I have a Latin American recipe that calls for grated coconut in heavy syrup. Apparently, you can commonly buy it in cans in Latin America, but not here in the USA. Can I substitute some mixture of dry coconut and syrup? What kind of syrup, in what ratio?

I have some sweetened dry coconut and light corn syrup on hand; if there's a way to make it work with those, that would be great, but if not that's OK too :)

  • 3
    The recipe of what you are making might help us to answer your question. Also, can you get fresh coconut?
    – Jolenealaska
    Mar 30, 2016 at 6:07
  • @Jolenealaska I'm making Cuban Pastelitos de Coco. I can't find a from-scratch recipe online to show you; I'm looking at a recipe book. Essentially it's a puff pastry with a coconut filling. The filling is nothing but the coconut in syrup.
    – Cheezey
    Mar 30, 2016 at 21:33

3 Answers 3


Typically when things are "canned in syrup" it's cane sugar and water.

I'd guess soak dried coconut in water (or coconut water) to rehydrate it; drain & save excess water, add twice as much sugar (volume or weight as you like, close enough to the same) as water, heat to dissolve, add coconut back to it, stir - should be close-ish.

  • It is not necessary to rehydrate the coconut, just adjust the volume of water when making the filling Nov 4, 2021 at 10:45

As a Latin American, we usually use fresh grated coconut, water and sugar to make this type of filling for sweets. If fresh grated coconut is not available, desiccated grated coconut is fine, we just adjust the amount of water when making the filling to reach the desired consistency

This recipe for the sweet calls for 150g of desiccated coconut for 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. 1 cup is typically 240mL, or 8 fl. oz.


Have you tried coconut cream? It is a lot thicker than coconut juice/milk. that should be a good substitute for the syrup.

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