Shredded, flaked and desiccated coconut: what’s the difference?

If you’ve ever found yourself in the baking section of the grocery store staring at the range of coconut products available and not sure what the differences are, this post is for you!

Coconut can be purchased sweetened or unsweetened and in a variety of forms and textures. Depending on the recipe you’re making, you’ll want to choose one kind over another. Making a savoury recipe? Chances are, you’ll be needing unsweetened coconut, like in this Coconut Chicken Tenders recipe. If you’re making something sweet, both kinds are used, depending on how sweet the other ingredients in the recipe are. As for coconut textures, here’s what you need to know!


Desiccated coconut: Desiccated coconut has little to do with the size of the coconut, but rather with the amount of moisture left in the meat. Desiccated coconut basically means that the coconut meat has been dried and that it now contains much less moisture than the initial fruit.

Shredded coconut: Made up of thin strands of coconut, shredded coconut looks a little like grated cheddar cheese. It’s usually available both sweetened and unsweetened.

Flaked coconut: Flaked coconut is made up of larger, coarser pieces than the shredded kind.

Photography by Jennifer Bartoli