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Coconut Jelly

A silky smooth, slightly sweet way to end any dim sum party! These luxuriously smooth treats take only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes on the stovetop, then just stash them in the fridge until party time!


Overhead shot of a plate with rectangles of white coconut jelly.


For the finale of our Dim Sum party, I made some these creamy, dreamy bits of awesomeness.

I got this recipe from the Dim Sum class I took at ICE. Some of the other people in class had made these, and I really liked them.

The only thing that bugged me was that the instructor said she didn’t like rose water, so she didn’t have us put it in the jelly.

I happen to really enjoy rose water, so I was excited to try these out in my own kitchen.


Black plate with rectangular pieces of coconut jelly.


These beauties are stark white, and perfectly smooth, thanks to a dose of agar-agar powder.

It was my first time using it, and it really made them set up nice and firm. This is really easy to put together, and there aren’t a lot of ingredients.

The coconut cream is the stuff that’s over in the mixed drink aisle of the store (I used Coco López).

These are finger food desserts, and it’s incredible to see how well they hold up when they sit out at room temperature.

I have all sorts of ideas for things to make with the rest of my bottle of agar-agar!


A hand holding a white piece of coconut jelly with a bite taken out of it and full pieces in the background.


Here’s a shot of the rest of the meal (minus some awesome homemade fortune cookies!), including the Hoisin Cocktail Meatballs and Shrimp Dumplings.


Supper Club Dim Sum


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Recipe for Coconut Jelly

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Overhead shot of a plate with rectangles of white coconut jelly.

Coconut Jelly

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 64 (1-inch) pieces 1x
  • Category: Vegan, Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese


A silky smooth, slightly sweet way to end any dim sum party! These luxuriously smooth treats take only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes on the stovetop, then just stash them in the fridge until party time!


Units Scale


  1. Pour the coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the agar-agar powder over the top, add sugar, and whisk to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut cream and rose water.
  2. Transfer the mixture to an 8×8 square pan, cover with foil, and refrigerate until set – at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
  3. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn it out onto a cutting board. Cut into diamonds, squares, or rectangles and serve cold.

Keywords: Chinese New Year, Dim Sum, dessert

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


    • Ashley

      I think they’re pretty standard at dim sum restaurants, and given your proximity to Chinatown, I’m sure you’ve run across them 🙂

  • ashley

    I made this a couple days ago but the coconut milk was still soft more like a pudding than jello texture. So I threw it away. What would you recommend for this? I did put it in the refrigerator is that okay?

    • BigFlavorsFromATinyKitchen

      Ahh – did you use all coconut milk, or did you also add the coconut cream? That stuff is thicker and that may have something to do with it. Also, did you let it simmer for a full 10 minutes? It should firm up in the fridge. I’ve made this a few times and never had that happen, so I’m not too sure otherwise.

      • ashley

        I did use 1 cup canned coconut cream and I actually put it in with the boiling coconut milk, agar etc. for 10 min and it never set 🙁 maybe ill try again one day.

        • BigFlavorsFromATinyKitchen

          Hmm – the only difference in the recipe is that you’re supposed to stir the coconut cream in after it’s off the heat. That might be the culprit. Sorry it was a disappointment – let me know if you end up trying it the other way sometime!

      • Luna

        This happened to me too, and I found out that I was using agar agar flakes (which is more commonly found in stores), not agar agar powder (more difficult to find). One tbsp of agar agar powder equals 1/4 cup of agar agar flakes, so I had to increase the amount of agar agar, as the amount in the recipe description was not nearly enough to gel the dessert!

        • Ashley

          Ooh this is great to know, Luna! I have some of the flakes in my pantry but haven’t used them yet. Sounds kind of like the difference between flakier salts and table salt – you need more when using flakier because the crystals are larger so they fill up your measuring spoon faster than a finer grain.

  • Trisha

    Oh wow, these look gorgeous. They had bits of these jellies in a lovely tropical drink I had at an Asian restaurant. I cant wait to try these out.

    • Ashley

      I haven’t had a ton of luck with gelatin in the kitchen, so I’m not sure how much you’d need to get a similar texture. I’m sure it could be done, but I wouldn’t know where to start a far as the amount. I was able to find agar agar at a health food store, and you can buy it online if you can’t track it down locally if that’s an issue for you. If you do try it out with gelatin, I’d love to hear how it works for you!

      • Lisa

        Love the recipe but I’m doing something wrong lol I keep getting a layer at the bottom of the jelly is clearish, distinct from the white jelly. Do you know what may cause this?

        • Ashley

          Hi Lisa! I haven’t had this happen ever, so I’m not 100% sure. Do you add the ingredients in the order stated in the recipe and whisk occasionally while it simmers? It definitely needs to simmer for 10 full minutes, and then be sure you stir in the coconut cream and rosewater until it’s combined before pouring it into your pan. Does it look separated when you pour it into the pan? One other thing I think may help is to shake the can of coconut cream well before you add it to the mix. That may help to ensure everything stays nice and combined. Aside from that I’d say check to make sure none of your ingredients, like the agar agar powder, are expired. I hope this helps!

    • Ashley

      I’m not sure how freezing them would affect the texture once you thaw them out again, but I’d love to hear how it works out for you if you give it a try. So glad you enjoyed them!

  • Ryan rushmer

    Hi there, im really keen to make this recipe however I live in England and the imperial to metric weight ratios confuse me sometimes! Could you please tell me what the metric equivalents are for the creamed coconut and milk? It may sound simple but ingredients with different densities can impact on the ratio calculation and I want to get the amounts right! 🙂 Also are you using powdered agar agar or the flakes? Any info would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks

    • Ashley

      Hi Ryan-
      I’m really not sure when it comes to metric equivalents and I don’t want to misguide you. As far as the agar agar, I used a powdered variety. Good luck if you give this one a shot!

    • Ashley

      Hi Sakthi,
      I haven’t tried using any other type of milk in this recipe, so I’m not sure how it would work. If you’re still using the coconut cream and only subbing whole milk for the coconut milk, that may work. The texture in the coconut cream is really important for this recipe. The flavor will also be milder without both types of coconut, but if you give it a try, please do let me know how it turns out!

    • Ashley

      I’d think it would still work – you’d just need a larger pan so it isn’t too thick while it’s chilling in the refrigerator. Good luck – hope you love it as much as we do!

    • Ashley

      Hi Eleanor – I have a link to buy rose water on Amazon in the ingredients in the recipe. It can sometimes be tricky to find in stores but if you have a middle eastern market in your area you should be able to find it there. Sometimes Asian markets and natural markets have it also. Good luck!

    • Ashley

      You can omit the rose water. I usually find it from a Middle Eastern market. It can definitely be tricky to find. The first time I made this recipe, we didn’t add the rose water and it was still delicious!

      • Eve

        Thanks for your quick reply but forgot to ask, your directions says “Pour the coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the agar-agar powder over the top, add sugar, and whisk to combine. Simmer for 10 minuntes” … Do you let it come to a boil and then simmer or you just simmer after putting the ingredients in? Thank you!

        • Ashley

          You don’t need to bring it up to a boil but you could, just be sure to lower it to a simmer as soon as it starts to bubble and whisk it occasionally for 10 minutes. Hope that helps!

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