Traditional Guatemalan Coconut Candy: Cocadas Reales

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This delicious traditional Guatemalan coconut candy recipe is one of my favorite Guatemalan candy. Known as cocadas reales this coconut candy is made with shredded coconut and condensed milk on the stove top. Chewy, sweet and deliciously soft this traditional Guatemalan candy is a sweet treat that you’re sure to fall in love with. 

Traditional Guatemalan coconut candy

Why this traditional coconut candy is so special to me.

Growing up in Guatemala, there were certain treats that I looked forward to on our day trips to Antigua Guatemala, and one of them was cocadas reales. We would always head straight to Doña Maria Gordillo’s candy store to get our hands on those soft and chewy coconut sweets.

As we strolled down the cobblestone streets of Antigua, the sweet aroma of freshly made cocadas reales filled the air, and my mouth watered with anticipation. Unlike regular cocadas, which were baked and had a more cookie-like texture, cocadas reales are softer, sweeter, and chewier. They have a unique blend of coconut, condensed milk and cinnamon flavors that is simply irresistible.

Dulces típicos Doña Maria Gordillo Guatemala
This is the most famous traditional Guatemalan candy store, they have been around for more than 100 years! I took this picture on my last trip to Guatemala.

For me, cocadas reales were more than just a treat – they are a symbol of my love for the rich cultural heritage of Guatemala. Now we travel to Antigua Guatemala with my kids at least a couple of times and I always get With every bite, I feel a connection to the traditions and flavors that had been passed down through generations, and I savored each one as if it were a precious memory.

As we returned home to Guatemala City, I would always have a box of cocadas reales tucked away in my backpack, ready to be shared with my family and friends. To this day, the taste of those soft and chewy coconut sweets takes me back to the vibrant streets of Antigua and the warmth of the Guatemalan people, and I feel grateful for the memories and traditions that they represent.

Cocadas reales Guatemalan coconut candy

What are cocadas reales?

Cocadas are a traditional coconut candy or cookie that is very popular throughout Latin America. These sweet treats are usually made from grated coconut, and they come in a variety of flavors and textures. Depending on the country and the region there are many different ways to make cocadas. There are also many different types of cocadas.

In Guatemala, cocadas are a beloved snack that is enjoyed by both children and adults alike. They are often sold in markets and street stalls, and they are also commonly made at home for special occasions or as a sweet indulgence. There are three main types of coconut candy in Guatemala: 

  • cocadas: baked coconut cookies made with coconut, sugar and eggs. They are also known as coconut macaroons. 
  • cocadas reales: a coconut candy or sweet made on the stovetop with coconut, condensed milk and sugar. These are sweeter and softer than the cocada cookies.

What are the ingredients for Guatemalan coconut candy?

The recipe for cocadas reales is simple, with just a few key ingredients, but it requires a little patience to get it just right. The end result, however, is a delicious and satisfying treat that is perfect for coconut lovers and those with a sweet too.

Cocadas reales recipe for cocadas with leche condensada

These are the ingredients for traditional Guatemalan coconut candy or cocadas reales:

  • shredded coconut
  • condensed milk
  • butter
  • milk
  • cinnamon 
  • raisins for garnish

How do you make cocadas reales: Guatemalan coconut candy?

To make cocadas reales, you start with shredded coconut, which is mixed with sweetened condensed milk, milk and butter. The mixture is then cooked over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and becomes caramelized. This process can take some time, but it’s important to keep stirring and to monitor the heat to prevent burning or sticking.

Once the mixture has thickened it is ready to be formed into soft balls of coconut deliciousness. These are then left to cool and set, and are often dusted with a bit of cinnamon and topped with a raisin or other dried fruit for decoration.

The resulting candy is soft and chewy, with a rich coconut flavor that is perfectly complemented by the sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon. It’s a treat that is beloved by Guatemalans of all ages, and is often enjoyed as a snack or dessert.

Guatemalan coconut candy

Best recipe for cocadas reales

Since I moved to the US I try to make at least a few new traditional Guatemalan recipes every year. Since I can not find the foods I love here I have had to learn how to cook them.  Out of necessity I have learned to cook lots of traditional foods I had never cooked in Guatemala.  So I decided to make the cocadas reales (coconut candy). I love how simple and easy this recipe is. 


  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 3 cups of shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter


  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter until melted.
  2. Add the coconut and the three tablespoons of milk.
  3. Mix well, and add the sugar and condensed milk.
  4. Stir all the ingredients.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer on low heat  for 20 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t stick.
  7. Remove it from the heat and let stand for a few minutes.
  8. Using a spoon take spoonfuls of the coconut mixture, forming small balls.
  9. Place the balls on waxed paper.
  10. Add a little cinnamon powder and a raisin.
  11. Refrigerate for half an hour to let it thicken a bit more.

Guatemalan coconut candy recipe

While cocadas reales may require a bit of patience and attention to detail, the end result is more than worth it. Whether you’re looking to recreate a taste of Guatemala at home, or simply looking for a new sweet treat to try, cocadas reales are a delicious and easy-to-make option that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

These cocadas reales or coconut candy are great to share with friends at holiday parties. I love to share a little bit of my Guatemalan culture with those around me! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Traditional Guatemalan coconut candy: cocadas reales

Traditional Guatemalan Coconut Candy: Cocadas Reales


  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 3 cups of shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter


  1. In a pot add the butter.
  2. Let the butter melt completely. Then add the coconut and the three tablespoons of milk.
  3. Mix and add the sugar and condensed milk.
    Stir all the ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn't stick.
  6. Remove it from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  7. Take a spoonful of the coconut mixture, forming small balls.
  8. Add a little cinnamon powder and a raisin.
  9. Place the balls on waxed paperand refrigerate for half an hour to let it thicken a bit more.

Did you make this recipe?

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Other traditional Guatemalan desserts and Guatemalan candy:

If you liked this recipe for cocadas reales you are sure to like these other traditional Guatemalan desserts

  • Canillitas De Leche. Canillitas de leche are my favorite Guatemalan traditional candy. For this Guatemalan dish, I took a few shortcuts. This quick recipe for Guatemalan canillitas de leche. only uses only three ingredients you already have in your pantry!

Guatemalan canillitas de leche recipe

  • Champurradas. A super easy recipe for champurradas that will surely be a success with everyone in the family! Guatemalan champurradas are scrumptious giant cookies with the perfect level of crunch to dunk in your morning coffee! This traditional Guatemalan dessert is so simple to make and perfect if you’re looking for an easy Guatemalan dish. 
  • Empanadas De Manjar De Leche (Filled With Custard). Empanadas de manjar are hand pie-like pastries filled with a milk-based creamy filling. If you want to surprise your loved ones with this delicious Guatemalan dessert, here is a quick recipe for you to prepare. 

Best recipe for Guatemalan empanada de manjar

  • Plátanos en mole. Platanos en mole is one of my favorite Guatemalan desserts. This delicious recipe for sweet plantains in a velvety sweet mole sauce is a traditional Guatemalan dish you will surely fall in love with. 

Delicious platanos en mole traditional Guatemalan recipe

  • Easy Guatemalan Pineapple Empanadas. These easy-to-make Guatemalan pineapple empanadas make for a great dessert or an easy sweet snack. I like that empanadas are perfect for entertaining and also travel well. They are ideal snacks for bringing to picnics, BBQs, or potlucks. I also love putting them in my kid’s lunchboxes. 

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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24 thoughts on “Traditional Guatemalan Coconut Candy: Cocadas Reales”

  1. This coconut candy sounds similar to the Indian coconut “taffy” that my husband has been begging me to make. I’ll have to make both and see which one he likes better!

  2. Yummm! These look Delicious! We can’t wait to make it to Guatemala, we are currently in Costa Rica but Guatemala is in my top 5 places that I want us to go. My daughter(15) has her own baking business here is CR, I am going to share this with her…she loves to try new things!

  3. YUMMMM! This recipe is so simple despite the length of time. Only I’m not a big fan of coconut, but everyone else in my family is. Thanks for sharing and I can see where the M&M’s will go great w/ the coconut.

  4. My grandmother used to make coconut candy, but they were not baked. She just shredded the coconut meat and put it in a large wok together with raw sugar. She’d stir and stir the mixture until the coconut turns to be really chewy. She takes a spoonful of the mix and makes little round mounds of it on wax paper. When its cool enough, we have a delicious treat to enjoy! I will try to make your version of coconut candy too. Thanks for sharing!


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