Tembleque Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding
Tembleque Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding

Simple desserts are sometimes best. Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding, or Tembleque, is an easy dessert made with ingredients you probably have on hand — coconut milk, sugar, and cornstarch. You can dress it up with lime, orange, or cinnamon. It takes only 20 minutes practical time!

This thick, not-too-sweet coconut dessert is scented with cinnamon and a subtle undertone of lime. Tembleque (tehm-BLEH-kay), from Spanish temple, meaning “to shake,” describes this wobbly coconut dessert in a nutshell. It is poured into a mold and shaped. It has a texture similar to Jello. (Although we think it’s a pudding, which I know doesn’t make sense.)

You can make this easy cinnamon flavored coconut pudding in about 20 minutes. Simply leave for a few hours and enjoy as a snack, special treat or midday pick-me-up.

The best coconut milk for Tembleque

Because I truly believe my late Abuela Leria is reading this from beyond the grave, the best type of milk for Tembleque is freshly extracted coconut milk from an actual coconut. However, because we are all busy people and coconuts don’t always fall out of the can from the trees in our neighborhoodFull-fat coconut milk is the next best option. sorry grandma

Canned coconut milk is available in abundance, but since you want Tembleque to appear as white as possible, it’s best to use a coconut milk with as few additives as possible. While I haven’t researched this theory in depth, my personal experience is that the more additives and preservatives added to coconut milk, the grayer the color of coconut milk becomes.

Coconut milk from Thai Kitchen comes closest to fresh coconut milk, I think that’s my favorite way to use it.

You’ll find that most canned coconut milk (especially the organic milk) requires stirring before use. If yours has a layer of viscous liquid under a thick cap of white coconut oil, Whisk the two together before pouring into the sugar mixture.

Very important: Use full-fat coconut milk. Light coconut milk won’t give your Tembleque the same body or mouthfeel you’re looking for. The watery stuff in the refrigerated section should also be avoided for the same reason.

Tembleque can be poured into large molds for sharing, but if you’re a non-divider like me, individual molds are better for hoarding that pudding all to yourself.

  • When I plan to serve tembleque to a crowd, and knowing we’ll demolish it in one sitting, I pour the hot mixture into a large decorative Bundt cake pan. This pan is my favorite.
  • When I serve Tembleque to my family, I use these smaller, individual shapes. The smaller shapes accommodate our varied dessert eating plans without exposing the sliced ​​tembleque to the cold, chilled air.

Tired of bothering with the demolding process? Not! Eat it straight out of the pan – YOLO, right?!?

Resizing the mold isn’t a problem, but I prefer metal molds because the dessert cools faster. If you don’t have access to individual molds, you can use a regular Bundt cake or cake pan! Just refrigerate for five to six hours or until firm.

When is coconut pudding ready?

Tembleque can be removed from the mold when the pudding feels slightly firm and springy when pressed with your fingers. The shape should also be very cold to the touch. Both are signs that the pudding has cooled completely and has risen properly.

Tips and tricks for demolding Tembleque

When it’s time for the big reveal, the inverted tembleque should emit a “SCHLOOP!” Sound when it falls on a plate. That glorious sound lets you know your pudding is ready to be “ooh’d and ahh’d” over.

Here are a few tricks to ensure the tembleque demoulds easily:

  • Rinse the inside of the mold with cold water before pouring in the warm Tembleque custard. This thin layer of moisture creates a tasteless barrier between the mold and the pudding, which aids in demoulding after the tembleque has set.
  • If the pudding is To arrange, gently pull the pudding out of the mold with your fingertips (recommended if you used a decorative mold) or insert a thin knife between the tembleque and the mold to loosen it further.

Troubleshooting Tembleque

Why wasn’t my Tembleque set up? What went wrong?

Tembleque is thickened with cornstarch, which is a very forgiving thickener. If for some reason excess water stirs into the pudding during cooking, this will inhibit thickening. This can also happen if you intentionally added more sugar than the mix required.

THE SOLUTION: Make a slurry of equal parts cold water and cornstarch (one tablespoon water to one tablespoon cornstarch) and slowly whisk into the boiling custard. Let the tembleque cook until it thickens.

What if I can’t get them out of the molds?

If you find your molds aren’t coming loose within a minute of flipping, we can fix it.

THE SOLUTION: Flip them back over and place them in a shallow bowl partially filled with hot water for five to 10 minutes. The heat of the water warms the mold and releases the tembleque.

If, by some crazy twist of fate, some still can’t gobble the tembleque out of the mold, just pick up a spoon, eat it right out of the mold and call it day.

Proposals, Swaps and Substitutions

  • Swap out the coconut milk: If you don’t like a strong coconut flavor, you can substitute a can of evaporated milk for a can of coconut milk. Or replace all the coconut milk with evaporated milk.
  • exchange sugar: A caramel flavor can be mimicked by using brown sugar instead of white sugar.
  • Swap citrus fruits: I used lime zest in this recipe, but you can use any type of citrus zest.
  • Use an extract: One of the original tembleque recipes, written by Carmen Aboy de Valldejuli (she’s essentially the Julia Child of Puerto Rican cuisine), uses orange blossom water. You can go the original route and stir in orange blossom water instead of the vanilla extract. In fact, there are quite a few extracts that can be used in place of vanilla as well.

How to decorate Tembleque

I stick to the basic decoration when it comes to beautifying my tembleque:

  • Dust with ground cinnamon
  • Sprinkle with toasted, sweetened coconut flakes
  • Or do what I do and sprinkle BOTH on top!

Can you make tembleque in advance?

Yes! In fact, you should do it at least four hours before shaping, as tembleque needs time to cool down and develop its characteristic wobble. Tembleque will keep its shape refrigerated overnight (or up to 12 hours).

In addition, it is best if you take it out of the mold and cover it with a layer of plastic wrap. If you find you have leftover pudding, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap so it doesn’t get sticky and hard.

More pudding recipes

  • Creamy vegan rice pudding flavored with chai
  • Vegan chocolate pudding
  • Rose Petal Flan
  • Tapioca Pudding
  • Panna cotta with summer berries


Check out this Tembleque recipe

Tembleque (Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding)

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
10 mins

total time
20 minutes

8 servings

Tembleque is a molded dessert similar in texture to jelly, but not nearly as sweet. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, you can add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of sugar.


  • 2/3 Cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 Cup cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinammon

  • prize Salt

  • 2 (13.5 ounces) cans full fat coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 (3 inch) lime zestOptional

  • 1 Cinammon floor, Optional

For garnish:

  • 1/2 Cup sweetened coconut flakestoasted

  • 1 teaspoon Cinammon


  1. Whisk dry ingredients:

    In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably one with sloping sides), whisk together sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, and salt. You do this in a cold saucepan with no heat.

  2. Gradually add coconut milk:

    Gradually stir in a can of coconut milk and vanilla into the sugar. This will smooth out the sugar and cornstarch mixture and prevent clumping. Once you have a thick, lump-free paste, stir in the remaining coconut milk.

  3. Add lime and cinnamon stick:

    Add lime zest and cinnamon stick.

  4. Cook the tembleque:

    Set the pot to medium heat. Stir frequently as you bring the mixture to a simmer. As soon as small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan, start beating steadily, but not vigorously. If you whip too aggressively, too much air will be drawn into the tembleque, causing bubbles in the finished formed dessert.

    Finally, cook the tembleque on medium-high for 5-10 minutes, or until the whisk leaves a ribbon when lifted from the pot.

    Take the pot off the stove. Fish out and discard the lime zest and cinnamon stick and allow the tembleque to cool slightly while you rinse the mould(s).

  5. Rinse molds:

    Pour cold water into your mold and swirl around like you are washing dishes and rinsing the soap out of it.

  6. Fill in your shapes:

    Shake excess water out of the molds, but do not dry them. Fill each mold with a ladle or spoon. If using individual molds, spoon 1 cup of the hot liquid into each mold. If you’re making dessert for a crowd, pour the entire pudding into a large 10-inch mold.

  7. Release the air bubbles:

    Gently tap the bottom of the pan against the countertop to release any bubbles trapped in the pudding.

  8. Cool the tembleque:

    Press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface of the tembleque and place in the fridge until completely cool. This can take anywhere from two to four hours depending on the size of your molds.

  9. Carefully shape and garnish:

    Gently pull the pudding out of the mold with your fingertip or insert a thin, sharp knife between the tembleque and the mold. Invert the mold over a plate and allow gravity to release the pudding from the mold.

  10. Garnish and serve:

    Sprinkle the tembleque with toasted coconut flakes and ground cinnamon. Store the unshaped tembleque in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap (in contact with the pudding) in the refrigerator.

nutritional information (per serving)
311 calories
22g Fat
30g carbohydrates
2g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!