Soft, sweet, and easy to make, these Vegan Coconut Balls are a no-bake dessert. They are a vegan take on a traditional Costa Rican dessert!
- 30 graham crackers (1 full sheet = 1 graham cracker) (I used 1 1/4 boxes, but brands vary) (see note 1)
- 8 tablespoons vegan butter (unsalted stick form, see note 2)
- 2 cups vegan condensed milk (see note 3)
- 8 ounces finely shredded coconut, divided (unsweetened preferred)
- Crush graham crackers or biscuits: Start by pulverizing your graham crackers or biscuits. You can do this in a food processor or by hand. If doing by hand, place them in a sealable food storage container and crush with your hands or a heavy object until they’re mostly tiny crumbles or powder.
- Heat pot: Heat a large nonstick pot over medium heat (if you don’t have nonstick you may want to spray oil the sides of your pot (the bottom will get it oiled from the melting vegan butter) and watch the heat, maybe go medium low instead so you don’t accidentally get everything stuck to the pot).
- Melt vegan butter: Add the vegan butter and stir it around until it’s mostly melted. Then add the vegan condensed milk. Stir well.
- Add coconut: Next, add ¾ of the finely shredded coconut (about 6 ounces, around ¾ cup). Stir well again.
- Add cracker crumbs and stir: Remove from heat and stir in the pulverized graham crackers, then return to heat. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick and shiny, and it will pull away from the sides and bottom of the pot (about 2-4 minutes).
- Refrigerate: Add the mixture to a glass or ceramic bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours (it will firm as it cools, and then you can roll it into balls).
- Note about size: After the mixture has cooled, remove it from the refrigerator. It may need a few minutes to soften enough to scoop. Use whatever size scoop you like, but the recipe yield of 80 balls is accurate only with the same size scoop (small scoop) I used, so keep that in mind. You can use a larger scoop and they’ll still taste great! But I can’t give an accurate picture of how many it will make.
- Make vegan coconut balls: Scoop each ball onto a plate. I like to do many scoops, then switch to rolling them between my palms to create an even sphere. Then, roll each ball in the remaining coconut (about 2 ounces, or ¼ cup) and place on a tray lined with parchment paper. This goes much faster with one person scooping and one person rolling, but it didn’t take too long on my own either once I got a rhythm down.
- Chill again: Refrigerate vegan coconut balls for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes and enjoy!
- Store: To store, refrigerate balls in an airtight container (after the initial refrigeration) for up to 5 days or freeze in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Defrost a few hours before eating.
- Note 1: A few brands make graham crackers that happen to be vegan. That includes Nabisco--look for the red box, but just read the ingredients to make sure. You can also use about 4 cups (pulverized) Annie’s Snickerdoodle Bunnies crackers or you can make your own vegan graham crackers. BTW, a great substitute for graham crackers would be Lotus Biscoff cookies! They’ve always been vegan in my experience, but read the back of the package to make sure.
- Note 2: Any vegan butter should work, but I think stick form (rather than tub-style) would work best. I use Miyoko’s European-style Cultured Vegan Butter. If you’d prefer not to use vegan butter and you like chocolate, you can substitute an equal amount of dairy-free chocolate chips! I’d use bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips since the condensed coconut milk is pretty sweet.
- Note 3: This is the only vegan condensed milk I’ve tried but I really do love it. It also does not have a strong coconut flavor. I also saw an oat milk condensed milk but since I don’t personally love oat milk, I haven’t tried it yet. If you cannot find an option in your area and don’t want to order online, try making your own. My friend Karissa has a great vegan condensed milk recipe.
- Note 4: If you can’t find vegan condensed milk and you’re unable to purchase it online (and you don’t want to make it), I suggest you skip the stove step all together (and skip the vegan butter) and instead use a food processor to blend pitted medjool dates with the pulverized graham crackers. You can try adding wet ingredients like almond butter or dry ingredients like rolled oats or almond meal. It will be somewhat of a different recipe but I think it would be delicious all the same.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: Costa Rica
Keywords: Vegan dessert, Vegan Coconut Balls, Vegan No Bake Dessert