Trinidad Coconut Sweet Bread recipe

26.5.15 | Recipe by Renz

This is a classic recipe for Trinidad coconut sweet bread. A bread filled with raisins, dried fruits, and spices. Perfect to be eaten alone or paired with your favorite spread. This coconut-based bread would leave you rushing for another slice.

A loaf of Coconut sweet bread with a few slices, and a spoon of mixed peel

My mom's favorite thing to make is sweet bread. Whenever she is in town I always make sure she mixes up a batch.

This is a popular Caribbean sweet treat. It is another food item that could probably be called "Caribbean sweet bread" instead of being pinned down to a specific country. The methods may just vary from one to the other.

This "bread" not only has coconut but also a mix of raisins, mixed peel, and spices

It's a sweetened bread (not sweet like condensed milk sweet) but definitely can be considered a dessert as well as bread.

I love eating my sweet bread alone. But it is not weird to see someone use it to replace their regular bread like hard dough and make a tasty sandwich out of it.

I avidly remember as a child seeing my mom eating it with avocado slices. If I do use it as bread, cheese is my best option.

Coconut bread is a very popular bread, especially around Christmas time. Along with black cake, or ponche de creme and pastelles.

Ingredients for sweet bread

I always say this recipe uses staple pantry items, but not everyone stores mixed peel as I do. But for the most part, this uses some of the basics that you can find

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar - brown sugar or granulated sugar can be used.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Raisins
  • Maraschino cherries - you can also use dried red cherries.
  • Mixed peel - sometimes also called tutti fruit or citrus peel.
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Coconut essence - mixed essence or vanilla essence can also be substituted. 
  • Water
  • Fresh coconut - or also referred to as "dry coconut". It's the mature coconut where the water has started to diminish. See the section on how to pick a coconut.

Equipment (Links are affiliate links)
Large mixing bowl
Loaf pans

Dry coconut or packaged coconut

What is a good substitute for dry coconut in sweet bread?

I know sometimes in some areas finding fresh dry coconut is not always easy. You can definitely make sweet bread without having a dry coconut.

I have at numerous times been unable to get a dry coconut. If you don't happen to have any around, you can substitute using the shredded coconut flakes to be your grated coconut.

Check out my other just as delicious sweet bread recipe that uses desiccated packaged coconut

A bowl of mixed sweet bread before it is baked

How to make Trinidad Coconut sweet bread

Mixing this is easy peasy you know. There's no dry yeast to worry about and that failing. This sweet bread recipe is a mix-and-dump kind of thing.

It's important to get your coconut out of the shell and rid of any debris. Chop it up into pieces, add to blender then add water and blend for a couple of minutes.

It's almost like making coconut milk. You do not want it to be watery. Once done dump that out into a large mixing bowl.

Separately, combine your dry ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and baking powder, and add the flour mixture to the coconut mixture and combine.

Then mix in your ground cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, essence, and mixed fruit.

Make sure you get everything combined but not too overworked.

Grease two baking pans and evenly distribute the coconut mixture into the greased loaf pans.

Bake till golden brown. For about 45 minutes.

The aroma of bread baking is always amazing, And sweet bread is no different. The spices, the raisins and the coconut. Heaven.

It always takes me back to Christmas time in TnT. Invokes memories of the smell emanating while the cleaning and decorating are taking place.

Now don't forget to add that glaze.

That is definitely a finisher for this bread. A few minutes before baking is completed, we add a simple glaze to the top of the sweet bread.

The color when you take it out is Ah amazing.

Place on a wire rack and let it cool

A whole baked loaf of sweet bread on a wooden board

Tips and Tricks

My mom reminded me of some tricks or good practices to be used when making sweet bread or baking in general.

The temperature of ingredients:

Make sure that everything is at room temperature, especially the butter

Separation of ingredients:

Mix your dry ingredients separately, and then your wet ingredients separately. Then combine them.

Pick a good coconut: 

We call a mature coconut a "dry" coconut because at that stage it has already lost most of the water that the younger coconut has. Always give the coconut a shake. You need to hear water in there. A good amount will do.

Normally if there is no water the coconut is NOT good. As a coconut gets older the water lessens and it gets more "meat". When there is no water in a dry coconut, it has passed the usable stage.

Avoid any cracked shells when inspecting. Cracks can lead to the development of fungus and/or mold. No good.

Now to verify when it has been cracked open. I use a hammer. It's easy. Remember that there is water in there and it will run out. I don't drink the water from these coconuts. Rumor has it this "hurts your belly".

Once opened make sure there is no smell from the water. Well, it needs to smell fresh, kind of sweet. If it's musty, then it's a no-go.

Also, make sure there is no discoloration of the flesh and check for mold on the pieces.

Blender or food processor: 

Now you can easily use a blender or a food processor to do the same thing. And there are fewer chances of a grating piece of your finger off holding a little piece of coconut.

Please note that using a blender gives you a different consistency to the coconut than you would get using a food processor to blend coconut.

With a blender, you have to add some water to get it going. Whereas using a food processor you get a dry blend, kind of like with the packaged coconut. You will need to add liquid to the mixture later to get it to a good consistency as a soft dough.

Either way works and gives you the same results.

Slices of freshly baked Trinidad coconut sweet bread


A lot of people like to store sweet bread in the fridge. I give it a few days (up to five) on my counter. I wrap it in foil or in some plastic wrap, to keep out any moisture and air.

Then if there are leftovers still, I put them in a Ziploc and throw them in the fridge.

This can also be frozen. Wrap securely with plastic wrap then with foil and put into Ziploc bag. And put the freeze. You can also slice it before wrapping it.

Takedown a slice, or a loaf and bring it to room temperature then you can either eat it like that or pop it in your toaster for a little warmth.

How to serve sweet bread

I LOVE eating this fresh out of the oven. The outside is nice and crunchy and the inside is so soft and moist.

Let's add some cheese to the equation and I'm in heaven. Feel free to experiment with different toppings (such as jams, jellies, peanut butter even salted ham) and let me know how you like them.

Or pair a couple of slices with a glass of mauby to make up an afternoon snack

This bread is great for breakfast, lunch, and as a snack.

And you won't regret it!!

Make sure to check out some other Caribbean bread recipes


  1. This is a wonderful bread I made this over the weekend and it certainly is the perfect treat here in Florida and so tropical. Love you recipes, I have made quite a few now and they never disappoint! Bravo to you! Hope you are doing well and your baby. God bless Claudia Lamascolo

    1. Hi Claudia! Thank you so much!! We are managing!!

  2. Replies
    1. Yes.. that is what I use majority of the time. Just no liquid from it.

  3. Hi Renz. Your Sweetbread recipe has been a hit for my customers. They all love it. I was diagnosed with Gluten and Lactose intolerance in 2017. Can I use Gluten Free flour with this recipe and for your Coconut Turnovers as well?

    1. Hey Nicole. I have never ever tried making with gluten free flour at all. I would not be able too properly guide you on the adjustments.


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