Young coconut sorbet recipe

Posted on January 21, 2013


Young coconut juice is one of the most refreshing drinks you can have on a hot day. Just go to any tropical and sub tropical region for proof of this – it’s one of their staple drinks. So can you just imagine how awesome it would be in frozen dessert form?


But surprisingly, it’s not all that easy to find a recipe for young coconut sorbet. Most coconut ice cream or sorbet recipes I’ve found online tend to rely on coconut milk or cream which has a distinctly different flavour profile to young coconut juice. Luckily for me, Trotski & Ash featured a young coconut sorbet recipe from Longrain. But even this recipe isn’t straight young coconut, it’s also mixed with coconut cream. So I have made a couple of changes, including using more young coconut juice to make it more prominent, and changing the vanilla flavouring to pandan. Using pandan instead of vanilla just seemed like the more natural choice because why not pair the two tropical flavours together? And personally, I find pandan and coconut to be pretty much inseparable when being used in sweets. The flavours work brilliantly at enhancing each other. It’s just a perfect match.

Fresh young coconut can be found in many Asian grocers (retailing for about ~$2.50 – $3 each) if you’re up for extracting the fresh juice yourself. If like me you’re a bit concerned about hacking open a fresh coconut, packaged young coconut juice can also be readily found. These days young coconut juice is also branded as ‘coconut water’; they are one and the same thing. When buying the packaged varieties, try to find the ones that are 100% young coconut juice. Many brands will have added things like sweeteners, acids or flavour enhancers; this isn’t necessary and in my opinion is a detriment to the natural tastiness of young coconut.

Fresh pandan leaf can sometimes be found in Asian markets, but it’s a little bit of a hit and miss. You are more likely to find packaged frozen pandan leaves. If using the frozen variety, perhaps use 2 leaves since the flavour of this will not be as intense as the fresh ones. You could also use 1 teaspoon of pandan paste if you can’t get hold of any leaves, although the paste will make your sorbet take on quite a startling green colour!

RECIPE – Young coconut sorbet (makes ~1.2L)


  • 125g sugar
  • 250mL water
  • 150mL liquid glucose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400mL coconut cream
  • 400mL young coconut juice
  • 1 pandan leaf tied in a knot (if frozen, defrost first)


  1. Place sugar, water, salt and pandan leaf in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.IMG_5796
  2. Once all the sugar has dissolved, reduce heat even lower and stir in liquid glucose. Remove from heat when glucose has completely dissolved and leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine with coconut cream and young coconut juice. Cover mixture to allow pandan flavour to infuse and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  4. Remove pandan leaf and churn mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Generally a 20 minute churn will be sufficient for most domestic grade ice cream maker models. Once the sorbet thickens to a consistency of your desire, turn off the machine, transfer sorbet into an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours.
  5. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture and manually stir the semi frozen sorbet every 3-4 hours to break up the ice crystals. This method will deliver you a slightly grainier/icier end result than if churned through a machine.IMG_5816

This is the current house favourite! The young coconut gives a really nice nutty and almost savory flavour, while the coconut cream provides a nice creamy roundness to the sorbet. Deliciously addictive. But despite being happy with this recipe, I still intend to play with the ratio of coconut juice to coconut cream in subsequent batches, just because I love young coconut juice and want that flavour to come out even more.