Shredded coconut is an ingredient that is packed with possibilities, both in terms of texture and flavor. Raw shredded coconut, whether you prefer sweetened or unsweetened, has a sweet coconut taste and a chewy texture. Toasted coconut still has the same basic flavor, but it also has a caramelized nuttiness and a crisp-chewy texture that raw doesn’t offer. It’s easy to toast coconut at home and it’s a great way to maximize the coconut flavor in a recipe or to change the texture of a favorite coconut recipe, like macaroons, by switching raw and toasted.
You can toast coconut in the oven or on the stove top. To toast coconut in the oven, spread shredded coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300F for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to make sure that the coconut browns evenly. To toast coconut on the stove top, spread shredded coconut into a large skillet (or small, if you only need a small amount) and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until coconut is mostly golden brown. Coconut will probably brown a bit less evenly in a skillet than in the oven.
Before you start, keep in mind that coconut can burn very easily, so it’s better to take your time than to try and increase the heat and rush the toasting.