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Coconut Rolls

These tropical coconut rolls, known in Rio as Pão Doce com Coco, are denser and less sweet than American cinnamon rolls. They are filled with a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and coconut flakes (doce de coco) and deliciously topped with a smooth and sweet coconut glaze. These are one of the best coffee treats that you will ever have!
Keywords:bread rolls, coconut, coconut frosting
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting times 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 rolls
Calories552 kcal
Cost $ 1.00 per person


  • oven
  • bowls
  • Baking pan
  • knife


For the dough:

  • 2 packets active dry yeast about 14-15 g total
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm whole milk 120 ml
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 5 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups canned coconut milk 300 ml
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (100 g or 3.5 ounces)

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes about 100 g or 3.5 ounces
  • 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk 200g or 7 oz
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (1/2 stick)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar

For the topping (frosting):

  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature or softened
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coconut extract OPTIONAL
  • Sweetened coconut flakes to sprinkle on top preferably toasted


  • Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix the yeast with the sugar. Stir in the warm milk and let rest for 5 minutes. Stir in the egg, then the flour, coconut milk, and butter. Knead the dough and let rest in the bowl, covered with a warm, wet towel in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Then prepare the filling: Mix the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Reserve!
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to form a 15-inch rectangle, then brush most of the melted butter on top of the dough and spread the filling. Sprinkle brown sugar on top, distributing evenly. Roll up tightly like a cinnamon roll log and cut into 12 slices.
  • Grease and line with parchment paper a 13” x 9” rectangular baking pan. Arrange the coconut rolls into the pan in a single layer, keeping them about at least 1-inch apart. Brush the remaining melted butter on top of the rolls, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes as they will continue to rise.
  • If you are using a store-bought refrigerated crescent roll dough, try to roll out the dough on a floured surface as a whole as you can and then mend the pieces together forming a rectangle. Follow the same directions to fill it, roll it up into a log, cut, and brush with melted butter. There will be no need to wait for 30 minutes because they will not rise! In fact, you will save more than 90 minutes because you won’t prepare the dough from scratch and wait to rise it two times.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes at 390° F (200° C) if the dough is from scratch or at 350° F (180° C) if the dough is pre-made. Cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes, especially if the dough is homemade. You don’t want them to brown too much on top. They are ready when puffy and golden brown!
  • Meanwhile, make the topping or coconut frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth (no lumps). Then beat in the sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. If you want, stir in coconut extract. Spread evenly the frosting over the warm coconut rolls and then sprinkle coconut flakes on top. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

These coconut rolls are Brazilian-style -- which means that they are denser and less sweet than American cinnamon rolls. You are welcome to adjust their sweetness according to your taste.
Store coconut rolls (frosted or unfrosted) in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days.  
You may freeze them into freezer bags or containers in a single layer for up to 6 weeks, unfrosted. But for that, only bake them for 10 minutes and then let them cool in order to freeze them. To serve, take the rolls out of the freezer and let them thaw overnight in the fridge. Once thawed, finish baking them for about 15-20 minutes and frost. 


Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 91mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 542IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg
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