This Coconut Syrup is just like the kind they serve over pancakes and waffles in Hawaii! It is thick and rich and supremely coconut-y. Plus: stupid easy. Perfect for a lazy Mother’s Day! Originally published May 5, 2015.

homemade coconut syrup in a mason jar.
Table of Contents
  1. This Coconut Syrup Recipe takes me right back to Hawaii
  2. Creative ways to use Hawaiian Coconut Syrup
  3. Coconut Pancake Syrup ingredients 
  4. Coconut Syrup Recipe variations and substitutions
  5. How to make Coconut Syrup 
  6. How to store Hawaiian Coconut Syrup
  7. Hawaii Coconut Syrup FAQs
  8. Coconut Syrup Recipe Recipe

I got coconut syrup in my hair today. In my bangs, actually. Apparently I run my fingers through my bangs to sweep them out of my eyes like every 10 seconds. I never really noticed that I did this before, but it’s hard not to take note when your fingers keep getting caught in the now-dried, hours-old coconut syrup that you still haven’t washed out of your hair.

This is probably why I get looks at the grocery store. Not only are my children disheveled, but their mother looks like someone who’s been playing with her food. Shamefully accurate.

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a jar of homemade coconut syrup.

I probably had BBQ sauce or frosting on my face the other day at the store, too. It would explain why my cashier was checking out my kids to see if she needed to call the cops. I had my nephew with me, who had had a nasty run-in with the edge of a counter. The first day I saw it, it was just a knot with a split down the middle, right on his temple. By the time we went on our grocery trip a day later, it had morphed into a full-on black eye. It looked pretty gnarly. Poor kid.

The checkout lady asked what happened of course, and I told her. Then she turned her attention to my son Truman, who needed a haircut so bad that his eyes were literally covered in hair. But she still managed to spot his little strawberry patch right between his eyebrows. “Oh, did he fall too?” NO I SWEAR IT’S A BIRTHMARK!! THIS BLACK-EYED KID ISN’T EVEN MINE! I’M INNOCENT!! Just ignore the syrup-bangs please.

a stack of banana macadamia pancakes with homemade coconut syrup and fresh pineapple on top.

This Coconut Syrup Recipe takes me right back to Hawaii

Have you been to Hawaii? Eric and I went for our honeymoon, but I want to go back. We didn’t get to see a ton because we were on a budget. Eric’s parents just went a few weeks ago, and his mom told me about an amazing breakfast she had: Banana Macadamia Pancakes with Coconut Syrup. I did some research, and it seems like Bananacadamia (Let’s make this a thing!) pancakes are a popular thing there. I’ve never had them, but this recipe is so amazing that I can’t imagine how they would be better. I mean, besides the fact that there are no beaches or palm trees in sight.

Creative ways to use Hawaiian Coconut Syrup

But first up: the syrup. This coconut syrup gets a whole post to itself, because after trying it I knew I would be using it for more than just Bananacadamia Pancakes. (That recipe will be up on Thursday) (Here it is). I’m thinking Italian Sodas, fruit dip, (Try a banana with this syrup. Or pineapple! So. good.) regular old waffles, jazzing up my oatmeal. What would you put it on? I want to experiment using this with some grilled meat too. Coconut syrup for days!

a jar of homemade coconut syrup.

On that note. You should know that I just swiped my fingers through my syrupy bangs again.

Coconut Pancake Syrup ingredients 

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Coconut milk (full fat, not lite)
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar
  • Light-colored corn syrup
  • Vanilla extract

P.S. If you want to make the Banana Macadamia Pancakes I mentioned, the ingredients you’ll need (besides regular pancake stuff like flour, baking soda/powder, etc.) are: 2-3 ripe or overripe bananas, 1/2 cup roasted salted macadamia nuts, eggs, butter, and buttermilk.

Coconut Syrup Recipe variations and substitutions

This recipe is pretty simple. Here are my do’s and dont’s for making changes:

  • Substitute extracts. Got your own little extract library in your baking cupboard? Try substituting coconut extract or rum extract for the vanilla.
  • Keep the coconut milk full fat. If you’re counting calories, serve yourself a smaller drizzle. Lite coconut milk is not going to give you the right texture and flavor!
  • Add more coconut. If you like the taste and texture of shredded sweetened coconut, you can add some (about ½ cup). You could also add toasted coconut or coconut flakes. 

How to make Coconut Syrup 

Here’s a quick overview of how to make coconut syrup. Scroll down to the recipe card and follow the complete instructions when you’re ready to make this!

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan with the heat turned off. Add the cornstarch and whisk thoroughly.
  2. Turn the heat to medium once the cornstarch is completely incorporated. Add the sugar, salt, and corn syrup.
  3. Stir very frequently over medium heat until the liquid starts to thicken. If you start to see bubbles from boiling, take it off the heat.
  4. Add the vanilla and stir. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.

How to store Hawaiian Coconut Syrup

You can store your syrup in the fridge for a week or so. It’s going to be a lot thicker when it’s cold, but you can warm it up in a saucepan (or the microwave with a cover on it). I don’t recommend freezing it–the texture will not be the same and you may have issues with separation.

Hawaii Coconut Syrup FAQs

Is coconut syrup the same as coconut sugar?

No. Pure coconut syrup is nectar from coconut palm blossoms with some of the liquid evaporated. The coconut syrup we’re making today is like pancake syrup – it has the flavor of the original, but contains none of the original. Coconut sugar, on the other hand, is a crystalized version of pure coconut syrup with ALL the liquid removed. 

Is coconut syrup sweet?

Yes. Pure coconut syrup can be used as a sweetener in place of honey or sugar; the coconut syrup we’re making today is definitely sweet, full of coconut flavor, and perfect for adding to breakfast or dessert. 

What is coconut syrup good for?

Coconut syrup is great for drizzling over pancakes, waffles, or crepes. My number one pancake choice for this would of course be these Banana Macadamia Pancakes. It’s also an amazing fruit dip (think tropical – pineapple, mango, banana!). You could make your hot oatmeal or overnight oats pretty incredible by adding some as well. If you’d like you can make an Italian soda with this as the syrup base (or Italian cream soda, be still my beating heart).  

More Mother’s Day (or anytime) brunch ideas!

Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup << (think outside the Christmas box! These are so good, anytime of the year)

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes << nothin’ like a fat stack slathered in butter and syrup

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole << do the work ahead, thank yourself in the morning

Dark Chocolate Waffles with Ganache and Strawberries << yes, chocolate IS a breakfast food

Dreamy Coconut Cream Pie with Caramel Layer << more coconut goodness that goes with any entrée

The Blueberry Pancakes of Your Dreams from Baker by Nature

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes from How Sweet Eats

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Crazy for Crust

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Coconut Syrup Recipe

4.94 from 15 votes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
This Coconut Syrup is just like the kind they serve over pancakes and waffles in Hawaii! It is thick and rich and supremely coconut-y. Plus: stupid easy. Perfect for a lazy Mother's Day!


  • 13 ounces coconut milk, not lite
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or up to 3/4
  • 1 tablespoon light-colored corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Open the can of coconut milk. Pour into a small saucepan with the heat turned off. Add the cornstarch and whisk thoroughly.*
  • Turn the heat to medium once the cornstarch is completely incorporated. Add the sugar, salt, and corn syrup.
  • Stir very frequently over medium heat until the liquid starts to thicken. If you start to see bubbles from boiling, take it off the heat.
  • Add the vanilla and stir. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Serve with your favorite pancakes, waffles, or I bet it would make a great Italian soda or cocktail!


*Often coconut milk will have separated into a solid of white cream and a watery liquid. If yours has done this, pour the thin liquid into the pan and whisk the cornstarch in before adding the cream. If you add it all at once, the little bits of white cream look exactly like chunks of cornstarch, so it’s hard to know if the cornstarch is all whisked in. If in doubt, whisk for a good long minute and you should be safe. If you do end up with chunks of cornstarch (I doubt it), just strain when the syrup is finished.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 152
Keyword: Coconut, syrup
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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    1. Yesss I haven’t made this in forever! Coconut syrup ftw! So glad you loved it Erin. Thanks for commenting!

  1. I’ve made this several times now, with the addition of half a teaspoon of coconut extract, and the last time I bought coconut cream by mistake instead of coconut milk, used it anyway, and it came out even better! I’ve used it on pancakes, ice cream, over sweet potato topped with banana and walnuts, and straight off the spoon, it’s so good!

    1. Ooh great tips Susan! I will have to try this with coconut cream next time! Genius. And I love this over sweet potato, that sounds so good!! Thanks for leaving all your suggestions!

  2. OMG, I want to put this in a mug and drink it! So good! I added 1/2 t of coconut extract too. Still waiting for it to cool down a little more, hope it will thicken just a little bit more. So yummy! Thank you for posting! Making pancakes for Christmas in the morning. :D

    1. I made this for a work birthday breakfast. I had to try it the night before to see what I was getting in to. It was quick and easy. It thickened just fine while it cooled down. I also added a little bit of coconut flakes for texture after the cornstarch dissolved. Will make more in the morning to add to this batch. I know my coworkers will want to take some home😊

  3. I have a bottle we brought back from Hawaii (Old Hawaiian Recipe brand) and I just made this syrup so I could compare to the real thing. It’s good but next time I make it I will leave out the vanilla. It seems to knock out most of the coconut flavor.

  4. Hi Karen
    Will do recipe this w/e. Just wanted to say I went to Hawaii and had the pancakes with bacon and coconut syrup or maple. I bought 2 bottles of coconut home. When I make your syrup I will be having it with bacon yumm

  5. I’m laughing right now, because you’read right about the canned coconut milk separating out. I got in so much trouble with my aunt one time, because she was making a dish that called for 2 cans coconut milk and I threw away like 3 cans because I thought it “went bad” before she came to check on me…lol…

    1. Oh my gosh, I read your story out loud to my family because it made me laugh so hard!!! I bet your aunt was so mad!! Hahaha!!

    1. Hey Pamela! I imagine it would last as long as coconut milk would last in the fridge, so about a week. Hope you enjoy it!

  6. I can see myself taking spoonful samples of this before adding it onto pancakes, then taking spoonful samples of it after I’m done eating. Great recipe!

  7. Wow this sounds so good! I haven’t been to Hawaii but we are thinking about going for our honeymoon! Where in Hawaii did you guys go?

    1. We stayed a week at the Plantation Inn at Lahina and had macadamia pancakes at their restaurant on first floor. The syrup was so good that we consumed an entire container EVERY DAY!! We kept looking at each other saying, “Did YOU eat all that?!!”

  8. What a great recipe for Mother’s Day brunch! I’m definitely going to come back for the pancake recipe on Thursday. And I’ll have to remember to add pineapple to the grocery list so I can top my stack of coconut syrup pancakes with it.

  9. Wha? Coconut syrup is a thing? This so needs to happen! I’m always getting weirdo looks at the grocery store. I basically wake up and run to the store. I’m a straight up hot mess. So pinning this!

    1. Story of my life. Except I don’t wake up early, then feed my kids, then drop them off for swap, then make a hasty list, THEN go to the grocery store at 10:30 looking like I just rolled out of bed. Gross. haha.

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