Conserva de Coco


Conserva de coco is a sweet coconut candy. In my experience, the texture of conserva de coco varies depending on how long ago it was made. My recipe yields a conserva that is at first soft, sticky and pleasantly chewy, but by the next day it hardens a little. On the third day the conserva starts to get crunchy. When I started experimenting with making this it had been years since I had eaten an authentic freshly made conserva de coco so I wanted to be sure it was right – I brought half a batch to a local Salvadoran friend and she was super impressed. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Conserva de Coco


1 3/4 cups fresh shredded coconut, packed
2 cups sugar
11 ounces coconut water (right between 1 1/4 cups and 1 1/2 cups)
5 ounces water (right between a 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup)
3 big pinches of salt

Notes before we get started: Make sure you use coconut water, not coconut milk. Also, be certain that you use fresh shredded coconut, not the flaked coconut you find in the baking aisle. You may be able to find fresh shredded coconut in the freezer section of your grocery store if you don’t want to buy an actual coconut. When you measure the 1 and 3/4 cups of coconut, it should be packed down to ensure you’re getting the correct measurement. It’s highly recommended that you measure the coconut water and water in ounces to get the most accurate measurement.


1. Boil everything in a medium-sized pot, uncovered, over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Knowing when the conserva is ready was the tricky part for me the first time I made it. You will see the liquid begin to boil away and the mixture will thicken. Don’t be too eager to get it off the stove when you see it happen. The process can take a good 30 minutes or more. When the conserva really comes together the best indicator is if you see the coconut starting to brown a little – Time to remove it from heat!

2. Spread the conserva out on a flat heat-resistant surface. I found it easiest and less messy to put the conserva into a rectangular glass Pyrex baking dish. (I grease the dish with a little cooking spray to ensure it won’t stick, even though I suspect the natural oil of the coconut would prevent that from happening.)

3. Allow the conserva to cool several hours before cutting into pieces, (cubes, bars or squares.) Once cut in pieces, store in an airtight container. I found that it’s best eaten within 3 days, (I like it best the first and second day.)


  1. oh this sounds devine!
    I tried to comment on the bento post but it wouldnt let me… I make bentos for my kiddos and try to use foods from Mexico as well. Like you said, its a great way to control portions, calories, and sugar. One day I will HAVE to try to make pupusas! (I’m a gringa like yourself, with a Mexican husband.)

    • Making bentos is so fun – I wish I had the time to make them more often. That’s great that you include traditional Mexican foods in your kids’ lunches. Good luck making pupusas – if you ever need any help, I’m here!

  2. I love this recipe…I am preparing to make lunches and even extended weekly meals for my kids when I’m not available. This is a great one to try. I’m excited about the mini pupusas too…I think I’ll use what I think was called la cabaza verde…in the salvadorian restaurant I last ordered pupusas, with beans…since we’re vegan and I want to make horchata dairy-free…I’m sure that’s easy to do, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks so much for sharing these photos/recipes.

    • For the pupusas de ayote, (assuming this is what you’re talking about?) – my suegra uses shredded zucchini and they’re delicious!

      • Yeah, it seems like there is a different type of zucchini, judging from the market I frequented in CA that was a sort of squash…it could have been chayote, but I think it was just a sort of zucchini that was less dark green and more bulbous at the end than regular italian zucchinis. At the salvadorian restaurant they called it green pumpkin, I guess assuming I wouldn’t understand in Spanish.

  3. If anyone is here, could someone please help me? My girlfriend is from El Salvador, and her favorite candy in the world is something called ‘coco rallado.’ I want to make it for her because they don’t sell it here in the U.S (where i’m from) but this is the closest thing to it so I’m just going to try making this. However, if you DO know how to make the little coco rallado chip things, please let me know!

    • Hi Danny, I recommend you search YouTube for “coco rallado salvadoreño” or “como hacer coco rallado” — You will usually find several videos made by native Salvadorans that show step-by-step. If you don’t speak Spanish you should still be able to follow along. If you find a video and need help understanding something, feel free to email me and I’m happy to translate.

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