From pancakes to porridge to pudding, coconut flakes can take your favorite desserts and breakfast foods to the next level. And they can even help bring a delicious touch of sweetness to savory dishes, too. But while shredded coconut is delicious as it is, if you haven’t tried toasting it yet, let this be your sign to give it a go—your tastebuds will thank you. 

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How to toast coconut 

Toasted coconut consists is simply shredded white coconut meat (taken from the center of the fruit) that has been heated until it turns golden brown. This process enhances its natural nutty flavor and gives it a deliciously crispy texture, too.

There are a few ways to go about toasting coconut. One way is to spread out flakes or shreds—which you can buy from most grocery stores and even on Amazon—on a baking sheet, and place them in the oven or toaster oven. Recipe blog My Baking Addiction recommends preheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, before spreading it out into a thin layer. 

“Bake for five to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to help the flakes toast evenly,” reads the blog post. “As soon as the coconut is toasted to your liking, move it to a bowl to cool and stop the cooking process.”

Alternatively, you can toast coconut in a pan on the stovetop. This is the fastest way to turn the flakes crispy and brown, and it can happen in just a few minutes, so just make sure to keep a very close eye on them to stop them from burning.

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The benefits of toasted coconut

Coconut is a fruit, so it is considered to be a healthy addition to most diets. It contains antioxidants, as well as important minerals such as manganese, copper, selenium, and iron. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber, which is particularly beneficial for gut health. Its high-fat content also makes it a gut-healthy choice.

“Coconut is relatively high in fat, which helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins D, E, A, and K,” Kelly Springer, MS, RD, CDN told Real Simple. “This is important because vitamins D and K may be associated with a more diverse, and therefore more resilient, gut microbiome.”

That said, it’s still important to consume coconut in moderation because most of its fat content is saturated fat, which may increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Concerning coconut oil, which is oil derived from coconut meat, dietitian Victoria Taylor wrote for the British Heart Foundation: “There has been speculation that some of the saturated fat present in coconut oil may be better for us than other saturated fats, but so far there is not enough good-quality research to provide us with a definitive answer.”

How to use toasted coconut: 7 vegan recipes to try

Toasted coconut can add a delicious taste and texture to many recipes. If you’re feeling inspired to cook or bake with it more, here are just a few of our favorites. 

VegNews.TomatoCoconutSoup2Nourish Books

1 Silky Vegan Coconut Tomato Soup

Enhanced with coconut milk and lime juice, this silky soup exudes tropical flavors. But, when topped with shredded toasted coconut and chives and served alongside garlicky sourdough toast, it’s a warm and comforting winter treat.
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VegNews.Pancakes1Kiki Nelson

2 Vegan Blueberry Vanilla Pancakes

Easily customizable with banana slices, chocolate chips, or toasted coconut (or a combination of all three!), these whole wheat pancakes promise a hearty, flavorful start to your day. Top with blueberries and maple syrup for the perfect breakfast treat.
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VegNews.StrawberriesOatSarah Bond

3 Vegan Strawberries and Cream Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

Strawberries and cream isn’t just a dessert treat. This protein-rich porridge, which features a tasty mix of fresh strawberries and vanilla soy milk, makes for a delicious and nutritious breakfast option—especially when topped with with plenty of toasted coconut.
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VegNews.BreakfastRicePuddingCeline Steen

4 Vegan Pomegranate-Pineapple Breakfast Rice Pudding

Creamy jasmine rice infused with coconut milk, agave, and spices, topped with a vibrant blend of strawberries, pomegranate, pineapple, and crystallized ginger, makes for a morning dish that’s hard to beat. Toasted coconut flakes are the perfect finishing touch.
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VegNews.YogurtBarkKaty Beskow

5 Vegan Fruity Frozen Yogurt Bark

This fruity frozen bark, sweetened with maple syrup, features a tropical blend of banana, coconut, kiwi, and toasted flaked coconut. Freeze for a super refreshing summertime treat.
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6 Cheery Vegan Lemon Curd Coconut Tarts

Featuring a date-buckwheat crust, these zesty lemon curd heart-shaped tarts are made with coconut milk and turmeric, and crowned with toppings like toasted flaked coconut, lemon rind, and lemon slices. They’re a delightful indulgence, perfect for date night.
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VegNews.TrufflesAndrew Burton

7 Vegan Coconut Bounty Truffles

These delectable treats, coated in dark chocolate, feature a rich coconut blend. Enhance them with variations like roasted pecans or, in this case, a delightful touch of toasted coconut flakes.
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