Puerto Rican Style Coconut Pudding (Tembleque)

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This Puerto Rican coconut pudding or Tembleque is silky, creamy, tropical, and vegan-friendly.

Tembleque with the perfect hint of spices will be the ideal dessert to serve within little shot glasses if you have a party or serve on a big family-style bowl.

Photo of tembleque in a glass cup with a spoon.

What is tembleque?

Tembleque is a Puerto Rican coconut dessert that is very popular. This coconut pudding is made from milk, salt, cinnamon and cornstarch, and more.

You can also use nutmeg, vanilla, and even rum.

You might like these Puerto Rican recipes:

For this Receta de Tembleque, we used coconut milk, and we skipped regular milk.

There are many tembleque recipes out there, and this Puerto Rican dessert recipe is vegan-friendly.

Photo of tembleque in a glass cup.

Can you make coconut custard ahead?

The great thing about Puerto Rican coconut custard is that this recipe lasts for a while in the fridge, so you can make it ahead of time. It will last fresh for up to 5 days, making it the perfect party dessert, in my opinion. 

Photo of tembleque in a glass cup with a spoon.

Can you use gelatin to make Tembleque?

Yes, you can. Some Puerto Rican Tembleque recipes use gelatin to help it hold its shape; I prefer to go with cornstarch because the result is creamier. However, if you want it to hold its shape, swap the 2 Tbsp cornstarch for 2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin.

Photo of tembleque in a glass cup with a spoon.

Can you Freeze Tembleque?

Yes, tembleque can be freeze but know this. You can freeze tembleque and thaw it by placing it in the refrigerator. The consistency of the coconut pudding might get a little weird, but if you stir and let it defrost in the fridge instead of leaving it out to thaw, it will be OK.

Photo of tembleque in a glass cup.

How to Make Puerto Rican Tembleque

We are going to begin with the ingredients, and as stated before, this recipe is vegan-friendly as we don’t use milk and gelatin. Of course, you can swap 2 Tbsp cornstarch for 2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin if you desire.

What are the ingredients to make Puerto Rican Tembleque?

All of the ingredients for this recipe can be found at your local Walmart, and if your Walmart has grocery pick up, even better. If you have never used Walmart Groceries when you use this link, you will $10 off your first purchase, so this recipe will be even cheaper to make.

To make Vegan-Friendly Tembleque, you are going to need the following ingredients:

  • coconut milk
  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • cornstarch
  • water

Now that you have the ingredients, it is time to make this coconut pudding by following the steps below.

  1. Heat up your stove to medium-high heat. Mix the coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract using a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a slow simmer for about 7 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the starch and water and mix the mixture well.
  4. After the stove mixture has been simmering for 7 minutes, add the cornstarch to the coconut milk, and while cooking, regularly mix for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the stove, pour it into bowls, and allow it to cool completely before placing the tembleque into the refrigerator.
  6. Once you place the coconut pudding in the fridge, leave it for 3 hours.

Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding Recipe

Below you will hit the print button and get the exact measurements to create this Puerto Rican coconut dessert.

Puerto Rican Tembleque / Coconut Pudding

Puerto Rican Tembleque / Coconut Pudding

Yield: About 6 Servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Tembleque is a Puerto Rican dessert made from grated or shredded coconut and milk. Traditionally, Latinos made it by soaking the coconut in water for hours until it softened and then squeezing out all of the liquid before adding sugar, vanilla extract, and other spices.

Now, you can create this recipe by following these simple steps!

It's a simple recipe but requires patience to achieve that perfect consistency. This dish has been popularized in various Latin American countries like Honduras, where they add cornstarch to make an iced pudding called "natilla."

In my family, we serve our tembleque warm with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Yum!


  • 2 Cups coconut milk
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix the coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and bring to a slow simmer. Let it cook for around 7 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Pour the cornstarch into the coconut milk and cook for 10 more minutes stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from fire. Pour into bowls and let it cool completely before refrigerating for 3 hours.


You can replace cornstarch with gelatin just add 2 Tbsp cornstarch for 2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin if you desire.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 11mgCarbohydrates: 38gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 33gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 2g

Nutrition for entertainment purposes. Seek licensed nutritionist for accurate informtaion.

Did you make this recipe?

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