Coconut Barfi is an easy Indian sweet that is made with desiccated coconut, milk, sugar and khoya. It is prepared during the festive season or other special occasions. This coconut barfi recipe is guaranteed to give you moist, soft and perfectly set barfi.
What is Coconut Barfi?
Coconut Barfi is also known as Nariyal Barfi, Kopra Pak in Gujarati, Thengai Barfi in Tamil or tenginakayi burfi in South India. It is an easy Indian sweet recipe made from coconut and milk and comes together in minutes.
The texture of the barfi is similar to eating a bounty. It is moist and soft and full of coconut flavor
Just because this recipe is easy doesn’t mean it should fool you into thinking the flavours will be basic! This barfi has the most INCREDIBLE tropical flavour with the fresh taste of coconut.
The addition of mawa adds a creamy richness making these too irresistible to stop at one!
This traditional Indian sweet can be presented in a variety of ways. You will often find layered coconut barfi – creamy white and pink on top. (A bit like an Indian Angel Slice or Coconut Ice!) This top pink layer is most often flavoured with rose, creating a Rose Coconut Barfi
Traditional Coconut Burfi is made by cooking the desiccated coconut with milk and sugar, but you can also make an Instant Coconut Burfi using condensed milk.
Why you should make this recipe
Perfect for those new to Indian sweets – the techniques are relatively simple for those looking for easy recipes
Made with basic ingredients – ingredients are easy to find in most South Asian supermarkets or easily online
This recipe gets you perfect results every single time, tasting just like that found in Indian sweet shops – it is soft and moist.
A quick barfi for any Indian festivals or special occasion
Here is the list of ingredients you need for nariyal ki barfi. Full measurements can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Desiccated coconut – this is essentially dried grated coconut. Dry desiccated coconut comes in medium and fine. Fine is better. If you buy medium, you can pulse quickly to make the grain smaller.
Sugar – I used white sugar. You can increase or decrease the sugar to adjust to your sweetness
Milk – you will need whole milk / full-fat milk for the best results. Milk keeps the barfi soft and prevents it from becoming dry and crumbly.
Check out my 19 plus Best Indian Milk Desserts post contain plus 9 uncommon recipes.
Mawa – you can make homemade mawa using milk powder or ricotta cheese. You can also buy mawa or khoya in South Asian grocery stores (dairy section). Mawa adds a richness and creaminess to the barfi mixture. If you do not want to use mawa, use 1/4 cup of heavy cream. You can also directly add the same quantity of milk powder instead of mawa.
Ghee – I use homemade ghee made from unsalted butter but you can use any desi ghee. Vegetable ghee is another option, but the flavour of pure butter ghee is much better
Cardamom Powder – I like to use green cardamom powder but you can use black cardamom powder also
Rose water – use either rose water or rose extract. If you can only find rose syrup, use that but the barfi will be pink in colour.
Vark – this is edible silver foil. You can easily find it online but check it is suitable for vegetarians
Vegan Coconut Barfi
For vegan nariyal ki barfi, use coconut milk and vegetable ghee in direct replacement of the milk and butter ghee
The plain white coconut barfi is perfect as it is but also a canvas for a variety of flavours and colours!
You can make a double layered coconut barfi by adding a top pink layer that is flavoured with rose to make a rose coconut layered barfi. You will need rose syrup or rose extract and red food colouring to achieve this. Half the coconut mixture once it is cooked. In a separate bowl, add a few tablespoons of pink rose syrup or a few drops of red food colour. The mixture should become a pale pink. Pat down this pink layer onto the white layer.
Add a layer of chocolate ganache or simply drizzle over melted chocolate. You can also dip refrigerated coconut barfi into melted dark, milk or white chocolate to make homemade Indian bounty!
Alternatively, add a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder.
Add saffron to the mixture as it is cooking to infuse lovely flavour and colour.
Add pistachios and green food colouring to the barfi mixture to make pistachio flavoured coconut barfi
Have you tried my Pistachio and Chocolate Barfi?
How to make Coconut Barfi
follow the step by step photos for the best coconut barfi. Full ingredients and method in the recipe card below.
Grease a plate or tray using a dab of ghee. Alternatively, line with parchment paper. Hang some parchment paper over the sides so it is easy to lift the barfi out directly. Keep aside for later.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat a tablespoon ghee.
Add the desiccated coconut and lightly toast it. Do not cook on high heat – we do not want the coconut to brown. Keep a medium-low flame
To the pan and cooked coconut, add the sugar and milk together and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves and a sugar syrup forms.
Add the grated khoya to the milky coconut mixture. If the mixture seems too dry, add a tablespoon of milk at a time.
Mix well and cook the coconut mixture on a low heat until it begins to leave the sides of the pan and thickens. Keep continuously stirring to prevent the mixture burning.
A way of checking to see if the mixture has cooked well is to take a small pinch of it and roll it into a ball between your thumb and finger. If a ball forms, the mixture is cooked.
The time taken to cook varies between ingredients and the pan, so assess your barfi mixture as you go.
Add rose extract and mix in well.
Pour the cooked coconut burfi mixture into the tray and pack it tightly. Spread it evenly using a spatula in a single layer.
Once it cools, cut into your desired shape (I chose square pieces). You may have to clean your knife in between cutting to prevent sticking. Press the knife directly down rather than a forward-back motion to keep the cut as clean as possible.
Garnish with rose petals and nuts. I prefer to stick the silver leaf after cutting into slices. If you add the silver leaf before cutting, a lot of it sticks to the knife and therefore wastes the product. Edible silver is too expensive to waste!
Note that coconut barfi should have a softer set compared to plain barfi. If coconut barfi is too dry, it will stick in the throat.
You can use fresh or frozen grated coconut. It may require additional cooking time as fresh contains more moisture.
Do not cook the coconut flakes on high heat because they will brown and burn.
Keep stirring continuously. The mixture will stick to the bottom of the pan if left unattended.
Adjust the amount of sugar added to your taste and sweetness level.
If the barfi is too soft, add the mixture back to the pan and gently cook until some of the excess moisture evaporates.
Coconut Barfi has a softer set compared to other mithai such as so do not expect it to be hard.
Coconut Barfi is often served during occasions such as Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Raksha Bandhan, Navratri or Janmashtami.
Serve it at room temperature for the best flavour and texture. You can add it to a mithai box as part of a gift.
Barfi is great to make in advance and store until it’s ready to serve.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Keep away from harsh smells or odours.
You can also freeze coconut barfi – place the barfi squares on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-proof container/bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
Allow to thaw at room temperature. Do not refreeze once defrosted.
Coconut barfi and coconut ladoo have the same technique and ingredients. The only difference is how they are shaped
You will need approximately 20-30 minutes to cook the barfi mixture.
No. Coconut Barfi keeps well at room temperature for a couple of days if stored in a clean, dry container.
No, coconut barfi is not healthy. Coconut Barfi is made with plenty of sugar, mawa and whole milk. It should be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
This could be because the mixture has not been cooked for long enough or too much milk was added. Transfer the barfi mixture back to the pan and cook off the extra moisture. You can also add a little milk powder or desiccated coconut to absorb the extra moisture.
This is because the barfi mixture is too dry. Add it back to the pan and add milk to soften it up, then set it again in the tray.
Other Barfi/Burfi Recipes
- 1 heavy bottomed pan
- 1 greased baking tray
- 250 grams desiccated coconut
- 150 grams mawa
- 300 grams sugar
- 250 mls milk whole milk
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp rose extract
- 3 leaves silver foil
- 1 tbsp nut slivers
- 1 tbsp rose petals
- In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and coconut250 grams desiccated coconut, 3 tbsp ghee
- Gently roast the coconut on low heat without browning the coconut
- Pour the milk and sugar into the pan and continue to stir250 mls milk, 300 grams sugar
- Add grated mawa and mix well150 grams mawa
- Keep cooking this mixture on medium to low heat until it forms a mass and starts leaving the sides of the pan
- Add the rose extract/rose essence/rose syrup and mix well1 tsp rose extract
- Prepare a greased tray. Pour the coconut mixture into the tray and pack tightly. Smooth the top of the barfi with a spatula
- Allow to cool
- Once cooled and set, take the barfi out of the pan and cut into squares
- Decorate with silver foil, chopped nuts and rose petals3 leaves silver foil, 1 tbsp nut slivers, 1 tbsp rose petals
The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator/plugin. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.
Note – This recipe has been updated from our recipe archives with new images and content, but the recipe remains the same. First time published in September 2016.