crust; this recipe is so simple to make I have been making it since I was a child. This is my grandma's recipe (one of only a few that she made) and if you are a coconut lover, these can not be beat.

I hadn't made these bars in years and when I baked this gluten free version of the Coconut Chews and took them to some friends and family they were an enormous hit. I have a well known love of coconut and these bars are some of the best coconut treats I make.

It's a funny thing the way blogging has changed the way I think about baking and cooking. When I'm focused and working on new recipes, I tend to forget about the older family favorites. I fell in love with these bars all over again when I made them for our guests a few weeks ago. They were the most talked about dessert and definitely one that I'll be making again, sooner than later.

COOK'S NOTE: Doubling this recipe will perfectly fill a 9x13 pan. Add an additional 5-10 minutes baking time for the crust a doubled recipe and an additional 5-10 minutes for the filling.

Grandma's Coconut Chews
Yield: 12 servings
(printable recipe)

Crust Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour *

Filling Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour *
1 cup shredded coconut

* Gluten Free Substitution:
2/3 brown rice flour (crust)
1/3 cup potato starch (crust)
2 tablespoons brown rice flour (filling)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan with butter or line with parchment. Combine the butter, sugar, and flour for the crust in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes while finishing the rest of the recipe.

Mix together the filling ingredients and pour over the crust. Bake 20 minutes more (25 minutes for the doubled recipe). Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Coconut Chews - traditional and gluten free recipes at

{originally posted 7-6-12 - photos and recipe notes updated 7-11-16}

Here are some more coconut desserts you might like:
Pineapple Coconut Bars by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Black Bottom Coconut Squares by The View from Great Island
Coconut Cream Lush by Melissa's Southern Kitchen
Mini Coconut Pound Cakes by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Pineapple Coconut Cake by Baked By An Introvert
Lime Coconut Snowballs by Two Peas and Their Pod
Coconut Lovers Oatmeal Cookies by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Ultimate Coconut Cream Pie by Cook Crave Inspire


  1. I love the flavor of coconut but I usually can't get passed the texture - these might help get me over that hump! They look divine!!

  2. Coconut is always a welcome addition to desserts, especially when it is featured. These look terrific. Hope you have a nice cool(er) weekend!

  3. I go nuts for anything coconut. These sounds super good!

  4. I'm not a fan of coconut, but these look so good!

  5. Oh I think I will make these tomorrow!! They look delicious!

  6. Why is it I love everything you cook?

  7. Grandmother recipes are unbeatable. Thank you for sharing it! Thanks for including both the gluten free and the original recipe. I'll have to give it a shot sometime.

  8. I am new around your blog :) and I love it..
    I am your new happy follower :D


  9. These look delicious! I will never turn down anything coconut (just love it)!

    I also like that you listed both the gluten-free and regular recipe. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. What is AP Flour

  11. Can you use an all purpose gluten free flour in place of rice flour and potato starch??

    1. For this recipe, that should work fine, Jarrelle. Enjoy!

  12. Allergic to eggs- is there a substitute?

    1. Not to my knowledge. I haven't done much baking with egg substitutes myself. If you do try it, I'd love to know how it works for you.

    2. Vegan Eggs :
      1 TB of golden flax seeds
      3 TB water
      1 pinch Baking Powder

      1)Place Seeds into coffee grinder (dont buy preground powder)
      2) place seed powder in small bowl
      3) add 3 tb of water
      4) allow to sit for 30 min.( it will have thickend slightly)
      5) just before incorporating into a recipe
      6) add the pinch of Baking Powder
      this recipe is the equivalent to ONE LARGE EGG

  13. These look absolutely delicious! Can't wait to make them. I have so many family recipes that go back far, that I love that you shared your grandmother's recipe - thank you!

  14. Thanks for including the GF option. Is the coconut sweetened or unsweetened?

    1. I use sweetened coconut. Enjoy!

  15. These look incredible! Soft, gooey, and chewy, all in one!

  16. These totally do look like a Grandma recipe. Like something she would just have sitting on her counter, you know? Gorgeous photos Mary!

  17. I am so amazed at your recipes, always something different. Thank you for all the Gluten Free, since that is all I eat. These were wonderful, and your tortillas are the only recipe that I have found in years of searching that are good, and I mean really good. I live in Arizona also, any Navajo fry bread in your adjenda? Thank you!

  18. YUMMO! i can see a small handful of dark chocolate chips in the filling!!

  19. Mary, these look delightful! Can't wait to try them! I'm a coconut fan

  20. Made these tonight after seeing how good they looked.Turned out amazing! Shortbread crust is fabulous and buttery.The dessert is not overly sweet-just right!Very easy to make but impressive enough to serve for company.Will definitely make again.May try a thin layer of raspberry jam on the crust under the coconut.