These gluten free coconut cupcakes are topped with a thick and creamy cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut for a delicious dessert any coconut lover will enjoy! If you want a delicious, fluffy cupcake for your next party, this is an easy recipe to make! (There is also a dairy-free version!)

A single coconut cupcake on a small white plate.

The kids and I have been coconut fanatics for years. We like to bake with coconut flour, we are crazy for Almond Joy candy bars, and we try to sneak coconut into lots of recipes like these Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies and these Gluten Free Caramel Magic Bars.

They are topped with creamy cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut. This gluten free coconut cupcake recipe can be used for any holiday. Add white chocolate bunny ears and sprinkle on colorful sprinkles; they are perfect for Easter. For winter, they look just like snowballs. You can also dye the coconut to make monsters for Halloween.

For this recipe, I use unsweetened shredded coconut. There is sugar in the cupcakes and frosting…I think sweetened shredded coconut would tip the scales and make this recipe too sweet.

You will be hooked, too, with one bite of these moist coconut cupcakes! If you love cupcakes as much as we do, you will want to try all of my best gluten free cupcake recipes!

These were delicious! Brought them for a work potluck and everyone said they couldn’t tell they were gluten free because they were so moist!”

Andrea M., Pinterest comment

I made these with 1/3 sugar (trying to cut it out) and used coconut yogurt with bi-carb instead of baking powder and canned coconut milk. They tasted lovely!”

Annie C., Pinterest comment

Allergen Information:

These coconut cupcakes are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and oat-free. You can make them dairy-free using a plant-based butter for the cupcakes and frosting.

Substitutions:

  • If you can’t have xanthan or guar gum, use my DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend. It is gum-free.
  • Make it Dairy-Free – The cupcakes themselves are dairy-free. Use dairy-free cream cheese and plant-based butter to make the frosting.
The coconut cupcakes decorated with white chocolate bunny ears for Easter.
These cupcakes are perfect for decorating!

Unsweetened shredded coconut is also great in my homemade Coconut Macaroons cookies too! If you love all cupcake flavors, you will want to give my sweet Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes a try!

Photos of the coconut cupcakes ingredients.

Ingredient Notes:

For the full list of ingredients and amounts, please go to the recipe card below.

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend- I have tested two gluten free flour blends in this recipe. I liked King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend. This doesn’t mean other blends won’t work; I haven’t tested any others. Try to avoid flour blends that are high in starch.
  • Sugar
  • Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 3/4 teaspoon.
  • Baking Powder (not pictured) – Use aluminum free!
  • Cream Cheese – This is for the cream cheese frosting. Use regular or low-fat.
  • Powdered Sugar – For the frosting.
  • Shredded Coconut – I advise using unsweetened because the cupcakes are sweet enough.
  • Eggs – Use size large eggs.
  • Coconut Milk – This canned coconut milk helps to add coconut flavor. You can use any plant-based milk or regular milk in this recipe.
  • Coconut Oil – You can also use regular oils like canola or avocado.
  • Vanilla – Try not to use imitation.
  • Optional Coconut Extract – If you want more coconut flavor.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter because this is for the frosting.

The rich coconut flavor of these cupcakes comes from using canned coconut milk. It adds a beautiful coconut flavor without making the cupcakes overpowering!

Tips For Sucess

1. Do NOT overmix your batter. I mix my wet and dry ingredients by hand because a stand mixer will overmix the batter.
2. Let your cupcake batter sit for 15-20 minutes. This will make your cupcakes fluffier in texture because the rice flour in the flour blend can soften.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

Cupcake dry ingredients in a silver bowl.

Step 1: Add your dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and use a whisk to blend.

Cupcake wet ingredients in a bowl ready to be mixed.

Step 2: Partially melt the butter for 25 seconds in a microwave-safe dish. Add your wet ingredients to a smaller bowl and whisk to blend. Mix until the batter is just barely mixed. Try not to overmix the batter. Mixing until it is just “barely” mixed will keep your cupcakes light and fluffy.

📢 Sandi says: Every gluten-free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. The brand of gluten-free flour you use will affect the moisture of the batter. If your cake batter is too runny, add more flour, and if it is too thick, add more liquids.
Read Why Gluten-Free Flour Blends Vary to learn more about this.

Cupcake batter in a muffin tin ready to bake.

Step 3: Put paper liners into your muffin tin and fill each 3/4 full of cupcake batter. I hate when my cupcakes stick to the paper, so I prefer to use these parchment paper liners.

Step 4: Bake the cupcakes at 350º F for 20-22 minutes. I like to use the toothpick test to see if my cupcakes are done baking. Insert a toothpick into the middle of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes back clean, the cupcakes are finished baking. If you see crumbs or batter, you must bake the cupcakes a little longer.

Whipped cream cheese frosting in a bowl.

Make the cream cheese frosting and put an ice cream scoop onto each cupcake. Pour the shredded coconut into a bowl. Dip the cupcake upside down so the frosting is in the coconut. Press down to shape the frosting into a rounded mound.

How To Make Chocolate Bunny Ears

Using a silicone mold is really simple when making bunny ears. Melt white chocolate and use a spoon to drop melted chocolate into each bunny’s ear. Use a toothpick to make sure all of the areas are covered. Allow hardening. Twist the silicone mold to release the hardened chocolate bunny ears.

I found the silicone bunny mold I used at Michaels’s store. I tried to find it on Amazon for you, but it seems to be only at Michaels.

My favorite chocolates for melting to make molded chocolate shapes are white chocolate chips or Ghirardelli white chocolate melting wafers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use less sugar?

Yes, you can! One reader used only 1/3 cup of sugar and used vanilla coconut yogurt instead of canned coconut milk.

How do you store these cupcakes?

These cupcakes will last up to 3 days in an airtight container. I recommend freezing the extras without the frosting in a zip-style freezer bag. They thaw perfectly in the microwave or on the counter.

How do you keep cupcakes moist?

The secret to keeping my cupcakes moist, light, and fluffy is not over-mixing the cake batter. I find that over-mixing the batter tends to make denser cupcakes that are more brick-like. I think this happens more with gluten free baking than regular baking.

For more tips and troubleshooting, read my Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide.

A hand holding a cupcake with a bite taken out.
As you can see inside, these gluten free coconut cupcakes are moist and delicious inside.

If you love coconut, I have a few incredible gluten free coconut recipes! Serve these cupcakes with a scoop of this fresh Pineapple Sorbet!

I made these coconut cupcakes! My husband and I loved them, very moist 😊”

Connie S., Pinterest comment

More Gluten Free Cupcake Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A single coconut cupcake on a small white plate.

Gluten Free Coconut Cupcakes

Sandi Gaertner
A moist and delicious gluten free coconut cupcake topped with a cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut.
4.91 from 10 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 15 days
Total Time 15 days 35 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cake Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 525 kcal

Ingredients
  

For Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned full fat coconut milk

For Frosting and Decorations

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F. Set out your butter and cream cheese to ensure they are at room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
  • In a smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk to blend.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just barely mixed.
  • Add cupcake liners to a muffin tin and fill each 3/4 full with cupcake batter.
  • Bake 20-22 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.
  • Add your butter, cream cheese, and vanilla to a mixer. Whip until creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add water slowly so your frosting doesn’t get too soft.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to put frosting on each cupcake. Dip the cupcake upsidedown into the shredded coconut to top each.

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend in this recipe. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. Don’t over-mix your cupcake batter, it will make your cupcakes denser.
  4. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the donut. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cupcakes need to bake longer.
  5. These cupcakes will keep up to 4 days in an airtight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 525kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 170mgPotassium: 153mgFiber: 3gSugar: 62gVitamin A: 530IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This post was updated from an older March 2020 post with more recipe details.

4.91 from 10 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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12 Comments

  1. Hi I’m making this muffin now- and I’m really looking forward to eating it😍
    4 ½ cups powdered sugar- I wonder if should be 1 1/2? I only used 1 cup and it’s enough☺️

  2. 4 stars
    These have the most amazing flavor, but my cupcakes fell as soon as I took them out of the oven. Inside the oven they were slightly domes and beautiful. I set them gently on the stove and they shrank in size. any tips on how to keep this from happening?

    1. Hi Tiffany, It would help me if you shared more details because I haven’t had any reports from readers of this happening. What flour blend did you use, and did you substitute any ingredients? Also, did you open the oven door while they were baking?

  3. My son is newly diagnosed and his birthday approaches. He’s grieving his favorite coconut cake. Can this be made as a cake instead of cupcakes?

  4. I have a couple of questions. Can I use coconut extract instead of vanilla or would it be too much? When you state a stick of butter for the frosting, how much is that in tablespoons?

    Thank you for your time.
    Cynthia