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Coconut Icebox Cookies to the Rescue for “Sweet” Emergencies

Preview: This recipe for Coconut Icebox Cookies makes a thin, crispy, and chewy shortbread-type cookie. Keep a roll of dough in the freezer at all times for emergencies.

Icebox cookies sound like something your grandma would make, don’t they? Think of them as the original slice-and-bakes, but fresher and tastier.

Thankfully, you can store the dough in your fridge or freezer instead of an icebox. In addition, shaped cookie dough logs are handy for “sweet” emergencies like unexpected company, a last-minute cookie tray, or a sneaky sugar attack.

Come a little closer because I need to whisper this little secret. Even the raw dough satisfies, but you didn’t hear it from me. So please keep reading to the end of this post for my story about cookie dough.

Baked Coconut Icebox Cookie on a Metal Cookie Spatula

Homemade slice-and-bake coconut cookies are guaranteed to wake up any coconut cravings you’ve neglected lately. The fragrance of toasted coconut combined with rich buttery shortbread will make your house smell better than any scented candle.

Why these coconut cookies should be in your freezer right now:

When you keep logs of prepared cookie dough in your freezer, you can have fresh warm cookies in the time it takes to preheat your oven and bake them.

With only five ingredients, you can throw the dough together in a hurry. However, the prepared dough MUST be refrigerated (or frozen) before baking, so plan ahead.

Add this super simple cookie to your collection if you are a coconut lover. They’re great on their own, but they also play nicely with a simple dessert like ice cream, pudding, or creme brulée. We like to crumble them to sprinkle on our homemade yogurt.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • BUTTER: Next to coconut, butter is the star ingredient. No substitutes exist.
  • SUGAR: Granulated sugar is best here. Anything else will change the texture and taste which isn’t all bad. Just different.
  • VANILLA EXTRACT: Try almond extract if you prefer or don’t have vanilla on hand. Use half as much almond as you would vanilla.
  • FLOUR: All-purpose flour is recommended. Bleached or unbleached–it doesn’t matter.
  • COCONUT: This recipe was formulated for flaky sweetened coconut. Substitute unsweetened coconut if your sweet tooth is better controlled than mine.

ingredients needed for coconut cookie recipe

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are these cookies good to mail?

These lovely but delicate cookies are not good travelers. That is to say, no US Mail or UPS. On the other hand, they are perfect for a party, shower, a Christmas cookie tray, or teatime snack.

How long can I store the dough in the freezer?

The dough will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Double wrap the dough to avoid freezer burn.

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How long will baked shortbread cookies stay fresh?

Store them in an air-tight container for up to a week. Store in the freezer for 2-3 weeks.

How can I keep the shortbread dough from spreading too much while baking?

1. The cookie dough must be well-chilled. Either freeze for two hours before baking or chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper. It helps to prevent spreading.

Since there is no baking powder in these cookies, they will spread some. You won’t have to wait very long for the cookies to cool and get crispy.

The dough is hard to slice when it’s frozen. Any suggestions?

1. When you turn the oven on to preheat it, set the dough out on the counter to warm up for a few minutes. It makes a big difference.
2. Warm your knife (serrated works best) by running it under hot water or dipping it in a container of hot water.
3. Put the dough log in the microwave and use the DEFROST cycle to soften it–less than a minute. It doesn’t take long, so stand by.

How to make Coconut Icebox Cookies:

Beat butter until creamy
1. Whip butter until smooth and creamy.
Add sugar and vanilla extract
2. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy.
Adding flour
3. Add flour to the butter-sugar mixture.
Mix in flour and add coconut
4. Mix just until flour disappears. Add flaked coconut.
shaping dough with a spatula and wax paper
5. Dump the dough onto a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap.
coating logs with coconut
6. Shape the dough into two rectangular blocks. Coat with coconut: wrap and chill or freeze.
sprinkle with more coconut if desired
7. When ready to bake, slice logs into 1/2-inch slices and place them on a prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle with more flaked coconut if desired.
baked shortbread cookies ready for a tea party
8. Bake cookies at 300˚F for 20-30 minutes or until they start to turn brown on the edges.

Oh yes, my cookie dough story.

My mom was ahead of her time when she engaged in aversion therapy with my pre-teen self.

I asked her if I could make an entire recipe of Butterscotch Refrigerator Cookies for the sole purpose of eating the dough.

She said, “yes.” I did. I never made that recipe again.

More recipes for coconut or shortbread lovers

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Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!

coconut icebox cookies on a cookie sheet

Coconut Icebox Cookies

Keep the dough for these crispy coconut shortbread cookies in your freezer for sweet emergencies.
Paula Rhodes
4.46 from 11 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Desserts
Servings 30 cookies


  • 1 cup butter - (2 sticks, softened) 230 gr
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar - 150 gr
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour - 210 gr
  • 1 cup flaked coconut plus some for covering the log


  • Mix butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla. Gradually add in flour, then coconut, and mix well.
  • Form dough into 12 x 3 x 1-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. I like to form a log into a shape that will result in rectangular cookies when sliced.
  • Optional: Sprinkle the wax paper or plastic wrap with about 1/4 cup of loose coconut. Lay the shaped log on top of the coconut and roll it to press the coconut into the sides.
  • Freeze at least 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 300˚F.
  • Slice dough into 1/3 to 1/2-inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart on a silicone mat or parchment paper-covered cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes. Edges should begin to turn golden.



Serving: 1gCalories: 119kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 56mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 189IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Keyword butter cookies, coconut cookie recipes, refrigerator cookies, shortbread, slice and bake cookies
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe Rating

Maureen Barton

Saturday 1st of May 2021

These are delicious!!!!!!


Tuesday 4th of May 2021

Thanks, Maureen. Never get tired of hearing this!


Thursday 3rd of December 2020

Can I add pecans to them?


Thursday 3rd of December 2020

Seems like a great idea to me.


Thursday 10th of August 2017

Can i use dessicated coconut?


Thursday 10th of August 2017

Hi Maya,

Probably. But honestly, I haven't tried it myself so can't say for sure.

April F

Monday 26th of August 2013

I just made these tonight for my husband who LOVES coconut. They are fantastic!!! This is a keeper recipe. Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 14th of February 2012

I have made your greek yogurt which, by the way, is now the center of my life, and these cookies. They are to die for. Everyone at work took the recipe. But the yogurt will get me to 80 - I'm now 70!!! Ha!