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Quick and Easy Old Fashioned Coconut Ice Recipe

Indulge in the sweetness of Old Fashioned Coconut Ice with Condensed Milk. This easy-to-make treat is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth or as a homemade gift. With just a few simple ingredients and minimal preparation, you can enjoy the rich coconut flavour and creamy texture of this classic British confection. If you love Bounty Bars with its coconut flavour, you’ll love this recipe!

A stack of coconut ice on a cake stand.

What Makes This Recipe Great!

  • No-Bake – This version of Coconut Ice does not require any baking.
  • Make with Kids – It’s quick and easy to make, therefore get the kids involved too.
  • Great for parties and gifts – Once it’s ready, slice it up and package in little gift bags as a great homemade gift. Or change the colours for a party and serve.

About This Recipe – In More Detail

Transport yourself back to the sweet memories of your childhood with my easy Coconut Ice recipe.

This super easy, no-bake treat is not only a delicious indulgence but also a perfect gift idea for loved ones. Just like these Maltesers Slices or Chocolate Coated Cinder Toffee that are also no bake. Its versatility allows you to customise the colours, making it a charming addition to themed parties or bake sales.

With just a few ingredients, including the option to omit certain ones, it’s not only a nostalgic treat but also a cost-effective confectionery option. Plus, it stores well and can even be frozen, allowing you to prepare a generous batch to enjoy in the months ahead. You can also make these Ginger Crunch Bars ahead of time and freeze too!

All it takes is a little patience as you let it set in the fridge before enjoying this timeless classic confectionery. Gather your family and friends and relish the nostalgic delight of homemade Coconut Ice.

A overhead view of the sliced Coconut Ice on its side showing the two layers.

Equipment Needed

  • Large Mixing Bowl: A medium-sized bowl to mix the ingredients together.
  • Square Baking Dish: A 20/20cm (8x8inch) square or rectangular baking dish of similar size to set the coconut ice mixture.
  • Parchment Paper: To line the baking dish and prevent the coconut ice from sticking.
  • Weighing Scales: For accurate measurement of ingredients.
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: To mix the ingredients and spread the coconut mixture in the baking dish.
  • Knife: To cut the coconut ice into squares or bars once it has set.


  • Icing Sugar – Sometimes known as confectioners sugar. For the best results, use pure icing sugar rather than icing sugar mixture. Icing sugar mixture contains a small amount of cornflour and can sometimes affect how the end results turn out. You might find that it doesn’t set as well when using icing sugar mixture. However, if you don’t have pure icing sugar or find it hard to buy, you can blend granulated sugar until it becomes powder-like in consistency.
  • Cream of Tartar – This is a white powder you usually find in the baking section of the supermarket. Cream of tartar is often added to confectionary items to provide stabilisation and prevent sugar crystals from forming. We use it here to help stiffen the coconut ice, but if you cannot find any, you can leave it out.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This caramel like ingredient adds a creamy, milky flavour to our coconut ice. It is usually found in cans and is made from cows milk which has been reduced to remove a lot of the water content. It is usually sweetened with sugar. The sweetened version is what you should use for this recipe.
  • Vanilla Extract – I add a little concentrated vanilla flavour to our coconut ice to compliment the other ingredients and add an extra depth of flavour. You can omit it if you wish.
  • Desiccated Coconut – This is a product usually found in the baking aisle of the supermarket and shouldn’t be confused with shredded coconut. Shredded coconut is not a good substitute as it’s usually sold in thin strands rather than being ground more finely like desiccated coconut and contains more liquid content.
  • Pink Food Colouring – Traditionally coconut ice is layered in a pink and white layer. However, you don’t need to use food colouring if you don’t wish to. You can also use other colours if you desire to match a party theme perhaps or make a rainbow bowl of sweet treats for variation.

Additions Variations and Substitutions

  • Chocolate Infusion: Melt some dark chocolate, white or milk chocolate and either drizzle it over the Coconut Ice or coat small squares of coconut ice once they are set for a decadent chocolatey twist.
  • Vegan Version: Use vegan condensed milk or substitute it with coconut condensed milk for a dairy-free and vegan-friendly Coconut Ice.
  • Coloured Delights: Swap out the pink layer and experiment with different food colouring options to create vibrant and eye-catching Coconut Ice in various shades. Perfect for themed parties or special occasions.

Step-By-Step Guide – How To Make Old-Fashioned Coconut Ice With Condensed Milk

Step 1: Sift the icing sugar

  • In a large bowl, sift the icing sugar with the cream of tartar to remove any lumps.

Step 2: Mix the condensed milk and vanilla extract

  • Add the vanilla extract to the condensed milk and mix together.
A hand is tapping the side of a sieve to sift the icing sugar inside it.
A hand is adding vanilla extract to a bowl of condensed milk which is sat next to a wooden bowl containing sifted icing sugar.

Step 3: Combine condensed milk with icing sugar

  • Pour the condensed milk into the icing sugar slowly. Mix together until a thick paste is formed.
A hand is pouring the condensed milk into the icing sugar.
A hand is using a pink spatula to mix the icing sugar and condensed milk together.

Step 4: Add coconut

  • Add the coconut to the mixture and mix again. It will be firm and stiff, which is normal. If it’s too wet, the coconut ice won’t set. You can use a stand mixer for ease if desired.

Step 5: Divide the mixture

  • Divide the mixture into two different bowls.
A hand is adding a white bowlful of desiccated coconut to the wet ingredients.
A hand is using a pink spatula to milk the coconut ice ingredients together.

Step 6: Add pink food colouring

  • Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the second bowl. Use concentrated gel colouring for a vibrant colour.

Step 7: Mix the pink half

  • Mix the pink half until the colour has completely covered the mixture.

Step 8: Line a baking tin

  • Line a 20cm baking tin with baking paper.
A hand is adding pink food colouring to half of the coconut ice mixture.
A hand is using a pink spatula to mix the pink colour into the coconut ice.

Step 9: Press in the white mixture

  • Firmly press the white mixture into the tin, ensuring it is even and contains no air bubbles or gaps. Use your hands, the back of a spoon or a spatula for this step.

Step 10: Press in the pink mixture

  • Press the pink mixture down in the same way as before, layering it on top of the white mixture.
A hand is using a blue spatula to press down the first white layer of coconut ice into a lined baking tin.
A hand is using a pink spatula to press down the pink layer on top of the white layer of coconut ice.

Step 11: Chill in the fridge

  • Place the coconut ice in the fridge and allow it to chill and set for approximately 2 hours until it is completely firm.

Step 12: Remove from the tin

  • Once set, remove the coconut ice from the fridge and lift it out of the tin.

Step 13: Cut into squares

  • Using a sharp knife, cut the coconut ice into squares, adjusting the size as desired.
A hand is finishing pressing down the top layer of the old fashioned coconut ice.
A hand is using a knife to cut the set coconut ice slab into squares.

Note: Ensure the icing sugar is well-sifted to avoid lumps in the final mixture. Take care when pressing the mixture into the tin to create an even and compact layer. Allow sufficient chilling time for the coconut ice to set properly before cutting into squares.


How long will Coconut Ice keep?

It is best kept in the fridge in an airtight container. It will store this way for around 2 weeks.

Can Coconut Ice be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze Coconut Ice in an airtight container if you wish to extend its shelf life. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen Coconut Ice in the fridge before serving.

Can I substitute condensed milk with another ingredient?

Condensed milk plays a crucial role in the texture and sweetness of Coconut Ice. I don’t recommend to substitute it with other ingredients as it may affect the final result. However, if you have specific dietary restrictions, you can explore alternative condensed milk options such as dairy-free or vegan versions.

Why won’t my Coconut Ice set?

This is usually due to incorrect measurements or not leaving it for long enough in the fridge. However, it can be down to the ingredients, some brands of sugar and coconut will work better than others. Before setting, the mixture should be very stiff when mixing. I recommend adding some more of the dry ingredients if your mixture is too wet before you begin to set it in the fridge.

Square bars of coconut ice sit in a diagonal row.

Pro Tips and Guidance

  • Make it Vegan – Vegan condensed milk is available in some supermarkets and can be used as a substitute for those following a vegan diet.
  • Make it in a stand mixer – To save your muscles you can also mix the ingredients in a stand mixer.
  • Sift the Icing Sugar: To ensure a smooth and lump-free mixture, sift the icing sugar before adding it to the condensed milk. This step helps to eliminate any clumps and results in a silky texture.
  • Make sure the mixture is very stiff – Before you press it into your tin, the mixture needs to be stiff. If you find yours is too wet and sticky, add some more of the dry ingredients until you achieve the required consistency. Be sure to measure your ingredients properly and use a concentrated food colouring so that you don’t add too much liquid. However, sometimes brands can vary and affect the results so it’s most important to look at the consistency overall.
  • Colour it any way you want – For the most traditional version, make the layers pink and white. But there is nothing stopping you from colouring the coconut ice however you like. For festive seasons, choose a green and red food colouring. For Pride, go for rainbow colours! Or, you can also leave it completely white if you’d prefer. It will still taste great!
  • Firming up the Coconut Ice: After pressing the Coconut Ice mixture into the prepared tin, place it in the fridge to set for about 2-3 hours. For faster results, you can also pop it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Chilling helps the mixture firm up and makes it easier to cut into neat squares.
  • Cutting Neat and Even Pieces: Before slicing the Coconut Ice, run a sharp knife under hot water and wipe it dry. The warm knife will glide through the chilled Coconut Ice, resulting in clean and tidy slices. Repeat this step between each cut for best results.
A pile of Coconut Ice with a line trailing off behind it.

Storing Old Fashioned Coconut Ice

  • Storage: Once you have sliced the Coconut Ice, it’s best to store it in the fridge. Place the slices in an airtight container or a sealed bag to maintain their freshness. Properly stored, Coconut Ice can last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. The chilled environment helps the slices maintain their shape and texture.
  • Freezing: If you have a large batch of Coconut Ice or want to make it ahead of time, you can freeze it for future. Before freezing, ensure the Coconut Ice is fully set and cut it into desired portions. Place the slices in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Properly frozen, Coconut Ice can keep for around 3 months.
  • Defrosting: To thaw the frozen Coconut Ice, transfer the slices from the freezer to the refrigerator and let them defrost slowly. This process helps maintain the texture and flavour of the treat. Once thawed, the Coconut Ice is ready to be enjoyed as a little treat.

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An overhead view of the coconut ice bars. A hand holds one to the camera for a close up.

Quick and Easy Old Fashioned Coconut Ice Recipe

5 from 9 votes
An nostalgic recipe for a sweet treat, this quick and easy old-fashioned coconut ice with condensed milk is super easy to make and the whole family will simply love it.
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Course: Dessert, party, Snack
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Servings: 25 Squares
Calories: 217kcal


  • 420 g Icing Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 397 g Can of Condensed Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 380 g Desiccated Coconut
  • Pink Food Colouring


  • Sift the icing sugar with the cream of tartar into a large bowl.
  • Pour in the condensed milk and vanilla extract, then mix the ingredients together until they form a thick paste.
  • Add the desiccated coconut and mix again. The mixture should be firm and stiff to ensure it sets properly. If you have difficulty mixing, consider using a stand mixer.
  • Divide the mixture into two separate bowls.
  • Add a few drops of pink food colouring to one half of the mixture and thoroughly mix until it turns pink.
  • Line a 20cm square baking tin with parchment paper.
  • Take the white mixture and press it down firmly and evenly into the lined tin.
  • Take the pink mixture and press it down firmly on top of the white mixture.
  • Chill the coconut ice in the fridge for approximately 2 hours, or until it becomes firm.
  • Remove the coconut ice from the fridge and lift it out of the tin.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the coconut ice into small squares. You have the flexibility to make them as big or small as you desire.


Recipe Notes

  • Vegan Option: Use vegan condensed milk as a substitute for a vegan-friendly version.
  • Stand Mixer Convenience: Save time and effort by mixing the ingredients in a stand mixer.
  • Sifted Icing Sugar: Sift the icing sugar to ensure a smooth, lump-free mixture.
  • Achieve the Right Consistency: The mixture should be very stiff before pressing it into the tin. Adjust the dry ingredients if it’s too wet or sticky.
  • Get Creative with Colours: Customise the colours of your Coconut Ice by using different food colourings or leave it white for a classic look.
  • Firming Up: Place the tin in the refrigerator or freezer to help the Coconut Ice firm up before cutting.
  • Neat and Even Slices: Run a sharp knife under hot water and wipe it dry before each cut for clean and tidy slices.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 42IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

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