Coconut Ice Pops

Coconut Ice Pops

Growing up in New Jersey, I spent many summers on Long Beach Island (yes… the Jersey Shore).  I would wake up early each morning, have breakfast then walk several blocks from my Aunt’s house to the beach before any of my other family members.  I would seriously spend all day at the beach reading, listening to music, tanning, walking along the coast, bodysurfing, etc.  My family would arrive late morning carrying a cooler packed with Italian sandwiches, fresh fruit and cold sodas.  One of my favorite beach traditions occurred later in the afternoon.  Amidst the quiet chatter of family and the sound of crashing waves, I would hear a faint ringing in the distance.  My eyes darted to the dunes behind me to see the ice cream man vigorously shaking a leather strap studded with clunky jingle bells.  In a matter of moments, I was up and running full speed towards the ice cream truck parked on the street, desperately trying to be first in line before the hoards of other children running in the same direction.  Awkwardly dancing about to avoid burning my feet on the hot pavement, I ordered my favorite cold confection.  The Coconut Ice Pop.  Nothing felt better than walking past the line of envious onlookers gleefully enjoying each bite of cool, refreshing coconut.

This recipe for Coconut Ice Pops is not an exact copy of the typical ones found in an ice cream truck.  I decided to put a San Diego spin on the classic with the addition of Mexican cinnamon.  These pops are essentially frozen coconut horchata.  The flavor is pure, light and oh so delicious.  You can make “adult” versions of these pops by adding a little dark or spiced rum.  Continue reading for the recipe below.  Also, I have included an Instagram collage of my recent trip back to the East Coast.

Coconut Shells

Here is a collection of Instagram photos from my recent trip to the East Coast.  I started in my hometown of Hillsborough, NJ then visited Poughkeepsie, New York City, Princeton and Gettysburg connecting with old friends, family and memories.  If you are on Instagram please come find me @brandiego.  If you are not on Instagram, you can check out my photo stream here [with captions and locations].

East Coast Trip 1 East Coast Trip 2 East Coast Trip 2 East Coast Trip 4

Well that’s it for my vacation photos.  Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a quick tip on preparing coconut.  I made several batches of these Coconut Ice Pops and found a super simple way to remove the brown skin from the coconut flesh.  The secret?  A vegetable peeler!  After baking the coconut and removing the outer shell, easily cut away the skin with a peeler without wasting too much of the beautiful coconut meat.

Coconut Flesh


4.8 from 4 reviews
Coconut Ice Pops
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12 to 16 pops
  • 1 coconut
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon (preferably Mexican canela)
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum (optional)
  1. Preheat an oven to 325°F. Using a hammer and screwdriver, carefully pierce the three eyes of the coconut. Empty the coconut water into a glass or pitcher and save for another use. Be sure to get as much liquid out as possible.
  2. Place the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and cook until it begins to crack (35 - 40 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool. Using a hammer, smash open the coconut. Separate the flesh from the outer brown shell with your hands (or carefully pry with a knife). Using a vegetable peeler, cut about 16 long, thin strips from the largest piece of coconut flesh you have. Place the strips in a small bowl and toss with a small pinch of kosher salt. Set aside. Peel the thin brown skin from remaining coconut. Shred cleaned coconut using a hand grater or food processor.
  3. Place shredded coconut in a blender with boiling water (work in batches if needed) then blend until smooth. While the coconut is blending, set a basket strainer over a medium bowl and line with a layer of cheesecloth. Once smooth, pour the mixture through the strainer. Fold up the sides of the cheesecloth around the solids and squeeze out as much juice as possible. Discard solids.
  4. In a large saucepan combine strained coconut liquid, milk, sugar and cinnamon, stirring to combine and dissolve sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if needed. Let cool to room temperature then pour through a fine mesh basket strainer into a large measuring cup or pitcher. Stir in the spiced rum if using.
  5. Place one strip of salted coconut into each ice pop mold. Pour in coconut mixture and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. My pops froze in approximately 4 hours.



  1. Jorge says

    The flavor of horchata in an ice pop is amazing! That flavor reminds me of the little Paleta carts that would always hang around the school doors when the day was over. It was always a battle to convince mom to buy one for me, a battle usually lost. If I ever got my wish on a hot spring or summer day, I would pick peanut or horchata.

  2. says

    Brandon, first congrats on the Marsh Madness win! I knew you were stiff competition in my bracket and then you went on to take the whole contest…woohoo for you!

    The trip. I was so happy looking at your Instagram pics and was loving them all! Milk Bar…I just started in this group called Milk Bar Mondays where we are all cooking something from the cookbook so when I saw you were there, I was jealz.

    Horchata rocks and I made some and linked you up a week or two ago. These ice pops sound…amazing!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Averie!!

      Yes, you will definitely have to visit Milk if you go to NYC. The Crack Pie was sooo good. Is there a recipe for those cornflake cookies in that cookbook? They were my favorite – would love to recreate.

      I briefly saw your article during the craziness leading up to my trip. I am just catching up on my google reader this week, so I’ll spend some more time on Averie Cooks soon. I remember the pictures looking awesome!! Thanks for the mention :)

  3. says

    Oh man. I can already envision having these on my new deck when my family comes into town soon. I can’t wait to make these. Thanks! And, as always, I love the photos!!

  4. says

    Great shots and love the coconut ice pops. Next time in NY let me know. I am in the West Village/Soho area and I am crazy about the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.

  5. says

    First of all, terrific photo collage! Secondly, I’m totally intimidated with dealing with a coconut. Put a vegetable peeler in the mix and I just know my knuckles would suffer! Finally, these pops are so tempting that I may have to give it or try … or bribe my husband to attack the coconut! Great post, Brandon!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Susan!! Working with a whole coconut can be intimidating with all of the smashing, prying and hammering. Maybe try picking up a few extras to practice? The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become :)

  6. Auntie says

    I Remember Grandma buying a coconut…only she didn’t bake it. Her method of opening it was simple. Uncle Joe and I would toss it out the second story window and watch as it hit the pavement below and then raced down the stairs to pick up the pieces. More fun than baking it in the oven. BTW – we did pierce the shell with a screw driver and hammer first to get the milk. Thanks for the memories!!! Great recipe. U can make it next time u visit LBI.

  7. says

    I am loving these coconut ice pops. For me coconut is sheer decadence. Something about it just sings to me. Love all the photos. The one with puppy is my fave.

  8. says

    YUM! I have a weak spot for coconut….these sound absolutely delicious! And as a fellow NJ native, this has me feeling oddly nostaligic about summers at the shore.

    Happy to have found your blog today and looking forward to following along!

  9. says

    Glad I stumbled upon your site. I enjoyed reading through a bit over coffee this morning. I’ll be back. Cool to find out you grew up in Hillsbourgh. I grew up in Manville. I’m now in Little Rock, AR.

  10. says

    Omg I am obsessed with coconut popsicles!!! I used to get one every single day from the ice cream truck after middle school! Also, love the East Coast – so different from CA!

  11. Trader Joes Recipe says

    Yum, I haven’t tried these popsicles in years. Thanks for the memories and recipe.

  12. says

    When I deal with coconut milk I always have the problem of the fat, which solidifies and separates, giving a grainy mixture. Do you filter and throw away any fat (and with it a lot of richness) or you do have some way to incorporate it?

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Mario, I blend coconut with milk rather than using canned coconut milk. After straining and flavoring, I immediately fill the ice pop molds. Haven’t had any issues with separation. Hope this helps!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Whitney, I’m sure that substitution would work, but I’ve never tried it, so I’m not 100% sure how much you would use. Perhaps start with 2 cans of coconut milk (full fat), and add sugar to taste.


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